How to Fail at Content Marketing: Don’t Document Your Strategy


Having a documented content marketing strategy increases effectiveness and provides a baseline for measuring ROI.

Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to increase brand awareness, broaden your customer base, and grow your business. Yet of the 88% of B2B marketers using content marketing, only 30% feel their efforts are successful. Why do so many organizations feel they are failing? Simply put, they do not have a documented content marketing strategy in place.

You would never operate your business without 1) creating a strategy, 2) documenting it, and 3) following the strategy. Nor should you launch a marketing program without having a clear idea of what you want to accomplish and how you plan to do that.

A content marketing strategy outlines the methods by which you will target, reach, and engage your audience. Research and execution of these tasks can be quite complex. Writing out a plan and assigning appropriate resources can offer clarity and guidance to your organization throughout the course of your program.

Also, remember that content marketing is more of a marathon than a sprint, and achieving results often takes months, even years. Documenting your strategy allows your team to keep focused on your goals and your plan for achieving them in the interim.  

Here’s why you should take the time to draw up a plan and then write it down.

A documented content marketing strategy is more successful than an undocumented strategy or no strategy at all.

Research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute reveals that businesses that document their content marketing strategy find their efforts significantly more effective than those who don’t. Among B2B marketers surveyed:

  • 60% of those with a documented strategy rate themselves highly, in terms of content marketing effectiveness.
  • Only 32% of those with a verbal strategy rate themselves highly.
  • Of those who rate their organization’s content marketing programs as not at all effective, a mere 13% have a documented strategy.

Further, organizations who meet regularly to check in on their content marketing strategy are much more likely to find it successful — 61% of the most effective marketers surveyed meet daily or weekly to review their progress.

A documented content marketing strategy helps measure ROI.

Many B2B businesses struggle with content marketing or have trouble garnering C-suite support for the program because return on investment is notoriously difficult to measure. In fact, more than half of marketers say one of their top challenges is measuring content effectiveness (57%) and/or measuring the ROI of their content marketing program (52%).

Having a documented strategy in place gives your organization measurable goals against which to compare your results. Your strategy should:

  • Document what you hope to achieve through content marketing — more leads, higher conversion rates, more newsletter sign-ups, etc.
  • Outline a specific methodology for executing those goals
  • Assign human resources to each of the tasks
  • Designate intervals at which to check in and evaluate/adjust your efforts
  • Offer a time frame for completion

Documenting your strategy in such a way clarifies where you are investing time and resources so that calculating ROI is less of an abstract process.

Content Marketing Institute’s research confirms that content marketing success increases when there is organizational clarity about what success looks like, and that organizations with a documented content marketing strategy feel they are successful at tracking ROI. While only 21% of marketers feel they are successful at tracking ROI, that number rises to 35% when there is a documented strategy in place.

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building a content strategy