3 ways to ensure your content marketing delivers

Published Dec. 7, 2021, 8:58 a.m. by Payal Bhattar

Consumers today are swamped with information and want to avoid content that has no direct impact on them. Find out how to be sure your content delivers in today’s crowded marketplace.

It isn’t easy to be a marketer in today’s dynamic market. Seventy percent of senior marketing executives in consulting firm Accenture’s global survey, ‘The great marketing Declutter, say that the past year has completely exhausted their employees. During the pandemic, marketers have struggled to keep pace with incessant change in customer values and priorities. Communication channels and touch points have risen and the pressure from business to reach the right stakeholders has increased. In short, it’s been a struggle to deliver good content to the right stakeholders.

Accenture’s survey found that just 17% of marketers feel empowered to meet customers’ changing priorities and are thriving because of it. These ‘thrivers’ are 1.4x more likely to perform far better in revenue growth and profitability, 1.8x in customer satisfaction and 2.5x in customer awareness. They also enjoy a significant performance premium over competitors whose marketers are burned out. How do you ensure you are a marketer who, as Accenture puts it, ‘is breaking through while the others are breaking down?’ Here are 3 things you can do to ensure your content marketing delivers.

Strategy, Strategy, Strategy

It’s challenging and possibly exhausting to make your story and value proposition meet the diverse needs of multiple stakeholder groups with varying and fast-changing preferences. It’s therefore critical to set your goals, prepare an action plan, get all the cogs in place and only after that, set the wheel in motion. This is your well-defined content strategy.

A good content strategy keeps the purpose of the organisation at its core, supports sales growth and marketing and expands your relationship with stakeholders. It is an impactful two-way conversation built on participation at the deepest level. Remember, the devil quite literally lies in the details. It’s not enough to know what, why, who and how you want to communicate. It’s equally important to set the context for performance and define tangible metrics to measure results.

One major reason that your content marketing may not be delivering results is lack of a defined content strategy. A survey that Spoon conducted with market research firm Kantar TNS showed that an average of 2 in 5 companies in Finland do not have a clearly defined content marketing strategy. Additionally, 25% of the 201 companies surveyed said they did not have a social media distribution strategy in place. Moreover, 70% of companies across several sectors don’t have a defined impact strategy for targeting issues important to key stakeholders.

Yet we know that taking the time to craft a solid strategy can help cover many blind spots in communication.

Don’t forget data

If data is the new gold, then marketers are literally sitting on a goldmine. Global consultancy firm McKinsey found that marketers have not been able to speedily and effectively capture changes in customer preferences, essential to deliver high-performance content, largely because of outdated data modeling.

What’s more, market researcher Nielsen’s annual marketing report this year found that only 20% of more than 250 marketers in the U.S. with budgets of $1 million to over $10 million are confident in their ability to measure the impact of their ROI. All this even though there are an estimated 8,000 software tools available to marketers to help them work more efficiently, create smarter content, solidify consumer relationships, and measure their efforts.

American performance marketing agency NP Digital advocates the use of data-driven content to make your marketing strategy more efficient and increase your ROI. It says that businesses that do so are 6 times more likely to achieve a competitive advantage.

The bottom line is that your content marketing will only be as good as the data driving it. Accurate data helps make your strategy more concrete and your actions more impactful.

It’s okay to say no!

While communicating continuously is important, marketers need to assess whether or not their organisations have the means to engage in impactful and meaningful communication with their stakeholders.

According to accounting giant Deloitte, ‘sometimes your organization just isn’t ready to jump in on the conversation—and that’s okay. It’s better to sit out and ensure your words match your actions’. Sometimes, listening to your company’s customers, employees, and business partners can help you understand what matters most to these stakeholders and what you can do to address possible “blind spots”.

When you have broadly identified what you want to say, why you want to say it, whom you want to talk to, and you’ve crafted a sound strategy to help you deliver the message, you’re ready to take the leap.

Read more about Spoon’s survey with Kantar TNS.