by Jennifer Marsnik
Content has been used for centuries to educate and persuade as a means of promotion. “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” for example, was first published in 1732 by Benjamin Franklin to promote his printing business. So, while it’s nothing new, expansion of digital channels in recent decades has catapulted content to a key part of the B2B marketing mix today.
But good content marketing isn’t just occasionally posting to your blog or sharing an insightful article via social media. As with any program, it requires purpose, strategy and thoughtful planning.
Here are some tips to get started:
- Make it a priority. Deciding to embark on a content marketing program is step one. Formalize your intention to promote the idea that it requires more than the random creation of a few pieces.
- Define a goal. Being clear about what you’re trying to accomplish will keep activity focused and purposeful and may help minimize the effects of the inevitable distractions that come along.
- Know your audience. Write and design content with a specific reader or viewer in mind. The more assets are tailored to a targeted audience, the more likely they will prompt a response.
- Inventory your current content library. What do you already have that can be repurposed or refreshed to use again?
- Identify resources. Who are the subject matter experts and thought leaders, writers, designers and others who will contribute background information and help produce content pieces?
- Brainstorm themes and topics. What are the trends, challenges or issues that will resonate with your target audience(s) and position your company as an authority on the subject?
- Determine content types. Content assets take many forms (short/long, written/visual, etc.) and may include any combination of external article placements, blog posts, white papers, e-books, infographics, videos, podcasts, webinars, case studies, reviews and testimonials, press mentions, newsletters and more. Prioritize what makes the most sense given your resources and budget.
- Establish distribution channels. Use a variety of channels to disseminate content: your website, blog, emails and social media, as well as third-party outlets. Leverage technology – marketing automation tools like Marketo, HubSpot or Pardot and social media tools like Sprout, Zoho or Hootsuite will help automate and simplify the management of content distribution.
- Create a content calendar. Commit to an achievable cadence and assign the necessary resources to produce the content.
- Execute the plan. Appoint ownership and an ongoing manager of the program and move forward with the plan. Don’t forget to track activity and measure results!
Producing content requires skill and resources, and its benefits often take time to realize. Successful programs require patience and a commitment to follow through. But their advantages are many. A strong content marketing program builds brand awareness and trust, strengthens your reputation as an authority and subject matter expert and promotes engagement. It’s a low-cost way of reaching audiences while serving as fuel for a variety of activities including sustained PR, SEO, social media, email and other campaigns.
But successful content marketing doesn’t happen by accident. It requires both a strategy and methodical execution of a thoughtful plan. Edge can help you get started – contact us to learn more!
About the Author
With Edge Marketing since 2007, Jennifer Marsnik specializes in helping clients develop and implement strategic plans that support their overall business goals.
She lives in the Twin Cities area with her husband and two daughters, and enjoys golf and cheering on the Twins, Vikings, and U of M Gophers.