5 Easy Steps to Content Marketing Success
Okay, so you’ve read the success stories and forecasts and you’re starting to buy into this whole content marketing concept. But where to begin? It all starts with a single step…
I said it before, but it’s worth repeating:
So, before you jump into content marketing, write down the answers to these 4 questions. They will form the basis of your content marketing plan.
a) What product/service are you looking to promote?
b) What defines “success” (i.e. Key Performance Indicators – KPIs) for you?
c) Who is your target audience?
d) Where can you engage with your audience online?
And as much as the answers to the first 2 questions are important, it’s the audience who ultimately decides if your content marketing is worth its weight in words.
Mark Schaefer, author of Return on Influence sums it up pretty well, “If you create [a] human connection that can lead to loyalty, that trumps everything.” Smart marketer!
2. Create an Editorial Calendar
In Step 1 you defined your audience and where they live online; so now use that knowledge to determine what they value in terms of content and then give it to them. Sounds simple, but without a plan (there’s that word again), you’ll quickly discover that one of the biggest pressures is figuring out how to create enough content to nourish your business on a day to day basis.
But before you start stressing, start sketching. Build an editorial calendar based on the topics that interest your audience.
Quality First: Chasing viral content is a dangerous game—one that may briefly increase search-ability, but one that won’t engage long term consumers. Invest in learning what content is most valuable to your audience and influencers and then deliver it (source: Content Marketing Institute).
Don’t Pass By, Prioritize: Just because one idea is deemed timelier over another, doesn’t mean both shouldn’t be shared. Schedule your posts when they will have the most impact, but remember timing isn’t everything when it comes to engaging content. Evergreen posts are powerful magnets specifically because they aren’t “timely”. If you’re inspired to write a post, it’s likely someone will be inspired to read it. So post at your pleasure and see what happens to your marketing metrics.
Plan Social Strategy: Content Marketing newbies may think that being active on social networks is enough, but social is a tool to share engaging content (yours or someone else’s) – not a replacement for it. Engagement without content is short-lived. Engagement around content is a hook.
3. Be Consistent
Every marketer knows that consistency is king when it comes to brand management. And the same is true for your content. Voice, messaging, your corporate values and “keywords” need to be consistent in everything you publish.
Now, about those keywords. I am a big proponent of writing for people more than search engines, but I can’t argue with the fact that as far as free engagement goes, SEO is still one of your most powerful allies.
So as you lay out your templates, whether it be for blog posts, e-marketing, or social networks, be sure to include an SEO strategy.
4. Start Small, Show Success and then Scale
Today’s successful marketers understand that content marketing is a powerful funnel-building tool, but that doesn’t mean that everyone in your company will recognize its value.
Whether you’re feeling a bit hesitant yourself, or fighting a pessimistic executive, start small and let your content marketing campaign prove its own worth through measurement. Track what works, learn from what doesn’t and communicate the results.
Not only will this allow you to improve your content marketing as you scale it up, you’ll have YOY statistics to prove its worth with whoever needs an encouraging nudge towards modern day marketing.
5. Get a Kickstart
If you feel like you’re jumping into the deep end without knowing how to swim, get help from a content marketing professional. Not only have they already learned all the hard lessons along the way, they’ll also have an insider’s understanding of the risks and rewards.