Content marketing. Have you heard of it? It’s all the rage these days.
In fact, it really is the cornerstone of your inbound marketing strategy.
Because of this, I think it’s safe to say, most forward-thinking marketers are using content marketing today. But, the big distinction to make is, are we using it successfully?
There are two groups of content marketers; 1) those that do it and 2) those that do it right.
Which group do you want to fall in?
If it’s the latter, keep reading. Here are 6 steps that you can take to use content marketing successfully.
1. Build a Measurement Strategy
The whole point of content marketing is to drive your audience to take a specific action. So, instead of starting out with what you want your audience to know, start out with what action you want them to take. In order to achieve this, you must build a measurement strategy to go along with your content marketing strategy. If you begin with the end in mind and have goals set that you would like your overall content marketing strategy to achieve (or what you would like an individual blog post, eBook, or social post to achieve), you will be much more effective in driving actual measurable results with the content that you are putting out there.
Always ask yourself, “so what?” because that’s what your audience is asking themselves every time they look at a piece of your content online.
2. Answer a Question
When choosing topics to build content around, always focus on answering a question for your target audience.
Content marketing is all about being helpful. Your audience doesn’t give a you-know-what about you or your company. Sorry, they don’t. At least, not yet. If you are building content around real problems that your audience is facing, they will be much more receptive to your messaging and will see that you are truly trying to help them and aren’t just trying to start a conversation about your products or services.
That’s when they’ll start caring about you and your company.
Remember, your audience cares about what’s in it for them, not what’s in it for you.
3. Give TOFU a Little Love
No, not that terrible rubbery soy stuff (nobody has made that joke when talking about TOFU marketing yet, right? I think I’m definitely the first). Anyways, it’s easy (and mighty tempting) for marketers to focus all of their content marketing efforts towards the bottom of the funnel. After all, that’s where the money is. But that logic is extremely flawed. Think about it; if you’re only building BOFU content, how are you going to get enough people to read it in the first place?
People are always searching for answers to their problems. That is how they’ll first land on your site 9 times out of 10. You need to build that top of the funnel content, too, so that you can attract an audience and build awareness before you can then scoop those leads at the bottom.
Drake, though wise in many (or few?) ways, did have it wrong when he rapped “started from the bottom now we’re here”. He’s been misleading marketers for years!
Start at the top of the funnel, friends. Sorry, Drake. I liked you better on Degrassi.
4. Switch it Up
Don’t stick to the same formula over and over when it comes to content. Change up the format and change up your messaging. Different strokes for different folks, different tone-as for different personas, as they say. (Nobody’s ever said that – what rhymes with personas?)
But really, to keep your content fresh, make sure you’re curating different content and each piece you’re putting out there can be seen as helpful in its’ own way. Even if different pieces have the same overall goal or purpose, deliver them in a different way to hit a different audience.
5. Repurpose Content
Utilize a pillar content strategy. Have your core group of important topics/pain points for your personas and then use those to branch off into other pieces of content. If you have one killer eBook that your personas love, repurpose it into several different blog posts, each covering a subtopic of the eBook. You can also repurpose the eBook into an infographic or a webinar. The possibilities are endless!
Work smarter, not harder. It’s important to leverage really awesome content and get the most use out of it rather than try and build a lot of sub-par content just to have a larger library.
6. Fill in Your Editorial Calendar Strategically
So, maybe you were smart and listened to me with the first 5 steps. Now that you have a good foundation of content to market, how do you do it?
It’s important to build your editorial calendar strategically. First, fill in your calendar with the main campaigns that you are targeting with your pillar content. Then, sprinkle in those repurposed pieces you built as part of the pillar content promotion strategy. Finally, see where you have holes in your calendar. Fill those holes in with curated content (remember, not all content that you share has to be your own as long as it’s relevant!) and then strategically plan out the next content you will be targeting for creation based on where you are seeing gaps.
If you do this, you should be able to get ahead in your planning and have a solid road map to follow moving forward so you know which pieces of content need to be prioritized for production.
Gone are the days of creating content just for the fun of it. That is, if you want to be one of the successful content marketers out there. Follow the 6 steps above and leave those awful content marketers in the dust.
(And Drake. He can stay behind, too.)