what is content marketing? content definition, basics, and best practices
- Articles, Blog

what is content marketing? content definition, basics, and best practices

the most important aspect of content fundamentals is really defining and understanding the importance of content marketing so there’s a lot of noise about content marketing today everyone’s talking about it there’s a ton of content out there about it but really a lot of marketers are not totally sure how to define content marketing and how to really fit it as part of their marketing strategy so content marketing is the process of creating valuable relevant content to attract acquire and engage your audience and now this is just one of the many possible definitions on content marketing but it’s one that I think really defines and exemplifies some of the great aspects of what content marketing can do for your business businesses today need content marketing it’s a critical aspect of being visible in today’s digital busy world so why there’s an abundance of information out there on the internet for your customers your customers are sifting through thousands and hundreds of messages each day whether it’s doing their own research online you know puts messaging that’s coming across from marketers emails that are coming into their mailbox there’s a ton of information out there and it’s extremely difficult for you as a marketer to get heard through all of that noise we also live in a multi-device world your customers move seamlessly through their laptops to their phones to their tablet they can carry information around with them in their pocket and access it any minute at any time in a 24/7 world so because there’s such an access to information and tons of these multi devices it’s difficult for you as a marketer to get heard from your customers and we live in a multi-channel world as well so not only are your customers accessing information on multiple devices but they are also accessing information across channels so what do I mean by that your customers are on social media there are unsearched they’re on your website they’re on review sites like Yelp and Google there’s really a ton of different channels today they are customers live and as a marketer it’s important to be present and be relevant on all those channels so what does all of this mean all this information these multi devices multi channels it’s a very complex world out there and all of that equals attention scarcity what that means is that your customers attention is really divided amongst all of these you know different areas and therefore the attention that they actually have for you and your messaging is scarce but content marketing helps you actually break through that noise because you’re providing thought leadership and you’re differentiating your brand from all the other brands out there by creating valuable relevant and educational content you can be seen in front of your customers on those different channels on those different devices and really become that trusted resource through all of that information content marketing has these seven qualifications so as you’re thinking about planning out your content marketing strategy and as you’re thinking about content marketing in general for your business make sure that these seven elements are present so number one content marketing engages individuals on their own terms so this means being available and being relevant where your audience lives so that’s that concept of multi-channel multi-device your content marketing is based on interactions with your buyers so you should be creating content that is relevant to what your buyers want to hear and what they’re searching for your content marketing should tell a continuous story your content should tell not only your business story but also the story of your customers and it really does have to be a story it has to be a narrative that’s interesting and engaging make sure that content marketing is the right fit for your channels so you need to create different types of content for different channels one type of content that’s great for your social media channel might not be right for email marketing or a paid program that you’re doing so make sure that the content that you’re creating is you know you think about being channel specific number five your content has a clear purpose so this means that all you create should have a goal should have a purpose in mind you’re creating content for thought leadership brand awareness lead generation all of these things make sure it has a purpose and that leads me to number six your content marketing has predefined metrics you should be creating content with end goals in mind whether that’s X amount of new customers maybe its new followers on their social networks whatever your predefined metrics should be make sure you determine those before you go in and actually create that content and number seven content marketing is almost always evergreen so this means keep in mind your entire life cycle when you think about your different content content should last month’s content should last years it’s not totally always like this like for instance sometimes you’ll create a piece of content on a trend related item for social media that might not be evergreen but your large pieces your ebooks you want to think about content themes and arcs that span multiple quarters so that you can get the most bang for your buck so just some additional stats to keep in mind as you’re thinking about your content strategy and as we define content marketing further 71 percent of consumers trust solutions that provide useful information without trying to sell something so your content should be educational it should be thought leadership for the purpose of building that trust in building those relationships over time 62 percent of consumers trust solutions that provide information and best practices for tools they’ve bought you want to teach your customers how to use your products and services better you want to teach them best practices and you want to educate them this over time will really enable that lifelong value and that lifelong relationship building from your customers given our definition of content marketing and these seven qualifications take some time to sit down and determine how you can fit your content marketing strategy into each of these seven items by really mapping out your reasons for content marketing and defining what content marketing means for your business you can truly create a content marketing strategy from A to Z you understanding the benefits of content marketing is critical to creating a content marketing strategy that works for your business a lot of the marketing activities that you partake in with your company such as attending a tradeshow doing a banner ad paying for a pay-per-click ad this is all essentially renting attention you’re paying a fixed fee to rent the audience of another vendor for instance if you’re at a tradeshow you’re paying a certain amount of money to have a booth and to get the benefits of that audience for that tradeshow in contrast content marketing is like owning your own attention you’re creating that thought leadership in-house you’re creating that content in-house even though initially there might be a spend to begin with you are great gaining your own attention over time you’re promoting your own content out you’re creating your own audience so it’s essentially like owning your own attention you’re not continuously spending money on renting other people’s thought leadership in the audience that they have built brands today need to become their own publishers and content marketing is how to do that and create your own fault leadership because your audience is out there doing their own research they’re downloading information off online and why not be the place where your customers are finding that information why not be the creators of that research and that’s how brands today become their own publishers so what are some additional benefits for content marketing benefit number one brand awareness up to 93% of the buying journey starts with a search online content builds organic awareness through search and social you want to be available when your buyers are searching for you they are doing that research so you want to make sure that your content is front and center and by creating content you build that brand awareness so that when your buyers do search your content in your educational materials come up benefit number two create brand preference thought leadership builds trust in brand preference people are more likely to purchase from companies who they trust by creating that content in becoming that educational resource for you start to build that relationship and build that trust therefore if a customer is constantly searching out content on a certain subject and your content is the content that’s continuously coming up when that customer is going to make that purchase they will most likely find your content and think about you first and that’s how you’re building that trust when it comes to purchasing decisions benefit number three reach more buyers at a lower cost unlike renting attention where you’re paying to rent other people’s audience the return on content happens over a longer time even though you have that initial spend because your content is evergreen and built to last and because you’re building your own audience and owning your own audience you can reach more buyers at a lower cost over time so given the benefits that we’ve discussed I hope that you can now apply this to your own content marketing and really start thinking about how content marketing can help your business over time take these benefits and approach your internal stakeholders so that you can really start creating that plan for content marketing since content marketing is different from traditional marketing it’s important to define thought leadership versus selling when you’re first starting out in creating your content marketing strategy your content should contain thought leadership what is thought leadership a thought leader looks to the future and sets the course that others will follow thought leaders look to existing best practices to come up with better best practices they format change often causing disruption so your content should be thought leadership it should be educational it should be focused on best practices it should really help your customers do their jobs better your content shouldn’t just be a sales pitch what do I mean by a sales pitch you shouldn’t be just talking about your own products and your own service in your content that will cause buyers especially your buyers that have never heard about your company to be turned off your content should instead show your buyers how to do their jobs better and educate them what is the difference between thought leadership and sales content thought leadership education sales content sells thought leadership pulls your customers to you and sales content pushes your marketing messages on them thought leadership contains best practices and sales content contains product details another thing to think of is the four one one rule the four one one rule was popularized by Joe pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute and you can use this as you’re thinking about how to set up your content programs and your other programs that you’re creating in marketing for instance on social media for some of your paid programs this works quite well so for for educational assets and that would be those thought leadership ebooks those pieces that are about helping your customers do their jobs better with one soft promotional piece a soft promotional piece might be a piece of content that you’re using to promote say a webinar or an event and then one hard promotion a hard promotion might be something like that sales data sheet so as you’re thinking about your content mix you do want to mix in thought leadership with that sales content but again content marketing is because it’s really focused on salt leadership you do want to do those for educational assets you do want the balance to tip on the thought leadership side so the top four pieces are your educational assets that you’re using to promote your thought leadership across your marketing programs these pieces are best practices they are tips and they are not sales related this will be the majority of what you’re using on say a social channel to get your message across the first promotional soft push piece here is more of a third-party asset a vendor study it could be some type of report that mentions your product or service but also includes some thought leadership and then the last one that hard push again is that type of sales data sheet that you’re using to push your product in to really explain your