Contentmarketingstrategy in fivesimple steps.
Contentmarketing works.By providing a clearlytargeted audience withinformation that’s usefuland relevant, it helpsestablish long-termrelationships and closerengagement withyour brand.
Content marketing’s growing popularityand effectiveness is undoubtable. TheAssociation for Data-driven Marketingand Advertising (ADMA) surveyedAustralian marketers in 2013 andfound 93% use content marketing.More importantly, 81% are producingmore content than they were a year agoand 69% are planning to increase theirannual content marketing budgets.But something is amiss: only 52% of ADMA’s respondentshave a content marketing strategy and just 33% ratetheir organisation’s content marketing as ‘effective’ or‘very effective’.If your organisation doesn’t have a content marketingstrategy or if you’re not getting the results you’d like, youneed to do something about it.This paper proposes a simple approach to creating a contentmarketing strategy – by answering the ‘five Ws’ journalistshave been asking for centuries: who, what, where, when andwhy. Your answers will help you create a content marketingprogram that directly addresses your business needs.52%Only:of ADMA’s respondentshave a content marketingstrategy33%rate their organisation’scontent marketing as‘effective’ or ‘very effective’
Content marketing cancontribute to or even begin aspart of a conventional marketingcampaign. The difference is thatonce the campaign is over,the content marketing – theconversation – continues, allowingyou to build a lasting relationshipwith your audience.You need to begin by finding out how to talk to your customers,what they want to hear about and how to reach them – all withyour brand’s overarching goals in mind.Thinking likea publisherContent marketing isabout engaging withyour customers. Itinvolves publishing aregular program oftargeted, relevant, usefulinformation in whateverform is most convenientto your target audience.A comprehensive contentmarketing strategy mayinclude articles, blogposts, case studies,direct mail, eDMs ande-newsletters, LinkedInposts, magazines, Twitterfeeds and white papers.So, how do you start the conversation? Remember that you’llbe creating content and pushing it out through appropriatedistribution channels; you’ll be publishing, which means youhave to start thinking like a publisher. One simple way to dothis is by addressing the ‘five Ws’: Who are you publishing for? (audiences and personas) What should you publish? (types of content) Where should you publish? (channels and media) When should you publish? (content calendar) Why are you publishing? (outcomes and objectives).If you take the time to answer these questions up front andestablish documented, repeatable processes for creatingcontent, you’ll be well on your way to developing a successfulcontent marketing operation.
“Why doesmost contentmarketingfail? Becauseit stops.”– Joe Pulizzi,Founder, Content Marketing Institute
Who are you publishing for?Content marketing begins and ends with the audience.The better you understand who you’re trying to reach, themore successful your content will be.Depending on your brand strategy and product mix, youmay be broadcasting to a wide audience of prospective,new and long-term customers, or your message may betightly focused on a particular demographic, social group orproduct user base.Organisations often hold detailed information about theircustomers in marketing and communications plans, pathsto purchase, brand and customer personas, audiencesegmentation and other research reports or documents thatexplore their needs, concerns and ‘pain points’.Who am I talking to?The more deeplyyou come to knowyour audience,the better thecontent you’ll beable to create,so the time youspend identifyingyour target marketwill repay youhandsomely.The more deeply you come to know your audience, the betterthe content you’ll be able to create, so the time you spendidentifying your target market will repay you handsomely.Product information sheets and marketing plans may wellhave useful information, as will market research reports,product positioning documents and sales collateral, not tomention customer surveys and other direct feedback.“Marketing is givingpeople something totalk about.”– Bernadette Jiwa,author, Difference
What should you publish?Inside the matrixHumans are producing more information now than at any timein history. So how do you achieve cut-through and give yourmessages the best chance of being heard above the chatter?It can be helpful to think in terms of content pillars. Each pillaridentifies a question, idea or type of information that will beuseful to the audience, and each piece of content you produceshould align with a pillar.The pillar concept can also help you clarify what content typeswill work best. For example, a healthcare company might selectthree pillars, each of which suggests a content type, such as: Health is happiness (case studies and customer stories) Feed your mind (white papers and information sheets) Visit your doctor (news items and announcements).You should also conduct a content audit, especially if you alreadyhave a lot of collateral or are currently publishing information(for example, through a company blog, podcast or newsletter).A content audit involves determining whether your existingmaterial is truly relevant and useful, and how it aligns to yourcontent pillars. The audit can also help to identify your bestcontent creators, and which content types and channels havebeen the most effective.Once you’ve audited yourcontent you can begin filling ina content matrix (see Figure 1).At each stage of the customerjourney you should note down: your goal: the action youwant the content to inspire,like visiting a website,downloading informationor calling a consultant the channel(s) you’ll use toreach your audience: suchas email, video or printedcollateral the document types you’llsupply: for example, casestudies, customer stories,white papers or thoughtleadership pieces the topics you’ll address:that is, the specific ideas,products and opinions thatwill be covered.Figure 1: Content document type(s)document type(s)document type(s)document type(s)document estopics/messagestopics/messagesAdapted from Kevin Cain, The Content Matrix, Content Marketing World Sydney 2014.
