The missing piece of the content marketing puzzle for most marketers is a documented strategy according to CMI/MarketingProfs research.
But the problem with most content marketing efforts isn’t just a documented strategy, it’s the lack of thinking strategically about content. The challenge of creating more, engaging content often blurs the importance of answering “why”, “for who” and “to what end”?
Solving the strategic thinking issue is essential for creating a strategy and one way to do that is to tap into industry thought leadership to identify trends, best practices and examples of what content marketing success looks like. Reconciling those observations and insights with your own marketing goals, target audience and expectations for content are the key to making your content marketing investments pay off.
To help you do just that, here are 12 recently published eBooks to provide context for more strategic thinking and improve your content marketing in 2015:
The State of Content Marketing 2015:
When Content Ate Marketing – Contently
Shane Snow’s take on what will and won’t work in 2015, the emergence of owned, rented and social content and the growing importance of audience insight and development. Plus a clever “Game of Thrones” inspired infographic.
Content Marketing That Fuels Growth:
How to Create, Promote and Utilize Your Content to Beat Your Growth Goals – Captora (PDF)
With the premise that marketers have usurped sales on the frontline of customer communication through content, this richly illustrated ebook provides robust how to’s, insights, stats and examples for creating a successful content marketing strategy.
The Definitive Guide to Engaging Content Marketing – Marketo (PDF)
At 110 pages, this is a substantial how to guide on all things content marketing from mapping buyer personas and journeys to content calendars to measurement and performance optimization. It also includes numerous examples, worksheets and quotes from industry experts.
The Ultimate Guide to Building a Content Strategy – NewsCred (PDF)
Part of a series, this eBook provides a high level overview for marketing executives the key considerations for developing a content marketing strategy: developing the right approach, team organization, workflow, editorial calendar and measurement.
The State of Marketing Workflows and Measurement:
The latest research on how marketers are working in 2015 – Percolate (PDF)
Based on a survey of nearly 200 marketing executives, this report provides insight into how marketing organizations are being structured for 2015. Three sections cover: creation and sourcing of workflows, collaboration and workflows, analytics workflows.
Colossal Content Marketing Report – TrackMaven (PDF)
This eBook represents analysis of 4,618 Blogs, 1.2 Million Blog Posts, And Nearly 2 Billion Social Shares to identify what causes a blog to go viral. Details include optimal scheduling for publishing, title analysis, social channel analysis, data analysis and key findings.
Data-Driven Content Marketing: How to Create & Optimize A Content Strategy With Data At Its Code – Uberflip
Leveraging data to inform content marketing plans and asset development is essential for improving efficiency, effectiveness and continuous performance optimization. This eBook from Hana Abaza provides an introduction to using data to inform content creation, measuring content performance, optimizing content performance.
The Ultimate Guide to Building A Content Marketing Team – Scripted
A well-designed (Tetris anyone?) ebook that offers insight into structuring a content team and developing a content marketing strategy. Includes interviews with content marketing expert practitioners and six chapters on why, strategy, team structure, content manager qualities, pitching to the boss and tips on hiring.
The Comprehensive Guide to Content Marketing Analytics & Metrics
Creating a Multi-Channel Dashboard and Charting a Course to Strong ROI – Curata
This eBook provides a guide to the content marketing metrics that drive business outcomes. Along with insights from Pawan Deshponde, 20 top content marketing leaders contribute their expertise on the spectrum of marketing metrics (consumption, retention, sharing, engagement, leads, sales, production, cost and ROI) that make up an effective dashboard. Bonus: 2015 Content Marketing Tactics & Technology Planner.
ROI or RIP: The Lean Content Marketing Handbook for SMBs – Scoop.it! (PDF)
With contributions from 16 different marketing and content experts, there’s nothing lean about this eBook offering the gamut of advice for small businesses to create content with minimal (lean) resources. Sections include strategy, lean content creation, distribution, conversion and ROI.
Create, Curate, Dominate: How to Nail Content Marketing (or screw it up) – Pressly
Co-created with 12 content marketing experts, this eBook provides direction on creating a content marketing strategy (goals, personas), use cases for content types (creation vs. curation), audience driven content (tactics and examples), content distribution (including influencers) and measurement (attribution to ROI). Plus there’s an appearance of a cartoon character, “Screw up Stan”, to understand what NOT to do.
The Multi-Channel Content Distribution Guide – Kapost
Hot off the digital press, this well-illustrated guide is chock full of practical instructions and worksheets that will show you how to streamline your digital content distribution efforts using Kapost’s “content pillar” approach.
BONUS: 60 Content Predictions for 2015 – Content Marketing Institute
This is quite a collection of resources and I encourage you to download each one. Then pick a time once a week over the next few months to read, share and compare notes with your marketing team.
Of course, a clever eBook does not a strategy make. It’s important correlate industry expert observations and research with your own content marketing experiments, customer surveys and campaign performance data.
If you really want a deep dive into your content marketing education, I highly recommend these 3 events coming up in 2015:
- Authority Rainmaker – Denver March 13-15
- Content Marketing World – Cleveland Sept 8-11
- MarketingProfs B2B Forum – Boston Oct 21-23
What are some of your favorite content marketing eBooks publish so far in 2015?
Top photo: Shutterstock