If you work with me or any other AWG digital specialist on your digital marketing, you’ve probably heard us discuss content marketing. But what exactly is content marketing? It’s not just about the content we post on your social media profiles, your website or your blog. It’s the strategy behind the content that’s being posted.
I recently attended the 2018 Business Communicators Summit for the KC chapter of IABC. The keynote speaker was Quinn Tempest, a digital marketing strategist and graphic designer from Phoenix. Her presentation was titled “Content Marketing Demystified” and she covered the myths of content marketing and the lessons she’s learned about content marketing throughout her career working with various companies and individuals.
Quinn describes content marketing as “the art of providing relevant, useful content to your prospects without selling or interrupting them.” She asserts that instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your audience more informed before they buy. The goal is to deliver consistent, ongoing, valuable information your customers/prospects so that they will ultimately reward you with their business and loyalty.
Next, Quinn outlined the seven major myths about content marketing:
Content marketing is about you.
It’s about your audience. It’s about teaching them about your products before they buy.
Content marketing is a campaign
It has campaigns within it. It has strategies and tactics. But it’s actually a philosophy.
Content marketing is handled by the marketing department
Bring in customer service and sales so you are including people who talk to your customers every day.
Content marketing is ___________ (social media, blogging, SEO, ect.)
It applies to all mediums and platforms.
Content marketing doesn’t produce results
You have to make it a priority, it’s not about you so you can’t treat it like advertising.
Content marketing is a 30-day ROI
Content marketing is a long-game.
Content marketing is a fad
It’s here to stay.
After that, she covered some myth-busting content marketing lessons she’s learned.
Align your three Ps – people, processes and priorities
Find the right people who need to be a part of the content marketing discussion, create a streamlined process that you can scale up to more content and projects, and make sure content marketing is a priority company-wide.
Devise a strategy to get executive and/or team buy-in
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Find a way to measure ROI and show how and why it can be beneficial for your company. To start out with before you begin your content marketing strategy, use other similar companies as an example if need be.
Gather your team/resources
This doesn’t have to be one person for each role. One person can be in multiple roles and multiple people can be in one role. These roles include: planners, subject matter experts, content creators, editors, web managers, amplifiers (brand advocates, paid online promotions), data crunchers.
Streamline your content creation process
Empower one person to make the approval decisions for content marketing. If it requires legal review, obviously don’t skip that. But otherwise streamline the processes as much as possible.
Document your strategy
Align your priorities, people and processes. Always be testing and measuring your content strategy to make it as valuable as possible to provide the best ROI.
Dive deep into your audience personas
If possible, determine your audience personas from third party sources or from your own research. Who are your people? Meaning, who is your target audience? What are their demographics, pain points and needs, barriers to purchase, influencer potential, content formats (a good mixture is key)
Create content people are actually looking for
Sure, we like to create and/or watch fluffy, fun content like cat videos, but we sometimes forget about the content people are actually looking for online. Search engines are answer machines. Use the Google predictive text to help you determine what people are searching for. Also, consider what questions does your company get asked all the time?
Build a strong SEO foundation
92% of the traffic share from clicks comes from page 1 of Google. Quinn highlighted some some common SEO mistakes, but I will go into greater detail about SEO in one of my upcoming recaps from the summit.
Plan intentionally, strategically, and far out
Create a planning document. Quinn provided this as an example. It’s a way to clearly define your content, how it aligns with your business and the goal you want to reach by publishing it.
Focus on lead generation
Use the hub and spoke strategy for your content marketing. All of your content comes from one hub (usually a website) and is disseminated out to your different platforms (social, email, etc.). This also helps generate leads for new customers so be sure to have a way to collect as much data as you can from these platforms that all go back to your hub. This is where a customer relationship management (CRM) system is extremely helpful.
Nurture your leads
Once you have a prospect who is interested, don’t just ignore them. If somebody has subscribed to your emails, use your CRM or possibly a loyalty card program to gather data from each customer and use the data to tailor content that is relevant to them.
Target your audience where they hang out online
I have covered this in multiple blog posts but don’t focus on a platform that your customers don’t use. Don’t get “social media shiny object syndrome,” as Quinn put it. Just because Snapchat is a popular app, that doesn’t mean your audience is using it. Don’t waste your time using a platform that your customers aren’t even on.
Measure, tweak, test, rinse & repeat
This is another idea I’ve repeated in multiple blog posts. You have to figure out what works for you. We can give you all the advice we want in these posts, but ultimately you have to try them, test them, measure them, and then figure out what gets you the best results and the best sales numbers from your customers.
Content marketing will be a key to success for your business. So the next time your digital marketing specialist/strategist/team talks to you about your content marketing strategy, be prepared to discuss your business goals and the bigger picture.