Where should you publish?Taking themulti-channelapproachThe multi-channelapproach is a way to‘COPE’ – create once,publish everywhere (seeFigure 3). With some smartediting, you can createseveral pieces of contentfrom a single sourcesuch as a white paper orinterview. Publishing thiscontent across multiplechannels will maximiseits reach, provide a betterreturn on your initialinvestment of time andeffort, and help moveaudience members fromone platform to another.For example, an audiencemember may watch a sixsecond video grab in anemail newsletter then clickthrough to your websiteto see the full interviewor to read the white paperbeing discussed.Once you understand who your audience members areand what types of information you want to share with them,you can determine where to find and make contact with them.For example, you want to ensure that you’re tweeting to theTwitter-obsessed, sending magazines to magazine-loversand posting to your LinkedIn or Facebook page for a socialmedia–savvy audience.A critical early decision is whether to use existing channels(like social media platforms) or to invest in a platform of yourown – by creating a new website, newsletter or podcast, forexample. Existing platforms offer a wider reach at a lowercost, but they place you at the mercy of policy and platformchanges you can’t control. Creating your own platform will bemore expensive at the outset, but will give you full ownershipof the information you publish.Creating an effective channel plan comes down to knowing youraudience and understanding which platforms will most easilyallow you to create ‘content that moves’ – content thatis circulated, shared and promoted by other people. It’s oftenbest to take a multi-channel approach where each piece ofcontent points or links to others. In this way, your print readerscan visit a website, your email readers can subscribe to aLinkedIn group, your podcast listeners can follow a Twitterfeed and so on.When should you publish?Too much content can be just as bad as too little. Publish toofrequently and your messages will be ignored at best, andregarded as annoying distractions at worst.Building on information gained from answering ‘who’, ‘what’and ‘where’, you can create a content calendar (see Figure 2)that clearly sets out what you will publish and when.
