understanding content marketing basics and fundamentals

the most important aspect of content
fundamentals is really defining and understanding the importance of content
marketing so there’s a lot of noise about content marketing today everyone’s
talking about it there’s a ton of content out there about
it but really a lot of marketers are not totally sure how to define content
marketing and how to really fit it as part of their marketing strategy so
content marketing is the process of creating valuable relevant content to
attract acquire and engage your audience and now this is just one of the many
possible definitions on content marketing but it’s one that I think
really defines and exemplifies some of the great aspects of what content
marketing can do for your business businesses today need content marketing
it’s a critical aspect of being visible in today’s digital busy world so why
there’s an abundance of information out there on the internet for your customers
your customers are sifting through thousands and hundreds of messages each
day whether it’s doing their own research online you know puts messaging
that’s coming across from marketers emails that are coming into their
mailbox there’s a ton of information out there and it’s extremely difficult for
you as a marketer to get heard through all of that noise we also live in a
multi-device world your customers move seamlessly through their laptops to
their phones to their tablet they can carry information around with them in
their pocket and access it any minute at any time in a 24/7 world so because
there’s such an access to information and tons of these multi devices it’s
difficult for you as a marketer to get heard from your customers and we live in
a multi-channel world as well so not only are your customers accessing
information on multiple devices but they are also accessing information across
channels so what do I mean by that your customers are on social media there are
unsearched they’re on your website they’re on review sites like Yelp and
Google there’s really a ton of different channels today they are
customers live and as a marketer it’s important to be present and be relevant
on all those channels so what does all of this mean all this information these
multi devices multi channels it’s a very complex world out there and all of that
equals attention scarcity what that means is that your customers attention
is really divided amongst all of these you know different areas and therefore
the attention that they actually have for you and your messaging is scarce but
content marketing helps you actually break through that noise because you’re
providing thought leadership and you’re differentiating your brand from all the
other brands out there by creating valuable relevant and educational
content you can be seen in front of your customers on those different channels on
those different devices and really become that trusted resource through all
of that information content marketing has these seven qualifications so as
you’re thinking about planning out your content marketing strategy and as you’re
thinking about content marketing in general for your business make sure that
these seven elements are present so number one content marketing engages
individuals on their own terms so this means being available and being relevant
where your audience lives so that’s that concept of multi-channel multi-device
your content marketing is based on interactions with your buyers so you
should be creating content that is relevant to what your buyers want to
hear and what they’re searching for your content marketing should tell a
continuous story your content should tell not only your business story but
also the story of your customers and it really does have to be a story it has to
be a narrative that’s interesting and engaging make sure that content
marketing is the right fit for your channels so you need to create different
types of content for different channels one type of content that’s great for
your social media channel might not be right for email marketing or a paid
program that you’re doing so make sure that the content that you’re creating is
you know you think about being channel specific number five your content has a
clear purpose so this means that all you create should have a goal should
have a purpose in mind you’re creating content for thought leadership brand
awareness lead generation all of these things make sure it has a purpose and
that leads me to number six your content marketing has predefined metrics you
should be creating content with end goals in mind whether that’s X amount of
new customers maybe its new followers on their social networks whatever your
predefined metrics should be make sure you determine those before you go in and
actually create that content and number seven content marketing is almost always
evergreen so this means keep in mind your entire life cycle when you think
about your different content content should last month’s content should last
years it’s not totally always like this like for instance sometimes you’ll
create a piece of content on a trend related item for social media that might
not be evergreen but your large pieces your ebooks you want to think about
content themes and arcs that span multiple quarters so that you can get
the most bang for your buck so just some additional stats to keep in mind as
you’re thinking about your content strategy and as we define content
marketing further 71 percent of consumers trust solutions that provide
useful information without trying to sell something so your content should be
educational it should be thought leadership for the purpose of building
that trust in building those relationships over time 62 percent of
consumers trust solutions that provide information and best practices for tools
they’ve bought you want to teach your customers how to use your products and
services better you want to teach them best practices and you want to educate
them this over time will really enable that lifelong value and that lifelong
relationship building from your customers given our definition of
content marketing and these seven qualifications take some time to sit
down and determine how you can fit your content marketing strategy into each of
these seven items by really mapping out your reasons for content marketing and
defining what content marketing means for your business
you can truly create a content marketing strategy from A to Z you understanding the benefits of content
marketing is critical to creating a content marketing strategy that works
for your business a lot of the marketing activities that you partake in with your
company such as attending a tradeshow doing a banner ad paying for a
pay-per-click ad this is all essentially renting attention you’re paying a fixed
fee to rent the audience of another vendor for instance if you’re at a
tradeshow you’re paying a certain amount of money to have a booth and to get the
