I was pleased to be involved in the creation of a useful guide, How to Kick-Start Your Content Marketing - A Seven-Step Approach to Delivering Success, developed by Skyword. They engaged a number of experts in the effort including my Merced Group Partner, Catherine Shinners.
As the report notes, “content marketing is a more subtle approach than other, more traditional, marketing efforts. While the ultimate goal is to drive increased revenue for companies, content marketing is more focused on delivering information and advice that enrich people’s lives.” However getting people information that is useful to them can be complex.
This report outlines seven steps to make content marketing successful: define objectives, develop content strategy, establish process and technology, prepare site, cross promote POE, and measure, learn, optimize. I was honored that they began the first step with some words from me. “You need to start with defining your business objectives and build your program and metrics around those goals. If you are not measuring against business goals, the whole effort is meaningless.”
This requirement applies to many initiatives, but it is also the one most often overlooked when we start to use a new technology or approach. We get focused on the new tools and forget why we want to use them. They define a common set of objectives for content marketing to get you thinking including: generating leads, increasing site ranking, increasing conversions, branding and engagement, and providing information.
The second step begins with sound useful words from Dave Kerpen, Co-founder and CEO at Likeable Media. “Think about the content that will be useful, valuable and/or entertaining to your customers and prospects. It’s not about you, it’s about them.” Know your audience is the first item on the strategy checklist. Then you determine the type of content, define and own your keywords, and more. There is useful detail around each item with best practices for each step.
There is an interesting graph comparing the number of views for news versus “evergreen” or non-time based content. They showed how the number of hits for news was significant the month it appeared and then dropped off sharply as to be expected. The amount of average hits for evergreen content builds over time. It passes the news in the third month and keeps growing. I have often found this to be the case. In most years on my blog, the majority of the top ten most visited posts are not from the current year, but prior years.
Content marketing is not for those do need a quick return. It requires patience and time. The report concludes that, “Companies that have launched the most successful content marketing programs understand the need for a systematic, long-term approach in order to provide relevant content consistently and efficiently.” I highly recommend this guide for those who want to undertake a content marketing effort. It is available as a free download.