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Building a content strategy with bite - how to navigate the issues and reap the rewards

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Bakhtiar Zein)

Despite its tremendous success in recent years, the tech industry faces an array of significant challenges. For example, tech companies have to strike the right balance to be both high performing and trustworthy at a time when concerns around privacy and security are soaring.

One way that tech marketers are trying to bolster their company’s chances of success is with content. In fact, according to research from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 95 per cent of technology marketers report using content marketing. Among other reasons, they do so to increase lead generation and sales, as well as enhance their lead nurturing efforts.

The research states that more than three quarters (76 per cent) of businesses stated that they take a strategic approach to content management. They look at issues like business goals and objectives, defined roles and responsibilities, measurements and KPIs, desired outcomes, defined workflows, timeframes, and even content governance specifications.

Interestingly, however, only 30 per cent of them think their organisations are effective at it. They note the difficulties that they have creating engaging content and measuring the effectiveness of their content among their top challenges. They also recognise a disconnect between the pervasiveness of content marketing and the relatively low perception most marketers share of their success.

Why the lack of success?

More than half of marketers have a content strategy. Pretty hopeful, right? But hold that thought, because the percentage of B2C marketers who have a documented content marketing plan is much lower - currently standing at just 27 per cent.

This is a huge problem. Sure, you might have great ideas and one or two of you might know exactly where you are going, strategically - but how clear is that to the rest of the business? How can a strategy that lives in people’s minds really guide an organisation’s cohesive efforts? It just can’t. If it is not written down, then it probably doesn’t really exist.

Also, there’s an adoption issue at play - even when companies do take the step of producing a documented plan. Indeed, just one third of businesses follow their documented strategy “very” closely, with 57 per cent following it “somewhat” closely. So, you can see why many are reluctant to document a content marketing strategy if it’s not perceived as valuable enough to follow. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be broken.

Having a robust content strategy - that is actually adhered to - is crucial. It helps your business to create consistent, impactful, and authentic content, at scale, that is aligned to your strategy and resonates with your audiences.

Let’s talk about tech

One of the most persistent barriers to creating a workable content strategy is that it’s a huge struggle to manage all of the moving parts associated with the materials a company produces. Bringing the right people to the table for discussions about content, getting buy in, understanding audiences, and ensuring consistency and cohesive messaging - it’s a massive job and one that seems to get more complicated every day.

While there’s no single solution to this problem, technology is available that makes it easier to deal with.

Even getting to the point where you’re scaling up your content to where it becomes tricky to manage requires well-written source material. This is where technology can make a real difference. Good quality, consistent content is important. If you want to avoid wasting your editors’ time revising, reviewing and rewriting content, introducing an AI-driven (Artificial Intelligence) active content governance platform will help ensure that your content will drive up the metrics that matter most to your business. With AI, you can predict and improve the impact of your content - from anywhere in your business - before you deploy it.

Technology can also help with the thorny issue of measurement. It’s hard to measure so many intangible aspects of content, such as your brand identity, the voice and style of your content, your use of terminology, and the overall impression that your content makes. But it’s vital to do so in order to decide where and how you spend your budget.

While some of those areas definitely remain tricky to evaluate (such as your brand), others, like the quality and consistency of your content, and whether or not it’s on-target with your strategy and style preferences, and accurately reflects the proper terminology, are a lot more straightforward. In fact, those are all areas that content governance software can help you to tackle.

The bottom line

It’s clear the tech industry has embraced content marketing. Tech companies are using content to showcase their knowledge and expertise, and it has become an important tool for differentiating themselves from their competitors. The challenge the industry faces, however, is making sure that the content it’s producing is at a consistently high quality across the board, regardless of who in their organisation is creating it.

Success lies in creating content that’s clear, consistent, engaging, and easy to read. Those are pretty easy goals to hit when you’re talking about one team creating a finite amount of content. For large organisations that are creating thousands of pieces of content every year, across a variety of teams, and spanning numerous offices and geographies, it’s a much greater challenge.

The most savvy organisations are adopting agile content development practices and embracing technology that helping them to build cohesive and workable content strategies, which really deliver.

Christopher Willis, CMO, Acrolinx