By now you’re probably heard a lot about the idea of content marketing—certainly, regular readers of this blog will have some familiarity with the term—and you may even be interested in launching your brand’s content marketing campaign in earnest. Before striking up a blog or launching a series of Facebook posts, however, there is some important strategizing that must take place.
To get the most out of your content marketing endeavors—to make sure you have all your ducks in a row, so to speak, before getting down to the nitty-gritty—pause to ask yourself the following six questions.
What is the message I need to deliver?
Delivering a message is not the same thing as promoting a product; if the only thing you have to say to potential consumers is Buy our products!, your content marketing approach is unlikely to engage; after all, who wants to follow a company on Twitter if all they get is endless promotion and sales copy? Instead, it is important for companies to think about a message they can deliver that will get potential clients interested, and also help cast the brand as an authoritative one. How do you wish your brand to be portrayed? What kind of expertise do you wish to exhibit?
Will that message actually help bring in sales?
Nailing down your messaging is important, but it is equally critical to note that not all messages are created equal—and the last thing you want is to spend time and resources to launch a message that doesn’t bring in sales. Take the example of an auto mechanic. Creating a content marketing campaign that centers on common auto problems and maintenance needs—establishing that mechanic as a local authority on transmissions, brake replacements, oil changes, and so forth—is likely to generate some business. A marketing campaign that centers on all of the mechanic’s favorite sports cars, meanwhile, may send more leads to the local used car lot than to the mechanic himself!
What’s my audience?
Who are you trying to reach with your content marketing? Obviously, our auto mechanic friend wants to reach people who own vehicles. You may be trying to reach mostly women, college students, business owners, people who eat out regularly, homeowners, parents—or simply any and all retail consumers. In order to hone your message, though, you need to define your audience.
Where is my audience?
Some content marketing campaigns need to operate across several media—Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, a blog, and so forth. If you’re not directing your message to professionals, however, you may wish to remove LinkedIn from the list; if you’re selling arts and crafts products, meanwhile, it might be smart to add Pinterest. Knowing where your audience spends its time—and thus, where you should spend your time—is essential for effective content marketing.
How will I measure results?
A good content marketing campaign is one that allows you to quantify or measure your results in some way. If you can’t evaluate your progress, you have no idea if your campaign is working, or if there are changes you need to make to it. Are you measuring progress in terms of new Facebook fans? Increased search engine visibility? More phones ringing, with calls from potential clients?
Can you handle the demands of the campaign on your own?
Finally, think about the level of work that will be needed to mount your campaign. How much time will you need to set aside to write blog entries, to respond to Facebook comments, and to find content to share on Twitter? Getting to the bottom of this question is imperative as you seek to determine whether or not you’re better off running the campaign yourself, or outsourcing to a content marketing team.
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