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Who remembers putting together a mix CD or—get ready to take it way back—a mixtape? Long before the infinite playlist options offered by Spotify, Apple Music, and others, there was finite space for a banger of a mix. Every second and every selection was critical.

So... what do playlists have to do with building a marketing strategy that truly resonates?

Both hinge on balance, yet the prevailing notion for many businesses is that they should dabble in a little bit of every kind of content for their marketing.

So many times I've chatted with business leaders who think they need to jump on the next big thing in marketing for no other reason than it's what they believe they "should" be doing. But when I press them and ask about the goals and success metrics for their approach, they can't really give me an answer.

Instead of building a content Marketing strategy that feels right based on what you think you see out in the world, put one together that is right based on your business model and your customers' behaviors.

Doing a little bit of everything means you do nothing really well. But with a consistent investment in fewer types of content that are relevant to your audience, you can build a content-marketing mix strategy that you can play on repeat for years to come.

Find the Mix That's Music to Your Audience's Ears

Like most business initiatives, any marketing strategy is a financial investment as much as a creative endeavor. To strike a balance for your content marketing mix strategy—i.e., both engage your audience and remain financially realistic—try the following four tips.

1. Don't let your sales team's intel go to waste

Sales is as close as Marketing can get to real-time customer surveying. Whether salespeople are connecting with new leads, nurturing leads who have been on the hook for a while, or catching up with current clients, their ears are always on the ground—learning what's working and what's not.

Their insights can be critical to your content-marketing mix. If your lead and customer engagement strategies are hitting (or missing), salespeople will likely be the first to hear and can help guide how much time and money you'll need to invest to double-down on what's working (or course-correct as needed).

So, check in regularly with the sales team to talk about what an ideal buyer's journey would look like and what types of sales enablement materials and assistance could support them:

  • Are you doing too much in one area and not enough elsewhere?
  • Is your website successfully keeping people on the site but not getting them to go a step further and actually set up calls?
  • Are calls getting set up but then not progressing past the first call?

Salespeople can fill in the gaps in insight to help you determine which direction to head in next.

2. Test a few tactics before overinvesting

The buyer's journey, combined with intel from your sales team, should set a blueprint for what your content-marketing mix is and will become. In unison, those components should be able to help you continually identify gaps and opportunities to pursue.

Then, it's time to put that strategic hat on. Variety for variety's sake never did marketers any favors. Rather than trying to create all the various types of marketing collateral at once, look at pressing inbound needs and try to address them with a few relevant content types.

Far too many times I've seen people load up on blog posts, put them out there, and lament the lack of immediate traction.

Instead, diversify your mix. You might try writing some blog posts and exploring the potential for a gated piece and some earned media in relevant industry publications. That way, you can test a few approaches tp see which ones stick before spending even more time and money.

3. Trust the process and give it time

Content is not a quick fix. At its core, achieving the optimum mix is an experimental undertaking that requires you to try something and then exercise patience as you await the results. ROI does not happen overnight, so give your content-marketing mix strategy time to generate results.

When my company decided to double-down on inbound marketing, success wasn't immediate. But once we hit the right mix of SEO, link-building, on-site content, and third-party placements, we got into a groove and started to build a steady stream of inbound leads.

That took time, though. And we had to be persistent and patient—no more starting-and-stopping tactics and hoping for results.

If you're lucky, the right mix of optimized content marketing can start generating results in about six months—or longer if you don't do SEO. Before you just move on, allow yourself grace—and your content-marketing mix time to find an audience.

4. But know when to walk away

Perhaps there are marketing tactics that you've poured time and energy into for a couple of years: You've tested various approaches and brainstormed yourself into a tizzy... just to see the same mediocre results—if any at all.

If that's you, I want you to hear me when I say it's OK to move on.

My company had noticed that many companies succeeded with sponsoring podcasts or creating their own, so we thought, "We should do that, too!"

So we dove in and started sponsoring a podcast. Then... crickets. We didn't see any traction; we didn't generate any results. In the end, we simply didn't put enough investment into it, and it was a distraction from the other revenue-generating work we were doing.

Take it from me: Jumping on the bandwagon every time a new trend comes around isn't always the right approach. And if you do jump on the bandwagon, give the tactic a fair shot; but if you still don't see results, it is 100% acceptable to leave that tactic behind and focus your efforts on components of your content-marketing or broader media mix that are moving the needle.

* * *

It might take a while to build a content-marketing or media mix that speaks to your audience's soul the way a good mixtape does. But by being collaborative, strategic, and patient, you can settle on a mix that will have your target audience wanting to come back to you time after time.

More Resources on Types of Marketing Content

Five Types of Content to Include in Your Sales Enablement Playbook

Effective Content Types for Each Stage of the Buyer's Journey [Infographic]

17 Types of Content That Google Will Eat Up

What Content Types Should You Create? [Infographic]

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Four Tips to Help You Find Your Optimum Content-Marketing Mix

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image of Kelsey Raymond

Kelsey Raymond is the COO of Intero Digital, a full-service digital marketing agency.

LinkedIn: Kelsey (Meyer) Raymond

Twitter: @Kelsey_M_Meyer