product so this combination really enables you to create a great content marketing mix and to be able to show not only your thought leadership but also add some promotion in there so as you’re thinking about your content marketing strategy from A to Z you want to think about creating thought leadership pieces instead of only sales content with you’re only creating sales content you run the risk of turning off buyers especially those early stage buyers who have yet to heard of your company thought leadership draws them in it provides them best practices and gives them a reason to keep coming back to you hiring the right content marketing team is a critical part of creating a content marketing strategy that works for your business your content team will really help you succeed they are the foundation of all your content marketing efforts they are the ones creating your content on a daily basis and determining what type of content should be created but who do you look for and where do you find them creating the great content marketing team and hiring the right people is actually pretty difficult so who do you need first let’s talk about your internal team who’s your internal team these are basically the folks in your organization that you work with on a day-to-day basis that help you create content internally for your business so who makes up the different parts of that team first you have your managing editor this person might have the title of chief content officer director of content or senior content manager so your managing editor is in charge of a great portion of your content marketing strategy your managing editor creates the content strategy and the editorial calendar coordinates amongst all the teams is in charge of brand voice look feel and the quality of your content is in charge of writing and editing so this person must be a great communicator and is also in charge of vendor vetting and coordination to make content work for your business you’ll often be working with outsource vendors so you’re managing editor is most likely in charge of all that coordination what type of skills does your managing editor need excellent writing skills of course because they’ll be spending a ton of time writing excellent project management skills they’ll be working on a variety of different projects at any given time so it’s really critical that they’re able to project manage something from start to finish copy editing skills the ability to review a document and know grammatically structurally what’s right and what’s not right passion for content of course content marketing requires a lot of passion you want this person to enjoy what they do cross-functional communication skills you’re managing editor we’ll be communicating with various functions we in your organization they’ll be working with executives they’ll be working with other members of the content and the marketing team so cross-functional skills are important desire to be a thought leader in speak at industry events you’re managing editor should have the desire to be a thought leader in your space they should speak in person and they should also do webinars who else should be on your internal team you should have an associate editor your associate editor could be a Content Manager a Content specialist or a Content coordinator now I do want to note here that some smaller teams might not have the benefit of adding additional team members however as you grow as an organization and as your content team grows these are the folks that you want to consider adding so what is your associate editor do your associate editor also creates content your associate editor should copy edit all the content project manage content projects coordinating embers and then also manage the blog if you do have a blog and we hope you do this person should be in the day-to-day managing the blog and reading all the posts and helping to add them in what skills does your associate editor need of course these skills are similar to your managing editor your associate editor should have great writing skills excellent project management skills excellent copy editing skills a passion to learn content cross-functional communication skills this person will also be on the front lines of communicating with various functions within your marketing team and this person should also be a social native so that means that your associate editor should also have the skills for social media should be on social media on a daily basis and understand what’s going on out there in the industry and what’s going on out there in content marketing so where do you find your internal content team so this is the tough part knowing what type of team members you should have that’s one thing but knowing where to find them is another so here are some tips that I find useful when I’m looking for different content team members to fill my team check out LinkedIn LinkedIn is a great resource for content team members do searches for content marketers in your area ask within LinkedIn content groups so there a ton of different content groups that you can join on LinkedIn put a posting out there to look for people that are searching for new content roles look for former journalists your former journalists will have that type of writing experience that you need and they may be looking to move out of journalism and into a role like content marketing get a referral put a message out there to their own internal network as well as your network professionally and see if anybody knows a Content marketer that’s looking for a new role ask your Twitter network post a tweet out there asking to see if anybody’s looking for a content role and then of course keep your eyes open for people creating great content if there’s a Content marketer from another company that you really admire that you’ve seen their work feel free to reach out you never know if they’re looking for a new role so who else should be on your content team there are other internal team members that should be involved in content creation on a daily basis employee contributors these are employees throughout your company who create content you ideally want to start creating a culture of content contribution your employees will create blog posts for you they might help with different ebooks or content projects so look at two other employees in your organization who might be thought leaders and who want to help create content subject matter experts these are company experts who you will rely on for subject matter expertise for some of the content that you create you might be creating content that’s fairly technical so you want to rely on members of your organization that know very detailed information about that technical topic that you’re writing about these are your subject matter experts content requesters these are employees who request content and who are involved in ideation in both small and large organizations you might have different members of the marketing team who need content and who request content these people are also involved in the ideation and coming up with the outlines so next let’s talk about your external team external writers external writers are agencies independent contractors in writing networks these are particularly useful if you have a smaller team and you need additional hands or even with larger teams you might have a large amount of content that you need to create an external writers help you meet those goals external writers help you scale should be able to learn your business in brand voice make sure you provide them with a style guide this is especially important to learning your brand voice they should be watched and trained for quality so take time to train your external writers on what type of quality you expect they will work with your content team and your other internal writers they are sometimes price per hour or per word so make sure to speak with your external writers and determine what pricing model works best for you in addition to external writers you will also be working with designers your design team creates the design of your content so they have a very critical role to your content creation your design team also helps add assign all of your content assets like your ebooks infographics cheat sheets and more so there are very critical part of rounding out your content team so as I’ve discussed your content team is a really critical part of creating a content strategy that works for your business so now take some time sit down determine who you want to hire write out some of the skills the people that you want to hire and then go out and find your content team structuring your content organization is critical to having a content marketing strategy that works many organizations have trouble structuring content teams this is because content marketing is a relatively new thing within the marketing team and many organizations simply don’t know where it should be within the organization and how it should be set up a question that I get asked frequently is what team within marketing should own content should the content marketing team live with demand generation how about product marketing should it be in corporate marketing inbound marketing brand marketing these are all areas of the marketing organization that create content so content marketing could potentially live in any one of these marketing orgs everyone wants content to align with them simply because all of these different teams create content on a daily basis and if content gets aligned with only one team content then gets created in a silo what do I mean by that well if content is aligned only with demand generation then contents goals would be only fer say lead generation if content is aligned to only product marketing then content would only be gold with the same goals that product marketing has so if content gets aligned with only one team often content gets created in a silo without the other teams being aware and without the other teams input no one talks to one another and content messaging is inconsistent and doesn’t reflect the brand this is really critical content marketing must be looked at in a holistic way that reflects the brand messaging the brand look and feel and the way the brand wants to speak about itself across the organization but what if we didn’t align content anyone team within marketing what if content marketing was actually a neutral team within the marketing organization so that every team can benefit from centralized content that way your organization can have a much more holistic view of content and content gets to be much more strategic instead of siloed think about content as a strategic service bureau so what do I mean by this the content service bureau model determines a Content roadmap so your content team should help determine the content strategy is a content service Bureau can help support requests from various teams all those teams mentioned earlier to mange and product marketing your brand teams they all have content needs so your content service bureau should help support those needs content service bureau oversees the content creation process so ensures that there’s that consistency of message and voice amongst the content that you’re creating they help streamline content creation for that type of scalability that you’re looking for it reduces duplicate efforts because all of the teams are aligned so what sort of content should your content service bureau help create your content service bureau should span all of those different departments within marketing and support all of them with different types of content your content service bureau should create demand generation content this is content that helps to drive demand for your business such as ebooks infographics slide decks this is the content that’s being promoted out through social channels as well as through your programs on a daily basis your content service bureau should also help create customer content this is those customer case studies and testimonials that really show the external community how your product or service has helped customers your content service bureau should also help create brand content this is that really high level thought leadership content such as contributed articles executive content the content that you want to put out there to really show who your brand is as a business your content service bureau should help create all of these different types of content for the different teams within marketing so how should this content service bureau be structured on top of your content service viewers should set a Content committee which is made up by executives within your organization the content committee our various stakeholders from those different marketing teams and they help drive the strategy and ensure that everything that the