Every marketer has heard the refrain: “content is king.” Yet only 9% of marketers had developed a systematic approach to content in 2017, according to Fernando Angulo, Head of International Partnerships at search analytics software provider SEMrush. In his recent webinar presentation, “Content Marketing Challenges for Your eCommerce Business”, Fernando outlined four major challenges that content marketers face and suggested how to overcome them and develop a systematic approach to content marketing success.
Here’s an overview of how to conquer each of those challenges and take your eCommerce content marketing to the next level.
1. Creating a Content Marketing Culture
Most companies don’t have content marketing embedded into their culture. That’s because it’s hard—but it’s also necessary because it pays off in the long run. It takes time to create a content plan, develop effective pieces targeted to a specific audience and monitor what the industry is saying. At the same time, content creators need help understanding their target audience and balancing search results ranking with quality content creation. In other words, content creators simply can’t be successful without an effective content plan backed up by detailed buyer personas and desired outcomes.
The first step to building a true content marketing culture is making sure that everyone in your organization understands who your target audience is and what you want that audience to do. Armed with that information, you can create and execute an effective content marketing plan that will empower content creators and the rest of your organization to achieve the results you seek.
To get that plan started, match your audience with your content and make audience members easy to reach. Keyword tools like Keyword Magic and Answer the Public can show what questions people are asking about your area of expertise, which helps drive effective content creation.
Keep in mind these searches can vary by country, so make sure to refine results for your target region. Based on your research, you’ll need to develop buyer personas and target actions for each persona to further refine content planning and creation.
2. Overcoming the Checkbox Mindset
Simply writing a blog post will get you just that… a blog post. To achieve content marketing nirvana, you need to go beyond the checkbox and set goals that don’t just involve creating content but achieving results, whether that’s user behavior, engagement, conversion, lead generation, or another goal entirely. There are plenty of tools available to help you analyze your content effectiveness, including Google Analytics, CrazyEgg, and Chartbeat for user behavior; Sprout Social or Sprinklr for social engagement; SEMRush or Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and Trends for SEO; your CRM for returning visitors and new or existing leads, and many more.
While you’re setting your metrics and targets, keep in mind that lead quality is the most important metric for most B2B marketers. Audit your existing content with SEMrush or another tool to see how it’s performing, then make tweaks or plan new content as needed based on what’s working and what you haven’t tried yet. Need a refresher on what metrics to track? Check out the quick guide below.
A Quick Guide to Top Content Marketing Metrics
Behavior: page views, unique visitors, pages per session, new and returning users, average time on page, page depth, bounce rate, traffic sources
Engagement: likes, shares, comments, mentions, requests, syndication
SEO outcome: organic traffic, dwell time, backlinks, keyword rankings
Company revenue: leads touched, leads generated, return on investment, conversion rate, cost per acquisition.
3. Not Having Enough Time
The more tools and information we have, the busier we get. That means nobody has (or thinks they have) enough time to create quality content. This lack of time makes an effective plan all the more important: without a plan and a schedule, nothing will get done. So be sure to outline your content plan and create an editorial calendar to make it happen.
As part of your calendaring, figure out when your content performs the best and publish it then. According to a TrackMaven blogging report, the best time to publish is actually 3pm on Sundays—who would have guessed that?
As you juggle competing priorities, don’t forget that you can get help from many sources. The SEMrush SEO writing assistant can help you out with suggestions for improving your content’s organic search performance, while various natural language processing (NLP) tools can convert your spreadsheets of data into stories. In other words, you don’t have to lean only on humans: take all the help you can get, wherever you can get it! While a final read through by a real person is clearly necessary for quality content, many tools can speed up your content creation process.
4. Predicting the Future
It’s always hard to know what will come next, especially in eCommerce. But once you have the right plan and content metrics in place, you can understand what’s happening now, and begin to plan the next steps based on that information.
In other words, the more you do now, the sooner your program will improve in the future. However, don’t just optimize what you’re already doing: keep an eye on new technologies as you create content. By the end of 2018, about 80% of Internet use is expected to be mobile, making visual stories and live streaming the future. So don’t stay married to your PDF downloads—experiment with new content types and channels to keep making progress with your content marketing strategy.
As you scale your program, think about different ways to get content created and how much you can afford to spend. Most content marketers (60%) spend $2,501 to $5,000 a month on content marketing. Funds can go towards hiring people as well as acquiring all kinds of tools for content curation or development.
In addition to full-time in-house content creators and tools, you can explore hiring contractors or content marketing agencies, which range from $1,250 per month at the low end to $10,000 per month or more at the high end of the scale.
Once you’ve got the content developed, the budget is just the beginning. Many marketers overlook the importance of effective content distribution, but you will need to spend money to promote your content. This typically ranges from $500 to $5,000 per piece for most marketers, not including the time required to analyze how it’s doing and what you might want to invest in next.
There you have it: four big challenges for content marketers and tips for overcoming them.