Your business definitely has a Sales and Marketing strategy. And most likely, it is documented. On the other hand, only 37% of all B2B businesses document the Content Marketing strategy and plan (source: CMI). Which is the reason for writing this blog – that the culmination of a formal strategy process is documentation and it helps B2B Marketers increase ROI.
Content Marketing, a part of marketing, plays a significant role in sales and marketing – in building brand awareness, and in generating and nurturing leads. What stands out is that leads generated through content marketing are 6 times more likely to convert to sales than leads from other sources.
The role of content marketing in the sales process is key to reducing the sales effort. Part of the traditional sales processes, where the Salesman met the prospect very early in the selling cycle, have been replaced by Content, resulting in reducing the sales work load and selling costs. Not only does Content play a role in the initial stages, but in various stages of the selling cycle – it primes consumers on your products and it builds trust; content generates leads and opens up conversations before the sales call.
Given the potential of content marketing, to not plan and document your content marketing strategy would be a grave risk for any organization that has a serious goal of pushing up sales, specially in segments where sales begins online.
What gets written down, gets done. Documentation means you’re serious, that you mean business.
Companies with a documented content marketing strategy are nearly 50% more effective than those without a documented strategy. [Source: 2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends report from the Content Marketing Institute & MarketingProfs.]
So, whatever the reason for not documenting your content marketing strategy in the past, its not good enough now. It has to get done. Strategizing your content marketing and documenting it along with the sales strategy is an essential.
Image: Components of a Content Marketing Strategy and Plan
Benefits of documenting a content marketing strategy
Establishes its role in sales and marketing
Content plays an important role in sales and marketing – from brand awareness, lead generation to providing support at different stages of the buying journey and nurturing leads. Documenting ensure that content marketing is formally aligned with the overall sales and marketing goals and calendars of the organization.
Gives clarity and a sense of direction
Documenting a content marketing strategy helps provide a clear direction for the content marketing team. They now know what business goals they must meet – be it brand awareness or loyalty, lead generation or retention. There is clarity about buyer personas – who to target in a campaign and the content mix to be used.
Budgets can be allocated
A plan will describe the content and advertising required every month, quarter and for the year and it provides the basis and justification for the budget required – giving confidence to the CEO and CFO to allocate budgets.
Roles, responsibilities and timelines
Implementing a content marketing plan entails complexities – there are multiple products or service lines with their own content requirements, campaigns, and so on. Hence its important to assign roles such as writing, social media marketing, content creation, SEO, design, and so on. Then there are timelines to be met. A documented plan helps organize all this. With this in mind, people can be hired, or work can be outsourced.
Enables sharing and provides stability
A formal plan in writing can be shared with the team –. The plan won’t change if the leader of the team changes, or if team members change.
Set up goals and measure results
It helps to set up goals and targets and then track progress. The right tools and processes can be set up to measure results, produce reports and course correct.
Research has shown that companies with a documented strategy get 50% more business than a company without one. This is because a documented content marketing strategy makes for a better, disciplined implementation, gets tracked as per KPIs, and and generates higher returns. Since the plan envisages measurement, it gets measured.
A documented content marketing strategy increases the visibility of these key areas. Content development and marketing become a planned effort, and not an ad-hoc or reactionary one. A documented plan means business!
So, if you have been brainstorming for a while and have a clear strategy, put it down on paper. Like and share this article if you think it was of value to you.