Five Steps to Successful Content Marketing

Content marketing is the most misunderstood strategy in marketing today, with marketers missing out on goals, deliverables and expected results. These five steps will help create a more successful, and profitable campaign.

Include brand awareness in your content marketing campaign.

A big mistake content marketers make is to approach it as a mechanical, volume-driven process. Another mistake is in defining the goal of the content marketing campaign. Many marketers see that goal as building domain authority and search engine rank, and that is indeed part of the scenario — but that’s not all. Along with that is the goal of building brand awareness.

That brand awareness may be overlooked in favor of quick numbers, especially if you have a disreputable provider generating ugly content for you and placing it on poor-quality websites. Content marketing is after all, about “content” — not links, and every piece your marketing people create, and every placement you achieve, should be done to achieve both goals. Before you place an article, ask yourself these questions: “If someone sees this article, will it offer them knowledge they didn’t already have?” And, “Does it make my company look good?” The answers to both questions must be “Yes.” If not, then the content needs to be rejected.

Balance on-site content with third-party content.

The sales cycle starts long before you know that the prospect exists, and probably before the prospect knows you exist. It starts when that prospect goes out onto the web and does some due diligence to find out about how to solve a challenge they may be having, and then, to find out which products may address those challenges.

On your site, in addition to the standard marketing language, include useful and unbiased information about not just your product, but about the industry, about the challenge, and about strategies prospects may want to consider. Rather than pure advertising, think “thought leadership.” More companies are incorporating things like case studies, white papers, and in-depth articles that go deeper than the usual advertising puffery.

In addition to that rich on-site content, make yourself a thought leader on the broader Web by writing thoughtful articles for reputable niche publications which your customers are likely to read.

Extreme quality with editorial oversight.

Content marketing is not a bulk commodity item to be sourced from overseas providers willing to write articles for a dollar a piece.

When the goal of a campaign is properly defined as above, to include both SEO/backlink building and brand awareness, those quick-and-dirty content pieces quickly become irrelevant, and ultimately, harmful to your brand. Think of “content marketing” as a type of journalism. Your company has a publishing arm, and you need a professional managing editor on your team to ensure consistent quality.

Consistent, steady placements over time.

You have two audiences: Google, who ranks the content; and real people who read it. Focusing on only one of those will result in a failed campaign.

Both audiences want a steady stream of information. A handful of placements in good industry magazines will do you some good, but having a steady drumbeat of high-quality placements every month is going to get you higher and higher in the SERPs.

Amplify each content unit.

With each new piece of content, consider how best to leverage it. Make the most of each piece with social media notifications. If you are able to place a bylined article in a high-profile industry publication, good for you! Now take that placement, Tweet it, post about it on your LinkedIn page, and write a brief summary of the article on your own website’s “In the News” section and link out to it.

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