If you’re in business, I’m sure you’ve been introduced to the concept of content marketing. Experts have advised businesses to produce content for quite some time now for search engine optimization, branding, lead generation and engagement, to name just a few of the many reasons.
Content marketing can be powerful, if done properly. It is more than simply broadcasting content. You may achieve some SEO benefits without a strategy, but that’s about it. Each piece of content should support your company’s message, but also help drive interest in your product or service. Without a proper strategy in place, you’re probably underachieving.
In a proper content marketing strategy, integration and support are the key ingredients. This strategy requires a meeting of the minds on a regular basis. It should include your marketing department, PR department, any content production team, as well as key management. I find including key management to be invaluable for drawing out ideas and developments that should perhaps be better known. And having the entire team as part of the meeting tends to produce much better results as far as ideas that really work. Topics of discussion should be centered on the following:
- How the company should be branded
- The launch of any new products or services
- Any product updates that can be announced
- Any messages or content that supports overall marketing positioning
- Any news that should be disseminated – big new clients, company growth, new hires of note, company awards, etc.
- Any customer case studies that could be developed
- Any trade shows coming up that need a content strategy plan to increase booth visits
- Any white papers that can help explain, forward a particular message
- Article and blog topics
Content marketing includes marketing collateral, case studies, white papers, press releases, social media, blog articles and articles for trade magazines. It encompasses any conferences your company will be involved in, as well as product and service offerings now, and in the near future.
This is how a comprehensive content marketing strategy looks:
- Marketing – This content is your sales content. This type of content is your direct call-to-action and awareness, designed to generate interest and gain exposure for your product or service. It includes website content and marketing collateral/sales support materials.
- Press Releases – These are designed to spread the news and generate excitement and interest in a product, service or the company itself. They are tailored to attract media attention and reach industry influencers and your customers. They can also be used to better explain your competitive advantages and what it is that you do. In addition, they serve to keep you top of mind with editors and writers for any stories they may be developing.
- Blog articles – These are designed to be a soft-sell to your audience through education. They also help company executives gain visibility by becoming industry thought leaders and educators. These should not be pitchy but should support your company’s message. The better ones can also start conversations on topics and engage your audience.
- Social media – Your social media properties should be used to push a variety of content that supports your message. Be sure to tailor your message to what your audience likes and don’t just sit there passively watching -- use your presence and interact with your followers. Social media allows your company to have a virtual personality and gives prospects an opportunity to get to know your company. Social media can also be used to create hyper-targeted ads that can generate awareness, branding or leads.
There are many articles out there on topics such as “Easy Ways to Generate Blog Ideas,” or “How to Get Engagement on Social Media.” While many have some great best practice tips and can be useful, content marketing works best with a fully integrated approach with all of the pieces in place. Develop a strategy. Include everyone. And execute on that strategy. With each piece of the puzzle in place working together, it should leads to more success while expending less effort.