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“I need lots of high-quality content.”

That’s what many businesses think.

And it’s true to an extent. But it may not be as true as many would like to believe.

Content Marketing Institute is THE thought leader on everything content. Each year, they do extensive research and publish a report:

Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America

This year, their goal was to figure out what effective content marketing looks like. Yes, even though everyone’s been hyping “content” for years, many businesses are just now figuring out how to do it.

  1. Define Your Goals – What Success Looks Like

CMI’s first point is that companies say being clear on what success is report a higher rate of being effective at content marketing (55%). That compares to 30% of all companies saying they’re effective at content marketing last year versus 38% this year. That’s an increase of 25 percentage points for companies who define success.

Success can be as simple as checking your overall search rankings. You could also look at traffic increases.
Businesses that get more sophisticated with content marketing check things like brand perception, leads generated, and additional sales closed. They’re all difficult metrics to track.

  1. Have a Documented Content Marketing Strategy

This is CMI’s second point for businesses effective at content marketing. They have an overarching mission statement, hold regular meetings, and use a calendar.

At the small business level, this doesn’t need to be elaborate or sophisticated. A “mission statement” only needs to be 1-3 sentences long. And a “regular meeting” might be the monthly one with your agency or writer. And they might take care of the calendar for you.

It’s kind of like when you write something down, you’re more likely to do it. And that’s all you need to be more effective than many businesses at content marketing.

  1. Engaging Ideas Are All Around You

This one isn’t in the CMI report, but it’s a huge problem for businesses of all sizes. You can create just any topic, and that’ll be enough to help you hold your search rankings.

But you can get even more from your content by finding engaging ideas for your customers. Most businesses have a hard time with this.
It’s easy though. Ask the employees at your office who interact with customers most what their top problems and concerns are. Those are blog post ideas. Go to Forbes and Entrepreneur to see some of the big headlines. Visit, enter your keyword, and write on similar ideas to the leading results.

That’s more than enough for most businesses to start.

…And here’s to a vast improvement in your content marketing campaign’s success!



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