In today’s digitally saturated world, content is still king – but an overabundance of information has left people craving for something relevant, inspiring and useful. That’s why the most successful companies and brands have devoted so many resources to their content marketing strategy. So what is content marketing exactly?
According to CMI, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
The Content Marketing Strategy Framework
Well, that’s a little easier said than done. So to truly succeed in content marketing, I’ve developed a simple 5-step framework:
1. Develop A Content Calendar
Plan your content marketing strategy throughout the year and time it with critical seasons in your business as well as key moments in time for your brand. Be sure to consider topics that incorporate SEO key phrases relevant to your primary business units and include them in the content title, meta and heading tags. It’s important that you update consistently, so organize your content into an editorial calendar for accountability. Hubspot offers a really great blog calendar template for free that helps organize your content strategy and has built-in fields with everything you need to stay on track.
2. Partner with Subject Matter Experts & Influencers
Leverage your existing employees and network to design and fill in your editorial calendar with relevant topics. Additionally, you can locate influencers and SMEs to work with you on the content development calendar and contribute articles.
An influencer, in the context of marketing communications, is someone who has the power to shape the opinions and buying behavior of your client’s target audience. A digital influencer is someone who’s voice is amplified by digital and social media channels. The most important attributes for influencers are:
- Reach: The number of people an influencer could potentially reach through their follower base (unique monthly visitors + social following).
- Relevance: How relevant and pertinent the content the influencers are sharing is to your company or brand.
- Resonance: The level of social engagement of an influencer’s audience which can be measured in social likes, shares, comments, etc.
3. Create & Structure Compelling Content
Content comes in many forms. For the sake of this article, we are referring to short and long form editorial / blog content (good for building search engine equity). The key here is focus on creating content that’s interesting to your audience while seeking to add value. Content format, design and conversion optimization also play an important role here:
- Content Format: Structure your content with compelling headlines and format it with easy-to-scan subheads and bullet points.
- Design Aesthetics: Incorporate images, infographics and pull-quotes throughout the copy to maintain the reader’s attention.
- Mobile / Social: Make sure the content is mobile responsive and easily shareable with a built-in social media plugin.
- Conversion Driven: Be sure to include a call-to-action at the end or a lead capture form in the sidebar that tells the reader what to do next.
4. Employ An Integrated Distribution Model
The best content in the world won’t get you anywhere if people aren’t reading it. The days of pushing out a press release or blog post and hoping the masses will come are long gone. The best content today is hyper-targeted to a niche audience and leverages an integrated PESO distribution model which aims to amplify your content across the spectrum of paid, earned, shared and owned media:
If that looks like a lot to do, that’s because it is. This is where partnering with an integrated marketing communications agency like Cohn & Wolfe is vital for developing your content strategy and PESO distribution plan in way that drives meaningful impact.
There are also boutique publications like Conscious Connection Magazine that specialize in social business & CSR content marketing. Conscious Connection employs a full-service creative studio that will work with you on creating premium content while also designing and launching a custom digital distribution plan across the PESO spectrum.
5. Establish KPI’s for Measurement & ROI
The establishment of content KPI’s is crucial to ensuring the ROI of your content marketing efforts. Look at surface metrics like web traffic to your content, article view time and social shares / engagements. Then drill down and measure customer acquisition by employing a conversion tracking pixel on your landing pages. You can measure newsletter registrations, trial sign-ups, leads captured or even online purchases. A conversion driven strategy will also allow you measure the individual impact from your paid media marketing efforts so you can focus on the ones that work best for your business.
“Branded content is created for a company. A content brand is created for a valuable company.” ~ Drew Davis, Brandscaping
No matter where you are with your company’s marketing plan now is a great time to begin developing a content marketing strategy. Have anything else to add? Please share in the comments below!
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