Content is still a cool kid on the marketing block. But it’s a long-term discipline peppered with potential pitfalls. Here are half a dozen steps to content marketing success, and a few banana skins to watch out for along the way…
The first bullet could end right here, but this task is easier said than done. Audience insights will pay off handsomely in the long run, allowing you to adapt content for the groups you wish to reach. Do you really understand where your customers are, digitally speaking? What are their pain points? And what solutions can you offer that will genuinely meet these needs? Any subsequent content marketing strategy will be built on shaky ground if you don’t have answers to these questions.
There are brilliant case studies of “light bulb moment” content concepts that captivate an audience and deliver brilliant ROI. A significant paid media strategy will also have heavily supported the campaign. Audience insights will provide the framework to build a paid media plan that works hard for you, whether that’s to a niche audience of 500 or a pool of 500,000. Don’t ever think that people will flock to read it, just because you’ve published it.
The prospect of producing many of pieces of content – articles, videos, infographics, white papers – can be a daunting one. To stand out, your content must always be informative and engaging and you can’t let storytelling standards slip. But don’t reinvent the wheel for every piece. Build a content strategy around your richest content themes and develop a bank of assets you can repurpose for different groups. The Create Once, Publish Everywhere model helps you keep a handle on consistency of message and workload management. Think quality, not quantity.
Your organisation’s secret sauce in content marketing is your people – the experts who drive your business forward every day. This could be through product innovation, technical expertise or promoting a compelling vision to follow. Your content should reflect all of this. Don’t expect these ambassadors to be wonderful wordsmiths, though. That’s not their day job. But do bring them on board at the earliest opportunity. Connect them with marketing colleagues or third party content-creating experts who can use their industry brilliance and convert it into content you’ll all be proud of.
Working in a highly regulated industry does not make engaging content production a non-starter. Being mindful about what you say, claim, promise or advise should be best practice in any industry today. However, process and planning will be brought into sharp focus. Our approach is to share content plans with compliance teams as early as we can. We can quickly define “off-limits” topics from the get-go and add a realistic amount of editing and approval time to production schedules. Last-minute rounds of understandable compliance amends can kill an article’s flow, so create time to restore and retain an original idea’s integrity.
Every piece of content should have at least one desired outcome, and that won’t always be directly attributed sales. A robust content marketing strategy can improve reach, engagement, action and conversion. It should help you connect to customers and prospects at the right time, in the right place, as part of the overall marketing mix. Content marketing is not all about direct ROI – and why should it be? It has the power to positively effect so much more. Some channels are better for brand building, others more effective at lead generation, and content marketing should feature in all of them.
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