Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018

Five Steps toward Content Marketing Success

According to Wikipedia, content marketing is “an umbrella term that involves the creation and sharing of content in order to attract, acquire and engage current and potential customers with the purpose of making a profit.” From this perspective, if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.

We used to live in a world where publishers and marketers had clearly defined roles. The marketer’s sole responsibility was to create advertising that sold. Not only that the separation lines are now blurred, but even the traditional marketing model is challenged. No longer is marketing handing on the baton to sales who in turn is handing it on to customer service. People rely on content through all the steps of the customer lifecycle. Marketing gets communication responsibilities beyond the awareness stage or filling the top of the funnel.

Here are five basic steps to content marketing success:

Develop customer persona. Personas define the ideal profile of a potential buyer or user. Build segmentation based on demographics, behavior, needs, and goals. But remember, sometimes buyer persona is different from the user persona. A recent study has shown that many people travel to North Myrtle Beach accompanied by children. As a business located in a family destination, you have to tailor your offer and generate content targeting both the customers – the adults reaching into their pockets for the money, as well as the user – the children the purchase is made for.

Generate content. The most effective way to generate useful and effective content is by adopting processes specific to publishers. Draw an editorial calendar for each persona for each step of the customer lifecycle. Make sure that the content created provides the needed marketing value based on the informational need and your business goals. Create valuable content by following a simple yet powerful customer buying process model covering all the basic steps: awareness – education – consideration – negotiation – purchase – loyalty.

Use marketing automation tools. Use technology to create a profile and a data entry for every person who reads the content you have generated and moves forward in the sales funnel. Let the marketing automation tools indicate the buying stage, generate the lead score and trigger a marketing message. Use an integrated marketing approach by engaging multiple communication channels, from email to social media to direct mail to print advertising.

Test and adapt. You need to provide the right amount of content at the right time. Identify what prospects need and in what format and deliver accordingly. How long should you make the videos, how long do you need to make and what do you need to include in a product or service overview? How do you stand out from the crowd? Measure preferences, test different versions and adapt to changes. A print ad might have been successful a couple of years ago but you may need to change it to reflect the current realities.

Measure and improve. Establish a set of metrics based on the business goals and the communication channels engaged. Make adjustments as you go along and find a balance that makes business sense between the soft metrics specific to social media marketing and the more tangible metrics specific to more established marketing channels. Refine your processes and continuously tweak your strategies to make sure you reach your goals.

The only way to successfully harness content marketing is to produce compelling content. Find out what makes your buyers tick and deliver the write content at the right time to the right person. Do all these and you will send the most powerful Ron Howard message to your competitors: “eat my dust!”