You can’t attend a marketing conference today without hearing the buzzword du jour - content marketing initiative. For good reason! Great content marketing campaigns drive strong brand awareness with your target market, have a lifetime value that can outweigh any paid marketing activities and can be easily re-purposed many times across a large number of platforms to drive marketing ROI.
Most brands and businesses struggle with defining a viable content marketing strategy. To many it’s like boiling the ocean - where to do you start, what are pertinent metrics and how do you involve your sales, customer service teams and exec staff? Here are five key content marketing initiatives that will get your brand moving in the right direction!
Great content informs, tells a story and engages your target market segment. Start with keyword rich topics that help to convey a consistent brand message, integrate these with an Editorial Calendar that maps out what specific topis (just an Word doc outline will suffice initially) you want to write about, coupled with a specific timeline. Think small at first like EF Schumaker - just start with a 30-60 day period and tell your brand story!
Search Engine Optimization should be part of your content marketing strategy but great content moves beyond boring keyword driven topics. Great story telling trumps SEO optimization. In the end if your content doesn’t engage and inform you lose the mindshare battle. Balance these at time opposing marketing maxims: traffic via keywords vs. great story telling.
Differentiate to stand out and make your brand message resonate with - today’s social driven, smartphone-ready consumer has an attention span of a gnat! Your content must have impact be factual and pique the interest of your market segment. Build a compelling story and know that it will take time to build content messaging that will resonate with the market. Think Like a Content Zenmaster: drops of water wearing down the stone.
Every content marketing initiative helps to build your brand story: images, videos, Tweets, Status Updates, Blog posts, photo, press releases, comments and even paid marketing activities. Think holistically and remember your story and associated content marketing goes beyond what your putting out via formal marketing processes - it embraces and should include what your sales and customer services teams convey to new and existing customers. Get everyone on the same page (literally).
Leverage your content marketing costs to drive market ROI. Your content can and should be syndicated across any and all platforms. These can and should include third party platforms such as HootSuite and OnlyWire - and the associated marketing costs for these types of platforms pale in comparison to the broader exposure you will generate. Rinse and repeat your content marketing to generate the most impact and to leverage your marketing costs.
Content marketing measurement can be difficult and challenging. Think about digital touchpoints - these can and should include Google Analytics with social media tracking turned on, lead and revenue generation that is mapped to specific performance metrics (time elements, landing pages, conversion rates), social amplification of your brand messaging (ReTweets, Comments, Likes, @AtMessages), some kind of SWAG feedback from sales and customer service teams.
Your telling a brand story right? So, think if this as an iterative marketing process that involves formal measurement, feedback and insight from external sources (customers, sales, customer support, channel partners) that helps you understand whether or not your messaging and storytelling is resonating with the market. Capture mechanisms can be simple or complex, depending on the sophistication of your content marketing initiatives: blog post series, video, Pinterest Boards, Facebook, Twitter outbound marketing, press releases, etc.
Hashtags facilitate content tracking. Test mapping some or all of your content marketing initiatives to hashtags and use formal tools for tracking like Radian6 or HashTracking to capture positive or negative social sentiment tied in to a specific hashtag or broad group. Or, just add a hashtag tracker to your Twitter account and extract the references and usage for a specific period of time mapped to your content marketing initiatives.
To summarize, get a content strategy in place, this can be just a simple outline with topics and timeline, tell a story, engage and inform your target market segment and set up informal content marketing measurements. Leverage content marketing costs with content syndication platforms and processes and a built in a rinse and repeat process that gets the attention of today’s distracted consumer! Go forth: create and multiply your content!