Would you be surprised to learn that companies have squandered an estimated $1 billion on various aspects of content development, marketing, and management? How much more surprised would you be to know that the wasted billion is a per-year estimate? Ineffective or inefficient content marketing, as a whole, is the reason for such a drain on the financial resources of businesses of all sizes, not just those with bloated budgets and deep pockets. A 2016 study conducted by Gleanster Research and Kapost learned about the billion dollar drain after surveying over 3,000 marketers.
Whether your company is losing a few dollars or a few million to ineffective content marketing and management, you don't have to accept it as the cost of doing business. To the contrary, you can take proactive steps to minimize or prevent wasteful spending in your content marketing budget with one simple, yet powerfully effective act - the creation and implementation of a content development and marketing plan.
Related: Key Stages in Content Development
But I already have a content marketing plan...
Most companies, regardless of size, have some type of content marketing plan in mind or on paper. This plan most likely focuses on content deployment - when, where, and to whom it should be published. Focusing on the end-game aspect of content management is effective, naturally, but you are missing out on the broader scope of using your content to more easily and successfully achieve your marketing goals. Managing your content effectively doesn't start with publishing it, it starts with developing it.
Why is content development so essential?
When you turn your content marketing focus toward content development rather than deployment, it can make a significant difference in how effective and successful your content will be. Not only will you trim down a large part of needless spending on inefficient content, but you will also be creating content that is more meaningful, valuable, and actionable for your readers, followers, and consumers.
Developing the right content for your business does not mean churning out vast amounts of information filled with all the right SEO practices to achieve high rankings. It means developing content that aligns as closely with the wants and needs of your target audience as possible. While search engines may be the gatekeepers for page rank and potential visibility of your marketing material, they take into account how well your information is presented, its ability to relay in-depth and useful data to readers, and the reception it receives by your audience.
Related: 5 Simple Steps to a Better Content Development Process
So SEO doesn't matter anymore?
To the contrary, optimizing content for search engines is still as vital as it has always been, just not in the way you think. SEO used to function strictly as a method of gaining the attention of search engines, with the idea that doing so would get better rankings and thus more traffic through greater visibility in search results.
Effective content development strategies need to focus on what a reader wants, not what a search engine wants. There is already an obvious over-saturation of content on the internet, which makes it difficult for consumers to find true value in content that claims to meet their needs. Search engines have become far more adept at discerning 'value' than they used to be, giving them the ability to ferret out quality content and up-rank it in search results.
By realigning your content development strategies to create or procure high quality content that is as relevant to a user's needs as possible, you can obtain a much more valuable, and organic, boost to your content's worth than pure SEO could ever provide. When you incorporate user-focused and effective content development with SEO best practices, you will see a positive change in the performance and effectiveness of your marketing material.
To learn more about effective content development strategies, check out our white paper, "What is Digital Content Strategy? And Why You Need One!"