Most brands moving into content marketing are just “winging it” and need to focus on setting out a defined strategy if they're going to have any impact on business, according to Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute.
It sounds like common sense, but most Australian marketers aren’t strategy-focused.
The CMI published its latest annual benchmarking study in partnership with ADMA, and found that 74% of Australian marketers are doing more content marketing than they were a year ago.
The average marketer surveyed invests more than a quarter of their total budget in content, and 63% plan to increase spending.
Pulizzi told AdNews that Australian marketers are not very different to the US and UK marketers in that “the vast majority are kind of winging it” when it comes to content marketing. Only 37% have a formal, written strategy for their content marketing. Those that do, however, are seeing the best results.
Nine in 10 marketers are using content marketing, but only 20% of marketers claimed their organisation was successful at tracking the ROI of content marketing. Less than a third (29%) think they are effective at content marketing, a drop from 33% last year. Those figures rise to 33% and 44% respectively for marketers that have a written strategy in place.
“It’s very experimental, which is fine. It’s a new discipline for most Australian businesses, but the only ones that are going to see any results are the ones writing it down – and those that are reviewing and measuring it. Those two things together are the critical differentiators,” he said.
Engagement tops the list of goals marketers have for content marketing, but the most used measure of success, according to the report, is web traffic, something Pulizzi says is “meaningless”.
Pulizzi also raised concerns over the way most brands, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, jump to social media when they think about dipping a toe into the content waters, without having a reason or a goal.
Not enough brands have a goal to create an audience with content, which is worrying, says Pulizzi, because: “If you’re not trying to build an audience over the long-term – what are you doing?”.
“The first thing is to just decide why you’re doing it. Lots of businesses just think that they need to be doing [content marketing] and I say: ‘Why?’. The only things I care about for content marketing are driving sales, cutting costs or leading to loyal customers.”
More than a third of Australian marketers have no plan to set up a content marketing team or group within their organisation, which Pulizzi believes they should – whether that team sits in marketing, PR, product teams or wherever. The important thing to getting content marketing right, he says, is having a structure – and committing to it – rather than it floating.
For more on the annual benchmarking study and developments in content marketing this year, pick up the next issue of AdNews in print. Out November 28. You can subscribe to the print mag here or get it on iPad here.
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