BUILD CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY
1. Set content marketing goals. Determine specific, measurable objectives for each of your channels and/or product lines. This means you must include numbers and time periods that show your success. For example: acquire 3 new clients per month or increase sales by 5% in the next 6 months but not increase Facebook likes by 50.
2. Know your specific audience. Understand the people for whom you’re creating content, what their need is for your product and related information, and their role in the purchase process. To this end, create a marketing persona and a social media buyer persona.
3. Provide information customers actively seek. Skip the promotion and get to the meat of information customers want. People seek product information, answers to their product-related questions (think pain points), styling suggestions, educational information related to your product (specifically how-to’s and recipes/patterns) and ratings and reviews.
4. Plan for different content formats. Think content smorgasbod because not every type of content appeals to everyone. Specifically, 83% of learning occurs visually according to Annalect.com. (If you need some content format inspiration, here are 31 types of content.)
5. Use a variety of platforms. Go where your audience spends their time. Bear in mind that it’s often difficult to aggregate as large an audience using online platforms as it is via mass reach media like television.
6. Build content assets. Could your organization survive without Google? Owned media assets contribute to your business’s balance sheet. Start with a content audit to appreciate what content you already have and what needs to be re-imagined or discarded.
7. Consider all of the content marketing resources you need. This is a top challenge for marketers. Take the time to rethink how your organization develops its information because content marketing requires more than someone who writes well (although that’s a good start.) To this end, you can use resources across your organization including customers and fans as well as agencies and consultants. BUT you must create your content marketing strategy in-house.
1. Offer useful content at every purchase step. Provide the information prospects need and seek. Don’t stop at the point of purchase since if your customers can’t use your product or have a problem, you need to help them regardless of the circumstances.
2. Tell stories people relate to. Listening to stories is ingrained in us since we were small children. Take it from Dan and Chip Heath in their book, Made To Stick, stories make people remember facts by giving them context. (Need help finding your organization’s stories, here are 29 company stories you can use.)
3. Crowdsource content. Facilitate your firm’s ability to capture information from your employees and your customers. Take away the fear of poor presentation by using editors and designers. This is experiential marketing at its best. (Here are 7 real life content marketing examples.)
4. Curate content with care. Almost 75% of marketers use content curation but almost half of them have a problem with it according to IMN. While content curation seems like an easy and low cost way to feed the content marketing beast, you must add value to content curation.
5. Brand your content. Regardless of where your content appears, people must be able to identify it as yours. In today’s multi-platform world, your brand is more than just a logo. It’s how your content sounds and looks. (Here are 5 ways your employees make your brand a reality.)
1. Don’t wing content creation! Two-thirds of marketers develop their content marketing without a plan according to IMN. Provide structure to your information creation. Use an editorial calendar to create large, medium and small content. If a month’s too difficult for you to manage, the two week, Cliff Notes Approach to editorial calendars may help.
2. Plan content reuse in advance. Since marketing resources are scarce, create multiple pieces of content from the same effort. Don’t forget to get your human resources and legal teams involved to ensure that it’s part of your employees’ jobs and talent and agency contracts.
3. Avoid THDR (aka: Too Hard Didn’t Read). If your content looks like it’s too much effort to read, then potential readers will skip it. To this end, format your content marketing to be effective and easy-to-consume
4. Optimize for findability. You can have the greatest content in the world but if no one can find it then it’s useless. This means optimizing your content for search and social media.
1. Plan content distribution. Derek Halperin recommends the 80-20 rule of content creation. Spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% of your time distributing it.
2. Encourage social sharing of your content. Plan out your social media content distribution. This means creating different ways to share your own content over a period of time in addition to including social sharing icons.
3. Promote your content. Leverage whatever resources and connections you have. Make a checklist of your owned, social media and third party options.
MEASURE AND REVISE CONTENT
1. Motivate readers to respond. Get readers to take the next step in your process. Realize that a buy, buy, buy presentation won’t work. At a minimum, incorporate a call-to-action, preferably with social media proof to nudge your audience to act.
2. Measure content marketing results. Track your content marketing results back to your content goals. Think leads, sales, costs, profits and brand impact. (Here are 53 content marketing metrics.)