If Mick Jagger were a marketing expert, he’d sing that “Time is NOT on your side” when it comes to content marketing.
In Contently’s new study, Content Marketing 2016: Staffing, Measurement, and Effectiveness Across the Industry, 37% of respondents cited time as their biggest challenge in creating effective content. To put this into proportion, last year only 11% said they found time their biggest challenge.
This isn’t surprising considering that 73% of respondents say they plan to create more content this year over last.
When it comes to the time required to create content, it’s no wonder that writers feel swamped. More than half (55%) said it takes them a week or less to publish one piece! An additional 24% can do it in under two weeks.
There are a lot of people hours going into creating and publishing content, but, is it paying off? Is it effective?
It’s split. About half believe their content is effective, leaving the other half ranking their work as average, not very effective, or not at all effective. Ouch!!
Is it money? Do they need more in their budgets to produce more effective content?
Interestingly, only 13% said that budget was their biggest challenge in creating effective content. If anything, strategy was a greater challenge at 19%.
According to the study report, “A bigger budget can lead to more time if you’re able to hire more full-time content staff and invest in technology that increases your efficiency. The right strategy can drive more internal support, which, in turn, makes it easier to garner greater investment. Still, the fact that time was explicitly specified as a top priority suggests an issue with (wo)manpower. For the right price, hiring more full-time employees and freelancers could fuel better business results.”
That’s great if your organization can afford to hire content writers. But, if yours is smaller, or you’re a solopreneur, what then?
The most important first step is to identify what you want to accomplish with your content. What does success look like?
In the study, the majority (32%) said that lead conversions and sales were the litmus test. Next came social shares and likes (19%), followed by page views (15%).
In reality though, what’s the point in getting social shares or page views if that’s the end of the line? Don’t these organizations ultimately want to generate more revenue or brand recognition???
Some are looking to more sophisticated engagement analytics like attention time and finish rate. My response? Who cares??
Does it really matter how long someone takes to read or finish your content? Who cares? Are they taking the actions that you want them to?
The study also measured how confident respondents are that their key content metrics are measuring business results. Sadly, only 38% said they were somewhat confident. Just 10% were very confident.
So, where does that leave you?
According to the report:
How can brands distance themselves from their competitors moving forward? By spending wisely to distribute content, zeroing in on the right metrics, and making sure they have the creative resources and technology in place to optimize for the next round of publishing.”
Of course, the study is coming from a content marketing vendor, so it’s unlikely to advise that content marketing is not the panacea to marketing success. So, I’ll challenge it!
In my opinion, marketing trends come, peak, and settle down into routine with the rest of the marketing mix. The most important thing you can do for your business or organization is to have a bona fide marketing strategy.
Maybe content is part of it. But, how much of it will make a difference to your ultimate objectives?
Only by developing a marketing plan and measuring your tactics, will you know what you’re achieving in content marketing as well as the rest of your marketing mix.