Content Marketing is
Establish clear goals
Your content marketing goals need to be based on your business goals. This seems obvious, but it can be easy to get so caught up in creating and telling your story through content marketing that you lose sight of the reason you are doing it in the first place. Identify concrete results that you need to see from your content marketing.
Conduct your Research
Find out what your partners or shareholders want as well as what your customers want. You may use surveys or focus groups or you may take a more informal approach. Using these free tools, take a look at what others in your industry are doing as well.
If your industry is somewhat behind the times in regards to content marketing, look at similar industries instead while keeping an eye on the direct competition to note particular aspects in need of improvement.
Target your Audience
- Who are they?
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- What is their income and education level?
You may find that you have several target audiences, and you can adjust your content marketing accordingly to appeal to different segments.
Developing your Message
This is another one that should be obvious, but some businesses simply start posting on social media or blogs with no real plan or consistent message in mind.
Your message needs to be both in line with your company’s brand as well as supportive of your marketing goals. How can you communicate and reinforce these ideas in an engaging way?
Choose the right Channels
Your target audiences and your message will steer you toward the right channels, but don’t dismiss any of them out of hand.
YouTube videos can demonstrate products uses while Pinterest might display eye-catching objects for sale and Twitter can alert users of promotions. However, don’t try to operate on too many channels at once, go where your audience is.
Map out a launch Strategy
Set deadlines, and give yourself a little time to test your plan. Here again, focus groups and surveys may be useful to gauge how customers will react to your content marketing strategy.
A launch strategy can also give you a map for rolling out your plan in stages that may garner more attention from your intended audience if you build up enough anticipation.
Measuring for Success
Effectively measuring a content marketing initiative against your goals can be mapped out from the outset using a number of checklists found here. Be specific in what you are trying to measure, for example, rather than “increase customer visits to website,” name a specific percentage for increase.
Learn to use Google analytics and other tools for tracking return on investment in the areas that are most important to you.
Content marketing can be a powerful tool for attracting new customers and creating more loyal and engaged existing customers, but it needs a strong foundation to succeed.
Time spent up front in creating an effective and well-researched strategy now will pay off in dividends when the content itself reaches the right audience in the right way to get the right results.
Have you planned out your content marketing strategy for 2014? What other pieces of the plan can you add to the list above?
Images: ”Highway Signpost with Content Marketing wording / Shutterstock.com“
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