Content marketing is a lot like George Orwell’s 1984. Most claim to know it but in reality, they’ve only glanced at the cover. More often than not, the term content marketing has been used flippantly with little to no knowledge of what it actually is.
Before we get down to the nitty-gritties of what content marketing can do for your business, let’s break down this seemingly simple concept – step-by-step.
Step #1: Define Content Marketing
The definition of content marketing goes beyond ‘marketing content’. In fact, it doesn’t have just one definition! The simplest one is this – content marketing is a dedicated marketing program that includes creating, publishing, and distributing content to create an online presence.
Step #2: Understand Why it Matters
The goal of content marketing is also simple – to get attention, and more importantly, to retain it!
Many organizations today use marketing programs like PPC or list purchasing to find their target audience in minutes. A method like PPC is simple – all you have to do is post your ads on Google and pay every time a user clicks on it. Admittedly, such methods offer quick results but they’re not the most economical, scalable, or effective route.
As long as you’re funneling money into purchasing more lists or investing in PPC, everything seems fine. But once the money stops, so do the results. Where methods like these fail, content marketing triumphs.
Let’s say you’ve written a blog about your service with a helpful link. Considering a minimal 2% rate of visitor-to-lead conversion, you would find two promising leads every 100 views. But unlike PPC or list purchasing, you don’t have to keep writing the same blog repeatedly. This single blog post will continue to generate leads again, and again, and again.
Content marketing is like the gift that keeps on giving, making it economically viable and strategically smart!
Step #3: Assemble the Right Team
Even with the most basic strategy in place, content marketing needs manpower. The size of your content team depends on many factors such as the size of your organization and budget. So how do you create a plan based on the size of your team? Here’s how:
- Team of 1 (Startups)
If you’re a solo entrepreneur or running a startup, your marketing team most likely comprises a single person – you. Your responsibilities include creating content, managing social media platforms, and optimizing SEO. Focus most of your time on creating content – be it blogs, long-form, video etc. When you gain traction with your content, shift your attention to SEO and social media.
- Team of 3 (SMEs)
If your business is enjoying steady success, your marketing team may involve a small team of 3-4 people. You can either assign one marketer to handle every aspect of content marketing while the other two handle conversion and closing; or you can leave the core content marketing tasks to two marketers and let the third manage the rest.
- Team of 9 or 10 (Mid-size business)
With a larger team, you might be tempted to expand your efforts into converting more leads. However, your best plan of action is still to focus on pushing out content that sustains your strategy. In a team of about 9-10 people, at least half the team should be dedicated to content creation i.e. two for blog writing, one for long-form content, one for SEO, and one for design. With a group this size, it is smart to appoint a CMO who manages everyday activities of the team.
- Team of 20 and above (Large enterprise)
If your organization has a marketing team of over 18 people, kudos! Chances are you have a sizeable budget dedicated to content marketing alone. A team this size includes SEO experts, designers, blog writers, and long-form writers. To sustain quality, hire bloggers with extensive experience in proofreading and editing and create a position like Editor-in-Chief or Head of Content to support the CMO. Their responsibilities include streamlining reporting, securing budgets, hiring talent, contributing ideas, and strategizing for growth.
Step #4: Arm Yourself with the Right Tools
A few basic tools used right can make all the difference in your content marketing endeavors. Here are some necessary tools you should have in your arsenal before you get started:
- Analytics: Measure your performance against your pre-determined goals
- CMS: Publish and manage your content easily, quickly, and effectively
- Design: Create different types of creatives for all visual content
- Project management: Manage projects across different campaigns and teams
Step #5: Create and Publish Content
You’ve got the strategy, you’ve got the team, and you’ve got the technology. What’s next? The actual work! [But before that make sure you are aware of commonly made content marketing mistakes which the first timers are more prone to.] If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a quick rundown:
Your blog posts should improve your company’s presence in search rankings. You can achieve this by publishing relevant content with SEO optimization and keyword research. Depending on your industry, these are the types of blogs you can publish:
- How-to / Informative
- Thought leadership
- News reports
Long-form content is usually more time-intensive but can be very rewarding when done right. Ideal for brand building and lead generation, premium assets can work wonders in promoting high-level content when tied in with regular blogs. These are the following types of premium assets:
- Research reports
It’s not enough to include text-based content in your strategy as visual media is gaining mainstream popularity. A healthy mix of blogs, long-form, and visual content can lend balance and variety to your content marketing strategy. Some popular examples of visual content include:
Step #6: Distribute your Content
Once you’re done with content creation, distribution is your next step. After all, you have to make sure that your voice reaches as many people as possible. But there are many who skip this step, and here’s why:
- After publishing the content, they leave the distribution to Google
- Most writers and designers are more focused on creating cool content than marketing it
Distribution deserves just as much attention and here’s how you can do it right:
- Search engines: Google might distribute your content for you, but if you don’t market it right, your content will end up on page 26. With the right SEO measures, you can bring it to page 1
- Social media: If Google considers social media to be important, so should you. Sharing your content on social media platforms will increase audience engagement
- PPC and ads: Targeted digital marketing can help boost your SEO and drive traffic to your website
- E-mail: A smart and simple way to drive traffic and improve conversions, email marketing is a great way to publicize and distribute your content
Regardless of the scenario, it is not enough to just publish the content – this is only one part of your job. Now that you’ve shared it, it’s time to reap the benefits!
Step #7: Analyze, Analyze, Analyze
Your strategies for content marketing remain unfulfilled if you don’t take the time to measure your progress. With these simple metrics, you can keep track of your content marketing and ensure that you’re reaching your goals.
- Site traffic: This metric gives you the number of hits your website received over a fixed time frame
- Leads: This metric directly influences revenue and can be used to maximize your conversion rate
- Social media: This asset is measured by the number of followers on each platform
- Blogs: This major website asset contributes to site traffic as it matures and grows at a steady rate
- Premium assets: This asset is measured by the number of leads it generates per offer
Success in content marketing isn’t quantifiable. But a surefire way to see results is to create scalable and flexible strategies that can be improved and scaled. Content marketing may not be an exact science but hey, experimentation is the best way to make new discoveries!