content service Bureau is coming up with is on brand and right so next you have your content service bureau and this is often made up of that managing editor as well as your associate editor your managing editors the person that is in charge of content strategy the associate editor sits underneath the managing editor and then various writers might make up your content service bureau as well these could be internal writers or external writers and then you have content requests by various teams coming into the content service bureau ultimately to determine the overall content strategy so as you’re really sitting down to think about what does your content strategy look like and then once you’ve hired the right team sit down and think about how your team is structured content service bureau is a great way to structure your team so that they’re neutral scalable part of your marketing organization in order for your content marketing to be relevant and effective you must create your buyer personas and buyer journeys most companies have many different types of buyers these are your personas these are the people that you connect with each day with all of your marketing activities most companies have multiple different people that buy your product or service so you want to make sure that you create content that is relevant and effective for each individual person and each of these personas will have their own buying journey this is essentially the journey that they take from when they initially start researching a topic to when they make a purchase each buying journey has multiple different steps and it’s critical that your content marketing really address each of the different questions and concerns that a buyer has in each step of this process in order for your content to be relevant and effective it must speak to both your buyer personas and their journeys so creating buyer personas help you essentially choose what type of content you want to create not every type of content is going to work for every single buyer it also allows you to target the right topics that your buyers actually care about so by doing the research to determine what are your different personas care about and what do they want to read you can certainly target what type of content you’re creating your personas also help set the tone in the voice for all of your content assets you might have one buyer persona that likes to hear their content in a more conversational way another type of persona might want more of an authoritative more research driven type of content and by doing buyer persona research you can really determine what type and tone and voice of your content needs to be buyer journeys help you know what content create for each buying stage like I said each journey has multiple different stages in a proper content plan will have content that speaks to the questions and concerns your buyers have at each stage buyer journeys also help you know where your buyers consume your content at each buying stage so somebody who’s initially researching your product might be finding out about your content on social media whereas somebody that’s close to making a purchase decision my be looking at a content syndication site or potentially your website so it’s important to know where exactly your buyers look at each stage of the journey so how do you find out this information how do you create your personas and your journeys you’re gonna have to conduct interviews and research so how do you do this so first you’re gonna want to speak with your sales teams your sales teams are really on the front lines of speaking with your prospects every CH and every day they know exactly what types of questions and concerns your potential customers have so sit down and speak with your sales team to determine what exactly they know about your current customers your customer service teams are also on the front lines with your customers each and every day in fact they know very very closely what type of concerns your current customers might have so speak with your customer service teams to determine what type of issues problems and questions your current customers ask you also want to speak with current customers it’s important to get both sides of the story so speak to both happy and unhappy customers this will give you a well-rounded perspective when determining what you should write content about and then also if possible speak with prospects the people that have yet to become customers but who hopefully will in the future during your interviews you want to find out some of the following information and this could be limited to what’s here or you could well expand it into what makes sense for your own business the type of information you’ll want to find out to actually create your persona as information about background potentially job details the goals and challenges of your personas where do they source their information watch their preferred content medium some people like to read content in an ebook form other people might want to watch a video get some actual quotes from customers what about their objections what type of objections do they commonly say if they’re speaking to a salesperson and then watch their role in the purchase process you might have multiple personas that are the decision-maker and then some personas might also be assistants to the decision maker so lots of especially long sales cycle these days have large buying teams so you might want to create personas for each member of the buying team and create a sample marketing message for each one of your personas so that you know exactly how you’re speaking to them in addition to your sample buyer persona you also want to create a sample buyer journey the information from all of your interviews will lend itself very well to creating this type of journey remember that a buyer journey has each different stage and they might be different stages depending on your own sales cycle in your own buyers but here’s just an example it could be calm status-quo shattered search around problem frame problem in solution consult peers and experts engage potential providers so those are just an example of some of your buyer journey stages and then in addition to each stage you want to provide an explanation and potentially any questions or concerns that buyers bring up at each stage now that you’ve created your personas and your journeys it’s time to align your content it’s extremely important to create content that speaks to each persona and each stage in the buying journey and that will make up your content mix so now that I’ve gone over persona and journey sit down with your stakeholders in your organization determine what questions you should ask and now create your own to make sure that your content is consistent you want to work on developing your brand voice your brand voice presents a consistent experience across channels giving your brand a recognisable persona this is extremely important because your brand voice will ultimately help you stand out there’s a ton of information out there and a ton of noise out there online so you want to make sure that your content is specific and unique and by developing a brand voice that really speaks to your organization your content will stand out from the noise first you’ll want to create your brand voice persona your brand voice persona is essentially the feelings that you’ll want your content to convey your persona might be conversational accessible humanistic educational authoritative professional there’s a wide variety of attributes that you can use to apply to your brand voice persona next you’ll have the brand voice tone your brand voice tone is essentially the way that your content will sound it could be friendly direct honest formal perhaps its scientific humanistic there’s a wide variety of attributes in ways that your content can sound next you’ll want to determine your brand voice language this is essentially the language in which your content is written this could be simple wordy complex jargony it depends on your business and who you’re selling to next step is to create a style guide once you have your persona and your language your tone all dialed in you’ll want to put that down on paper so that you your content team and any external writers that work with your company to determine the exact style in which you write for your style guide you might want to answer questions such as who is your company who do you sell to who makes up the content team your style and writing tone specific grammar guidelines as well as content types and structure this could be sure or as lengthy as you want the more information you put in there the easier it will be to train incoming content marketers on your company and your style one thing to know is that your tone might differ slightly for each persona as you build out your different persona and learn what each persona likes for their content you might learn that one persona might have a different tone than another so it’s important to make sure that you’re writing content that’s relevant for each persona but overall your voice should stay consistent throughout your content now that we’ve walked through how to create brand voice and tone now it’s time to sit down and write your own style guide get together map out what you want your content and your brand to look like put it down on paper and put it into action in order for your content marketing to be successful you must set your content goals you should always have goals for your content marketing and they should be the first thing that you set up goals help you choose the right assets for your organization design content to be measurable upfront and help you define success a content marketing plan without goals will simply not go anywhere so goals are critical to ensure that the content you’re creating is the right content and now you’re able to appropriately define success so what are the steps you need to take in order to set your content marketing goals step 1 meet with stakeholders to get their point of view on goals you need to determine who is involved in creating content there’s most likely a variety of team and a variety of team leaders who are involved in creating content and promoting it so get together your marketing team leaders sales team leaders and customer service team leaders step number two ask yourself some foundational questions why are you creating content what programs are you planning on using your content in what are your short-term goals and what are your long-term goals asking yourself and your stakeholders these questions will help you set a solid foundation for creating your content marketing strategy step number three define your qualitative goals these are goals like brand recognition thought leadership social engagement relationship building trust these are all extremely important goals to content marketing so although these particular goals might not have a number assigned to them they are critical step number four define your quantitative goals so these are goals that actually do have a number associated with them so these might be number of new leads number of downloads for each content asset specific number of social shares percentage of leads that turn to opportunities that turn to closed deals how much pipeline your content has generated how much revenue all of these quantitative goals are measurable and should be measured and they should be measured in addition to the qualitative goals so that you have a holistic view of all of your content marketing how do you track your goals you can track your goals in your marketing automation platform this is great for tracking those quantitative goals like number of leads downloads and revenue Google Analytics is great for traffic and conversions you want to track your social channels for increase in social shares your CRM tool you could track for customer engagement and your content management tool you can also track stuff like downloads and engagement and then add your goals to a plan put it down on paper you’ll want to socialize your goals with your team present it to the stakeholders you can schedule weekly or monthly metrics check-ins meetings and hold yourself accountable to your goals you can’t create a Content plan within a vacuum so by showing your organization that you are able to tie your content efforts to goals you ultimately get more budget and more team and bandwidth to create more content over time now that we’ve sat down to discuss how to create your goals for your content marketing sit down talk to your stakeholders ask yourself questions put everything down on paper and ultimately create your plan in order for your content to be organized and effective you should consider choosing content technology using only spreadsheets to keep track of content is not