benefits of that audience for that tradeshow in contrast content marketing
is like owning your own attention you’re creating that thought leadership
in-house you’re creating that content in-house even though initially there
might be a spend to begin with you are great gaining your own attention over
time you’re promoting your own content out you’re creating your own audience so
it’s essentially like owning your own attention you’re not continuously
spending money on renting other people’s thought leadership in the audience that
they have built brands today need to become their own publishers and content
marketing is how to do that and create your own fault leadership because your
audience is out there doing their own research they’re downloading information
off online and why not be the place where your customers are finding that
information why not be the creators of that research and that’s how brands
today become their own publishers so what are some additional benefits for
content marketing benefit number one brand awareness up to 93% of the buying
journey starts with a search online content builds organic awareness through
search and social you want to be available when your buyers are searching
for you they are doing that research so you want to make sure that your content
is front and center and by creating content you build that brand awareness
so that when your buyers do search your content in your educational materials
come up benefit number two create brand preference thought leadership builds
trust in brand preference people are more likely to purchase from companies
who they trust by creating that content in becoming that educational resource
for you start to build that relationship and
build that trust therefore if a customer is constantly
searching out content on a certain subject and your content is the content
that’s continuously coming up when that customer is going to make that purchase
they will most likely find your content and think about you first and that’s how
you’re building that trust when it comes to purchasing decisions benefit number
three reach more buyers at a lower cost unlike renting attention where you’re
paying to rent other people’s audience the return on content happens over a
longer time even though you have that initial spend because your content is
evergreen and built to last and because you’re building your own audience and
owning your own audience you can reach more buyers at a lower cost over time so
given the benefits that we’ve discussed I hope that you can now apply this to
your own content marketing and really start thinking about how content
marketing can help your business over time take these benefits and approach
your internal stakeholders so that you can really start creating that plan for
content marketing since content marketing is different
from traditional marketing it’s important to define thought leadership
versus selling when you’re first starting out in creating your content
marketing strategy your content should contain thought leadership what is
thought leadership a thought leader looks to the future and sets the course
that others will follow thought leaders look to existing best practices to come
up with better best practices they format change often causing disruption
so your content should be thought leadership it should be educational it
should be focused on best practices it should really help your customers do
their jobs better your content shouldn’t just be a sales pitch what do I mean by
a sales pitch you shouldn’t be just talking about your own products and your
own service in your content that will cause buyers especially your buyers that
have never heard about your company to be turned off your content should
instead show your buyers how to do their jobs better and educate them what is the
difference between thought leadership and sales content thought leadership
education sales content sells thought leadership pulls your customers to you
and sales content pushes your marketing messages on them thought leadership
contains best practices and sales content contains product details another
thing to think of is the four one one rule the four one one rule was
popularized by Joe pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute and you can use this
as you’re thinking about how to set up your content programs and your other
programs that you’re creating in marketing for instance on social media
for some of your paid programs this works quite well so for for educational
assets and that would be those thought leadership ebooks those pieces that are
about helping your customers do their jobs better with one soft promotional
piece a soft promotional piece might be a piece of content that you’re using to
promote say a webinar or an event and then one hard promotion a hard promotion
might be something like that sales data sheet so as you’re thinking about your
content mix you do want to mix in thought leadership with that sales
content but again content marketing is because it’s really focused on salt
leadership you do want to do those for educational assets you do want the
balance to tip on the thought leadership side so the top four pieces are your
educational assets that you’re using to promote your thought leadership across
your marketing programs these pieces are best practices they are tips and they
are not sales related this will be the majority of what you’re using on say a
social channel to get your message across the first promotional soft push
piece here is more of a third-party asset a vendor study it could be some
type of report that mentions your product or service but also includes
some thought leadership and then the last one that hard push again is that
type of sales data sheet that you’re using to push your product in to really
explain your product so this combination really enables you to create a great
content marketing mix and to be able to show not only your thought leadership
but also add some promotion in there so as you’re thinking about your content
marketing strategy from A to Z you want to think about creating thought
leadership pieces instead of only sales content with you’re only creating sales
content you run the risk of turning off buyers especially those early stage
buyers who have yet to heard of your company thought leadership draws them in
it provides them best practices and gives them a reason to keep coming back
to you hiring the right content marketing team
is a critical part of creating a content marketing strategy that works for your
business your content team will really help you succeed they are the foundation
of all your content marketing efforts they are the ones creating your content
on a daily basis and determining what type of content should be created but
who do you look for and where do you find them creating the great content
marketing team and hiring the right people is actually pretty difficult so
