62% of companies say content marketing is the single most valuable tool to generate new leads. Yet, most content marketing efforts are ineffective. Find out why.
- Planning Stage: Build a Foundation
- Business Alignment
- Know Your Target Audience
- Content Marketing Mission Statement
- Define Roles & Responsibilities
- Content Publishing Schedule
Build a Foundation
Like any business initiative, the first step to improvement starts with defining a clear set of goals. Content marketing is no different.
Convene a Meeting:
Achieving alignment from C-level executive to intern copywriter is mandatory to ensure accountability and Get all interested parties in the same room, and ask the question: What do we want our content to accomplish?
There are many “correct answers” to this question:
- Generate and convert leads
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase brand loyalty
- Drive customer engagement
All these options adequately answer the question, and none are wrong. But, the type of content produced will differ significantly, depending on the stated objective. Create unique and interesting content about your business to increase brand awareness, but marketing materials have to be more targeted if the main goal is to convert leads. This is why it’s imperative to hash out any disagreement in a preliminary strategy meeting. Hear everyone’s thoughts, and reach a consensus.
Target the Right Audience:
You’ve defined the main objective of your content marketing machine: the intended purpose of your content. The next step is finding the right people. B2B sales are long and complex, and customers have precise needs at different stages of the sales funnel. An inquiry level prospect is interested in general content, so a demo or video on product functionality is irrelevant and useless. Whereas, a marketing qualified lead (MQL) has no need for a basic infographic.
Simply defining the broad objective of your content is necessary, but not sufficient. You must also pinpoint the right audience to address. Again, start by asking the basic questions:
- Who are they?
- Who are our best customers?
- What is the best way to communicate with these customers?
- What are their interests?
- Why are they searching for [ X ]?
- What is our value add?
- Why do they need our product?
Most companies lack a targeted approach to their marketing efforts because they don’t target a specific audience to address. While this concept may seem simple enough, it is often neglected because content marketing is commonly perceived as a catch-all model. Meaning, if we keep producing amazing content about our products and brand customers will find their way to us. In reality this is an ineffective, simplistic approach. No business should expect to grow and gain customers by merely saying how great they are. Find the right people, know their needs, and give them what they want.
Execute Your Content Marketing Plan
After you’ve asked all the right questions, the last step is execution. How to translate planning into action.
Create a Mission Statement:
A mission statement is possibly the single most important part of any content marketing overhaul, I cannot overstate its importance. Any content marketing mission statement should communicate the goals and objectives you’ve defined in the previous steps: what do we want to say, who do we want to talk to and how do we talk to them. A mission statement will prevent miscommunication between sales and marketing, and will hold everyone accountable.
Define Roles and Responsibilities:
To ensure your content marketing apparatus hits the ground running, everyone must know their role. The marketing discipline is constantly, rapidly growing. Marketing is responsible for 80% of the sales funnel, which means there needs to be a lot of content. Any content marketing machine must fulfill these positions to be most effective:
- Content Marketing Editor (directs message)
- Community Manager (all social traffic)
- Curation and Contribution Manager (seeks contributor and influencer relationships to expand your reach)
- Data Analytics
- SEO Optimizer
Each of these roles performs a different function, and all must be staffed.
Content Publishing Schedule:
The last step to implementing a content marketing overhaul is outlining when, how, and by whom will each piece of content be generated. In the same way salespeople have a monthly or quarterly quota, content marketers must be held accountable to a definitive standard. Whether you’re blogging or producing video, there needs to be a standard for content marketers to hit.
Know your role and responsibilities and be more effective.