ideal so content technology helps you run the business of content including collaboration coordination creation and publishing there is a ton of different marketing technology out here what are the different types of content marketing software because there are multiple types you have project management and production software which is primarily what we’ll be focusing on in this video website content management competitive content tracking content applications and content creation marketplace platforms so there’s a wide variety of technology and as content marketing continues to grow as a discipline this is only going to get more complex content project management and production platforms help you organize and run the business of content marketing they help you prioritize and assign tasks project manage your different pieces of content no doubt you probably have a ton of different content pieces going at any one given time so these platforms help you manage that process they help you collaborate with multiple stakeholders if you have four or five writers and reviewers involved in every Content asset this is critical they help you keep track of content projects to know where a specific asset is in its production timeline they help you create an overall editorial calendar so that you can have a holistic view of all of your content across your organization and have everything in one place ask yourself questions before you delve into choosing a content project management platform how many people do I need to collaborate with what’s the current content creation process look like who needs to approve content there’s many organizations that have multiple approvers what are the steps needed for approval and do we have separate workflows for different content assets so the next step once you know what you’re looking for is to vet vendors so how do you do that watch some demo videos do some research see who’s out there ask questions of the vendors ask them how they support all the different things that you need to do within your content organization have them show you workflows that are similar to your own asked for references and then asked for a trial if possible those are all ways to help you vet out your particular solution next you’ll want to make a decision and on board your team first meet with the stakeholders go over your options and decide on what project management platform to bring in-house next you’ll want to create a rollout plan this could include training mapping out your processes and different things that you’ll need to keep in mind when rolling out the new solution to your entire organization next you want to make sure that you map out any workflow or approval processes that you might have this is critical because you’ll take those processes and put them directly into the tool then you want to train your team gather out all the people that will be using your platform get them in a room and take them through the new process consider having the vendor come in and doing a direct demo or you could do it yourself and then on board any external vendors that you’re currently using so any writers that you have or designers might also be using this tool so make sure you take time to train them on how to use it as well so now that you have a good sense of all of the questions and considerations to take into account when choosing your content project management platform do some research choose the vendors and make a decision before you can start actually creating your content you need to brainstorm your ideas and create your content arts coming up with content ideas can be daunting it is easy to have writer’s block when it comes to content but before you start actually writing your content you need to determine what topics should you consider for your content and this will vary based on your business often it’s great to first start by taking into consideration your business priorities this could be new markets that you might be trying to launch in additional product launches or service launches branding initiatives within the business are different thought leadership topics that you want to become leaders in the industry about these are all great topics to write content form you also want to take into consideration your personas and who you want to sell to you might be writing different content for different personas you might find the different topics will resonate with each one of your personas so you want to also take that into consideration industry trends that’s a great place to start you want to make sure that you’re on the cutting edge of what’s going on in your industry many businesses want to be on the forefront and you want to be able to write thought leadership about what’s going on with your peers so creating content and industry trends is certainly a great place to start search engine optimization priorities are also an important thing to keep in mind many companies will want to make sure that their content is SEO optimized meaning their content will show up in search results and you might have specific keywords that our company priorities for example if your company sells mobile applications mobile might be one of your keywords and you want to make sure that you write plenty of content around mobile competitor content is also an important thing to keep in mind take stock on what exactly your competitors are writing about you can find this out through following them on social media using a competitor content tracking platform or just keeping up to date and researching and then do some of your own digging within your organization to determine what other teams want you to write about meet with key stakeholders in your company to figure out what are their key it is make sure you get your product or service roadmap so you know what exactly is coming down the pipeline ask your sales and customer teams what type of content would help them not only sell deals but also keep customers listen on social media to determine what your markets talking about you also want to ask your audience on social media what they might want to hear send out a tweet put a Facebook post out there and simply ask your followers what type of content they’d like to see from you once you have a solid brainstorm of topics that you want to write about then you can create your content arts content arcs are monthly quarterly by yearly or yearly content themes that you can write about by organizing your content and content arcs that makes it easier for you to determine and select what to prioritize when writing your content but then you also have ongoing initiatives throughout each of these quarters these might be product launches or items based on the type of business units you sell into so in addition to your arcs you also need to keep into consideration any ongoing initiatives that you might have so now that you’ve sat down and done some serious brainstorming about what type of content to include sit down write your plan map out your arcs and let’s get started mapping your content to your sales funnel helps to ensure that you’re moving new buyers to actually become customers once you understand your buyer journey and have created your content themes and brainstormed ideas you need a map your content to your sales funnel why well you need to create content that speaks to your buyer at every stage of your sales funnel first you need to know your sales funnel this could be different based on your business whether you’re a b2b business or b2c business that’ll make a difference your sales funnel typically starts at a top of funnel stage where most of your new buyers and your new leads are coming in it gets a little narrower in the middle of your funnel where you’re actually starting to nurture your leads and you know who they are and then at the bottom of your funnel you have leaves that are very close to becoming customers and then they are customers so again this will vary based on your business but it’s important to understand your funnel and to start to map your content to these different stages so let’s walk through let’s start with your top of funnel tofu content this person is at the beginning of your sales and marketing funnel she is aware of your service but she is not ready to buy this person might have found you through social media she may have gotten on your website offered types for your top of funnel content or educational and thought leadership do not mix this with content that has too much product information let’s take a look at some tofu content in action all of these examples are ebooks that are best practice and thought leadership that each of these vendor publishers have created to help educate their audience so now let’s go to the middle of your funnel your mo foo content this person has displayed buying behavior is engaged with your content and it’s potentially a sales lead so this person knows who you are and you might be nurturing them over time offer types here are third-party reports return on investment calculators for your products or buying guides to help these people make a decision to purchase your product so now let’s take a look at mo foo content in action in contrast with the tofu content assets all of these three examples actually speak a bit about the product in the core business Kate says each of these companies are trying to sell so the one on the left developing a business case from marketing automation the one in the middle is a third-party asset that talks about the total and economic impact of the company and then the one on the right is a buyer’s guide so all of these pieces are working to push the buyer through that funnel now let’s talk about your bo foo content that bottom of the funnel content this person is very close to becoming a customer your offers here are very specific to your product or your service so your offer types are promotional and return on investment proving some examples here are to prove competitive and value so some ideas could be pricing sheets these could be customer case studies you really want to show a customer in the bosu stage that your product is the correct choice now that you understand your own sales funnel you can take your content and you can map it to each of the stages in your funnel then you can make sure that you’re pushing leads to eventually become customers you want to make sure you have a solid content mix so you need to choose your content types when it comes to content there are a lot of types to choose from you can choose your content types based on your brand look and feel the different content topic you choose your content goals and your proposed promotional channels first let’s talk about blog posts blog posts are a short piece of content that are regularly updated on your company blog your blog posts can range anywhere from about 300 to 700 words and they can be about a variety of topics blogs are fantastic for trend related content and when you need to put out a point of view at a very fast pace now let’s talk about cheat sheets cheat sheets are short pieces of downloadable content that are created for the purpose of giving the reader quick access to a series of tips or best practices your cheat sheets are typically one-page they can be front and back and they don’t have too much design these are simple easy to digest content assets you may or may not want to create a content piece similar to a definitive guide a definitive guide is a very large content piece often over 60 pages that you can then break apart into smaller supplemental content items these take a lot of effort and are often in conjunction with a large promotional plan these can really anchor your content themes for a quarter ebooks are the bread and butter of your content strategy particularly if you are in a b2b company an e-book is an electronic version of a shortened book it is designed to contain salt leadership and best practices on a particular topic ebooks can be short four to five pages or they can be much longer at around 50 pages your ebooks should be designed to fit your brand and give you the opportunity to present your information in a creative way infographics take information like statistics or best practices and present it in a visual way infographics are generally vertical graphics that are short and easy to consume your graphics should be highly visual with an interesting hook typically infographics are created to be presented on your blog and then you can promote them out for inbound links in media attention reports can be created by collecting survey and industry data and presenting it in a calm document reports often contain lots of statistics a strong point of view and are generally formatted like an e-book reports can be a critical cornerstone of your content and gain a lot of recognition in your industry don’t just stop at downloadable