A recent story from Marketing Charts showed that even though creating compelling content – both in quality and quantity – is a struggle, they’re still making plans to increase content marketing budgets in 2012. 60% of B2B marketers polled in a study by Marketing Profs and the Content Marketing Institute said they would be increasing budgets for the upcoming year.

This is great news for content marketers, like ourselves, but it also brings up a larger issue that needs addressing.

The Bigger Issue?

Social media marketing and other types of content have, for the most part, been centered around brand awareness which is a difficult KPI to measure, especially small to medium sized companies who need to see their marketing efforts correlate heavily to an increased revenue stream. What companies want to see is a return on investment – like any other marketing effort. For B2B companies with longer sales cycles than the direct-to-consumer brands, generating leads is the number one goal of content marketing through online channels.

Unfortunately a lot of companies don’t know how to develop a content strategy that will get the best ROI and many flounder in the online space with no definable goals and clear outlines. This is why B2B marketers are struggling with content. They understand that it’s an integral part of their marketing strategy, but they’re clueless about what their exact needs are for the online content space. Like we mentioned in a previous post, automatically increasing the frequency of content doesn’t necessarily translate into increased leads or sales. There needs to be a strong underlying strategy.

So how can B2B marketers shore up their content marketing strategies for the new year? Glad you asked.

3 Tips for Getting your Content Marketing Back on Track

1.  Plan, plan, plan.

Content marketing doesn’t mean a blog every 2-3 weeks, whenever you feel like it. Or picking a random topic at will (though commenting on industry news and trends is necessary). Planning and developing a full-blown editorial calendar for each month, focusing on keyword that are trending within your industry, and having a daily blueprint of your content activities is integral for not only staying on track, but for building trust with your clients and prospective customers.

2.  Don’t be Afraid to Use a Strong Call-to-Action.

Readers can read your words, but they can’t read your mind. Don’t assume that because someone is reading your content they’ll immediately sign up for your email newsletter or submit a quote request. You need to guide potential leads to your call-to-action, otherwise they’ll fall off and may not come back to your site.

3.  Think Broadly Within Your Niche.

Blogging is a great method of content marketing – it educates potential customers and leads them through the sales cycle, and it’s excellent for obtaining backlinks for SEO rankings. But content doesn’t stop there. Create a quarterly white paper for others within your industry, develop infographics and distribute them to publications and have them link back to your website, create videos and podcasts. These are all ways to bring attention to your company, increase your online visibility, boost SEO rankings and turn you and your company into thought leaders.

This list certainly isn’t exhaustive, but it is a start for any company that wants to push their content marketing strategy into high gear, but feels lost when it comes to implementation.

Or, you could just hire us.

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