We all recognize the value of content marketing and why it’s important to make it a part of our current marketing. (And if you don’t understand it’s value yet, here are 4 big reasons why B2B companies need content. What many haven’t figured out yet is how to tie this process into their strategy and how to fit content creation into an already jam-packed day. For details on content marketing strategy and getting it all done, you can download our Crazy Busy Marketers Guide to Content Creation.
For many organizations, however, it seems to be one of those shoot-from-the-hip marketing tactics. And that’s probably why those companies are not convinced about its return on investment.
Content marketing really requires thought and detail in order to deliver the desired outcome. And it’s important to also put some thoughts down on paper as to what outcomes you’re really working towards. For most of us, it’s about generating web site traffic and then understanding how to use that content to generate real leads.
Here’s a five step plan for developing a content marketing plan. If you follow the steps and monitor the results of your work, you’ll learn how to use content to grow your business.
1. Plan Your Content
The point here is to plan your content around your products and services and the kinds of problems you solve for your customers. For example, if you sell accounting software, create some content around the process of evaluating new accounting software. Use your content to teach your prospects how to be better consumers in your industry.
If you have a new product or service launching, build and deliver some content around this new product or service. The idea here is to create some traffic around the topic.
Create a content plan that includes themes for each month that details what kind of traffic you want to
2. Create Your Content.
Everyone likes to consume content differently so it’s important to create content in various formats and allow your audience to select the format best for them. Think about delivering written content, video, and audio.
Think about building content that builds trust. Deliver content that is educational and valuable. Some will be in bite-size sizes and some will require more of a commitment to consuming the content. Content that educates includes white papers, webinars, success stories and FAQs.
3. Content Curation
Content curation is a process of sorting through the massive amounts of content online, and then selecting what is relevant and useful to your audience and then presenting it in a thoughtful and structured manner. The trick here in making this content useful is to continue to position yourself as a go-to authority because visitors don’t want to spend time hunting around the web–they’d prefer a source of expertise and customized selection of the best content in that niche or industry.
In order to add value, however, it’s not just about reposting. You should understand your audience well enough to know what the types of information most valuable for them. And you should be expert enough in your industry to be able to add value to the content by discussing how the information is relevant and show that your opinions support the content objectives for your company.
Collaboration is about building something grand together–taking an idea and making it so much more valuable with the help of others. And content makes for a great way to collaborate with others. They could be co-workers within the organization, for example, marketing and engineering or it might be two businesses that cater to the same target marketing collaborating to deliver something completely new and different.
Because each of party likely has different reasons for delivering the content, it’s likely that their collective expertise will deliver something that was totally unforeseeable at the beginning of the project. This makes for richer and more specialized content that you can be sure is different from whatever else has already been created. In fact, it might even be interesting to take an old post and collaborate with someone to write a new take on the subject.
The secret to being successful with your content is to image how you can re-use and re-purpose that content to provide added benefit to your community. For example, if you’re going to take the time to create a 13 page white paper to help your community understand how to evaluate and consider new accounting software systems, how else might you use some of the information you’ve compiled in this document? You could break out a couple of the assessment concepts into individual blog posts. The blog posts would allow you to link to the full document or other related blog posts to help you drive more traffic to the white paper. Another thing you might be able to do is to publish an actual spreadsheet that takes the concepts discussed in the paper and offer it as a downloadable and useable spreadsheet for your community to perform the task at hand.
Great content can also be shared with your strategic partners as maybe an electronic newsletter piece or maybe you have to write a column for an industry newsletter on a monthly basis. Why not repurpose this content on your own blog. You’ll want to get permission, however, in all likelihood, they’ll agree because you can also make mention of the partner publication and drive some awareness for that group as well.
Creating a content marketing strategy and a content marketing plan will only help you and your team build content much more quickly and more effectively because you’ll have given some thought to the outcome you’re looking for.
On February 28th, we’ll be hosting a complimentary webinar to help you build a content marketing plan. Register today.