content think about what else you can create that is interesting fun shareable and engaging for your audience think outside of the box because content can take many forms videos are an engaging and visual form of live-action content that can be filmed and promoted on YouTube social channels and your website your videos can range from product related topics to stories music videos and more they can also range in length from 30 seconds to 10 minutes however note that best practices here are for most of your videos to clock in at around 1 to 2 minutes people have short attention spans visuals slide decks present information statistics and best practices in a highly visual format using slides often your slide decks can almost be like an infographic chopped-up you can publish them on SlideShare and promote out on your website in social channels a caution here is to make sure each of your slides are professionally designed and does not include too much text a webinar is either a live or recorded presentation that a speaker presents along with a slide deck these are generally events for your audience signs up at ends and asks questions webinars are generally topical and can be easily recorded for later viewing a downloadable workbook provides your readers with an actionable template to fill in his or her own answers to questions these are great if you’re trying to teach your audience something in particular using a checklist table or fill in the blanks now that we’ve broken down all the different content types you can then start to really formulate what your content marketing mix is going to look like once you have a good idea what types of content you will be creating next you have to plan your editorial calendar before you create your calendar you need to think about your content mix what are the different types of content you’re creating and how are you going to fit them in your plan to make a diverse content plan think about your content in food groups this is actually a great analogy developed by Ann Handley to help you determine what should be in your content mix first you have your roasts these are your large content initiatives this would be if you’re planning to create a definitive guide a large ebook or anything that has a promotional plan that’s extensive behind it these would be your big rock pieces next you need to make sure you have your Raisin Bran these are everyday pieces of content they are quick and consumable like cheat sheets checklists and best practices these should also be a big part of your content mix in addition to those roasts next we have our spinach these are content items packed with nutrients this is your high-level thought leadership this could be a report that presents findings that you have in a survey it could be a really high-level ebook an executive piece of thought leadership either way you need to make sure that these items are included in your overall content plan next we have chocolate cake these are your fun light-hearted and indulgent pieces of content this could be infographics any type of special projects you’re creating fun videos ideally these are pieces of content that you’re sharing on a regular basis on social channels and then you have your Tabasco sauce this is content with some spice content that challenges asks hard questions or provokes responses your Tabasco content is often best on a blog post so definitely take that into consideration but make sure you’re not saying anything that’s off-brand a Content plan and an editorial calendar can help you stay organized so you need to make sure that you are adhering to this mix you don’t want your content to be homogenized and you don’t want to be putting out things that are the same day in and day out editorial calendar also helps you increase visibility across your organization so that people in your company know exactly what content you’re creating and when it also helps to align your team’s you might have different content that you’re creating on demand gen versus customer versus brand so how do you organize your calendar first the content mix that we spoke about earlier then you should organize based on different teams depending on who you’re creating content for any ongoing campaigns that you have to keep in mind and strategic initiatives these should all be on your editorial calendar what calendar platform should you use there are many options here basically you just need to make sure that you’re putting them down into a calendar form you can use a calendar in your content management tool consider a google calendar that you can share with folks across the organization or a Google spreadsheet even if you don’t necessarily want to put it in a calendar form or your marketing automation calendar many marketing automation platforms today have calendar functionality that you can add your content mix to who should see my calendar your editorial calendar should be available to marketing sales customer service executives or anybody else who wants to know what specific content that you’re creating here’s a few examples of different types of calendars calendar example number one is a detailed spreadsheet a spreadsheet could be useful if you have multiple different content types you want to include this status production start and completion date maybe you want to say what business unit this is for your persona right resource section type if you have lots of different items that you need to put in a calendar form sometimes a spreadsheet type format works great calendar example number two is within a content management platform this one is from Divi HQ this one has an actual calendar format where you can toggle based on specific due dates what calendar so what business unit is for the team member it’s assigned to content type or your content strategy no matter how you decide to organize your editorial under in what you include in your calendar make sure it has that content mix that we spoke about and that everything is organized so go ahead write down your plan and put it in a calendar you now that you have a solid plan in place you have to start writing and editing to actually get that content done writing content can be extremely hard work and building a repeatable process helps so let’s take a look at some steps to take in order to build that repeatable process so that you’re ensuring all your written content is consistent on brand and that is engaging so step one find a subject-matter expert so you need to determine who in your organization knows about your topic and then you can schedule a brain dump and record a brain dump can be a thirty to one hour session whether in person or over the phone where you’re asking a subject matter expert various questions about the topic essentially having them do a brain dump if there is no subject matter expert be prepared to do the research yourself step number two create an outline creating an outline is extremely important to keep you organized and on track with your content creation make sure you include your thesis in this outline your thesis is the point that you’re trying to get across with your particular content asset make sure you set up your different sections particularly if it’s an e-book and then socialize your outline to people outside of your content team to make sure that what you’re writing about makes sense and it’s the right thing note that it has the title it has the different parts an explanation of what the different parts might be and some links so that you have places to reference when you need to go write the full piece step 3 write your first draft this is arguably one of the most difficult parts to content creation make sure your thesis is clear make sure this thesis is clear upfront and that it’s clear throughout your document and also make sure you’re constantly referring back to your main point break your content up with h1s h2s and other headers you can find these in your word processing program that you’re using like word it’s important to break your document up in this way so you know where each section lives use lots of bullets lists and numbers this is important for scan ability note that your reader won’t necessarily read every single of your document so by using bullets and lists it could be easy to scan make sure you have an intro in a conclusion you want your document to flow step number four always review this is an extremely critical part of content creation the more people you have review the better off you are so typically have one to two people review each draft more if you have the ability each person will generally catch different mistakes refer to a style guide make sure that you have a style guide created that goes over tone and brand and that you’re always referring back to that always copy edit for grammar and structure you want to make sure your content is grammatically correct and you want to make sure it’s structurally sound and then always edit for content and concepts make sure you going through the document to determine what makes sense and what does it and then use track changes in word and commenting for optimal editing this is definitely recommended particularly if you have more than one to two people writing the document and reviewing it this is important for collaboration step number five write a second draft once you have your first draft created and you have all of your edits incorporate all of them read over it an additional one to two times to ensure that it’s a final copy and then make sure all your stakeholders have seen the copy make sure everybody knows that the content is correct and everybody that needs to has sign-off on that content and once you have your final draft then you’re ready to send a design once you have your content created written then it’s time to send it to design good content equals good design all of your content should be highly visual it’s important part of creating content in today’s market but how do you make all of your content visual so let’s go over a few design guidelines to keep in mind when creating your content first make sure that your logo and icon usage is on brand and correct you need to take into consideration typography you might have a certain font that is appropriate for your brand that you need to use make sure you’re consistently using brand colors even though you can be creative with your content design you want to make sure it looks like your company is a non brand and then you also want to use photography and image styles that also make sense for your brand and that are engaging and visual so let’s walk through some major types of content design starting with ebook your ebook cover should be visual and engaging this is how you’re going to get people to download your ebook and this is what’s going to attract them to your content the cover the title should be clear make sure that you don’t have lots of different design around your title so that it obstructs it make sure your title is clear at all times watch for proper templating keep your design clean again make sure that your ebook cover and your ebook interior is extremely clean and easy to read and then use images that relate to the content something that you need to be aware of is having images throughout an e-book that have nothing to do with the content make sure your images are relatable and they make sense and then let’s take a look at an example interior page from that same piece of content the interior page is clean the way it’s template it makes sense it has a call-out that pops out and the title is obvious for the different headings and sections you want to make sure that it’s easy to read now let’s go over infographic design your infographic design should be engaging and shareable this is definitely your opportunity to be creative into pop can a theme for your infographic make sure that your statistics are presented in an interesting but legible way so make sure it’s clear what those stats are so that your readers don’t have any questions and then don’t make your infographic too long don’t make it too long and that people have to scroll down quite a bit and don’t make it way to copy heavy now you have your content design it’s important to make sure you edit that design when editing and design here are some items to watch for paint layout you want to make sure that all of your pages are laid out appropriately and that they’re easy to follow and clean you also want to watch for orphan words these are words or short lines at the beginning or the end of a paragraph which are left dangling at the bottom of the column separated from the rest of the paragraph if you’re see any orphan words make sure they’re included in the above paragraph you also want to look for photography and image usage making sure the images go along with the text as well as the placement in the document look at