Content marketing seems self-explanatory. Put simply, it’s marketing content (without trying to sell anything). Any business should understand the importance of advertising, of promoting, or of having a strategy of some sort, right? While true, content marketing also has a level of depth that will catch the unprepared off-guard. Companies left and right are jumping into content marketing because it’s the latest thing. But without the necessary forethought and planning, the top rewards are never realized. To be successful at content marketing requires a carefully thought-out approach that can’t be rushed into without consequences. Here are a few ways to ensure success in content marketing endeavours so your business can stand out from the rest.
Document the Plan
Only about 35% of marketers actually create documentation of their content marketing plan. The rest have purely verbal plans. This is a problem for a few different reasons. First of all, it means there is no common reference. In a verbal plan, everyone may be told the same information but walk away having heard different things. Even if questions are asked for clarification, there is always the possibility of having not questioned something that was thought to have an apparently obvious meaning. Having a documented strategy means having a concrete, laid out set of steps and methods that anyone can refer back to and stay on track with.
Additionally, a documented plan affords a more thorough and applicable strategy. Different elements of your business can be considered and included (or excluded) in various ways as looking over the plan shows how content marketing can affect different segments. The presence of a written plan also makes it easier to train new employees and ensure they have a firm understanding of your goals.
Centralize Content Creation Resources
The continual creation of engaging content is a heavy time and monetary investment. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to streamline the process. One method is to create a central knowledge bank that can store contributed information. This can be content or marketing ideas; subjects that are viable but not currently topical, advice, and more. This allows for a central reference point that can be accessed and updated to make sure everyone is on-track, but it can also be a form of collaboration. One person’s input can inspire another, leading to a piece of content that neither would’ve created alone.
Look for Audience, Not Ranking
While it is natural to create content in the hopes of getting it republished or noticed by large publications like Forbes or The Wall Street Journal, that’s not necessarily the only route to success. Every industry or consumer group has its own set of niche publications that are directly targeted at the people who are interested in your kind of business. Yes, Forbes probably has more readers, but most of them likely don’t read the magazine for your kind of topic. In a way, this is similar to keywords. The more specific (niche) the publication, the more likely it is that someone in the audience is actually interested in what you have to say and more inclined to purchase your product or service. Don’t be afraid to branch out and spread the content around.
Published content is not the same thing as setting up a billboard. The results are more subtle and gradually build up, so anyone expecting to produce a handful of articles and see a windfall is going to be very disappointed. Establish what your key performance indicator is and see what influences that. For instance, your main indicator could be sales. Sales are made as leads are acquired, run through the pipeline, and your team potentially converts the lead into a purchase. Your content, therefore, is best measured by any of these three components that can be established to be influenced by your published content. Be clear about your expectations and reasonable with your time frames. Benefits will come; but this is a marathon, not a race.
Staying on top of measurements and analysis also lets you keep an eye on how things are working. By noticing trends proactively, you can make tweaks and adjustments to capitalize on shifts in topics or interest. Important elements to monitor are page views, what content is shared the most, what content is read the most, and what keywords are leading people to find your content. This way, you can find out if, say, “How-To” guides are more likely to be shared while infographics get the most direct views. By understanding how your different types of content are seen and reacted to, you can better tailor your marketing strategy to current or anticipated needs.
Leverage Outside of Publishing
There is more than one way to create awareness. This is why you need to pursue multiple avenues when performing content marketing. Publishing is fine, but it is best done alongside other methods that will complement and enhance the results. For instance, including your more recent or most popular articles in an e-mail signature can be a good way to get the content out to people through the course of normal communication. Along the same line, an e-mail marketing campaign using a subscriber list means you can bring awareness of your content to people who have already expressed interest in your business.
Social media is, of course, one of the leading ways to leverage content and reach new and current audiences. Discussion and announcements can be used to build interest in what you create and keep it in the minds of the audience. Proper use of sites like Twitter or Facebook to both learn about and communicate with your audience affords a more direct and intimate form of interaction than typical marketing efforts.
Numero Uno Web Solutions is a provider of search engine optimization (SEO) solutions to startup and small companies from all industries and fields. We stay on the pulse of industry changes and adapt our practices to produce quality SEO and content marketing plans to fuel the growth of businesses across communities. Click here to learn more about content marketing techniques and how we can help improve your search profile.