Content, content, content – digital marketers are buzzing about it and everyone (I mean everyone) is publishing it. Successful bloggers and vloggers are becoming near celebrities with an iPhone camera and a YouTube channel. Advocates, critics, brands of all scale, and even everyday consumers are making their voices heard.
In the marketing world, we’re all familiar with the phrase “content is king”. As an agency, we won’t dispute that statement, but it is important we further define it with a couple key words. Relevant and strategic content holds the true reign.
These two defining adjectives make all the difference when it comes to a content strategy. Content made with no specific purpose or end goal is pretty much useless to a business, and likely to be lost among the mass of other useless published content. With no intended audience, message, or call to action, it won’t be discovered. (A.K.A. wasted marketing dollars)
Good content marketing takes time, consideration, and even A/B testing. Marketers work with many considerations in mind, but the largest is always the bottom line. Our job is to bring in new business, build sales, and hold a place in consumer thought processes. Content marketing follows suit. In a sea of online content, you have to make your brand stand out. When it comes to content, that requires a blend of keen strategy and out-of- the-box creativity.
At TMI, we follow a 5-Step Process to ensure content is relevant, engaging, and visible to our audiences:
- Plan– Identify topics and subjects that matter to your audience. Picking the right form of content is all about what will be most likely to grab the attention of your target market. In addition, the form of content you choose should always clearly and concisely express your core message. The most successful content is guided by a well-developed brand content strategy. Decide how you want your branded content to look and feel and layout how you’re going to meet those standards.Extra Tip: Before you write, answer these questions:
Who are you trying to affect?
What effect are you trying to create?
How will you determine if it’s effective?
- Create– Write and design pieces that stand out. Give it characteristics that make consumers want to share it. Be intriguing. Be Clever. Make a point. There are many different forms of content to consider, but be mindful of generational characteristics, demographics, and research. You’re trying to stay top of mind, but also be helpful. Educational material is often the best approach to content marketing. How-To’s and Top 10 Lists are popular for a reason.Extra tip: Humanize your content. People like relevant and realistic content. Try not to talk at people, but rather be conversational. Ask questions that trigger thinking, but always avoid being “salesy”. People are immediately defensive when they feel that they are being fed a sales pitch.
- Distribute– So you have a great piece of content… what do you do with it? Push out your content on the platforms where your target audience is likely to be listening. The distribution step is just as important as developing the message.
- Analyze– Measure the effectiveness of your content by tracking views, shares, likes, etc. Are your customers/prospects engaging with the content? What’s the response?
- Repeat– The life cycle never ends. Content planning, creation, and distribution should be a continuous process. The ultimate goal is to maximize the life span of your content.
It’s important to remember that good content doesn’t stand alone. It’s just one piece of the puzzle. Optimization, promotion, and searchability are all important factors that feed into the overall idea of content marketing. Content marketing requires a team of individuals that bring many different skills to the table, such as writing, design, analytics, editing, research, and technical skills. Before you post your next Instagram or publish your next blog, take a step back and answer who, what, why, and how and then embed those answers directly into your content strategy.