typography make sure everything is the same size and that if you do have a brand font it’s being used and then add edits using commenting in Adobe this is the best and easiest way for designers to look at your edits so sit down and make sure that you’re reviewing all of your items once they’re InDesign if you don’t you really run the risk of having unfinished content so make sure that you’re looking over all your design content and edit it to completion a great way to get more content without actually having to create each and every item is by curating your content sometimes you might have trouble creating all the content you need this could be because you have a small team a small budget or a lack of time curated content helps you do more with less money and less time so what is content curation content curation is content written by others which you then organize and share with your own audience so what type of content can you curate these could be relevant articles or blog posts that work for your business different industry best of lists trend highlights or news roundups and where can you find this content this type of content can often be found through large brands that have quite a following brands that discuss relevant topics customers and partners and make sure to change it up and also make sure that if you are curating content from any brands that you are supplying a link to link back to the original article where can you use curated content there’s a lot of places where you can use curated content for your content strategy consider curating content for your blog to share in social media you can curate content for email sends or even your website content curation is a great way to do more with less particularly if you have a budget or a small team so go out research content from relevant brands and start to curate if you are a Content marketer with a small budget or a small team consider working with lean content creation most content marketers are on a budget that’s simply a fact and you have to do more with less especially with the increasing demands on marketing teams and content marketers today we’re being asked to do more with less resources so how can you really get it all done I like to think about the turkey dinner analogy that was put in place by Rebecca liebe from Altima tour group this basically says that you can create one big large piece slice and dice it to create additional smaller supplemental pieces so that you can get more content with less so let’s take a look at how this works in action step 1 create a big rock content asset so a big rock content asset is a Content piece that you put a lot of effort into this could range anywhere from 50 to 160 pages in length if you have the time it’s really worth the time and effort because from this one piece you can generate a ton of additional content and if you can generate a ton of additional content that’s just more for all of your programs step 2 create ebooks from the chapters so what we did is we took that one piece and we broke out each of the individual chapters to create additional ebooks each of them have different covers and different titles so they differentiate themselves you can see the common theme going throughout all the ebooks however they are shorter and they are on the different topic so it is more content that you can source out and promote step number three create cheat sheets cheat sheets are smaller more digestible pieces of content that range in length from about one to two pages go throughout your big rock piece of content and pull out items that you think could make a good cheat sheet this is a simple easy exercise that was about one to two pages and then mapping lead generation to your sales funnel another quick cheat sheet some of these can even be print out by your readers and posted on their desks the idea is to give them something easy to digest and scannable step number four create visuals you want to really extend life and the value of your big rock content campaign so you want to make sure that you’re creating visuals from each of these pieces a visual could be an infographic a visual slide deck or a workbook remember you’re just taking the same content in the same statistics that you’ve used in your big rock piece and you’re just repurposing it in a different and more engaging and visual way and these are great assets for you to share on social media as well as email campaigns step number five create a video take the content from your big rock piece and create a fun video this doesn’t have to be something that’s highly produced it could even be a video created on your iPhone or something that you create in-house the idea is just to have an interesting engaging and fun supplemental piece of content to promote your content asset step number six create blog posts from your big rock content asset you can create dozens of blog posts from the content within just slice and dice it out based on what would make sense for your blog as an example for the big rock content piece of definitive guide to lead generation we generated about twelve to fifteen blogs that we spaced out over the course of two to three months really your blog content can go on forever so certainly keep this in mind as you’re writing now that you know all of the steps that it takes to create a big rock content piece and to slice and dice the content out to generate more with less sit down with your team determine what your topics should be and get to writing you before you start promoting your content you need to determine your gating strategy what is gating gating means putting a forum in front of your content for the purposes of gathering lead contact information it’s often in front of a Content asset in order to download it it typically asks for first last name sometimes job title email phone number company or role when it comes to gating there are a ton of different choices on how you can approach it so let’s go ahead and take a look at some of your options option number one gating all of your content so by gating all of your content you can gather all of the lead information each time somebody downloads a content asset this can be a good option for small companies in startups to build their database and it’s a consistent user experience through all of your content as your readers are seeing the same thing each time option number two is gating none of your content gating none of your content enables you to remove the barrier of entry for your content so that means that somebody who is downloading your content doesn’t have to put in their information it helps you to grow your thought leadership and branding over time and it’s good if you have a lot of early-stage content your early stage content because it’s so educational people might not want to put their information in in order to get it option number three is gating based on buying stage and this is the option that I prefer personally gating based on buying stage enables you to gate only the assets that show buying intent when downloaded so this means that you will only gate the items that are really close to your product and so that you know if somebody’s downloading that item that they’re closer to being a customer it also helps you to score your leads and determine where they are in their buying cycle scoring is something you can do in your marketing automation system and it enables you to determine where a person is in their buying journey if you’re only getting some of your content you can give them a higher score if they’re downloading the pieces that your gating here’s a sample strategy for gating based on buying stage for early stage those real thought leadership educational and best practice pieces don’t gate this is because those assets are great on social they’re good and promotion plans and they let people introduce themselves to your company mid-stage assets are great to gate because those are the assets that really show buying intent if somebody downloads an ROI calculator or a buying guide you want to know who that person is and you want to score them appropriately and then late-stage items you don’t have to gate late-stage items would be those customer case studies pricing sheets you want to make sure all of that is easily accessible to somebody who’s close to being a customer gating based on asset type also enables you to have more premium content take those items that you spend a lot of time on and put a form in front of them you don’t want those to be as easily accessible and you can create variable content value based on effort and output put a gate in front of the content items that take you and your team a ton of time to create and then don’t gate those items that aren’t as time intensive now that you know your gating options sit down with your team and stakeholders to determine what makes sense for your unique business case before you actually go out and promote your content you need to outline your promotion strategy once you publish your content online you then have to promote it through various channels let’s go through step by step what you need to think about when outlining your promotion strategy step 1 create a strategy document once you have published a piece of content you must send out a strategy document to your team that outlines and includes the following items what topic the content is created about the audience the content piece addresses the different goals at the content piece addresses the thesis that’s included in the content throughout the table of contents if available the buying stage that the content was created for and any promotion suggestions that you as the content team might have by creating the strategy document you can help guide and outline your promotion team step number 2 always score your content you can use your marketing automation tool to score your content base your score on the different content types you’re buying stage and persona you can often toggle the score up and down based on the importance of your content piece but by scoring your content you can help determine how close a person who downloads it is to being a customer step number 3 meet with your stakeholders you want to set up some time with your various promotional teams to go over goals and to describe to them what the asset is about and what it should be used for teams use have set up some time with are your demand generation teams social media your online marketing teams product marketing and public relations step number four create a promotion plan so work with each team stakeholder to create an overall promotional plan for each assets four large assets consider meeting weekly or bi-weekly until launch assign a project manager this might be yourself or it might be a member of the promotional team and then ensure that team member stays on task over time step number five is to make sure your plan is multi-channel you want to be where your buyers are your Buy might be on social media they could be on your website but wherever they are be sure that your promotion plan touches all these areas by promoting your content on multiple channels you can ultimately maximize your exposure and also remember to promote content on appropriate channels for the content type not all channels make sense to promote every single piece of content on and then always test your promotion strategies you might think that you want to promote a Content asset on a certain channel but then discover that it’s not the best channel for that particular asset so now that you’ve sat down with your stakeholders an outlined your promotional plan it’s time to actually get promoting one of the most important aspects of promoting your content is merchandising your content on your website so your website is the key place that you want leaves to download your content you must merchandise correctly in order to optimize for conversions so where can content live on your website content can live in a specific resources section dedicated to content on your home page or uh nads throughout your site so let’s take a minute to walk through each option your resources section this is where your content can call home it is a section of your website dedicated to thought leadership I definitely recommend that all companies that are engaging in content marketing create a resources section your resources section should be easy to navigate it should be very obvious to the reader where to find each content asset it should also be SEO optimized you want to make sure that you’re calling out the different keywords for search engine optimization throughout your resources section it should also be categorized by key topics that are important to your business should include visual images throughout and include forms for lead generation so now let’s talk about content on your homepage this type of content should