October 23, 2015
Content marketing has become a blazing hot methodology over the past few years due to its effectiveness in engaging audiences and driving conversions. In short, it’s the new way to do marketing, and the majority of brand owners are jumping on board. With the exception of digital advertising, marketers are now investing more in content marketing than any other promotional avenue. And, in the near future, content marketing will likely emerge as the dominant force in online marketing expenditures.
The problem that many brands face, however, is taking on the task of content marketing without the proper knowledge of strategies and tactics that will ensure some level of success. For instance, in a recent SpiceWorks survey it was revealed that 72 percent of businesses attest to possessing a content marketing strategy, whereas only 30 percent of those companies actually had documented plans. Furthermore, 36 percent of brands with a marketing blueprint feel that their efforts have been quite successful, as opposed to only 11 percent who have not documented a blueprint.
If you want measurable success, take the time to put certain measures in place. Here are four proven areas of focus that can help guarantee your efforts reach the masses:
1. Document Your Content Plan and Budget
This is where it all begins; start with documenting the foundational questions of your campaign. By answering the who, what, why, when and how of your strategy, you are developing a basis for success that will most often lead to other crucial questions that need to be answered.
Another area of focus that should be established early on is the budget for the campaign and each of its factors. Before you begin to invest in anything, it is vital that you possess a thorough awareness of what the investment should be able to deliver and how it can be measured. Most businesses claim that lead generation is the main goal in a content marketing campaign, however, the most frequently tracked metrics are views and website visits. Be sure to define the goals of the campaign, the budget for which it will operate under, and the correct measurement tools and tracking mechanisms to receive the maximum ROI.
2. Create a Content “Knowledge Bank”
While generating unique and engaging content can often consume a fair amount of time, energy and resources, the process can be streamlined to cut down on the rate that these elements are depleted. By establishing a “knowledge bank,” an organization’s collective insights can be harvested to save time on brainstorming and the writing process.
What exactly is a knowledge bank? This is a central location where your company’s thoughts, ideas, insights, bookmarks and more can all be stored and referenced by anyone who is in need of such material. The key here is to ensure that you or your team is active in collecting information to optimize potential benefit. You can choose to utilize free online templates or even leverage tools like Evernote to build out your database.
3. Optimize Topic Potential
One of the most difficult aspects to developing a successful content marketing campaign is generating the volume of content that is needed while maintaining a diverse set of consistently compelling points of view. Luckily, there are loads of extremely useful content creation tools online, many of which are free to use. More importantly, however, is to approach topic creation from a unique perspective. Many companies approach this task with the creational viewpoint of “We need a blog on [insert topic].” Instead, try to get at the material from the inside out. Establish the topic you want to cover and try to determine what it is about that point that can be used to develop interesting and useful content. Think about how many different types of content can be created around that topic to produce the maximum amount of exposure and reach. Joe Pulizzi, author of Epic Content Marketing encourages producing up to 20 different pieces of content for each and every topic. Get as much leverage out of your creativity and research as possible.
4. Create a Content Calendar
As various pieces of content are starting to come to life and fall into place, it is essential for the pieces to be managed effectively. Some of your content may be created in-house, whereas others may be sourced out; keeping track of it all, and the planned publication dates and URLs, is essential.
Devising a content calendar will be a pivotal point in the tracking and publishing process. The content calendar is there to provide a go-to list of the content that has been created, to be created, who’s responsible for the piece, when it is to be published, where it was published, social media tracking, and related metrics. The calendar itself should clearly layout and simplify all of the various ongoing publications and should be updated regularly to maintain control of the campaign.
While there is perfect formula to running a successful content marketing campaign, in-depth preparation is certainly a precursor to prosperity. By taking the time to set up the proper tracking and measurement mechanisms, organizational tools, and foundational elements, you are placing a level of importance in the benefits you seek to gain. By not preparing, much like the old saying goes, “If you fail to plan, plan to fail.”
What are some other critical steps to building a successful content marketing campaign?
Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach. Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.