who do you need first let’s talk about your internal team who’s your internal
team these are basically the folks in your organization that you work with on
a day-to-day basis that help you create content internally for your business so
who makes up the different parts of that team first you have your managing editor
this person might have the title of chief content officer director of
content or senior content manager so your managing editor is in charge of a
great portion of your content marketing strategy your managing editor creates
the content strategy and the editorial calendar coordinates amongst all the
teams is in charge of brand voice look feel and the quality of your content is
in charge of writing and editing so this person must be a great communicator and
is also in charge of vendor vetting and coordination to make content work for
your business you’ll often be working with outsource vendors so you’re
managing editor is most likely in charge of all that coordination what type of
skills does your managing editor need excellent writing skills of course
because they’ll be spending a ton of time writing excellent project
management skills they’ll be working on a variety of different projects at any
given time so it’s really critical that they’re able to project manage something
from start to finish copy editing skills the ability to
review a document and know grammatically structurally what’s right and what’s not
right passion for content of course content marketing requires a lot of
passion you want this person to enjoy what they do cross-functional
communication skills you’re managing editor we’ll be communicating with
various functions we in your organization they’ll be working
with executives they’ll be working with other members of the content and the
marketing team so cross-functional skills are important desire to be a
thought leader in speak at industry events you’re managing editor should
have the desire to be a thought leader in your space they should speak in
person and they should also do webinars who else should be on your internal team
you should have an associate editor your associate editor could be a Content
Manager a Content specialist or a Content coordinator now I do want to
note here that some smaller teams might not have the benefit of adding
additional team members however as you grow as an organization and as your
content team grows these are the folks that you want to consider adding so what
is your associate editor do your associate editor also creates content
your associate editor should copy edit all the content project manage content
projects coordinating embers and then also manage the blog if you do have a
blog and we hope you do this person should be in the day-to-day managing the
blog and reading all the posts and helping to add them in what skills does
your associate editor need of course these skills are similar to your
managing editor your associate editor should have great writing skills
excellent project management skills excellent copy editing skills a passion
to learn content cross-functional communication skills this person will
also be on the front lines of communicating with various functions
within your marketing team and this person should also be a social native so
that means that your associate editor should also have the skills for social
media should be on social media on a daily basis and understand what’s going
on out there in the industry and what’s going on out there in content marketing
so where do you find your internal content team so this is the tough part
knowing what type of team members you should have that’s one thing but knowing
where to find them is another so here are some tips that I find useful when
I’m looking for different content team members to fill my team check out
LinkedIn LinkedIn is a great resource for content team members do searches for
content marketers in your area ask within LinkedIn content groups so
there a ton of different content groups that
you can join on LinkedIn put a posting out there to look for people that are
searching for new content roles look for former journalists your former
journalists will have that type of writing experience that you need and
they may be looking to move out of journalism and into a role like content
marketing get a referral put a message out there to their own internal network
as well as your network professionally and see if anybody knows a Content
marketer that’s looking for a new role ask your Twitter network post a tweet
out there asking to see if anybody’s looking for a content role and then of
course keep your eyes open for people creating great content if there’s a
Content marketer from another company that you really admire that you’ve seen
their work feel free to reach out you never know if they’re looking for a new
role so who else should be on your content team there are other internal
team members that should be involved in content creation on a daily basis
employee contributors these are employees throughout your company who
create content you ideally want to start creating a culture of content
contribution your employees will create blog posts for you they might help with
different ebooks or content projects so look at two other employees in your
organization who might be thought leaders and who want to help create
content subject matter experts these are company experts who you will
rely on for subject matter expertise for some of the content that you create you
might be creating content that’s fairly technical so you want to rely on members
of your organization that know very detailed information about that
technical topic that you’re writing about these are your subject matter
experts content requesters these are employees who request content and who
are involved in ideation in both small and large organizations you might have
different members of the marketing team who need content and who request content
these people are also involved in the ideation and coming up with the outlines
so next let’s talk about your external team external writers external writers
are agencies independent contractors in writing networks these are particularly
useful if you have a smaller team and you need additional hands or even
with larger teams you might have a large amount of content that you need to
create an external writers help you meet those goals external writers help you
scale should be able to learn your business in brand voice make sure you
provide them with a style guide this is especially important to learning your
brand voice they should be watched and trained for quality so take time to
train your external writers on what type of quality you expect they will work
with your content team and your other internal writers they are sometimes
price per hour or per word so make sure to speak with your external writers and
determine what pricing model works best for you in addition to external writers
