Does Your Content Marketing Strategy Have the Edge?

summerSummer is almost over. There, I said it. I know it’s not what you wanted to hear this morning, but it’s the truth. So, what does this mean for you as a marketer? That you are running out of time to give that necessary push to your content marketing strategy for 2013.

It’s time to stop denying the facts. You have are coming to the end of your Summer Fridays, trips to the Hamptons and Block Island will soon become a distant memory and, most importantly, it is now all about the Q4 initiatives. Therefore, now’s the moment to shake off that summer sluggishness and put your best marketing face forward as your boss is depending on you to ensure that your 2013 content marketing strategy ends in success.

So how do you begin to evaluate your content marketing success thus far?

Look at Your Competitors:

Chances are that when you first dabbled in the content marketing pool, you spent a great deal of time looking at your competitors. You canvassed their social media platforms; you sifted through their blog entries, relishing the fact that they had joined the 65 percent of companies that haven’t updated their blog in a year or more; and you perused their marketing collateral to evaluate the consistency of their brand messaging.

But chances are, you haven’t looked at them since launching your multi-pronged content marketing approach.

Time is running out for 2013 and just as important as it was to do your competitive research before joining the big players in the content marketing arena, it is just as important to keep tabs on what they have been up to since. Take a look at how they are keeping fresh. Figure out what makes their target audience engage with them. And determine where they are doing better—and worse—than you.

Listen to Your Customers:

Just because you saw your number of Twitter followers soar in Q1, and witnessed an increase of website visitors in Q2, does not mean that your content marketing efforts are completely successful. The only way to figure out if your new followers actually enjoy your content, is to engage directly with them—and to listen.

To start, try sending a targeted email campaign to some of your most loyal customers asking them to share the ways they prefer to engaging with your company.  Share a poll on Facebook and ask your market to vote on their favorite blog entry. Or send an informal survey through direct mailing.

And for those who are worried about “spamming” their market too much—though you shouldn’t be—consider doing a deep dive into your metrics. From your social media sites to your website to your blogging platform, your content marketing vehicles are rich with data for you to aggregate and derive information from. Keep in mind that CMOs report they spend only 8 percent of their marketing budgets on marketing analytics, meaning there is plenty of room for your boss to fork over a few extra dollars to really get to the bottom of all your data.

Ask Your Boss

While the majority of this year might have been spent on you taking the reins on your company’s content marketing initiative and running with it, be sure to take a minute to bring yourself back to a slow jog and ask your boss what he or she thinks about your progress so far.

There is a great probability that your boss will give you another angle to consider when it comes to content marketing and when it comes to marketing strategy, sometimes you need to add a few cooks to keep the inspiration flowing.

So, is your content marketing strategy up to snuff?