Chances are you’re familiar with the term ‘content marketing’. In fact you’ve probably been reminded many times by overzealous marketers that “content is king”. The consensus you’ve reached is that you absolutely must be doing content marketing. But what is it exactly?
Content marketing basically involves creating valuable content for your target audience. It is designed to attract potential customers and build your brand in the process. It is typically about educating, entertaining and adding value for your target audience with the end goal of turning them into customers or brand advocates.
But beneath this definition lies layers of complexity.
Perhaps the biggest pitfall of content marketing (and any form of marketing for that matter) is diving right in without a plan. Content marketing is not just a matter of writing a few blog posts or posting a couple of pictures on instagram.
So how can you ensure your content marketing gets results?
Let’s have a top line look at seven key steps to get your content marketing in order.
First off, you must ask yourself why are you doing content marketing in the first place? What key business problems are you trying to solve? Are you looking to establish yourself as an expert in your field? Or maybe you are trying to build your email list. Whatever the goal, the first step is to stop and think about why you want to launch a content marketing program. Content marketing should always be done to achieve a certain objective, not just for the sake of it.
You may remember that content is designed to add value and educate your target audience. If you expect to influence and appeal to that target audience, you need to know who they are. This means you must research, create personas and understand what exactly your audience wants. Depending on how wide your demographic is, you may even need to create a few different audience profiles depending on what you want to achieve. Remember that creating content for everyone is creating content for no-one. The more targeted and relevant, the better.
Now that you have an idea of who you are talking to it’s time to work out what you are going to communicate. What kind of themes and information will appeal to your audience? How relevant are they? Your content should provide real meaningful value to your audience and be line with your broader objectives. Though it’s tempting, don’t create content for the sake of it. Each piece of content you invest in should be line with your stated goals and strategy.
With your ideas in place, it’s important to get clear about exactly how you will reach your audience. You can have the greatest content in the world but without the right distribution channels, no-one will ever see it. You need to identify the right channels to reach your audience. For example, if you are looking to target 16 to 18 year old females, you’d be wise to target something like Snapchat rather than long blog posts.
Whether it’s a blog post, an eBook, white paper, report, infographic, video, short film or otherwise, the content you create reflects your brand. Though it’s not directly branded content, your content will influence the perception people have of your brand. The internet is awash with average generic content, don’t add more to it. Try to stand out by creating quality material that appeals to your audience. Good content marketing requires an investment, but it’s worth it. Paying a non-native speaker $10 an article may be good for the budget but is it really adding value?
Once you’ve created the content, now it’s time to get it out there. Creating a content schedule helps you outline when you should be distributing your content, but it’s also important to have a strategy to promote that content. After all, what good is it if no-one sees it? Your ability to effectively get your content in front of your audience will have a big impact on its success. Can you get shared on other popular pages or through social media influencers? Would a PPC campaign help? Are there other ways you can leverage the quality content you’ve created? You’ve put the effort in creating great stuff, you need to ensure it gets out there.
Content marketing is a long term game. As you continue to create content, you will learn what works and what doesn’t. To be able to understand that accurately however, you need to be regularly monitoring your analytics. Setting up the right metrics will help you determine the effectiveness of each piece of content or of broader campaigns. It will help you understand whether one promotion channel was particularly effective compared to the rest. Make it part of your process to regularly review the results and optimise so that you continually improve.
Content marketing is undeniably important for businesses in this day and age. Your ability to engage with your audience and stay top of mind is a critical component for success, and great content helps you do this. To do it well however, you must approach it strategically and methodically. When done right, it’s a valuable asset for any business.
About the author
Nicci has been working in strategic project management both online and offline for almost a 10 years. Specialising in her passion of internet marketing and making her mark on the digital world with her company Upside.Digital she manages the operational side of the business and one of the biggest network of publishers across Australia. She is passionate about ensuring if the business has the ability to succeed, then they should also have the opportunity to succeed. One word of advice from Nicci would be ‘Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods’ and ‘Just Do It’