Instead of giving you the classic (and let’s face it, overused) “content marketing is king” speech, we’ll let the data speak for itself.
When it comes to content marketing, the arguments in favor far outweigh the arguments against — and more and more companies are beginning to realize this. But with more businesses jumping on the content marketing bandwagon, it’s that much more difficult to stand out from the clutter, particularly if you’re just getting your feet wet with content.
Many marketing teams make the mistake of creating content without any prior research, then releasing it into the wild with no plan for further promotion or measurement of success. Having a process in place for your content marketing strategy can make the difference between content success and content failure — and that’s where we can help.
Let’s walk through a typical five-stage process for a piece of content, from the creation of buyer personas to content mapping and measurement.
1. Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are crucial to content development because of their ability to guide the creation process. A persona is essentially a profile of your target audience, from their job descriptions to their pain points. By having a concrete understanding of your ideal buyer, you can cater your content to their needs and preferences and distribute it among the appropriate channels, meaning that your marketing messages are always relevant.
Learn more about creating buyer personas in our recent case study (complete with pictures!).
2. Content Creation
Once you have a solid idea of your audience and their needs, it’s time to create your content. There are several ways you can approach this depending on the type of content that your audience is looking for and the resources at your disposal. Many companies have found success through company blogs while others rely more on a devoted webinar program. Decide which channels work for your audience and pursue those — and don’t forget that recycling content is always an option.
To get more content ideas, take a look at our recent article, 6 Types of Content You SHOULD Be Creating.
3. Content Mapping
An often overlooked stage of the content marketing process is content mapping, which involves mapping your content to the stages of the sales funnel (also known as stage-based marketing). When content is mapped appropriately, it can be delivered to your buyers at exactly the right time, making it more effective than if it was just sent out through a generic email blast.
Learn more about the benefits of stage-based marketing, and the correct way to map content to each stage of the sales cycle, in this article by our own Adam Blitzer, featured on the Salesforce blog.
4. Distribution and Promotion
Creating content isn’t enough — the success of your content hinges on how well you distribute and promote it. Putting it on your website behind a form is great for lead generation, but does you no good if no one can find it. Try promoting your content through your social channels, targeted email blasts, pay-per-click campaigns, or another channel that you know your audience is active on.
Check out this worksheet to make sure you’re getting the most out of your promotional efforts.
Without measuring the success of your content, it’s hard to say whether your efforts are doing you any good (and even if you’re not too concerned, your boss will be). There are several metrics you can use to gauge the success of your content strategy: content consumption, lead generation, sharing stats, and sales metrics (for example, did your content influence any closed won deals over the past quarter?).
Take a look at some common metrics that other companies are using to measure their content success in this infographic.
Did we miss any steps in the content process? Let us know in the comments!
Image source can be found here.