be designed for conversion add your best content to your homepage rotator or include a call to action in a prominent place so now let’s talk about ads throughout your site you can promote content throughout your website using banner ads and other images consider promoting content on your product pages where applicable now that you have your content published on your website it’s important to think about how to optimize it for conversion one of the most important channels that you can promote your content on is social media social media is a great place to promote all of your new content so let’s go over some key tips for social media promotion success when it comes to content marketing number one don’t take yourself too seriously remember that social media is a place where people congregate to share their thoughts and ideas and it could be a personal network that you’re sharing your content on number two organic isn’t enough on its own and don’t be afraid to boost your presence it’s one thing to post your content organically through your social channels but you want to put a little bit of paid boost behind your content in order to optimize it for a conversion and get it seen by a lot more eyes number 3 focus on valuable content and solid offers number four create strong calls to action when you post a content asset make sure that your audience knows exactly what to do whether it’s download an e-book or share an infographic number five always provide value make sure that the content that you’re posting on social media is educational and helps your audience do their job better and number six never forget that social is a two-way street make sure that you’re constantly listening to your audience in taking their feedback into consideration so let’s go over all the different social networks in different ways that you can promote your content on those networks let’s start with Facebook Facebook is a great place to promote your content Facebook is a highly visual medium and so it lends itself very well to content promotion you can promote your content through organic posts on your company page you can also promote those posts by putting some paid ads behind each of those organic posts for additional boost and lift you can create Facebook ads that appear on the right side of your newsfeed you can promote your content by creating custom cover photos that appear in back of your profile image you can also create apps and tabs and that would also appear on your business profile page and somebody could click on a tab and download a content asset by filling out a form so now let’s talk a little bit about Twitter Twitter is a very fast-moving social network and also a great place to promote your content you can promote your content via organic tweets from your business Twitter profile you can promote those tweets using paid ads you can also promote your content hashtags by using promoted trends where you put some page spend behind those hashtags so that they’re more easily searchable by your network you can also use Twitter lead generation cards where you can actually have somebody fill out a form through Twitter using their information and they can download an e-book now let’s talk about LinkedIn LinkedIn is particularly useful for the b2b market as people are generally on LinkedIn for business purposes here are the different ways you can promote your content through LinkedIn you can use LinkedIn updates from your company page and then you can sponsor those updates to get additional reach and visibility you can create LinkedIn ads which appear on the right-hand side of your LinkedIn profile and you can also join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your particular topic and promote your content through those groups next up we have SlideShare SlideShare is the perfect place to promote your visual content such as slide decks and infographics you can also optimize your SlideShare postings for search engines by using keywords in the descriptions SlideShare also offers the opportunity to include lead generation forms that sync automatically with your marketing automation tool so that somebody has to fill out their information in order to download one of your content assets and you can also appear in the featured presentations on the home page as well now let’s talk about Pinterest Pinterest is also a highly visual medium that’s great for promoting types of content like infographics and slide decks on Pinterest you can share your content and engage your audience by creating boards and pins Pinterest is particularly great for the b2c audience but also works well for b2b especially if you’re creating a variety of visual content so now that you have your content published on your website and selected it’s time to determine what social channels work best for each content asset note that all social channels won’t necessarily work for every single content piece so very particular where your post your content but take your content post it on social media and engage your audience one of the best ways to get your content out in front of your audience is promoting it via email increase the reach of your content by promoting it on email promoting your content via email gets it in front of your customers so let’s go over a few tips on how to make sure your content emails are engaging and relevant to increase opens tip number one always segment your email sends so send your content only to people who will find that content relevant align your content emails to buying stage enroll which should be easy since your content should already be aligned to each stage and roll and don’t forget about sending content to current customers tip number two design your emails to be engaging so you want to make sure that the people that are reading your emails find your emails engaging and want to download the content asset inside create a custom header by using the design of your content asset make sure you include brief copy with bullets you want to make sure that your email is easy to scan include a strong and a clear call-to-action which will often be download this ebook download this infographic or something along those lines and then create a hero shot of the content asset you want to make sure the cover of your ebook or the cover of your cheat sheet is included in the email tip number three send an email to your entire database so hopefully you have a large marketing database once you publish a new piece of content send an email out to your entire database using the segmenting rules discussed above tip number four consider a sponsored email a sponsored email is when you pay a trusted vendor to send out an email including content on your behalf be careful here and make sure that you’re only using vendors that are not only reputable but have a target audience that matches your target audience tip number five always add your new content to your lead nurturing programs if you’re using marketing automation you should be nurturing your leads once they hit your database make sure to add any new content into any relevant lead nurturing tracks to ensure that even people that are have already been in your database for a while receive your content email is a fantastic way to get your content in front of your audience if you remember to segment make sure your email is engaging in relevant you can increase the chances of content downloads promoting content on your blog is a great way to get any new content asset in front of your audience your blog attracts early-stage buyers is great for lead generation ensures more eyes get on your content and is a great place for social ready content to live do not discount the importance of your blog when it comes to promoting any new content you may have created promoting content on your blog enables you to drive even more traffic to your blog and your content over time so let’s go over a few tips for promoting content on your blog don’t just promote your eBook give your audience actionable takeaways this means when you write a blog post that promotes a new ebook don’t just say hey here’s our new ebook and then include a downloadable link make sure that you’re taking valuable content from within that ebook and making it a standalone blog post that way it’ll be a piece of thought leadership in and of itself use bullets and headers for easy skimming this is really for your blog as a whole but most people won’t sit there and read a blog post word-for-word so make sure that you include multiple bullets and different headers so that your reader can easily skim through the post include a hero image of your asset so just take a screenshot of the cover of your ebook and use it as the primary image for your blog post and then always include a strong call-to-action to download the ebook at the beginning of the blog post as well as at the end of the post and perhaps in the middle you want to make it clear to the reader that you want them to download the ebook for additional information so once you have your content published on your website on social media and have sent out an email make sure to create a blog post that effectively promote your content to expand the reach of your content try promoting it through content syndication content syndication is the tactic of placing your high-value content assets on a third party website often gating it with a form once a content syndication program ends the vendor gives you all of the leaves that have downloaded your content by either integrating with your marketing automation tool or sending you a spreadsheet so let’s go over what some of the goals might be for content syndication so you might be looking for net new top of funnel leaves by paying to use a third parties website you can get access to their entire audience another goal might be mid funnel leaves that indicate buying intent so depending on what type of content you put on the syndicated sites especially if that content is more mid funnel if somebody downloads that content asset it might be a more valuable lead that indicates this person could potentially become a customer content syndication also helps improve your search engine optimization and it of course helps you improve your brand exposure because you’re putting your content on third-party websites that already have a large following here are some tips for content syndication because you’re paying to put your content on other people’s sites you must make sure that you choose reputable vendors so these are website that you are familiar with their content that you know has an audience that maps to yours and that is all-around reputable if you have a marketing automation tool make sure your vendor can sync it’s a lot easier to get leads if your vendor can automatically add them to your marketing automation tool versus sending you a spreadsheet target leads based on specific criteria that you can choose most vendors give you the opportunity to target leads very specifically choose content that is high value and will move the needle my advice here is to choose content that indicates more buying intent so that you know if somebody downloads a content asset you’re getting the highest return on your money and make sure to have a follow up plan in place for all leads once somebody’s downloaded your content off a third party website you want to introduce your company and make sure they understand who you are and what you do testing your content syndication is also really important to knowing what works and what isn’t you might want to test the following what stage of content works best for what vendor you might find that early-stage content works well for one vendor while mid stage content works better for the other which type of content works best for which vendor some vendors you might want to give them ie books while others it will be more infographics or blog posts unis also test what vendor delivers the best and most relevant leaves determine what form length works best many vendors allow you to customize the form lengths and then what is your call to action and does it work for your audience when it comes to syndication you must be testing this over time so once you have decided on content syndication as a promotion strategy in your content marketing make sure to properly vet out your vendors choose your content wisely and like I said continue to test over time a unique way to promote your content is by leveraging influencer marketing influencer marketing is a form of marketing that identifies and targets individuals with influence over potential buyers so how does this help your content including influencers in your content add some oomph to both your content and your promotion send influencers early releases of your content asking them to share in blog and distribute out to their network so where do you find influencers you can find your