10 Content Marketing Lessons Learned

2014 content marketing highlightsIn 2014, content marketing became must-have marketing.

The metric: Content Marketing World 2014 attendance. (BTW, if you missed CMW2014, get the full videos and soak up the knowledge or reserve your ticket for CMW2015.) This industry event went from useful to must attend.

Here are 10 key 2014 content marketing highlights with actionable content marketing tactics to get your content marketing on track for 2015.

1. Go back to content marketing basics.

Document your content marketing strategy. Don’t leave content related activity to chance. Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs B2B content research found this was a leading factor for content success.

  • 35% of marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.
  • 48% of marketers have a content marketing strategy that’s not documented.

2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks-Have Content Marketing Strategy

Actionable Content Marketing Tactics:

  • Define, record and distribute your content marketing strategy across your organization. Don’t limit content marketing to a few employees in your marketing department.
  • Align your content marketing strategy with your organizational goals. Content marketing should contribute to achieving key objectives.
  • Get your employees engaged in the content creation and distribution processes. Go to your organization’s experts to get answers to your prospects’ questions and encourage them to help distribute your content.

2. Know your distinct audiences better.

Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs B2B content research showed that companies targeted an average of 4 distinct segments.

Actionable Content Marketing Tactics:

  • Develop marketing persona and social media persona for each target market. Get your marketing, sales and customer service teams together to create them to ensure that they’re fully developed.

3. Get your employees into the content marketing act.

Encourage employees to create and distribute your content to expand your reach and reduce redundant activity within your organization.

Actionable Content Marketing Tactics:

  • Facilitate employee content creation. Provide employees with the tools and processes to make it easy for them to contribute to your content efforts. Where appropriate include content activity in their job description.
  • Establish social media guidelines. One of the best ways to increase your content distribution is to persuade employees to share your content on social media. Before you do, ensure that it’s clear what they can and can’t do as employees.

2014 content marketing highlights

4. Expand your visual content.

While 2013 was the year of the selfie, Instagram experienced high growth in 2014. Interestingly, SnapChat remains tiny after turning down Facebook’s offer.

Visual platforms like Pinterest, SlideShare and Tumblr maintained steam. Pinterest gained visibility by highlighting BuzzFeed’s success with curation on the platform.

Actionable Content Marketing Tactics:

  • Set up one or more pinboards for your content. Leverage the power of this visual social media platform.
  • Incorporate SlideShare into your content mix.

5. Incorporate video into your visual content mix.

Notably, Facebook passed YouTube as the platform of choice for video distribution.

Take a page from Jay Baer’s playbook: Create a short video on a regular basis.

Actionable Content Marketing Tactics:

  • Create videos to show your prospects how to use and style your products. This works very well for difficult to use products as well as beauty products.
  • Extend live events with video interviews. Use these opportunities to meet thought leaders and customers and get their input.

6. Add content curation to your content marketing plans.

2014 was the turning point for content curation. Content Marketing Institute signaled this change with its hiring of a senior content curation resource.

Content curation gains its super power from curating your own existing content.

Research from Bruce Clay revealed that content curation, done well, enhances search results.Content Curation and Search Chart - Bruce Clay

Actionable Content Marketing Tactics:

  • Audit your existing content. The gold in this exercise is to add metadata to each piece of content to ensure that you can find and use it where appropriate. Then to schedule its use were appropriate.
  • Craft attention getting headlines. Add a new title to existing content to enhance its reach.
  • Create original curated content. Take a page from Lee Odden’s content marketing playbook with epic curated content.

7. Include LinkedIn Publishing in your editorial calendar.

As predicted by Dave Kerpen, LinkedIn opened its publishing platform to everyone and it’s a powerful way to establish your thought leadership.

Actionable Content Marketing Tactics:

  • Encourage your firm’s thought leaders to craft content for LinkedIn Publishing. Target your articles to meet the LinkedIn Publishing hot buttons.

8. Get your audience involved.

Content marketing isn’t one way marketing: You talking at your customers.
Rather content marketing is about creating amazing content that engages your customers and your audience in a conversation. As a result, your community is critical.

Social Content Definition Chart

Actionable Content Marketing Tactics:

  • Create social content with your customers and audience. Provide the means for them to contribute to your content in the form of images, comments and ratings. John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight does a great job of engaging their audience.

9. Enhance content marketing distribution with social media.

Despite the fact that many marketers find it difficult to track social media results, social media remains a key element of every content distribution plan.

Social media surpassed search in terms of referring traffic for the second time in 2014 according to Shareaholic.Maximize social sharing - Shareaholic chart

 

Actionable Content Marketing Tactics:

  • Tailor content to each specific social media platform to maximize results when you create it. Don’t assume that one size fits all.
  • Continue to optimize your content marketing for both social media consumption and search. Just because search is no longer top dog doesn’t mean that you should ignore it.

10. Measure your content marketing activities against your goals.

Inbound research by Hubspot showed that just the act of measuring results yielded 17X better ROI. Intuitively this makes sense since you’re more focused on achieving your goals.

Measure COntent Marketing ROI-Hubspot state of inbound 2014

Don’t get so overwhelmed with data that you miss the big picture. Streamline your dashboard to focus on key factors.

Actionable Content Marketing Tactics:

 

2014 was pivotal for content marketing as it moved towards greater institutionalization.

As more marketers enhance their use of content marketing, they’ll reap greater sales and profits using their scarce resources, employees and budget more effectively. This will come from broader participation by more employees and their social media communities.

BTW–Here’s what the experts think distinguished the best content.

What do you view as 2014 content marketing highlights and lessons learned?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

Even though Content Marketing World is finished until next September, you can still get all the content from 2014's exciting conference. The CMWorld On Demand package includes: Audio and video from the 2014 keynote sessions, audio and PowerPoint presentations of all the breakout sessions, over 40 audio sessions from the leading B2B and B2C brands, as well as keynote video performances. CMWonDemand

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