3 Data-Backed Shifts Smart Marketers Are Making to Their Content Strategy

Strategic Content Marketing

Have you ever seen the Wizard of Oz?

If you’re one of the few who haven’t, I’ll give you a summary: Dorothy, originally from Kansas, gets lost in a strange land after a tornado sweeps her away. She meets a bunch of crazy characters along the way that help guide her to the great wizard of Oz so that she can get home. But, there’s also this crazy witch following her around because she’s all jealous of her shoes (Kinda sounds like your standard experience walking down the halls of any suburban high school, #amirite?)

Why am I telling you this story? Well, it reminds me of crafting a content marketing strategy.

First, you’re kind of just lost, trying to figure out what direction you need to go with your content marketing. Then, you meet a bunch of crazy characters along the way (shout out to my coworkers) who try to help you focus your content marketing strategy so you can bring leads to your homepage. But, there are also a bunch of crazy disrupters getting in the way and your competitors are breathing down your neck because they’re all jealous of your shoes (or something like that).

Moral of the story? Everyone told Dorothy to follow the yellow brick road. And marketers, it’s time for us to follow the yellow brick road, too.

Our yellow brick road is paved with data that influences our journey and will guide where we choose to follow the road and shift our strategy to next.

So, without further delay, here are 3 data-backed shifts that any smart marketer is making to their content strategy:

Shift 1: Greater Focus on Sales Enablement and Automation

Have you heard? There is no longer an arranged marriage between sales and marketing! They’re actually getting together because they, like, belong together. How romantic!

In all seriousness, 71% of salespeople say their top priority is closing more deals and 38% of salespeople say getting a response from prospects is more difficult than two to three years ago. While those statistics may not be that shocking, here are a couple of others that are:

  • 19% of salespeople say they’re struggling to incorporate social media in their sales process, and 13% say using sales technologies is now harder than it used to be.
  • 23% of salespeople say their biggest challenge using their CRM is manual data entry.
  • 45% of salespeople say they spend over an hour performing manual data entry, yet only 21% of C-level executives said this is so.

These statistics, pulled from HubSpot’s 2017 State of Inbound report are all making it blatantly obvious that sales enablement is a real need that won’t be disappearing anytime soon. Smart marketers will shift focus and place a greater emphasis on sales enablement within their organizations. After all, who cares if your marketing game is on point if your funnel is broken as soon as you pass off a lead? We’ve been injecting automation into marketing for years – sales should join in on the fun, too.

Shift 2: Change in Content Distribution Channels

Here’s another piece of data for you from HubSpot’s 2017 State of Inbound report:

47% of marketers say their top inbound marketing priority is improving their content distribution

How will marketers improve their content distribution? They are shifting their distribution channels.

Many marketers have identified the disruption that social media is causing in their content marketing strategies coupled with the growing popularity of messaging apps.

WhatsApp, WeChat, SnapChat, are all making their way into content strategies across the board. Additionally, marketing teams are planning on maintaining or increasing their presence on popular social video channels like Facebook and YouTube and are also looking to add different channels like Instagram, new messaging apps, and podcasts, among others.

What does this mean for smart marketers? It’s time to step outside the box with how we distribute content since we need to go where our audience is going. This requires some creative thinking on our end since they are not typically thought of (or necessarily built) as platforms for marketing. Building custom-branded SnapChat filters, for example, is a creative solution that many companies are already adapting in response to this shift in audience behavior.

Shift 3: Betting on Video

You may have started to get an idea that video is becoming the next big thing for inbound marketers to focus on based on some of the data that I shared with you above. Here are a couple more statistics that demonstrate the fact that marketers are definitely thinking about video:

  • 46% of marketers plan to add Facebook video to their content distribution strategy in the next 12 months, up 7% from last year.
  • 48% of marketers plan to add YouTube to their content distribution strategy in the next 12 months.

With the focus on shifting how we distribute content, marketers are also shifting their focus on what kind of content they are distributing. It is clear that marketers are now betting on video as the next big thing and feel that video is the connecting force between a brand and its’ customers.

Are you going to figure out how to integrate video into your content strategy, or are you going to get left behind? It’s time to make the shift.

As marketers, we love data. All of our decisions should be backed by data, especially when it comes to content strategy. These are a few data-backed shifts that smart marketers are starting to make, but there are many more to be discovered. You can dive in deeper and see where the yellow brick road will take us next with HubSpot’s full 2017 State of Inbound report below.