Are you having trouble producing enough content?
Want to do more with less staff?
Need to develop a long-term plan for your efforts?
Here are 5 things you can do in 2013 to help you answer your burning content marketing questions.
1. Assemble a diverse content marketing team.
Make sure each team member knows the strengths and weaknesses of each other. Build in processes where team members can depend on each other as you develop a diverse team of specialists, generalists and hybrids. For example, there may be certain people on your content marketing team that may not be as detailed oriented. These team members most likely would make better editors or proofers while team members who are more creative would be better writers or graphic designers. The key is to have a wide range of skills and interests so team members can learn from each other. It may be helpful to have people outside the marketing department help you with your efforts.
2. Develop a marketing technology roadmap.
A shiny new content marketing tool can be helpful to your team but before you go out and buy it and implement it into your existing systems, you should really understand how it would help. It may be helpful to create a marketing technology roadmap so you can see how all of your systems will “talk” to each other. By making sure you have the right systems in place, your team will perform at a higher level. According to David and Lorrie Goldsmith of the Goldsmith Organization in a recent Fast Company article:
“Having the appropriate systems and structures in place is one of the most effective ways of bringing out the best talents and highest productivity of your people. Yet it’s one of the most ignored factors in organizations today.”
By understanding how your marketing technology systems fit together and the processes you should have in place, you will have a more efficient, productive and integrated content marketing team.
3. Construct an overall theme around your content.
It is important to develop an overall theme for your content for a certain time period. Theming—or the use of an overarching framework that creates a holistic and integration organization around one theme or topic—can help with the development of your content portfolio. A theme can help your team (and your audience) understand how all of the content your organization produces ties together.
It may be helpful to think of your content like a television series. A television series has an overall theme and each episode helps tell the story or theme of the TV series. Theming helps successful content marketers create and refine their content marketing editorial calendars. For example, content marketers can create a theme for the entire year where all content produced (e.g. magazine issues, newsletters, webinars, etc.) incorporate this theme.
4. Determine where your content marketing capabilities stand today.
In order to understand where your company is going with its content marketing efforts, you should know where your organization is today. Determine where it lies on Altimeter Group’s content marketing maturity model and/or perhaps build your own maturity model specific to your organization. This model can be helpful in communicating to your organization, especially the C-suite, where your company stands today and where you are going in the future. For example, your content marketing efforts may already be taking place but they may be siloed throughout different departments or individuals.
5. Create a vision for what the future will look like.
After you determine where your content marketing efforts are today, you should paint the picture of the future. What will your content marketing department look like in a year or two from now? What are you trying to accomplish with your content marketing efforts? What does success look like? What is the purpose of your content? And how does it fit your company’s vision, values and objectives?
Coca Cola recently created a “must-watch” video series called Content 2020 to show where they are headed with their content marketing efforts. Their vision: create the world’s most compelling content by moving from creative excellence to content excellence. If Coca Cola’s accomplishes this task, they will earn a disproportionate share of popular culture. That is easy to understand, whether you are a content marketer or not.
What content marketing tips would you add to this list?
Whatever level you are at when it comes to content marketing –- beginner, intermediate or advanced – it is important to know (and master) the fundamentals.
Here is an A to Z guide to content marketing.
Action. Your content should get your audience to take action. When you boil down your content, your message should compel your audience to do something. Read proven formulas of call to actions.
Budget. To grow your content marketing efforts, you will need to grow your budget. While you can still do a lot of innovative content marketing tactics on a shoestring budget, it always helps to have money to add staff and create more original content.
Commitment. There are a lot of C’s when it comes to content marketing: content, creation, curation, choice, and conversion, to name a few. But the biggest C that content marketers should have is: commitment. Content marketing requires taking a commitment mindset not a campaign mindset. Your audience (and the search engines) expects that you or your brand to produce a lot of content.
Different. Your content should be different than you can find anywhere else. Are your perspectives on a topic or topics different than others? Does your content stand out compared to your competitors? To be successful in content marketing, you should be different.
