Most managers and even marketers are probably familiar with SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats – as a way of analysing a business in respect of the world it has to operate in. Despite a range of other models to choose from PEST, PESTLE and more, it still proves very useful for formulating a strategy.
But this SWOT model can also be used in marketing, and in particular, it is a very useful way of looking at your content marketing.
It’s important that you spend some time doing your own analysis – but here are some general ideas to get you started.Strengths
When it comes to content marketing there are several strengths you can draw on.Good People
First and foremost are the members of your team. Having a great team working on your marketing is a great strength. The depth and quality of your content relies on the depth and quality of the content creators. Their knowledge, expertise and writing skill will make a huge difference to your content and therefore your marketing. Whilst talented writers can research and write content that works, there is no substitution for experience and deep knowledge of a subject.Helpful Clients
Another useful resource you should draw on is your clients. They are a powerful source of stories, case studies, support, expertise and knowledge. Just producing a few good case studies can reap huge benefits in terms of establishing authority, having relevant content, demonstrating an understanding of the issues potential clients face and explaining how you work. Case studies also tend to bring you closer to a client and increase their loyalty. Along with case studies, you could look at interviews, roundtables, video content and more.
Working closely with clients can improve your knowledge of the market, their potential problems and gives you the information and feedback to improve your product or service offerings. If you set up forums for clients, then they can help to support each other too.Knowledgeable Staff
Going beyond the marketing department, you can find knowledgeable staff – experts in their own areas – who can be a valuable source of information and can even contribute content given the right support and training. At the very least they can be interviewed and profiled for content. The right key staff can also help support the social media channels of the business.Generous Budget
Obviously, a healthy marketing budget is a strength. A decent budget helps you employ good people, use resources such as photo libraries, freelancers and other external help. It also allows you to use efficient, effective marketing systems and software tools.Existing Content
Unless you are a start-up or have never believed in content marketing, it is likely that you will have a body of existing content. This can be a significant strength if it is relevant and appropriate content, as it will be improving your SEO standing and can be ‘mined’ and repurposed for further useful content.
Not surprisingly, weaknesses mostly reflect the lack of strengths.Few People with few skills
Not having sufficient human resources to carry out content marketing at sufficient quality and volume is a real weakness. It can potentially be reduced by employing external writers and bloggers.Lack of Clients
A lack of clients to draw upon is another weakness – but one that really only a start-up should suffer from – unless you are working in an industry where clients like to keep their business completely private.Subject matter
You might think that you work in a business that is either so technically deep or in an area that is not very exciting, and you perceive this as a weakness when it comes to creating content, but it need not be. You will probably find that your clients and prospects are actually as interested in the subject as you are, and will respond well to technical content.
There will also be a section of your audience that will respond well to explainers and overviews. As long as you stick to a few simple rules, there is no subject that can be considered too boring for content marketing.
There are times when you might be stuck for something to write about, but there are ways to generate ideas when you have run out of steam.Lack of Budget
Clearly, a limited budget is going to put you at a disadvantage compared to competitors. Modern marketing is really a sort of content war, where the businesses who publish the most quality content win the battle. So if budget limitations mean less and lower quality content – then it will be a serious weakness. It will also limit you when it comes to marketing management systems and software. A limited budget, along with not enough human resources will make for a very ineffective marketing department. If you want to sell and grow, then an investment in marketing is fundamental.
This is one area where it will pay to do your own detailed analysis as opportunities will most likely be linked to your products or services, the market conditions and events.
You can look for content marketing opportunities when you have an organised event coming up such as an exhibition, seminar or product launch. Events are great occasions at which to capture video and create social media campaigns.
Other opportunities might include:
- When a client has used your product or service and has a story to tell – case study
- When you can relate your content to a current news event – topical post
- When a new, key employee comes on board – profile or interview
- When you gain a new well-known or interesting client – news, interview or case study
Threats can come in many forms.Changing market/technology
In many business areas, technology changes rapidly which may cause your products or services to become outdated along with your content. Explainers and overviews may become out of date and irrelevant. The only way to face this threat to your marketing effectiveness is to make sure you keep abreast of market developments and to create more up to date content when necessary.Competitors
The most obvious threat to your content marketing effectiveness is from competitors. It pays to monitor what your competitors are up to, not only with their products and services but also their content marketing. Here SEO tools and social media monitoring should be deployed.
Your mileage may differ
As I said at the beginning of this article, these examples are just very general illustrations, it’s vital that you actually look in detail at your own content marketing and assess it for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Along with other forms of analysis and review, you should do this regularly as your circumstances and the markets you operate in change – often rapidly. Whilst initially used for strategic analysis the SWOT model is nevertheless an excellent and useful tool for assessing the health of your content marketing.