Content Marketing: 5 Tips To Get Started

6S Marketing is sponsoring the annual BCAMA VISION Conference this year which is taking place May 23rd at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver, BC. This year’s theme is “Liquid Content”; the theory that when content or ideas are developed they become so contagious that they cannot be controlled.

When I first began working in the Internet marketing industry in the mid 2000’s I read the book “Content is King” by author David Mill. The book focused on the concept of developing content for people that were, at that time, finding and reading the information they searched for online. The content had to be easy-to-read and wrote to suit the specific information source (newsletters, websites, ezines, ads, etc). Now with the focus placed on social media, content is still king but social media has become the queen  – literally running the marketing household and being responsible for communicating content, allowing sharing, and facilitating discovery.

The way content was…

Content in today’s marketing world still needs to be written in a web-friendly format to be most useful to readers. It also must engage the reader in a more meaningful way than ever before. It is imperative that content provides a way for readers to react to something meaningful to them, and to be able to share it with their personal networks. Content must inspire action, answer the needs of your consumer, and most importantly, establish your organization as your industry’s leader.

…How content is today

According to The Content Marketing Institute, 9 out of 10 B2B (business-to-business) organizations market with content, and 60% report they plan to increase their spend on content marketing over the next 12 months (study published December 2011). This is a huge number of organizations that use content marketing as a tactic. But how many are using it correctly? How can you ensure as many members of your target audience actually receive your message?

The Content Marketing Cycle

Getting Started with Content Marketing

1. Ask your consumer

When developing a content plan, it is a good time to reach out to your existing customers to determine if you are actually delivering content they find useful. You may find that what you currently publish is not meeting their needs or does not contain enough of the expert information they would like to see from you.  If you find out you are delivering them useful content, good job!  Focus on finding out if you can improve the frequency of the content you deliver or the method in which you deliver.

2. Profile your consumer

Develop a persona from your customer research above of who your target audience is. Who are they? What are their goals and aspirations? What are their problems they are trying to solve by engaging with you? What are they REALLY buying from you? What other blogs/resources do they read? From there, develop content to meet the needs of your profiled consumers.

3. Talk to your Sales team

If you are in a B2B company, ensure you speak with your sales team to see if there is a product or service they want promoted. Your sales team will have a good grasp on how informed your customer base is, what products need more awareness, and can provide insights into improving this communication.

4. Focus on stories

The stories surrounding your brand and how you provide insight and useful content to your readers are what will entice your audience to share and promote your content. Stay away from hard selling and focus on giving examples and industry tips to your clients. Stories can be inspiring, interactive, provide results (think case study), or can be a tip sheet. It just has to be useful and non-sales-y!

5. Develop an editorial calendar

Once you have identified the types of content you need to develop for your profiled consumers, the next step will be to create an editorial calendar. Lay out the next 3 – 6 months in a content calendar format of what the topics will be, frequency they will be posted and where they will be published. Also include what tactics you will use to deliver the content (email, social media, etc).

It will be a lot of work at the beginning to develop the first few months of content, but once you have it you can use a website CMS tool such as WordPress to automate the publishing of the content so that a portion is taken care of.  You can also schedule out the Tweets you will use so the social media distribution is half automated too! (I love Hootsuite for this).

Are you using content marketing as a marketing tactic? Are you going to the BCAMA VISION Conference this year?

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