Sounding Off: T. Rodrigues: “You know content is the king, but…”
You've realized that content marketing doesn't figure as prominently as it should in your marketing program. You know "content is king" (and if you didn't, Googling "content marketing" will find you ten different articles that tell you so). What you don`t know is where to start when it comes to creating a continuous flow of rich, brand building, lead-generating content.
The best approach is to simplify. Determine what content you need to create. Then, plan how to create it, and where to put it to generate the greatest impact.
Here's how to get started:
To be successful, content must be relevant to your audience, so you need to know what`s most important to them. Then you can provide content they'll find useful; content that might entertain, surprise, or even shock them. Thought-provoking, sought-after information captures attention, encourages your audience to look for more, and, best of all, gets people talking about your brand.
Research your audience's needs, zero in on their key problems, and identify specific themes and areas of interest. This can be done through surveys, quick polls, customer interviews, prospect interviews, and general market research. Segment your audience, if appropriate, and identify sub-themes unique to certain segments.
Look at your marketing calendar and identify key topics, events, seasons, etc. that dominate specific times of year. Identify themes related to these. Look at the content competitors are providing and consider how you can make yours unique in terms of format or delivery method (example: video instead of the standard case study text format).
With a calendar of content needs in front of you, plan how to fill it with content mined from your organization:
- Answer questions your sales or customer service people regularly respond to
- Curate content for your audience from other industry sources; add your insights and ask your audience to add theirs
- Enhance your customers' experience with your product by showing them ways to use it in the context of other products, or in situations or applications they may not have considered
- Establish regularly featured content - case studies, customer interviews, product releases/reviews etc.
- Maximize major content efforts such as articles by using them to create multiple pieces of content - shorter versions, excerpts, trend graphs, or images, for example, can all be repurposed to populate social media sites, e-news publications, websites, blogs, etc.; Invite customers to participate in your organization's charitable endeavours.
Encourage your audience to co-create, adding their content to yours.
Once you`ve identified available content and the gaps that need to be filled, create a development plan. Include resources needed (subject matter experts, customer testimonials, existing materials etc.), and who will develop the content (this could be handled internally, externally, or a combination of the two). Include material deadlines, approval deadlines and distribution dates to track where content is coming from, and when it will be released.
With content development mapped out, you need a distribution plan. Start by identifying distribution channels and platforms. Combine multiple channels and platforms to maximize the value of the content in attracting audience attention, directing them to where you want them to go and driving the action you want them to take. Posting an article on a Facebook or LinkedIn page can be supported by a tweet to let your audience know that something new is there. E-news subscribers can be advised that something new and of interest is on one of your social media properties or your website. Twitter followers can be directed to the latest issue of your e-newsletter, etc.
Content marketing isn't complicated, but it does require doing your homework, building a plan, and executing it with discipline. Test each approach, get feedback and continue to evolve your content marketing strategy to maximize results.