Content marketing without strategy is like a potato trying to whistle.
Content is what drives everything in online marketing today. Successful marketing (and advertising) requires quality content. What is quality content? It’s information your customers need in order to develop expectations and inform their buying decisions.
The new season of Veep just started on HBO. There’s a hilarious scene early on where Selina Meyer’s (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) staff are discussing her first speech to Congress after becoming the first female President. They’re talking about content and how this speech was not going to “be like all the others” (aka: fluff). You’ll have to watch the episode because, as usual, it doesn’t go as planned for Madame President.
Is Your Content Marketing Just Noise-Shaped Air?
Since content drives all online marketing then it would be logical to develop an internal process to create and publish content. Outsourcing content comes with it’s own challenges and often doesn’t get the results you need to beat your competitors.
Substantive content that increases online authority, engages your target customer and eventually turns fans into customers doesn’t happen on its own.
Step 1: Content Strategy
The first step to quality content marketing is a documented content strategy (aka: action plan). 70% of companies practicing content marketing lack a documented strategy. Thankfully, changes are happening as the need to align content with actual goals, sales processes and revenue comes into focus.
A viable content strategy/action plan requires you to answer two very important questions:
- Why? Why do your customers choose you over your competitors?
- How? How will you execute your content strategy? How will you create quality content and publish it?
Step 2: Content Audit
The next critical step is to perform a Content Audit. It’s crucial because if you don’t know where you are, the road to success will be filled with twists and turns and may lead to nowhere.
When we conduct a Content Audit, we require a list of all public-facing online properties, including websites, blogs, and social media. We also examine email marketing and advertising campaigns.
The purpose of a Content Audit isn’t just to get an expert to review it but also to see if it’s being found, read, shared, and/or engaged with. A Content Audit can produce surprising insights not just about the content itself but also the requirements for processes to create and sustain the flow of quality content within your organization.
A Content Audit exposes gaps, identifies problems and defines strengths, resulting in specific recommendations for improvement.
Step 3: Required Tools & Technology
How you’ll create quality content and publish it lies in your ability to recognize the right tools and technology for the job. Your list will include internal communications, analytics, publishing platforms, SEO optimization, Social CRM and monitoring tools.
Step 4: Management, Employee and Customer Interviews
Gaining insight from every angle of your brand is vital to successful content marketing strategy.
- Interviews with management define a vision of your brand and outline goals.
- Interviews with employees provide an in-depth view of your culture.
- Interviews with customers (your “Raving Fans:) inform how you’re perceived, what a real-time customer experience is like and a clear understanding of why people choose you over your competitors.
When we’re retained for help with content marketing strategy, these interviews are conducted with care and as little interruption as is humanly possible. Having done many of these, I must say the interviews with your customers present a huge amount of very valuable feedback, often surprising a lot of your managers.
For Selina Meyer, with all her meticulous planning, and her staff’s frenzied, painfully inept, and misguided efforts, nothing ever seems to go as planned. Veep has earned every single gut-busting, mile-a-minute laugh it’s crafted. Selina’s “success” happens in spite of monumental bumbling.
Don’t let this be you. There’s a lot of noise out there on the web right now and a lot of it is being ignored because of a lack of strategy. Take the steps you need to take to get your content marketing in order. The stakes are high in this real world of today’s business and that’s no laughing matter.
Here’s a taste of Veep to enjoy. If you can’t see the video, click–>here