Earned. Content marketing requires that you take the earned media approach. Read defining earned, owned and paid media. It requires a lot of work to build trust from your audience. Through a consistent effort over time, you will earn a reputation as a “go to” place to get useful and relevant content.
Format. It is important to remember that content can take many different forms such as blog posts, videos, images, presentations, and slideshows. Make sure your content has a variety of formats because your audience wants variety. And different formats will attract different audiences.
Gathering. Get your audience coming back for more. Every piece of content you create should help your audience: solve problems, entertain, inform and provoke new ideas.
Helpful. Your content should be helpful not promotional. Don’t talk about yourself too much just like when you go to a networking event you don’t want to get stuck in a conversation with someone who only talks about himself or herself. Read creating talkable and useful content.
Imagery. The saying “a picture paints a thousand words,” fits here. Your story or content should paint a picture by using infographics, photos, slideshows and videos. Read 15 reasons to make your content marketing more visual.
Journalism. Learn from professional journalists and what they do well. Implement those best practices. Read 6 things content marketers can take from professional journalists. Sometimes, content marketing is called brand journalism. Whatever it is called, it is important to tell compelling and relevant stories.
Karaoke. Get your audience to participate with such tactics like encouraging guest blogging, getting them to comment on articles and developing case studies about them. Just like Karaoke encourages you to sing along to songs, your content should encourage your audience to join in.
Lists. People love to read lists. We live in a world where we now scan content. Lists are easy to digest and easy to understand. Read 3 reasons why list stories work.
Measure. “You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” the old management adage goes. Unless you measure how well your content is doing with your audience, you don’t know how well you are doing or not doing. You don’t have to spend money to do it. Use a free tool like Google Analytics to find out your most popular articles and how much time they spend on an article.
Numbers. People love facts and numbers. Just like the best resumes have numbers included, the same goes for content. For example, 91 percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing and 86 percent of B2C marketers are using content marketing.
Objective. Before you start anything, it is vital that you set goals and develop a plan to know where you want to go. Even though content marketing is becoming a bigger part of the marketing mix, only 38 percent have a content marketing strategy.
Print. Print is NOT dead. Even though the world is going digital, there is still a tremendous opportunity to connect with your audience via print. Read 7 reasons to rethink print.
Quality. With content marketing, quality trumps quantity any day. Read Zen and the art of content marketing.
Recycle. Since we are all doing more with less, it is important to recycle content and put a new angle on it or freshen it up. Read 56 ways to reuse content marketing.
Story. What is your content trying to communicate? Effective content marketing is all about mastering the art of storytelling. Watch this video: Justina Chen and the importance of story-telling.
Team. You can’t create or curate content without a good team. Throughout the content marketing process, make sure your roles are identified and defined. Read creating a content marketing team and workflow plan.
Utility. As Mitch Joel, the author of Six Pixels of Separation, says marketing today is all about utility marketing or giving your audience something so useful and valuable. It is similar to what Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications, calls refrigerator journalism. It is creating content so compelling, so relevant and so brief that you want to cut it out and stick it on your fridge.
Vision. Content marketing may require a mind shift change at your company. The key is to paint the picture for your team and senior leaders at your organization how your content marketing efforts will impact the bottom line and help your company grow.
Writing. Write, write and write some more. As Copyblogger, says you only way to become a good writer is practice, practice and practice. Read 10 steps to becoming a better writer.
X-ray. Just like an x-ray examines a person, it is important to examine your content. Assess and audit your content so you know what content you need to create, how your content ties together and what content you should produce more or less of.
Year-end. Do you summarize your best content at the end of the year? What better way to close out the year than giving your audience a very accessible snapshot of your best work. You can also do it on a monthly or weekly basis but it should be done at least on a yearly basis.
Zeal. Are you passionate about creating or curating content? How enthusiastic are you? Only those who are have a strong interest and desire for content will be successful.
What words would you suggest as alternatives in this A to Z guide?