12-Step Tips On How To Start Your First Content Marketing Campaign
According to B2C content marketing 2014-benchmarks budgets and trends-North America, a report by Content Marketing Institute:
- Content marketing is used by more than 90% of B2C marketers with 44% of their colleagues claiming being effective in their content marketing, 60% showing interest in increasing their content marketing budget.
- In the same report, 67% of B2C organizations have an internal expert to handle content marketing and 72% of marketers reporting production of more content than the previous year.
These statistics indicate how content marketing is increasing in popularity across the globe with many organizations and marketers adopting different content strategies.
Nevertheless, there are many people who still don’t have confidence that content marketing can deliver real business benefits. However, the truth is that content can help in many ways including improving brand awareness, reputation, and visibility. Content strategy should therefore not necessarily be used as a sales channel that will result in real sales.
If you still have the feeling that you should rather concentrate on improving customer experience, then you have no idea how much you are missing out. You simply need to learn how to initiate a structured strategy. There are so many content marketing tactics you can use and implement for your business.
Below are simple guidelines on how to successfully start a content marketing campaign from scratch. The step by step tips here will help you to answer the question “why”; why create content? To who is it targeted? And how you will help them in a way no one else will. This way, you will understand the importance of content marketing in generating more revenue, building a better customer base and lowering costs.
#1 Get the buy in
Many marketers don’t believe that content marketing is so simple. Creating valuable content helps in drawing customers’ interest to your products or services, aimed at building trust and recognition so that they will love to buy from you.
It is highly likely that you understand this, but does your business partner, CEO or manager do?
It is therefore important that you start by convincing them by enumerating the benefits of content marketing and why they should invest in it. In other words, you need their approval if you intend to have your campaign see the light of the day.
Roop and Co. in their integrated strategic communication highlight five steps on how to get buy-in for your content marketing.
#2 Set defined goals
The success of your content marketing campaign is defined by aligning it with your business goals. Your content marketing strategy can only help you grow your businessif you actually define goals. In that regard, you need to first think of setting up defined goals before you create any content by stating what you intend to achieve at the end of the campaign.
The following are some of the common goals set by organizations engaging in content marketing:
✓ Improving brand awareness - your content creation should be focused on attracting the attention of the readers to a point they will ask themselves, “who wrote this?”
✓ Enhancing brand loyalty - your ultimate goal should be to make your prospects start considering you as a credible resource. This way, they will be visiting your pages and reading the content shared whenever they are seeking specific solutions.
✓ Customer education - as a content marketer, you know that your customers have many questions they need to be answered. Through your content marketing campaign, you will easily answer to various questions and provide solutions to various problems faced by your customers.
✓ Building valuable connections - building your brand trust is quite crucial. You, therefore, need to create high-quality content that is engaging, and that will prompt conversations with your readers. This way, you will be able to build more and more connections and in return building their trust towards your brand.
#3 Define metrics
These are tools with which you will measure the performance or success of your campaigns. Despite the fact that different goals have different key performance indicators, there are few common ones that cut across your content marketing campaign such as:
✓ Page per visit
✓ Time on site
✓ Traffic generated from content
✓ Bounce rate
✓ Social shares
In this regard, you will have to develop an easy reporting system for everyone to follow. Content marketing is like any other marketing strategies: you need to collect and analyze data to succeed. So, defining the right metrics is key. However, don't make data-driven content marketing mistakes such as not collecting enough data, being impatient or replacing strategy with analytics.
#4 Assess internal capacities and resources
Before you even think of outsourcing work involved to external experts, you need to undertake the bulk of it on the campaign in-house. In this regard, you will have to assess and determine your internal resources and capabilities to decide who is capable of handling what and how long it will take to accomplish the task.
By assessing your internal capabilities and resources, you will then be able to determine how much needs to be outsourced.
On the same note, you will also need to look into the management aspect of the campaign. Who will oversee the various aspects involved in the campaign? What resources are needed? Of course, this will depend on the size of your organization. The available workload will be divided between the task force available.
#5 Create content personas
Understanding your audience is important in developing a successful marketing campaign. You will, therefore, need to understand what their concerns are and develop content that is customized to their preference. To achieve this, you need content personas which represent your ideal readers. However, you need to understand how to avoid common persona mistakes.
By understanding who your target audience is, you will be able to address the right message to them and tell your brand story the right way.
#6 Perform regular content audit
Before launching your content marketing campaign, it is necessary that you undertake an audit of your current content.
This will enable you to:
✓ Easily recognize problems with your content, broken links and performance issues among other things that may hinder how your customers respond to the content
✓ Ascertain if your content is of the right quality and determine if changes or updates are needed
✓ Determine if there is content that may be of value for reuse in your new campaign
Content auditing is quite technical for those that are not well experienced in the area. You, therefore, need to understand properly how to conduct a content audit on your site to evaluate and determine if it is of value or not.
#7 Define your unique take
Originality is key to the success of your content marketing campaign. You, therefore, need to ensure you maintain the highest standards when it comes to originality of content bearing in mind that a lot of content is being created out there on the same topics you are discussing. Without a unique take, you can be sure your efforts might be ignored. In case of outsourcing your content creation to external service providers, you will have to ensure they have the right experience and expertise possessed by no one else.
#8 Develop a content mix
Do not restrict yourself to only one particular content type. Publishing a wide range of content types will enable you to open up to a wider audience. In this case, you may consider mixing a variety of content types like blog posts, research papers, white papers and infographics among others. If you are not a designer, you might think that visual marketing is scary. Don't worry, you can master visual marketing without design skills.
#9 Generate content ideas
This is where many content marketers miss the point. With the right ideas, you will be able to create valuable content that will stand out and meet your prospects’ needs. To be effective with your ideas, concentrate on what you know and your passions, build off other people’s content by joining in the discussions and asking customers, especially on social media for the right content ideas. We suggest you to have a look to those 21 ways of using Google Trends to build your content marketing strategy.
#10 Develop a content calendar
This is an editorial calendar that you will use to evaluate your content and content creation. Always post your content on time. This calendar will also help you to remain in check and also give you insight into content personas, keywords, topics and distribution channels.
#11 Create content
To create interesting, quality and engaging content, you need content marketers. Here are a few tips to hire outstanding content marketers. With the content calendar in place, you will need to create content that is aligned to it. This process needs incorporation of specialists in various content types, choosing the right headlines and ensuring the content is aligned with your content strategy. In simple terms, your content should be in line with your brand message.
If you're searching for help to create more and better content, we recommend you check those 5 useful tools for content marketing. Enjoy!
#12 Define distribution channels
This is the last step to success in your content marketing campaign. With all steps taken into consideration, you have to publish the content on the right channels where your target audience can easily access it. You will need to closely watch the latest social media marketing trends if you intend to be successful in this case.
Having a strong social media strategy is key to promote your content! There are many mainstream ways to promote your content on social media but you don't have to always use the classic methods. From time to time, we recommend you to try to promote your content on social media with methods that are neglected by others.
Another powerful way to distribute your content and that is often neglected by companies is to use native advertising. There are at least 6 reasons to incorporate native ads into your marketing strategy.
So, what are the key elements you need to create a successful content marketing campaign?
Content marketing has evolved through time and keeps changing. It's important to stay on top of your game and be aware of the trends. All said and done; you need to consider another crucial aspect of content marketing, periodically reviewing and updating the content. This will enable your brand to remain on target and right ahead of your completion.
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