Sooner or later, you will have to look at content marketing for your organization – it’s where marketing is moving to, and many marketers are already there. Here’s a few “need to know” and best practices that will save you a boatload of grief down the line. These guidelines apply to organizations who have in-house capacity to create and disseminate content and for those who need to outsource it.
Content marketing is not a tactic; it is a long-term strategy. It requires ongoing commitment and insight into your buyer and market segmentation. You are using content to build a relationship and move them through the purchase funnel. It’s lead generation without the heavy sales push.
The mantra: Connect, connect, connect. Then step back and think about what problem you need to solve and look to the ways that create either climates of aspiration, interest, engagement, consideration etc.
Excellent copywriting and curating for the audience is essential. The content you’re providing (articles, videos, infographics, pictures) will be positioning you as a thought leader and an off and online authority. Using good writers who have access to subject matter experts will produce interesting stories. It is imperative to have access to people who know their stuff and are willing to provide quotes or insight. If those people don’t exist (yet)… become that authority. Just don’t believe that any content is good content. Remember the strategy and be sure the content ties in with the strategy.
Worried about what to publish? A mix of news, human interest, factoids, how-to and top 10 style stories can carry you far but whatever it is, the content HAS to build value. Value here means connecting with an audience.
Publish were people can find it. You can write all the brilliant content in the world and it won’t matter if no one can find it. Find out where your customers are and then be there. Use research to learn whether a single distribution channel will suffice or a multiplatform network is needed. Sending off into the ether of cyberspace is not going to cut it – be sure you are properly placing it where your potential and present customers can find it.
Monitor and Measure. Anyone who tells you there is a failsafe measuring system to track content marketing success is lying. ROI measurement is a slippery slope and ALL departments that have an interest here, (i.e. marketing, public relations, sales and content producers) will attack and measure it differently.
Don’t do it if you can’t do it well. There is nothing worse than bad content marketing projects. It can destroy any credibility you have and may hinder you in the future. Think it through and use expert help. Your bottom line will thank you.