Know your ideal client so clearly that you could recognize them in a crowded room. Many people that fail while launching a program do so because they have no idea who they are talking to in their marketing. Generalities don’t get signups. When you are crystal clear on your audience, your marketing speaks directly to their wants and fears.
My best content marketing tip is that it doesn’t have to be formulaic. You should start looking at the message that you need to deliver and then figure out how that information is best distributed. It wouldn’t be wise to define a campaign in terms of three email blasts, an e-book and a webinar before truly understanding how complex the message is. I always look at it from the perspective of how would I personally like to learn about something. Would I really need to get 12 emails about it? Would I learn better in a seminar? Would light bulbs go off if it was visually displayed? Understanding the message is very important (and sometimes difficult for third parties who might be helping to develop the content). If you don’t understand the subject matter, speak to an expert consumer to see what their take is and then develop your strategy from there.
The biggest mistake content marketers make is falling into the “spray and pray” mindset. They start creating content and broadcasting everything to everyone. In order to run a truly successful content marketing campaign, knowing your audience, your ideal customer and where they live online is key. We all create content for a reason, usually to drive business growth. Targeting your content and your distribution channels to specific personas that you’ve defined is an integral component of that.
Content marketing is an often misunderstood technique that many people take for granted. It is truly an art form to be able to communicate a campaign’s message without directly “selling.” Before launching a new campaign, it is important to first consider the consumer behavior you are trying to influence and the distribution channels you want to target. Once that is figured out, then you can develop content that delivers consistent yet valuable information. Gone are the days of a sales pitch. Consumers see these types of messages being irrelevant or “spammy.” Instead of “selling” your product or service, you have to deliver information that in turn makes your customers more educated about what you have to offer or how you can benefit them. I begin every campaign by outlining new and different ways to provide valuable and engaging content. This becomes the method in which we capture and retain customers.
Before launching a content marketing campaign, it is crucial to consider what you’re hoping to get out of it. One of the best ways to utilize digital content is through link-building. Choose content topics and contributors based specifically on the links they can generate, and use free online tools to evaluate the authority of those links. Before you do the legwork of researching and creating content, find links that are valuable and proceed accordingly.
Tip: It’s essential to determine your buyer persona before you develop a content marketing campaign. Without this focus, you run the risk of creating content around what you and your colleagues think is important instead of what your buyer thinks is important.
When planning a content marketing campaign, it’s important to plan out how you will promote and repurpose your pieces of content before even starting to create it. All too often, content is created, and then the marketer figures out what to do with it.
But if you want to be able to repurpose your content into a slide deck or video, you need to think about that before you start. Not every topic can lend itself to a video people will want to watch, or a slide deck people will click all the way through. In order to create an original piece of content that can be used in other ways, you have to be thinking about that repurposing from step one.
Additionally, content marketers must be thinking about promotion through the entire process. Think about what quotes can be used for a news release, should you decide to publish one. Consider how your marketing team can explain the process, how it will help your audience, and other things that should be included in a powerful release.
Basically, while it is good to focus on the part of the process you’re on at the moment, it’s important to always keep the big picture, the entire campaign, in sight at all times
Start EVERY campaign with a measurable Key Performance Indicator (KPI) and set small goals that you can achieve along the way. It’s easy to get caught up in an “epic” idea without any sense of how it will impact your bottom line in the end. By focusing on the outcomes, your micro goals along the way will be much more thoughtful and help you measure whether you are actually achieving your business objectives. Also consider using a tool like Trello to record your goals and help you stick to them. Log in every day to measure how your campaign is stacking up and make changes if need be.
Promote the content you create everywhere you can – and track it!
It’s not enough to just write a blog or create an infographic and stick it on your website. You need to push that content out to all of the social media and paid advertising channels that you can to get exposure for your business and drive traffic back to your website. As you’re promoting the content, use URL tagging to track your efforts and match up your website analytics information with your social media and advertising efforts. Content marketing is all about increasing traffic and exposure and correct tracking will make sure you’re achieving your goals.
I hope you understand that I had to submit TWO important tips for contenting marketing: know your goals, know your audience. Think of these two as ends on a continuum, the audience on one side with goals on the other. The content marketer must understand first what he is trying to achieve in the grand scheme of the organization’s marketing efforts. With this in mind, then he can focus on the audience and determine how some piece(s) of content can reach the audience and accomplish the goals set beforehand. Before any content is written, these two tasks must be accomplished.
One tip that all content marketers should know before launching a campaign is that they need to do their homework before starting outreach, and that the idea for your content is more important than building it out and getting mentions for it. Because if the idea isn’t good, it won’t get shared, but if its great then chances are it will. Use online tools like Followerwonk and Circle Count to find social influencers in your niche and reach out to them. Introduce yourself just like you would in real life, share their content, engage with them, build a relationship, and then eventually after you’ve done all of this you can ask them to share your content. Also, don’t think you can launch this campaign, get a bunch of links and mentions, and call it a campaign. Content marketing is not a one-off campaign. You need to constantly be creating content in your industry. Take a look at your niche or industry and think of all the questions that people would be asking online. Then answer those questions by creating content around it with how-to’s, top 10s, interviews, ultimate guides, and more. They can be in blog posts, infographics, interactive graphics, widgets, tools, videos, podcasts, etc. If it answers questions that people want to know about it will naturally get links and social shares. Just remember ABC…Always Be Contenting.
Refer to the search logs of your website, they are filled with queries from anxious customers that want to give you money but can’t quite find what they’re looking for. Web search logs (accessible via Google Analytics and similar packages) allow you to create laser-focused content marketing campaigns. Pick the most searched-for phrases, the top queries, and create content around them.
Then, go further and find out how customers got to your website, using the referrer info. Make a list of the top referrers and distribute your content right in those websites. I call this strategy “content to mindset matching”, and it has worked wonders for me.
Before launching any campaign, the first thing is to decide who you want to respond to the campaign, and the final action you want that persona to take. It’s not rocket science but knowing your audience, and knowing the steps you’ll need to provide to move that persona to the final desired action is the big picture goal. Then, create the campaign with that specific persona in mind, correlating your messaging with that specific demographic. Then, create the campaign to hold their hand and walk them from first-touch to the final conversion.
Each automated e-mail, landing page, blog post, video, and conversion offer should align with the path from initial touch to final conversion; each micro-conversion leading them to the final conversion.
First I have to say, I don’t like to refer to content marketing as a campaign. I feel content marketing is a new way of life for your business and your marketing team. It never ends. Before you start any type of content marketing program, you need to get clear on what you’re doing. I don’t mean what type of free guide or infographic you’re going to create, or what social promotion tactics you’re going to use. I mean literally: what, and more importantly, WHY are you going to embrace content marketing?
My good friend Marcus Sheridan (from Sales Lion fame) recently asked an audience of marketers at an event: ” What would we call what we do if we never used these words to describe it: blogging, content marketing, content strategy, etc.” This question prompted us all to think about our marketing efforts in more human and global terms. Content marketing is really equal to “helping,” “teaching,” and “communicating,” isn’t it? These are the things that makes a content marketing program successful – not the research, ideation, and analytics. Those things matter too, but not if we sacrifice the broader goals that motivate them.
So when you’re thinking about diving into content marketing, remember to bring it back to the main intention behind your efforts. Maybe your organization sees the best results when you listen to your customer’s questions, and create interesting visual content based on their feedback. Maybe teaching people how to use your product through interactive videos is what works for you. When you focus on the higher ideal, you’ll be able to guide you team and the content production to be that much more powerful.
CREATE AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR! This is one of the most overlooked little gems of content marketing and truly can revolutionize your entire content marketing strategy. Why? Because it enables you to quickly organize useful information (company announcements, events, promotions) around dates and time when they would be the most impactful to your audience. Also, this will help you leverage the viral power of cross marketing your content with breaking news that is time sensitive – holidays, seasons, special months (ex Breast Cancer Month, Azheimer’s Awareness Month, etc) – to reap further visibility and engagement.
Hone in on your target audience. Too often brands are focused on how to achieve viral marketing success that they forget to keep in mind their target audience. Develop a marketing persona, a fictional character to represent a real consumer within your demographic, to utilize when developing a content marketing campaign and even your brand’s voice.
First of all, don’t think of content marketing as a “campaign.” Content marketing is not something you do in spits and spurts – it’s something you commit to for the long haul and integrate into everything you do. That is the only way you’ll get any long-term benefit from it. Instead, think of campaigns as part of your content marketing strategy for demand and lead generation.
Given that, my best overall tip is to know who your personas are. If you know who your buyers are and what makes them tick, you’ll have a much easier time targeting the right people with your content through your campaigns.
My second best tip? Use social media advertising to promote and generate leads from your content. Social media advertising is fantastic for laser targeting your buyer personas based on both demographics and behaviors or interests. LinkedIn Advertising is great for B2B, while Facebook Ads suit B2C really well.
[su_highlight]The Great Book Experiment[/su_highlight]
To put together our first installment of the Agile Content Marketing book series, we asked real practitioners to share the content strategies and tactics they use to develop successful brands, create an audience, and drive conversions. And because we're applying the agile methodology, we are experimenting with a form of crowdsourcing: many participants, all with unique knowledge, each contributing an idea or concept that you can use to build your business....through content.