What Is Content Marketing?
Let’s start at the beginning. What is content marketing? The phrase has achieved buzzword status. Yet, despite its popularity, confusion abounds.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
What isn’t content marketing? That, too, is of equal importance. For example, ad campaigns, native advertising, and automated algorithms are not content marketing.
Develop a Content Strategy
An effective content marketing program begins by developing a content marketing strategy, which yields an opportunity to control your message, share your point of view and expand brand awareness.
It’s important to consider these vital questions: What are the possible pathways to raise visibility, generate leads and improve your website traffic? Where can your content assets intersect with potential customers? Your website? Certain media outlets or blogs? Social media channels? Physical locations? Do your research. Answering these questions will tell you where to place your content.
After all, content marketing is evolving as consumer habits change.
While the first inclination may be to rush out and generate a mix of content aligned to your business objectives to reach prospective new customers — if this content doesn’t command their attention and recollection of your brand and what it represents, the program will miss its mark. Worse, if content fails to deliver in an appropriate and meaningful way, it can even alienate existing and potential customers.
Gauge consumer perceptions and expectations by asking: What mix of mediums will best resonate with my target audiences? For example, consider the written word, the spoken word, different types of imagery, such as photography, graphic art, infographics, and/or video.
With a strategy in place, the next step is to begin creating content. Here are some top tips to make your content program successful:
- Be purposeful. Does your content convey the benefits of your product or service? Does it answer the important questions or address key issues in your industry? Content that presents your product/service as a solution is one way to help your brand become etched in the minds of your target audiences.
- Be thoughtful. Ensure brand messages are easily understood by intended audiences. Know the market landscape, everything from the competitive set to user personas. Content meant to prompt a desired action only works if it’s crafted with the language, style, customs, etc., relevant to your audiences.
- Be consistent. Develop an editorial calendar and publishing schedule. This will help you with achieving consistency and alignment with your business objectives, which may evolve or shift.
Successful content marketing not only requires the creation of content that tells your story, it also requires effective content distribution tactics. Some marketers may prefer to disseminate directly to target audiences and become self-publishers. However, a more strategic approach is to leverage both owned and earned media (editorial) channels.
Scope out and plan the circle of influence before you embark on a dissemination strategy, for example, a contributed article in a publication widely read by your target audience can be amplified through other distribution channels, e.g., social media, email marketing, website, sales collateral, and more. In addition, repurposing proven content for sales purposes is a savvy approach and opportunity for marketers to tap and allocate advertising and sales budgets for content marketing programs vs. only tapping traditional marketing or PR budgets.
Measurement is a requirement for any successful content marketing strategy. Achieving business goals with your content requires an analysis of the data. A straightforward approach is to measure the following areas: consumption, lead generation, sales and sharing. There are a host of analytics tools that can help content marketers evaluate the ROI of their campaigns.
Content marketing provides ongoing opportunities to tell your organization’s story, effectively engage potential and existing customers, extend the goodwill of your brand and spread key company messages. For information on how Graham & Associates can help with your organization’s content marketing program—please visit: http://www.graham-associates.com/public-relations-content-development.html.