The first purpose of content marketing is to answer the questions that keep your potential buyer up at night. If you can do that, or even come close, you’re positioning your company as a go-to resource, and you’ve begun building relationships and trust.
But there are a lot of buyers, and a lot of questions, and a lot of places to ask those questions. That means creating a lot of content or distributing it in many places, or (more likely) both. It becomes a sizable project pretty quickly. You can blow a lot of money and time if you don’t stick to a plan tailored to your customer’s unique content needs. What’s needed is a well-thought-out process for creating and distributing the kind of content that will deliver the goods: customer satisfaction, leading to conversions and revenue.
Act-On’s newest white paper, “Six Best Practices for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy,” takes you step by step through creating a solid plan to help you create the right content for the right channels. The steps include:
1. Get stakeholder support. You’ll need an executive champion, and you’ll want to meet the content needs of all your company’s departments, which could include inside and field sales, customer support, training, and so on.
2. Understand your audience. Develop customer personas. Start by asking yourself and your sales stakeholders these questions:
- Who are our ideal prospects and customers?
- How do they go about making a buying decision?
- What are their questions? Pain points? Objections?
- What gaps in information are they lacking that our content can fill?
3. Identify a content formula that crosses topics, formats, and channels.
- Create content your customers want. That means information that’s important to the customer, not necessarily to your company
- Take the time to understand which channels and formats your customers prefer, then deploy across multiple channels and devices
- Don’t just create content, curate it
4. Create an editorial calendar to guide development.
- Identify your customer-centric themes
- Align content with appropriate buying cycle phases and audience personas
- Provide a tentative outline of when different pieces of content will publish, on what platform, and via which syndication and social channels
- Pay attention to cadence so you can publish your content in a consistent, timely fashion
- Map social campaigns to your editorial calendar
5. Get maximum mileage out of your content. Ever hear of the Rule of 5? It’s the objective of using any one piece of content in five distinct ways. Although five may not always be the optimal number, the goal is to extend the life of your content by using it in multiple ways, offering it in multiple formats, and distributing it everywhere.
6. Develop a process for measuring and reporting. It’s a very good idea to develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are tied to the business value of your content marketing program. Measure just a few things; pick the metrics that have meaning and don’t overcomplicate the process.
The new white paper “Six Best Practices for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy” has lots of useful tips, including pointers for creating customer-centric content, and SEO strategies for content.