Content marketing is hard — and, arguably, the explosion of software solutions that are designed to make content marketing easier for B2B organizations isn’t exactly helping.
With so many solutions available, it’s difficult for marketers to navigate the marketing technology landscape and battle the paradox of choice. In order to discover the software gaps you need to fill (and how to fill them), it’s a good idea to take a step back and define the content marketing process in order to better understand your content marketing software needs.
One way to do this is to understand the the content marketing process as a framework consisting of four pillars (developed by Uberflip’s co-founder and CEO, Yoav Schwartz): Creation, Experience, Distribution, and Insights.
Let’s take a closer look at what each pillar entails.
At its core, content creation consists of the ideation, drafting, editing, and optimization of content assets. As such, it usually involves a large time investment, and is the part of your strategy that arguably requires the most productivity and creativity.
Maximizing productivity and creativity is key to any content strategy. The struggle with creating content at scale, however, is that creativity (and often productivity) can be limited resources, which is why tactics like content atomization have become so effective. It’s in the B2B marketer’s best interest to create a number of different content formats (blog posts, video, infographics, etc.) so their message can meet their target audience in the most desired format.
Establishing a process and using the right tools to create great, valuable content is critical because this content is the foundation upon which experience, distribution, and insights rely.
The content experience is the way in which content is consumed, the destination of what content is being distributed, and where lead generation takes place.
Building a well-optimized content experience involves:
- Great content — This starts with the content creation pillar, but it also involves a deep knowledge of your audience, which is fueled by the insights pillar (the last in this framework).
- Responsive design — Your content should be able to be accessed by anyone, anywhere, regardless of the device they’re using to consume it.
- Easy discoverability — In addition to being SEO-friendly, your content should be easily discoverable within your blog or resource center. If your content isn’t strategically organized to facilitate discoverability, you risk having your visitors bounce and finding the answers they seek elsewhere.
- Targeted and contextual CTAs — CTAs are only effective if they’re presenting a highly relevant next step to a visitor and are an integrated part of the content experience.
You could have the greatest content in the world, but it won’t achieve its optimal performance if it’s not living in a world-class experience.
Distribution is the process of getting your content in circulation by sharing it with your target audience. Much of the success of your distribution efforts will come from the value of your content, the optimization of the experience in which it lives, and the consistency of your distribution tactics.
Content distribution involves:
- Defining and actively participating on relevant channels — Instagram might be popular right now, but if your target audience isn’t active on that channel, you’d be better off focusing your resources elsewhere. Double-down on the distribution channels that are most effective for your content and your audience.
- Building a subscriber list — Email marketing is still effective, especially for B2B content distribution. The key to effective email marketing, however, is having a relatively sizable and high-quality subscriber list.
- Outreach and relationship building — Outreach is an inevitable part of content distribution. Believe me — everybody does it. Although cold outreach often works, you’ll have far more success if you take the time to build a relationship with the influencer or brand you want to leverage.
- Measuring your success and generating insights — If it’s not measurable, it’s probably not worth doing. Ensure that you’re measuring your success on every distribution channel, and start setting goals to fuel your distribution strategy.
…which brings us to the final pillar: Insights!
The final pillar in the content marketing framework, Insights, is the destination of understanding what content marketing tactics are actually working, and why.
To generate accurate insights, your organization needs to:
- Gather data from the right analytics platforms — Ensure your resource center content is hooked up to Google Analytics and your marketing automation platform, as well as any other analytics platforms to accurately measure key content marketing metrics.
- Produce reports — Automated report generation is a tried-and-tested way of increasing the productivity (and accountability) of B2B marketers.
- Score your performance — Whether you implement lead scoring or content scoring, implementing a scoring system for your marketing efforts can help provide an “at-a-glance” look at your marketing performance.
- Determine your content marketing ROI — Measuring content marketing ROI is still a struggle for B2B marketers, but it’s never been more necessary. Measuring ROI will help to inform your content marketing efforts and improve the other three pillars in this framework.
Gathering insights can have a massive impact on content creation, experience, and distribution, which shows how interdependent the practice of content marketing really is. If even one pillar is neglected, then your whole strategy could crumble — and this is why we seek software solutions to help us develop, improve, and scale our content marketing efforts.
Creating an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
These four pillars are probably nothing new to the seasoned content marketer. However, it’s crucial for marketers (regardless of experience) to have a firm understanding of the process of content marketing in order to build a more effective strategy and, just as importantly, choose the right software to facilitate your strategy.
Learn more about the 4 pillars of content marketing and the technology and tools your organization needs to support them. Register for Uberflip’s webinar: The 2016 Framework for Evaluating Content Marketing Software.