Figure 2: Content calendarWeek 1EventsEmailOnlineMondayShowcase reminderBlogTuesdayCompany showcaseWednesdayBlogThursdayShowcase video 1FridayWeekly newsletterBlog: magazine comingSocialPrintBlog update tweetShowcase live tweetBlog update tweetLinkedIn updateBlog update tweetEventsEmailOnlineWeek 2MondayWebinar reminderBlogTuesdayShowcase webinarShowcase video 2WednesdayBlogThursdayFridayWeekly newsletterBlog: magazine outSocialPrintBlog update tweetWebinarBlog update tweetLinkedIn updateMagazine issueBlog update tweetEventsEmailOnlineWeek 3MondayBlogTuesdayShowcase video 3WednesdayBlogThursdayFridayWeekly newsletterBlogSocialPrintBlog update tweetWebinarBlog update tweetLinkedIn updateBlog update tweetCan you COPE?Canyou COPE?CanyouCOPE?CanyouCOPE?CanyouCOPE?Can you COPE?Can you COPE?Can you COPE?A content calendar (above) allows you to schedule work in advance, which simplifiesplanning and budgeting. It helps ensure you have content relevant to the time of year; forexample, factoring in seasonal promotions, holidays and public events. And it allows youUse this as a template but:No numbersto buildEight items (clockwisefrom top):in flexibility by leaving certain slots unfilled until close to the publishing date. That way Online [icon: PC]Use this as a template but: Mobile [icon: phonetablet] proactively respond to current events without throwing your other plans into disarray.you canNo numbers Social media [icon: facebook, twitter, linkedin logos] Eight items (clockwise from top):Online event [icon: laptop][icon:Use this as a Onlinetemplatebut:PC]Email [icon: message] Mobile [icon: phone tablet]No numbersVideo [icon: screenw/ play button] Use this as a template but: (clockwiseSocial media[icon:Eightitemsfromtop): facebook, twitter, linkedin logos]Print [icon: magazine]No numbers Onlineevent [icon: laptop]Online[icon:PC]EightLive event [icon: dialogboxes]items (clockwise from top): Email[icon:message] Mobile [icon:phone tablet] Online [icon: PC] Video[icon:screentwitter,w/ play button] logos] Social media[icon:facebook, Mobile[icon: phonelinkedin tablet] Print[icon:magazine] Online event[icon:laptop] Socialmedia [icon: facebook, twitter, linkedin logos] Liveevent [icon: dialog boxes] Email [icon:message] Online event [icon: laptop] Video [icon: screenw/ playbutton] Email[icon:message] Print [icon: magazine] Video [icon: screen w/ play button] Live eventUse this as a templatebut: [icon: dialogPrint boxes][icon: magazine]Use this as a template but:No numbersEight items (clockwise from top): Online [icon: PC] Mobile [icon: phone tablet] Social media [icon: facebook, twitter, linkedin logos] Online event [icon: laptop] Email [icon: message] Video [icon: screen w/ play button] Print [icon: magazine] Live event [icon: dialog boxes]Figure 3: Create once, publish everywhere (COPE)No numbers Live event [icon: dialog boxes]Eight items (clockwise from top): Online [icon: PC] Mobile [icon: phone tablet] Social media [icon: facebook, twitter, linkedin logos] Online event [icon: laptop] Email [icon: message]Use this as a template but: Video [icon: screen w/ play button]No numbers Print [icon: magazine]Eight items (clockwise from top): Live event [icon: dialog boxes] Online [icon: PC] Mobile [icon: phone tablet] Social media [icon: facebook, twitter, linkedin logos] Online event [icon: laptop] Email [icon: message] Video [icon: screen w/ play button] Print [icon: magazine]Use this as a template but: Live event [icon: dialog boxes]No numbersEight items (clockwise from top): Online [icon: PC] Mobile [icon: phone tablet] Social media [icon: facebook, twitter, linkedin logos] Online event [icon: laptop] Email [icon: message] Video [icon: screen w/ play button] Print [icon: magazine] Live event [icon: dialog boxes]onlinelive eventvideoprintmobilecontentemailsocial mediaonline event
Why are you publishing?For your content marketing to be successful it’s vital to setgoals and learn how to measure them. For example: H ave you identified specific outcomes you want toachieve from each content type, such as a certainnumber of newsletter subscriptions, documentdownloads, website hits or Facebook likes? D o you have the right mix of key performance indicatorsto help you gather and monitor data? A re you measuring the right things?That last point may seem trivial, but failing to capture theright metrics can waste time and effort. For example, ADMA’sresearch tells us that 62% of organisations measure websitetraffic but only 48% have ‘increased website traffic’ as a goal.This means 14% of organisations are gathering data that,while interesting, is not directly relevant to their contentmarketing efforts.“If youentertainsomeone,they’llshare yourstory.”– Tim Washer,Senior MarketingManager, SocialMedia, CiscoIt’s also important to get regular internal feedback as yourcontent marketing strategy plays out. Not only will you gainuseful insights by canvassing people across your organisation,you’ll also create deeper engagement and may even helpother departments understand how your content marketingefforts are