5 Things Highly Committed Content Marketers Do Better

This striking insight came from analyzing the U.K. data from our annual content marketing survey, as reported in today’s release of Content Marketing in the United Kingdom 2018: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends sponsored by Tomorrow People.

2018_UK_Research_Comittment Comparison

Being committed to content marketing is a no-brainer requirement for success. But what may be surprising is how a small shift in commitment level can make a BIG difference in overall content marketing success.

As you can see in the chart, only 5% of the “somewhat committed” report high success versus 38% of the “most committed” group.

With that revelation in mind, here are five actionable insights for emulating these highly determined U.K. content marketers. These areas are the biggest opportunities for improvement – where we observed the biggest gaps between the “somewhat” and the “extremely/very” committed content marketers.

1. Strengthen your commitment

What does your organization need to bump up into the extremely/very committed zone?

CMI founder Joe Pulizzi believes in this concept so strongly that he once said, “If you’re not ‘all in’ with your content marketing program, you should stop.”

  • Bigger budget or just refocused priorities? Even though our research shows the most committed allocate more of their total marketing budget to content marketing than the less committed, this is by no means a requirement. In fact, 48% of the total U.K. sample expect their content marketing budget to remain the same over the next 12 months. Does that mean they can’t strengthen their commitment to content marketing? Absolutely not. When budget feels like a limiting issue, look at where you’re spending. Discontinue some less successful activities to concentrate on those that yield the best results (55% of the total U.K. respondents agree their organizations are doing this, which is fantastic news).
2. Be more strategic

The U.K. marketers who are the most committed are far more likely to have a documented content marketing strategy than those who are somewhat committed (58% vs. 19% – a 39-percentage-point difference).

CMI research consistently shows that marketers who document their strategy achieve more overall content marketing success than those who do not.

While there is no universal template for a content marketing strategy, this content marketing strategy primer can get you headed in the right direction. Short on time? This how-to-create-a-one-page strategy could be helpful.

If you have a documented strategy, revisit it often. If you’re looking for new ideas to keep your strategy fresh, check out Is Your Marketing Ready for 2018?

3. Be realistic

Expectations about what content marketing can achieve are more realistic in organizations with a strong commitment (to the tune of a 43-percentage-point gap between the “somewhat” 40% and “extremely/very” groups 83%). This difference could be due to the more committed marketers being strategic and patient, and seeing demonstrated results over time.

If you think expectations in your organization are unrealistic, get to the bottom of why. Expectations will vary based on organization, but some considerations that can influence results could include:

  • Length of time in business
  • Number of competitors
  • Target audience
  • Local or global nature of business (Do you have to translate content and consider cultural differences?)
  • Existing content on subject matter (If there’s a lot, how is your content different?)
  • Internal resources

Other elements to consider when setting and managing expectations around your content marketing approach include your strategy, types of content, how much content is produced, distribution, and the length of time required to drive traffic, build subscribers, generate leads, or grow revenue.

It can help to read case studies about companies like yours to get a more realistic understanding of what to expect:

It might also be beneficial to hire a consultant or content marketing agency. You can draw on their experience from working with companies like yours.

4. Get on some type of predictable schedule

Delivering content consistently means different things to different organizations. It’s not always about frequency but rather about defined, regularly scheduled content. Content marketing thought leader Andrew Davis has talked about “making an appointment with your audience” for years – it’s the name of one of the chapters in his book Brandscaping.

For example, will you deliver an e-newsletter to your audience on the first Friday of every month? Do you release a new video at the beginning of each quarter? Do you publish a new blog post every Wednesday?

Of course, you can add content to the mix on occasion. The point is that SOME predictability with at least one content format helps strengthen your relationship with your subscribers by giving them something valuable to count on and look forward to receiving.

For more perspective on publishing frequency, see this article by Michele Linn, former head of CMI editorial. (She also covers what to do if there is too much content available on your subject area.)

5. Place higher value on creative output

Almost all (96%) of U.K. organizations strongly committed to content marketing place high value on creativity and craft in content creation and production, but only about 60% of those who are somewhat committed do. In other words, they care about things like powerful storytelling, great writing, strong design, and quality video.

If you understand the value creativity adds but your ideas get rejected, try to pitch them differently. Marketing expert Carla Johnson explains how in this article, using step-by-step discussion points to help build your case.

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