Content Marketing Crash Course

By Michael Kennedy, Guest Blogger | 1.12.18

This is a crash-course on Content Marketing. In this post, we’ll be answering why you should consider this strategy, and how you can get started making your own. Joe Pulizzi wrote a great book on the subject: Content Inc. which heavily expands on these ideas.

Brands can’t build relationships with their customers. Relationships are for people. Brands CAN build trust with their customers. Authenticity is a growing expectation for brands, and it’s a great way to build trust. Content marketing is a strategy to help create a more authentic voice for your brand.

A Content Marketing Strategy is not like a marketing campaign. Because you’re not the subject; your audience is. This strategy revolves around providing value. Every piece of content you put out should benefit your audience. Over time, your customer-centric content will build trust, establish authority within your industry, and eventually generate more qualified leads for your business. Below are some topics to keep in mind to get started.

 

Key Considerations for a Content Marketing Strategy:

Audience: Identify a core audience within your customer base. Who does your brand relate to the most? Speak to them. If you’re B2B, your customers are organizations, not individuals. Identify who’s using your product or service within these organizations. Create your content for them. Enable others to get the most out of your product.

Theme: What’s your content going to be about? Keep it consistent. Keep it in your wheelhouse. Try to find a few intersections between your industry and your average customer’s pain-points to generate a few ideas. Make sure each post adds value by either informing, educating or entertaining your audience.

Content Mission Statement: Once you’ve identified your core audience and content theme, you’ll want to create a Content Mission Statement to serve as a guideline for your strategy. Each piece of content you create should stay true to this mission statement.It should include 3 items:

  1. Your core target audience
  2. What will be delivered
  3. The outcome for the audience

Channel:  You’ll need to identify a content type (audio, video, text) and a channel to share it. Choose one channel to start. It takes too much time and money to produce believable, consistent content on multiple channels. Build a base audience on one channel before expanding to others. The most cost-effective route is creating a blog that sits on your website and sharing the content through your email list.

Time:  Nothing good comes easy. Monetizing a Content Marketing Strategy takes time. But the ROI is worth the wait. You’re looking at 9-15 month on average to start seeing real returns. If you’re running the show, set these expectations with your organization’s leadership. Pulizzi recommends getting AT LEAST 6 months budgeted for a pilot program.

Be sure to have a content calendar & stick with it. You’ll need to share your content regularly so your audience knows when to expect new posts.  

  • Bonus round for companies with $$$: If you’re looking for faster results, skip the line. Once you’ve identified your core audience and content theme, go buy a relevant blog/media outlet with an existing audience. This has its own challenges, like converting & retaining the existing audience, but if you’ve got the money to spend, this is a quick route to take.

Growth: Once you’ve developed an audience, start looking at other channels to engage your audience. Use your primary channel to notify your audience about your new content. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. Time to check out podcasts & videos.

Recap: Content Marketing builds trust with your audience by creating a consistent and authentic voice for your brand. It focuses on adding value to the customer by educating, entertaining, or informing your audience. Its strategy is built on quality over quantity. And it can be implemented within any organization. For case studies, e-books, and research about content marketing check out the wealth of resources from the Content Marketing Institute.