Content Marketing 101: Developing a Successful Content Marketing Campaign
We all know that it’s important to launch a content marketing campaign. But, how can you be certain that it’s going to be successful?
You can ensure that your content marketing campaign will be successfully, and not a wasted of your time and money, by implementing the following pointers.
What are you trying to achieve?
I know that Kevin Costner was told “If you build it, he will come,” in Field of Dreams. While that works in the movies, it’s not the most effective strategy for content marketers. Just because you have just written one of the best pieces of content ever doesn’t mean that people are going to discover it on their own. They need a little help getting there.
So before you start creating any type of content, answer this important question;
What are your goals and objectives?
Are you trying to get more likes on Facebook? More email subscribers? Traffic to your website? Earn more inbound links? Prove that you’re an authority figure in your industry?
After you’ve determined your goals and objectives, you can start brainstorming ideas on the type of content you need to create to reach those goals and the best channels to deliver the content.
Remember, creating content just for the heck of it is a huge waste of time. It’s like trying to make your way to a specific destination without using your GPS. You have no idea where you’re going or how to get there. And, you just end up getting lost. Outlining your goals and objectives prevents this from happening and give you clear directions on how to reach your destination.
Know your audience.
Equally important to outlining your business objectives is knowing who you’re creating content for. Are they visiting your site to gain information or be entertained? Where are they coming from? What type of content do they prefer?
That’s a lot to take in, but you’re creating this content for them. Not you. And whether you like it or not, you have to cater to their wants and needs.
If you want to know and understand your audience, first take a look at your current and potential customers, as well as anyone else you believe who would like your content.
As noted by the Content Marketing Institute, you can find this information out by constructing buyer personas. A buyer persona “is a term used for creating personas based on types of customers that your business has and wants.” This includes knowing key demographics like age and location, interests, and their preferred methods of communication.
You can develop your own buyer personas by;
-Interviewing prospects and/or customers
-Interviewing your sales team
-Surveying prospects and/or current customers
-Mining in-house database to identify characteristics of best and/or worst customers
-Evaluating web analytics reports
-Interviewing customer service
-Using keyword research to identify topics of interest
-Monitoring activity on social media sites
Once you have this information, you can start creating content specifically for your targeted audience. For example, if you’re aware that your audience are mainly composed of gourmet coffee sipping hipsters, then you would you want to create content that is focused on unique coffee brewing techniques and tons of subcultures references that only they would get.
Map your content to the sales cycle.
Here’s another great point from the Content Marketing Institute, you also “need to create content to meet the needs of your prospects at each stage to help them move to the next stage of the funnel.” In fact, content should be “tailored to appeal to different prospects and at different stages.”
Most of the time though, this means that you’ll be creating one of the following types of content;
–Awareness. These are blog posts, infographics, or white papers that spread brand awareness and introduces your brand to potential customers.
–Evaluation. This type of content, such as case studies, webinars, and videos, that is used to increase the amount of marketing qualified leads.
–Purchase. Finally, you want to convert a marketing qualified lead into a sales qualified lead through free trials, implementation guides, and live demonstrations.
Once you know where your customers are at in the sales funnel, you can produce content that will follow them through the entire sales journey. In other words, it ensures that you customers will never leave you because you’ll always have content to meet their needs.
No matter how awesome you think you are, you can’t do this while content marketing campaign on your own. You need to build a team of writers, editors, designers, and social media managers to take your content from mediocre to incredible.
Just think about Marvel’s Avengers. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and Hulk are all powerful on their own. In fact, in most cases they can take care of themselves on their own. But, when you put together Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, they’re a force to be reckoned with since each member brings something special to the team.
If you’re on tight budget, you can hire freelancers to help you achieve your content needs. For example, you could hire a writer to produce a certain amount of articles or a designer to build your website. In fact, there really isn’t a need to have these people in-house nowadays.
Have the right tools and system in place.
Without the right tools and systems in place, you won’t be able to measure, get the most out of your content, and run a well-oiled machine.
-A tool like MailChimp to collect, manage, and send targeted emails.
-Adding call-to-action buttons or widgets on your site, like those for social sharing. SumoMe can help you with that.
-Google Analytics to view website traffic and discover visitor information.
-A reliable server and website host.
-A project management tool to keep everyone on your team on-the-same-page.
-An editorial calendar to brainstorm and schedule content.
-Something like Hootsuite to schedule social media posts and monitor your social channels.
Take the 80/20 approach.
We’ll keep this one short and sweet.
80% of your content should be sharing content that interests your audience, such as infographics from industry influencers. This type of content is shareable and also helps you build relationships with industry thought leaders.
20% of your content should be original. This includes content that benefits your audience, like advice or discounts, and persuasive calls-to-action that inspires your audience to learn more about your business.
Create, publish, promote, analyze, rinse, and repeat
After all of that, it’s time to create your content. Make sure that it fits into your objectives, caters to your audience, and is of quality. Remember, your audience, along with search engines like Google, want to have quality content that provides something of value. So, if you’re a lawyer, a 2,000 word article that gets placed on LinkedIn is perfect. If you own a construction company, an instructional video on YouTube is a better option than a LinkedIn article.
After you’ve created the content, publish it on your blog and then promote it like crazy. Share it on your social channels, syndicate on other reputable websites, and email it to influencers in your industry.
Don’t forget to analyze the content either by reviewing metrics like;
-Page views after the content has been published.
-How much it was shared?
-What type of content was viewed the most.
-What are the keywords your audience are searching for.
-How many leads do the content generate?
With that data, you know what worked and what didn’t so that you can continue to create content that achieves your goals and resonates with your audience.