Stressed by the Demand to Create all that Content?
If the answer is "yes," you're not alone. Studies show that marketers are undergoing increased job stress. And it's no wonder, given the increased complexity of the work. Marketers face many challenges today: High growth expectations, hyper competition in crowded market places, and the digital and social-media revolution. What’s more, growing pressure from the C-suite to implement marketing return on investment measures as a way to track and evaluate marketing success is increasing the marketer’s workload. Studies show that stress rates for marketers are on the rise.
As content marketers, we’re under pressure to publish lots of content to meet deadlines and keep our social feeds full of fresh posts. According to the 2016 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, 76% of B2B marketers will produce more content this year than they produced last year.
Of course, you don’t want to publish poorly thought-out content just for the sake of meeting deadlines. You want quality content. In fact, 60% of B2B content marketers consider producing engaging content their top challenge. The only way you’ll engage customers is if you produce high-quality content that speaks to their needs.
However, quantity also matters. At Content Marketing World, several of the speakers talked about the importance of both quality and quantity in B2B content marketing. The more content you produce, the more you’ll raise brand awareness. Each new piece of content also gives you a new reason to connect with customers.
To add to the challenges, the way people engage with brands has changed. Customers, empowered by modern technology and information, engage much differently with brands today. Their behavior is often sporadic, fragmented, and spans across channels and devices in an unpredictable fashion. Customers are more informed than ever and in most cases have made their mind long before the first contact with a sales rep. In short, marketing and sales teams are losing control at a time when expectations for their performance is rising.
According to Forrester Research, “Customers take many paths as they solve problems, activating business capabilities in unpredictable ways”—meaning that developing a marketing plan which truly complements the new digital consumer-driven buying journey, combined with more traditional offline activities, isn't a simple task.
Sounds scary? It is!
Here are some tips to help offset the workload:
Break up your Content Creation
It never fails …
I’m writing a piece of content, and the ideas are flowing. Then, my typing slows, and it takes me twenty minutes to write a sentence.
This is when I know that I need to take a break.
Stepping away from your content – whether it’s to play, exercise, or work on something else – is key to improving your productivity.
When you return to your content at a later time, your mind will be fresh, and your ideas will flow.
I’ve help plan for the ups and downs in my creativity by breaking my content development into stages:
1. Planning: Get together with your team and plan your editorial calendar for the next month or quarter. You can download this checklist to help you with planning.
2. Pick a theme: Themes help make planning content easier. Picking content themes for the quarter can keep your content marketing on track. When you plan a few themes in advance, you will always have something to talk about. It’s a good idea to select several broad themes for the quarter – such as cloud security or event marketing. Then, you’ll have lots of interesting sub-topics that you can dive into.
Here are some ideas for picking themes:
- Base your weekly, monthly or quarterly content around a product launch.
- Find out if customers are asking related questions. Turn these questions into a theme and write a series of blog posts that answer them.
- Address one of your customers’ top concerns in a white paper and its related content.
- Make “customer success stories” one of your themes. Share their stories in case studies, videos, blog posts, webinars, social posts, etc.
3. Repurpose your Content: During this time, you can also plan howyou will repurpose your content. For example, what other pieces of content do you need to support your white paper? What other channels do you want to target? Should you put a different spin on your blog post and publish it on LinkedIn?
4. Research: Select a topic and research it. Gather background info and statistics on the topic. Interview your subject matter experts.
5. Outline: Make an outline of your content, as this will help you organize your thoughts, so your content development process goes faster.
6. Development: Draft your content – including the design and writing.
7. Editing: Share your content with others on your team and make any necessary edits.
8. Promote:Promote your content. To help with promotion, develop an employee advocacy program. Your fellow employees can serve as invaluable resource for distributing your content across multiple key channels.
9. Repeat: Having a repeatable process in place will allow you to produce more high-quality content. Plus, you’ll avoid sitting at your laptop wondering what you should publish next.
Partner with a Marketing Agency:
Sure, the prospect of partnering with a digital marketing firm comes with a lot of questions. Depending on your situation and needs, working with an agency is by far the best choice. And finding the right fit for your brand can result in a host of excellent benefits—including an increased ROI on your overall marketing investment.
Now, there's 2 essential requirements here:
• You need to find a firm that understands your brand, your product and your industry.
• You need to find a firm that takes the time to know your company culture and values--in other words, a firm that acts as an extension of your internal team.
Once you find a firm that meets the above criteria, the partnership can bring profound benefits.
To learn more about how MarketScale can support your marketing goals, feel free to get in touch!