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The 7 habits of highly effective content marketers

Can't seem to garner the marketing success you'd hoped for? These habits will right you.

The Content Marketing in Australia 2015: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends survey, released today, has revealed the seven things that highly effective content marketers are doing in comparison to companies who aren’t enjoying as much success. So, sit back and rate yourself against the country’s best.

Habit #1: Have a documented content marketing strategy

This won’t come as a surprise to any regular readers of our blog, but it’s just insanely important to have a documented content marketing strategy. We cannot stress it enough. Having everything documented and aligned to your strategic objectives, outlining your audience personas, what’s being published and posted, when, where and, importantly, why, may seem like a lot of hard work – it is a lot of hard work – but it keeps your content marketing consistent, accountable and, of massive importance, it enables you to measure accurately against outcomes, and it keeps everyone in the organisation on the ‘same page’. 55% of the most effective content marketers in Australia have a documented strategy, while only 13% of the least successful ones do. Coincidence?

Habit #2: Let your strategy guide your efforts

OK, so this may seem like a bit of a dumb question… Do you let your content marketing strategy guide your efforts? 100% yes, right? WRONG! 65% of the most successful content marketers in Australia let their content marketing strategy guide their efforts ‘very closely’, while the remainder let their content marketing strategy guide their efforts ‘somewhat’.

Compare that to the miniscule 19% of the ‘least effective’ companies who follow their content marketing strategy very closely, and you can see the solution emerge right before your eyes.

Habit #3: Have a content marketing group

By ‘content marketing group’, CMI means a dedicated team, department or agency who are working 100% on content marketing, and it found that the most effective content marketers have just this. 54% of companies who rate their content marketing as being very effective have dedicated teams who work on it. Only 19% of the least effective content marketers have a team or group concentrating on content marketing. There is an element here of getting out what you put in, but more pertinently it’s about having someone, or a group of people, who you identify as, and give responsibility for being, subject matter experts. If no one has overall responsibility or accountability, then you’re destined for failure.

Habit #4: Track ROI

Again, sounds like a no-brainer, right? Surely you need to track the effectiveness to know how effective it is? 47% (only 47%) of companies who rated their content marketing as highly effective said they were successful at tracking ROI, while a paltry 9% of companies who said their content marketing was not very effective at all said they tracked the ROI. Burning question is – how did they know?

Measuring ROI is, in some people’s minds, the least sexy part of content marketing. Creating the content, that’s where the time and effort is! But if you’re not tracking and measuring the effectiveness, aligning that with the overall business strategy and factoring in bottom-line-impact, then why bother? It could be working wonderfully, but you’d never know…

Habit #5: Use 14 different tactics

When we talk tactics, we mean in-person events, newsletters, whitepapers, website articles, and so on and so forth. The companies who rate their content marketing as being effective use 14. Yes, that’s right. FOUR-TEEN. The least successful companies used (only) nine. The moral of the story seems to be to be everywhere, but a word of caution. You can only be ‘everywhere’ if you have a dedicated content marketing team. You’re still far better off doing one or two things really well and building, rather than trying to be all things to everyone, and ending up being nothing to anyone.

Habit #6: Publish new content daily or multiple times per week

We’ve always been huge, huge believers in quality over quantity – we still are, if push comes to shove. However we are at a stage now where we need both. Quality and quantity. In today’s content hungry world, the demands for content are huge, which is putting added pressure on companies to create more content to stand out. 72% of effective content marketers in Australia publish multiple times per week, if not daily. Only 19% of the least effective companies do the same.

Habit #7: Commit 36% or more of your budget to content marketing

36% may seem like a lot, but that’s the minimum budget you need to get signed off if you are going to get your content marketing to really, really work – at least, that’s the amount of budget the successful Australian companies are assigning to content marketing. The companies who were least successful at content marketing allocated only 14%. Of course, the challenge in a lot of cases is to sell it upstairs; but if you can do that – through documenting the process, identifying outcomes and, more importantly, value of outcomes, selling it to the guys and gals upstairs should be an awful lot easier.

If you’re yet to peruse the full report, you can check it out here. Too much to digest? Take a look at this infographic presenting our top takeaways from the survey.

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