Marketing is going through a transformational change. The customer relationship is more complicated than ever before: Customers are using more channels to research and learn about products and services, new social channels are emerging and creating a more fragmented environment for reaching your customers, and mobile marketing is rapidly on the rise. With new tools and technology entering the market daily, it is hard to keep up.
We believe that brands that get “good at content” and deliver value to highly targeted audiences will be the ones to succeed. Having the right content can transform your business from just one of the crowd into a market leader. Let’s take a look at what is needed to get your content marketing program up to date.
Content Strategy and Plan
Having a solid content strategy is at the core of any marketing organization. Done right, it can be a game changer. The first step is to develop a strategy and plan. Elements of a plan include; personas, content audit, leadership topics, a list of content that needs to be developed, a publishing schedule, keywords, and identified distribution channels.
Personas -The foundation of any content strategy is understanding your customer. If you don’t understand your customer, it doesn’t really matter what content you develop because your message, no matter how your deliver it, is likely to miss the mark. Develop detailed personas, a fictional representation of your company’s ideal customer that provides demographic information as well as identifies their pain points and objections.
Audit - Unless you are a start-up, the plan needs to include a complete audit of your existing content. You need to determine what is current, what content needs to be updated, and who is the content intended for. Once you map you’re your current content to your ideal personas, you can then identify the gaps and determine what you need and what needs to be updated.
Map Content and Buyer’s Journey – Once you have identified the gaps in your existing content, you need to map all content to each stage in the buyer’s journey. You want to ensure that you have the right content for each stage of the journey.
Leadership topics - The plan should also include leadership topics that align with the company’s business objectives. These are topics that will be the focus of new content creation. The topics will typically come from executive management, engineering, support, as well as industry trends defined by the marketing team.
Editorial Calendar – A 90-day action plan typically results from the planning process. It is harder to schedule out beyond 90 days because the market changes as well as the business changes. The publishing calendar includes topics, which personas are being targeted, determining if the content meant for top, middle, or bottom of the funnel activity, content type, keywords for SEO optimization, and distribution channels.
Once the plan is completed, it is time to create the content. Content is essential for sales engagement and marketing and you need to bring your story to life. Content takes many forms including; blog posts, infographics, e-newsletters, emails, graphics, videos, podcasts, whitepapers, surveys, e-books, data sheets, solutions guides, calculators, and online packaged demos. You want to make sure that you have content that satisfies each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Creating great content is no longer sure bet for success. As content continues to pile up on the internet, marketers need to be focused on finding unique ways to expand their reach if they want to make an impact on their traffic and lead generation goals. While this will typically include channels like email and social media, earned and paid, you can use the buyer personas to uncover alternative channels that might have been overlooked.
The first thing you want to do when it comes to reporting is define what success looks like for your business. For some businesses it may be driving more web traffic while for others it means increasing the number of sales leads. This will help you identify KPIs and set well-defined goals based on these indicators.
Succes will always goes back to really understanding your customer and their buying journey. One way to really get to know your customers is to leverage their stories. To learn how, download Red Javelin's free eBook titled Happy Customers Tell Great Stories below.