relevant influencers by scouring social media and you can do this by making lists by tracking hashtags by doing searches you can also find influencers at conferences that are relevant to your industry network make those connections especially with the people that are speaking at those conferences industry bloggers are great surely hopefully you have a list of bloggers that you follow on a daily basis reach out to those folks and then there’s various software solutions that actually track influencers and tell you specifically who is influential in your market so let’s go over some tips for influencer marketing first of all be aware of your asks you don’t want to always be asking the same people the same things all the time so it’s important to know what’s in the pipeline already and who you’ve asked favors of influencer marketing is a two-way street so make sure that they’re getting something out of the relationship as well and show them the with them the what’s in it for them make sure they know that helping you is beneficial for their personal brand as well and then always show your appreciation when an influencer participates in or shares your content you can do this by simply saying thank you or never underestimate the value of sending cupcakes so don’t forget to include influencer marketing in the promotion of your content in fact you should think about influencer marketing before your content is even created so that you can get creative on how to include your influencers once an asset has published ask your influencers to share but make sure that you are creating valuable in a two-way relationship with them over time using pay-per-click ads to promote your content increases reach pay-per-click ads are highly targeted paid ads that drive traffic to a custom landing page where you can generate leads let’s go over a few types of ads that you might want to take into consideration first we have search engine ads these ads appear on a search engine and are targeted based on keywords and audience banner ads appear on various websites in our targeted based on demographics and then retargeting ads appear on a network of websites in our behavior-based these look very similar to banner ads however they are behavior based let’s go over some logistics for your pay-per-click ads you pay only if a visitor clicks on your ad and you can target your ads using demographic behavioral in search criteria there are various tips for using PPC ads for content promotion first of all consider using high-value mid-stage content for your ads because you’re spending a lot of money on your ad program you want to make sure that you’re only using the most relevant content your ads should have a fun visual or engaging copy this will make a difference whether it’s a banner ad or a search engine on a search engine ad since generally you can only include copy you need to make sure it’s engaging and a banner ad can have a fun visual all ads should go to a landing page so your ad should not just go to a web site if your ads do just go to a web site you run the risk of your leads leaving your website or just going all over the place a landing page that’s custom shows your lead exactly what they should be doing particularly if it’s downloading a piece of content plus you want to make sure that you’re collecting all of their information in a form so all landing pages for your ads should have a form so now take your high-value content and determine what types of ads might be appropriate for promotion because ads can get very expensive my advice here is to ensure that you are only choosing your best content that shows buying intent then create your copy develop your custom landing pages and purchase some ads you now that you have created your content and promoted your content it’s now time to start measuring your content but first we have to start by defining your measurement goals many content marketers think that content ROI is essentially a mythical beast why is content ROI a struggle marketers don’t often think about ROI during content creation you must think about how to measure your content before your content is even created marketers aren’t aligned on metrics amongst the teams this happens if you’re creating content in a silo one team might be tracking one metric and the other team might be tracking another metric and then marketers don’t know how to measure content effectively because content marketing is a relatively newer discipline with businesses there aren’t established measurements in place that content marketers can take but measuring content can be done so let’s go over a few steps that you can take to ensure that your content is created with measurement in mind first establish goals and measurement estimates upfront every time you create a content piece you need to determine what you’re hoping to get out of that content piece in terms of measurement define what you want to measure for each content piece are you looking for social sharing are you looking for increased traffic are you looking to measure revenue and pipeline define exactly what you’re looking for for each piece aligned with all key stakeholders and get their input it’s important to sit down with all the executives in your business to determine what the proper content measurement should ultimately be and then budget it out you need to make sure in order to measure content that you have an actual content budget and you know exactly how much you’re spending on content because this will make a difference for the return on investment in the end by putting together a sample budget you can better determine exactly what the ROI is on your content over time and then you should determine what exactly our other marketers measuring in your content so now that you’ve thought about goal creation for your content marketing analytics make sure every single piece of content that you make is created with measurement in mind you can track your metrics in your marketing automation tool or create a spreadsheet that tracks monthly metrics over so you can see exactly how your content is performing once you have defined your measurement goals now you have to start tracking with early-stage metrics early stage content is primarily for brand awareness and education so the metrics that you track for your early stage content will reflect that so let’s go over exactly what you can look at for your early stage content first look at traffic to your site you can track this using Google Analytics you can track an increase in a decrease in traffic overall you can track referring sources as in how are people getting to the various pieces of content exit pages where are people going after they read your content bounce time how often people are bouncing away from your page and how long that takes and then what the top content assets are you can actually track what are the top content assets that people are going to next you can track content downloads you can track this in your marketing automation tool or your content management system this is when somebody either downloads a content PDF via a click or a form or it could be views if content is not in a downloadable file this will help you determine how engaging your content is how often do people actually want to download it and read it social engagement is also a very important early stage metric that you should be tracking you should be looking at social shares how often are people sharing the different content you’re posting how often are people liking your content on social channels how often are they commenting and actually engaging with the content and then social follower increase can also be a good indicator of whether or not your content is engaging your audience now that you know what you should be tracking for your early stage content make sure you track these metrics on each and every piece of content that you create then you can test and iterate over time in order to track the revenue impact that your content has on your business you need a track mid and late stage metrics mid and late stage content is for lead generation and moving your leads through your sales funnel your metrics here will be more revenue driven lead generation is a critical metric when you’re measuring mid and late stage content you can track this in your marketing automation tool and you’re really looking at how many leads are generated one thing to track here is how many known versus new names are generated then you can determine which content assets are bringing in net new people in which content assets are more nurturing in nature and then you also need to determine what content is working to move leads through your funnel in nurturing is the content that you’re generating pushing leaves further through your funnel until they become customers next you should track opportunity generation an opportunity happens when a lien moves further through your sales funnel to become qualified and is on their way to being a customer you can track this in your marketing automation tool so you’re looking at how many total opportunities were generated because of your content you should look at both first touch opportunities as well as multi-touch first touch means that your content was the initial thing that brought a lead into your system you should also look at how many multi-touch opportunities were generated multi-touch tracks if your content has touched that lead throughout his or her life cycle over time to become an opportunity next you should be tracking revenue generation this is actually how much money your content has generated for your business you can track this in your marketing automation tool you’ll be looking at how much pipeline pipeline being potential business and how much revenue being closed one deals was created from your content you can also look at first touch and multi-touch here as well to see if your content has brought in first touch pipeline or multi-touch pipeline next we have paid program performance most likely you’ll be using your content in a variety of paid programs such as sponsored emails pay-per-click ads and so on so you want to track this as well you can track this and marketing automation tool you’ll be looking at email programs content syndication pay-per-click campaigns anything paid that you’re doing with content you want to pay attention to audience content type vendor and copy and you can toggle these different things to determine if they make a difference in your overall performance and you want to also take into consideration the cost of these programs when determining ROI next we have sales usage you want to determine if sales is actually using content in your deals remember your content is created to help sales sell whether it’s early stage mid or late stage all of your sales reps should be using your content strategically in their deals so you want to know how they are using your content and when and their sales deals are they using it are they asking for printed content to take along with them if they’re doing in-person sales and are they sending leads your content over time these are all important things to take into consideration mid and late stage content metrics are what proves out revenue and return on investment for your business make sure that you are tracking each of these metrics show your business leaders how your content is directly affecting business growth and take that seat at the revenue table you content marketing is critical in today’s noisy world by creating valuable educational and engaging thought leadership you can create the type of relationship with potential buyers to move them through your sales funnel to ultimately become loyal customers so you’re probably thinking now where should I go next the first thing I would check out is an Hanley’s groundbreaking content books content rules and everybody writes both of these books are great starting points to creating a holistic content strategy also check out the resources section and blog for the Content Marketing Institute founded by Joe pulizzi one of the premier thought leaders of content marketing this website provides a host of valuable content tools definitely check out Marquitos resource section and blog for valuable ebooks definitive guys and cheat sheets to help you get your content marketing started congratulations on completing this course I look forward to seeing your great content getting shared downloaded and helping to drive growth for your business you

About Ralph Robinson

Read All Posts By Ralph Robinson

1 thought on “what is content marketing? content definition, basics, and best practices

  1. completely comprehensive guides on how to teach yourself all the fundamental business, marketing, accounting, and entrepreneurship KEY-POINTS | https://payhip.com/selflearn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *