7 QUESTIONS TO ANSWER WHEN THINKING ABOUT CONTENT MARKETING
Ah, content marketing… The newest buzzword in the never-ending sea of marketing buzzwords. And as a buzzword, you will get the same scrutiny that “guest blogging” and “native advertising” both received over the last few years. Both of those previous trends gave varying levels of success to marketers and entrepreneurs who tried them out, but they also turned many people off from trying anything new due to some backlash from Google.
But if you’re not willing to embrace new marketing techniques, you run the risk of missing out on useful strategies that could help you grow. So, you have to embrace change and take a few chances.
With that in mind, if you haven’t tried content marketing, it’s fast becoming a requirement in marketing as opposed to the aforementioned trends.
If you don’t know where to get started, you can draw up a strategy just by thinking through these seven questions:
1. WHAT DOES YOUR BRAND BRING TO THE TABLE?
In other words how are you different from the other ten companies offering the same goods or services as you? The stark reality is that your competition is more robust than ever, so how will you stand out? But you already know this one–this is the same reason you yourself would choose your services over someone else’s. Find that one thing that makes you unique and make that your headliner. The shape and form of your content may change, but your message can remain the same; for example, “here is an e-book to help you plan your wedding and by the way, our customer service literally works 24/7 to make the planning stress free” etc.
2. WHO IS DOING WHAT?
A clear break down of expectations and roles is key to a good content marketing strategy. Marketing can get a bit messy and work can certainly overlap and cross borders (in fact, it should!) but everyone on your team should know what is their responsibility and what belongs to the guy in the next cube. That means that Lucy may dabble in SEO when she’s creating her blog posts, but Tom is the SEO expert that needs to okay what she’s written before it is out in the wild. Assigning clear tasks will keep your consistency high, which in turn will mean a clean, concise story that your audiences will want to hear.
3. WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE
This one is so important it might actually have to go to the top of your list of questions. You won’t get far without knowing who your audience is…very intimately. This information will drive the kind of content that you create, the frequency with which you distribute it and the social media channels you will use to promote it. In short it is the foundation of your content marketing strategy! So develop buyer personas and customer journeys. These will be your reference points for everything you do in content marketing.
4. WHAT CONTENT WILL YOU USE?
No, that’s not a Buzzfeed quiz, it’s a serious consideration for your marketing strategy. Lucky for you, you already know who your audience is (because you immediately accomplished question #3, right?), so figuring out what they want to see should be just a matter of doing some research and reading some blogs. Don’t just say you want your content to take on every shape and medium, instead spend some time considering where your clients will spend most of their time; for example if they are likely to need a lot of nurturing, you may offer more “front-end” content, such as How-To or List blogs. On the other hand if you offer a more niche product and you are likely to be a serious contender right from the beginning, more long-form content such as e-books, webinars or free-trial offers may be more useful.
5. WHAT IS REQUIRED?
While this question may seem pretty basic, having the tools you need in place before you begin executing any kind of strategy will save you a lot of time and a lot of frustration. Remember when you figured out who your audience was and that helped you decide all that other content stuff–now you get to figure out what will actually create that content. In most cases you will need at least a few design tools, think Adobe Creative Suite, some kind of organizational tool, like Slack or Workhive, and a marketing automation tool, like Marketo, Salesfusion, or HubSpot. These add up to a well-organized team that has the capacity to produce powerful content and distribute it well.
6. HOW WILL YOU MAKE NOISE?
Okay, so you have your audience, you have your content plans and maybe you even have your content, but how do you make sure that it is seen and heard? This is where content marketing really has synergy with your other marketing activities. If you’re active on social media, then your audience should be informed whenever you have new content. Likewise, if you have a list of emails of your clients, then incorporate your content into a newsletter and get the word out that way. And as always, never forget about SEO and how it’s impacted by content. You should always optimize your content for SEO purposes.
7. HOW WILL YOU MEASURE SUCCESS?
We have a saying in the office, “In God we trust, all others must have data.” We say this because as marketers, we’re often prone to going with our guts or making assumptions based on a perceived effect of our actions. But honestly, that’s all noise. What really matters is the data and what it tells you. So, make sure you have analytics set up. Also, ensure that you’re tracking your customer journeys and know where and when they’re engaging with your content. And finally, you’ll need to agree on a metric for success. Are you looking to develop more top of funnel traffic? Or are you looking to satisfy your sales team with marketing qualified leads? Whatever your goal is, make sure the team is bought in and it’s measurable.
*Article originally written by forbes.com*