Content marketing is an essential element of any brand’s overall marketing strategy. That’s because creating, distributing and leveraging great content is how you create awareness, build trust, produce leads and generate organic and paid search engine results for your business. Eighty-eight percent of B2B marketers engage in content marketing as part of their marketing strategy, according to Content Marketing Institute, and 77 percent of B2C marketers plan on producing more content in 2016 than they did in 2015.
You and your team must master creating great content. Good content won’t cut it if you want to engage people, generate leads and boost sales. To get on the fast track to content marketing success, make sure you’re hitting these three key elements:
1. Get clear
You need a plan of action for your team to follow, and everyone must know the plan and be held accountable to their part in it. To get started:
Create a detailed profile of your ideal customer. Define their gender, age, geographic location, job, interests, etc. Google Analytics is free, and you can get a lot of this information from it. For detailed information on creating customer profiles that reach your target audience, check out this post from Convince & Convert.
Find your voice. Your voice is your personality. It’s how your audience will hear you and a reflection of the people behind the brand. Forbes provides a list of 10 questions that will help you find your brand’s voice.
Define the campaign’s purpose. Define the purpose, goals and milestones for every campaign. This empowers you to measure your costs and keeps you and your team focused.
2. Get organized
Take the time to familiarize yourself with the technology that gets and keeps your content marketing efforts organized.
Use project management and workflow tools. A variety of project management tools will help you keep track of projects and deadlines — Trello and Basecamp are two good options. ClearVoice is a content marketing platform that comes with workflow tools that enable you plan your editorial calendar, recruit writers and create and distribute your content, all in one platform. And if you need a simple but effective editorial calendar, check out this WordPress plugin, appropriately titled, “Editorial Calendar.”
Define a social strategy. Social media must be integrated into your plan. If you don’t have a social media specialist on staff, take advantage of these 20 social media tools that Entrepreneur recommends.
3. Pay attention
Don’t just post a bunch of content and hope some of it resonates with your audience. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t, and let this inform your strategy going forward.
Listen to your audience. Start listening to what your audience is saying about you. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and most social media platforms offer robust analytics to help you listen better. You can also use a tool like SproutSocial to get you a comprehensive view of your social analytics.
Watch what works. Which types of content get the most engagement from your target audience? What ideas and topics do they comment on frequently? Maybe they love and share your infographics and other visual content but rarely watch yourvideos. Perhaps your long-form content sparks hefty conversation on social, but no one pays much attention to your Slideshares. Your job is to watch what works and what doesn’t and then to adjust accordingly. You can also set up a simple (and free) Google Alert to monitor the web for mentions of your name.
Share the love. If you only talk about yourself, your company, your team, your brand, your values and it’s all about you, how long do you think people will tune in? Share other people’s great content with the power of content syndication.