Wouldn’t it be helpful if you knew what habits the best content marketers have in common? If you knew what tricks and practices were working for them, imagine how much you could improve your own content marketing strategy.
A new report released by the Content Marketing Institute has put together the goals, priorities and the workflow habits of some of the best B2B content marketers in North America. You may not discover what they eat for breakfast, but you will get an idea of what trends have garnered the most marketing success in 2017 and are likely to catapult your marketing in 2018 if you apply them to your strategy.
They Are Committed
Of the most successful organizations, 89 percent said they were either extremely or very committed to their content marketing strategy. Of the least successful, less than one-third claimed to be heavily committed.
What does it mean to be dedicated to content marketing? It means having a documented strategy, following it, and continually evaluating each piece of your strategy to ensure it’s achieving results and fits within the overall strategy.
They Deliver Content Consistently
Another trait of the leading B2B content marketers is consistency. 75 percent of the top marketers consider themselves to always, or at least most of the time, stick to a consistent publishing schedule.
There are plenty of tools you can use to help you become more consistent with your marketing, without having to put in a lot of effort. Within today’s available digital marketing tools, you’ll find a variety of sophisticated content management resources, from enterprise-level CMS software to budget-friendly, yet worthwhile options like Hootsuite and CoSchedule.
They Are Modest in Size
Content marketing teams, for the most part, are relatively small. They are either a handful of people, or for some organizations, are one-man bands. More than half of organizations in the study reported using a small content marketing team. Another 26 percent would use one centralized, specialized group to do the content marketing for multiple products, or in larger organizations, multiple brands, within one company.
Today, most content marketing teams aren’t exactly taking up full 2nd floor offices. As smaller teams, they are outsourcing a lot of their tasks, such as content creation and promotion. Only 44% don’t outsource anything.
As a whole, B2B content marketers are edging closer to consistent success and being able to leverage their content to achieve their marketing goals. When asked about their year-on-year success, 63 percent felt they were more successful. Another 26 percent felt they experienced the same level of success this year as they did the last. Only a tiny fraction felt they were doing worse.
This makes sense with the nature of content marketing. The only way to be successful is to create a thoughtful strategy and execute it. Then, it’s about using the resulting metrics and feedback to decide which parts are working, which aren’t, and to determine where to prioritize those marketing dollars.
They’re Gaining from Better Strategy and Better Content
According to the survey, it’s better quality content, and either developing or refining a strategy, that are driving this success. Industry experts have been talking about the importance of these two factors for years. It’s paying off for those content marketing teams that are making the effort.
As more organizations adopt or further mature their content methods, it’s going to be even more important in the future to continue moving in the direction of better quality and having a cohesive strategy. Except, tomorrow’s version of quality isn’t going to be as simple as relevant and well-written or well-produced content. It’s going to include a dynamic interplay of next generation marketing technology, infusing elements of machine learning, screenless user interfaces, 3D videos, and both augmented and virtual reality.
They Value Growth
What the leading B2B marketers prioritize in 2017, says a lot about what direction the industry will go into next year. The majority – 80 percent – agree that they are focused on building their audiences. Of the most successful, 92 percent are focusing on audience building.
Good old lead generation. Content marketers are still putting their weight behind growing their subscriber bases. This isn’t a new trend. What is more surprising, and welcome if we really mean we want to deliver better quality content, is that nearly three-quarters agree that creativity and craft are important for both creation and production.
They Are Getting the Nod from C-Suite
Most successful marketers are getting enough time to produce content results. This is a good indicator that management are more sophisticated in their perception of content marketing and understand that real results take time. This will take a huge amount of pressure off content marketing teams in the future, who can focus more on their strategy rather than being overly results focused.
They Have a Documented Strategy
Most successful teams do have a documented strategy. However, even knowing the benefits of having a strategy planned out and written down, the numbers still could be higher. 62 percent of the most successful have one documented. Only about 37 percent overall use a documented strategy. Of those who have a strategy but aren’t documenting it, the majority cite a lack of time and resources as to why they haven’t put their strategy to paper.
They Aren’t Bending Over Backwards for ROI
This trend may frustrate a lot of marketing metrics fans. For the leading B2B teams, only a little more than half are measuring their content marketing ROI. This may be in part because of the difficulty of getting more than a general idea of the link between content marketing dollars and ROI. Or, it may be down to time priorities.
They Have a Good Project Management Workflow
Top-notch content marketers, from small groups to one or two-person teams, have figured out how to have a productive workflow. Of the most successful, 70 percent rate their project management flow during the content creation process as excellent or very good.
This healthy workflow may be at least partially attributed to the rise of agile marketing methods. With the flexible, fluid processes of agile, it’s much easier to draw out those creative ideas and then make informed decisions about what works.
They Are Realistic about What Content Marketing Can Do
The best content marketers understand how far they can take their content marketing. How effective can a killer strategy be?
As teams develop, execute, publish, measure, refine, and repeat, each campaign, every new short or long-term strategy, is a chance to get better and to achieve more. Being realistic about what can happen with one’s skills, experience, and resources today is the secret ingredient to being able to do more with those skills, expertise, and resources tomorrow.
And, knowing what the top content marketers are doing right now, is an excellent way to empower your strategy and help to eliminate your perceived limits with your content marketing in the future.
And here is an infographic on the 12 habits of wildly successful content marketers from our friends at OPGEN Media.