By now, most contemporary marketers have accepted the fact that “Content Marketing” is a necessary component of the overall marketing mix. However, many are struggling to come to terms with how to define and execute it. Not sure how to get started? Take a fresh look with these three facts:
1. Your Brand Is Now a Publisher:
Successful Content Marketing requires a volume of high-quality, relevant content in a large variety of text, image, and multimedia formats. Your business is busy creating or managing its core products and services, how can it also dedicate resources to a worthwhile enough volume of content? Redefine your perception of your brand as more than just a service or product provider. In today’s marketing landscape you’re also a publisher. If you start thinking of your company as more than what it does – as also being responsible for telling the story of that thing – you’ll be far more likely to commit to the idea of making content important and you’ll be more comfortable with merging Content Marketing into your current marketing efforts. Content Marketing isn’t a replacement for other advertising or lead-generation channels, it’s just a method you can utilize to nurture prospective clients or buyers throughout their research cycles. That said, if you are so focused on your core business’s production / delivery that you don’t see publishing as a primary objective, then you’re never going to create and put forth enough high-quality content to really get your Content Marketing off the ground.
2. Strategy Is Critical:
If you’re ready to undertake a commitment to Content Marketing, you need a solid strategy. Avoid wasting time and resources by creating the “wrong” kinds of content for your brand in too many divergent and irrelevant channels. Don’t try to be everything to everyone, instead, first start by identifying who you want to reach with our content. Second, assess what topics they’re interested in – so you know what kinds of content you need to create. Third, identify what their behaviors are like – so you know what kinds of formats to use and where to publish your work. You’ll also want to marry to this audience investigation, your objectives for the kinds of things you want to educate about, promote, or otherwise expound upon. Your strategy should become the basis for a content calendar that outlines core themes, kinds of content, selected publishing platforms/channels, and content schedule.
3. Have Realistic Expectations:
To execute your strategy you need a talented person / people who can deliver the “raw” content materials, manage distribution, and interact with your audience. This takes ongoing effort, time, and attention. Content Marketing isn’t a one-time task, nor does it typically result in a direct one-to-one of publishing a message and garnering a new lead – though some methodologies, like gated content publishing, are more likely to fit that mold than others. All these things considered, you need to be sure you understand what to realistically expect from time and labor over the short- and long-term. The buildup may be easier to understand, when you consider that Content Marketing is about reaching users at all stages of the funnel – from new research through to completed sale and everywhere along the way. So, it’s less of a wonder “why” each piece of content / publishing opportunity won’t necessarily result in a lead or a sale, after all, only a certain percentage of the folks you’re reaching with your content will be at the bottom of the funnel. In order to not get discouraged / impatient with content marketing, it’s important to think in longer swaths of time for a “campaign” – months instead of weeks.
Ultimately, Content Marketing is a process from which you’ll typically get what you give, so if you’re not thinking of your brand as a Publisher and you haven’t established a clear, well-constructed Strategy, you’ll need to temper your anticipations for what your Content Marketing will produce. The brands that do it best utilize creativity and smart strategies to continuously connect with their audiences across the channels that make the most sense for them. Hopefully reframing your thoughts about Content Marketing or just considering these facts will help invigorate your brand’s approach.