In 2008, General Electric CMO Beth Comstock had just returned to the company after a 28-month stint leading the digital team at NBC Universal. In the midst of a global recession, her goals were twofold. First, to continue to spur innovation inside what she calls “the world’s oldest startup.” And second, to connect with shareholders and the public at large, lifting back the curtain on the groundbreaking work happening inside a company Thomas Edison founded 130 years prior.
She identified content as the answer and set about planning for a future in which GE would be a publisher, not just a marketer. With Comstock’s guidance, storytelling would become the powerful force that pushed the company forward and lifted it to new heights, both internally and externally. It would be the impetus that drove the company’s innovation forward and invited shareholders and customers to reimagine GE on the cutting edge, which played a central role in the company’s remarkable post-recession turnaround. And it would lead to GE’s rise as a media powerhouse in its own right.
Today, GE Reports, the company’s tech magazine, has a devoted audience of over half a million monthly readers and commonly tops Reddit boards with groundbreaking stories about the emerging technologies GE is developing. In concert, GE has developed an active, devoted following on nearly every social channel—from stalwarts like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to emerging platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr.
What GE did is rare. At a crucial point in their content marketing journey, GE went above and beyond in their self-evaluation and planning, and it’s not a coincidence that seven years of success followed.
The importance of planning can’t be underestimated. According to CMI’s 2015 report, just 35 percent of B2B organizations and 27 percent of B2C organizations have a documented strategy, and those that don’t paying dearly for their lack of planning. Among B2C organizations, 60 percent of those who have a documented strategy rate themselves favorably in terms of content marketing effectiveness, compared with 32 percent of those who only have a verbal strategy. And B2C organizations with a documented content strategy are almost twice as likely to be successful at tracking ROI.
So why do brands consistently fail to document their content strategies when overwhelming quantitative and anecdotal evidence—not to mention simple logic—says you absolutely need to do so?
One theory: Brands are now in uncharted territory when it comes to content marketing, and outlining a documented content strategy is hard. There isn’t an established template for how to proceed.
In the first installment of our Ultimate Content Strategist Playbook series, we covered how brands should evangelize content within their organizations, identify goals, and set themselves up for success. In this playbook, we’ll detail exactly how to build a content strategy and roadmap that works, step by step.
Download it below.