The formula for success in content marketing seems simple: Provide people the information they want, when they want it, and where they want it. However, in reality, following this formula can be incredibly difficult.
Skyword recently launched an e-book with a seven-step approach that some of today’s leading brands, including IBM’s Midsize Insider, are using as a roadmap to guide their content strategies. With insight from 21 experts and influencers, including C.C. Chapman, Joe Pulizzi, Leslie Poston, and Lee Odden, the e-book can help you plan, launch, and sustain a terrific content program. I’ve highlighted the steps here, but I’d encourage anyone who is planning their content strategy for the coming year to take a look at the recommendations in the book.
Step 1: Define Objectives
The first step to launching a successful program is to define your objectives. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s often overlooked. You should know what the business is trying to achieve and how content can help. Think of your objectives as the key on a map. Define them, and then keep them handy so you don’t get lost along the way.
Step 2: Develop Content Strategy
Before you start hiring writers and publishing content, make sure you can check off these key elements of your content strategy:
- Know your audience
- Determine the type of content (news vs. evergreen)
- Define and own your keywords
- Calibrate your brand voice
- Establish an editorial calendar
- Allocate resources
Step 3: Establish Process & Technology
Content marketing is part art and part science. The art is producing quality content that engages and provides value, which is where many organizations tend to focus. But it is also a science and requires a commitment to the following processes and technologies to be done well:
- Have the tools and processes to produce content efficiently
- Track content performance so you can continuously improve your program
- Ensure that all content is optimized for search and social, the primary channels that will lead people to it
Step 4: Recruit & Manage Writers
There are a couple of important considerations in developing your writer strategy and managing your writers’ ongoing success:
- Whether you should use internal or external writers
- What writer skill set you need: expert, enthusiast, or influencer
- How to train your writers
- What compensation models are right for your program
Step 5: Prepare Your Site
The next step to think about is where your content is going to live, the experience visitors will have with the content, and how well you’ve optimized that location for search.
If content is living on your website, you should perform a content audit of your existing site. Once you have a high-level view of all your existing content, you can start thinking about where your new content will live on your site. Is there an existing section of your site that can host your content? Or, if your goal is to engage consumers directly in social spaces like Facebook, YouTube, or Google+, perhaps you want to publish your content directly into your company’s space on those platforms.
Step 6: Promote Your Content
Simply creating content isn’t enough. You also need to focus on getting the content to your audience when and where they want it.
Your content strategy should work in harmony with your other marketing initiatives: SEO, SEM, social media, paid media, email, and any other initiatives. A powerful way to increase the social reach of a piece of content is to leverage the author’s own connections. Tap your writers to promote their pieces via their social channels.
Step 7: Measure, Learn, & Optimize
Measuring success means tracking what is resonating with your audience so you can continue producing that type of content. You’ll have specific things you want to measure, depending on your business and strategy, but these are some important ones.
Traffic Metrics: Page views, unique visitors
Search Metrics: Keyword performance; referrals, organic search results
Social Metrics: Number of shares, number of tweets, number of pins, etc.
Engagement Metrics: Number of comments, number of likes, time on site
Lead Generation Metrics: Requests for more information, completion of content forms
Conversion Metrics: Sales, average sales price, frequency of purchase, retention marketing registrations
Companies that have launched the most successful content programs understand the need for a systematic longterm approach to reach and engage customers. Following these seven steps can help sustain a program that becomes an integral part of–and even fuels–your overall marketing program.
Download the complete How to Kick-Start Your Content Marketing e-book.