There’s little point in starting a content marketing campaign unless you know what you want it to achieve.
“You don’t know what you want and you won’t be happy until you get it.” This was one of my mum’s favourite phrases when I was young. We would be restless, wanting to do something but not knowing exactly what.
This is something that can happen when companies start a content marketing campaign, they know they want to do something, they just don’t know quite what that is.
You may have seen that your competitors have started a blog and you feel that you should do the same.
Content marketing is not about marketing content – it’s about marketing with content. Most marketing professionals can do publishing, a skilled content marketing professional will publish with a purpose.
It seems obvious but research and preparation are key to a successful marketing campaign. Content marketing is no different in this respect. But it is different from other forms of marketing and so it requires a different approach from the outset.
Before you jump in with both feet by loading up your blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts with tons of articles, videos and infographics, you need to do some preparation.
Essential ingredients for success
Essentially, you need to know that what you are going to publish will be read, engaged with and ideally shared within your ideal target community. And who is this ideal target community anyway?
Whether you have done some content marketing before, or if this is the first time you have dipped your toes into the water, there are five essential things that you need to consider:
Are you looking to raise awareness of your company? Are you launching a new product or service or do you want to change the general perception of your business? Knowing this is incredibly important, as it will determine what you create and how you present it to the world.
Think about the goals carefully. Your campaign shouldn’t just be a vanity project to get people to read your articles. The content must have a purpose, otherwise it’s just a waste of time and money.
So now you know roughly what you want to do, the second step is to work out ways of measuring your success at achieving that goal or goals. Think about what these should be.
Do you want to increase traffic to your site.
Do you want to grow an audience on social media?
Or perhaps you want newsletter signups?
Write down your key performance indicators (KPIs) and then think about how they connect to your goal.
Of course, there are a lot of caveats when it comes to your KPIs. You might want lots of followers on Facebook, for example. That’s great. But are they the sort of people who are actually interested in your brand and/or products?
Are all the people who have signed up for your newsletter going to be receptive to your sales team contacting them and actually buying your products?
This third step in determining your ideal target community is critical, as you need to actually listen to their needs and wants before you can ever expect them to listen to what you have to say!
Only then should you start thinking about creating content. Through social listening, competitor analysis, sector research and other means, you should have a better understanding of what makes your intended audience tick.
It is essential to do this research so that you create the sort of content that your intended audience is going to engage with, not just what you want to write about. Just hoping for the best with a collection of random content won’t get you the sort connections you’re hoping for.
No content marketing campaign hits its objectives overnight. So, don’t expect to see a massive upturn in traffic or for your sales team’s phones to be ringing off the hook the minute you hit publish on your first post.
This isn’t just us providing a caveat to how well our content marketing campaigns might work, we’ve seen time and time again how audience engagement and subsequent conversions follow a hockey stick performance curve.
This is obvious when you consider that the content gets shared in the wild over long periods of time, and repeat engagement is required before you can build up trust and respect within your community.
Finally, don’t be afraid to tinker with the campaign. Content marketing isn’t a fire-and-forget strategy. Digital marketing allows you to dynamically adjust, tweak and address feedback and reactive analysis as you go along.
Make sure you constantly dip into it and see what is working and what isn’t, making changes accordingly. An additional benefit of constant monitoring and adjusting is that you may find some subject matter resonates exceptionally well and unexpectedly so.
As such, ensure that you experiment with different subject matters and treatments, as you may find yourself starting to reach into new customer sectors that your competitors are not yet targeting.
Today’s modern marketing and digital publishing platforms provide all the tools to ensure you’re not just broadcasting to or bill-boarding the masses. The days of inefficient and high-cost marketing are over. Now you can be narrow, highly targeted, efficient, cost-effective and fully transparent in your marketing efforts.
That Media Thing provides highly skilled content marketing services to suit any budget. Why not email firstname.lastname@example.org to see how our digital publishing heritage can transform your customer engagement.