Well, this is awkward.

Everyone has been preaching about content marketing for a while now, and how brands need to make this change in order to reach customers at multiple points during the buyer’s journey. And now a lot of brands have content marketing fever.

They know they need it. They hire someone to write all about their brand, or the marketing team reorganizes and starts writing. And many of them do this without much of a plan purely because they are told to do it, or heard about its merits somewhere. This has created an inordinate amount of noise in the marketplace. 

There’s just so much content out there. And the problem is most of it isn’t quality.

So, how to do you focus on creating strong content? How do you tune everything else out and focus on the good stuff?

First, keep your purpose and approach in mind. Content marketing, as we define it at Scribewise, is the creation and distribution of journalistic, helpful, audience-focused material that ultimately increases customer acquisition. That’s it. It’s not outwardly promotional, because we know that no longer works.

If you get push-back from stakeholders in your organization (another type of noise that must be dealt with delicately) who want you to write about your brand all day, kindly remind them of your definition of content marketing. Show them your documented content strategy that outlines your content master plan.

What’s that? You don’t have a documented strategy?

That’s another key to tuning out the noise and focusing on good content. We now have data to back up the claim that it’s important to have a strategy in place to be successful in content marketing: 60 percent of businesses that have a documented strategy consider it to be effective, but only 35 percent of B2B companies have a documented strategy.

So, what goes into a content strategy? Start with your goals. What do you hope to achieve with content marketing? Make sure that, when you’re getting buy-in from stakeholders, you review with them what the goal is. This will help you tune out some of the noise.

Other elements that go into your strategy are an editorial calendar with topics you’d like to cover and types of content—created with the understanding that the calendar is flexible. You may want to veer off the schedule a bit when reacting to news in the market, or shifts around other brand-related events. But the key is to develop new content consistently.

To get your news out to the world, you also need a distribution plan that includes email and social media channels.

Finally, your strategy should include a way to measure the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts, and a way to tweak strategy if it isn’t working.

If you have your approach in mind and everyone is on board with what content marketing is, you can move ahead confidently.

If you have a content strategy, you’re ahead of a lot of other brands churning out mediocre content and contributing to the static in the marketplace.