you will also be working with designers your design team creates the design of
your content so they have a very critical role to your content creation
your design team also helps add assign all of your content assets like your
ebooks infographics cheat sheets and more so there are very critical part of
rounding out your content team so as I’ve discussed your content team is a
really critical part of creating a content strategy that works for your
business so now take some time sit down determine who you want to hire write out
some of the skills the people that you want to hire and then go out and find
your content team structuring your content organization is
critical to having a content marketing strategy that works many organizations
have trouble structuring content teams this is because content marketing is a
relatively new thing within the marketing team and many organizations
simply don’t know where it should be within the organization and how it
should be set up a question that I get asked frequently is what team within
marketing should own content should the content marketing team live with demand
generation how about product marketing should it be in corporate marketing
inbound marketing brand marketing these are all areas of the marketing
organization that create content so content marketing could potentially live
in any one of these marketing orgs everyone wants content to align with
them simply because all of these different teams create content on a
daily basis and if content gets aligned with only one team content then gets
created in a silo what do I mean by that well if content is aligned only with
demand generation then contents goals would be only fer say lead generation if
content is aligned to only product marketing then content would only be
gold with the same goals that product marketing has so if content gets aligned
with only one team often content gets created in a silo without the other
teams being aware and without the other teams input no one talks to one another
and content messaging is inconsistent and doesn’t reflect the brand this is
really critical content marketing must be looked at in a holistic way that
reflects the brand messaging the brand look and feel and the way the brand
wants to speak about itself across the organization but what if we didn’t align
content anyone team within marketing what if content marketing was actually a
neutral team within the marketing organization so that every team can
benefit from centralized content that way your organization can have a much
more holistic view of content and content gets to be much more strategic
instead of siloed think about content as a strategic service bureau so what do I
mean by this the content service bureau model determines a Content roadmap so
your content team should help determine the content strategy is a content
service Bureau can help support requests from various teams all those teams
mentioned earlier to mange and product marketing your brand teams they all have
content needs so your content service bureau should help support those needs
content service bureau oversees the content creation process so ensures that
there’s that consistency of message and voice amongst the content that you’re
creating they help streamline content creation
for that type of scalability that you’re looking for it reduces duplicate efforts
because all of the teams are aligned so what sort of content should your content
service bureau help create your content service bureau should span all of those
different departments within marketing and support all of them with different
types of content your content service bureau should create demand generation
content this is content that helps to drive demand for your business such as
ebooks infographics slide decks this is the content that’s being promoted out
through social channels as well as through your programs on a daily basis
your content service bureau should also help create customer content this is
those customer case studies and testimonials that really show the
external community how your product or service has helped customers your
content service bureau should also help create brand content this is that really
high level thought leadership content such as contributed articles executive
content the content that you want to put out there to really show who your brand
is as a business your content service bureau should help create all of these
different types of content for the different teams within marketing so how
should this content service bureau be structured on top of your content
service viewers should set a Content committee which is made up by executives
within your organization the content committee our various stakeholders from
those different marketing teams and they help drive the strategy and ensure that
everything that the content service Bureau is coming up with is on brand and
right so next you have your content service bureau and this is often made up
of that managing editor as well as your associate editor your managing editors
the person that is in charge of content strategy the associate editor sits
underneath the managing editor and then various writers might make up your
content service bureau as well these could be internal writers or external
writers and then you have content requests by various teams coming into
the content service bureau ultimately to determine the overall content strategy
so as you’re really sitting down to think about what does your content
strategy look like and then once you’ve hired the right team sit down and think
about how your team is structured content service bureau is a great way to
structure your team so that they’re neutral scalable part of your marketing
organization in order for your content marketing to
be relevant and effective you must create your buyer personas and buyer
journeys most companies have many different types of buyers these are your
personas these are the people that you connect with each day with all of your
marketing activities most companies have multiple different people that buy your
product or service so you want to make sure that you create content that is
relevant and effective for each individual person and each of these
personas will have their own buying journey this is essentially the journey
that they take from when they initially start researching a topic to when they
make a purchase each buying journey has multiple different steps and it’s
critical that your content marketing really address each of the different
questions and concerns that a buyer has in each step of this process in order
for your content to be relevant and effective it must speak to both your
buyer personas and their journeys so creating buyer personas help you
essentially choose what type of content you want to create not every type of
content is going to work for every single buyer it also allows you to
target the right topics that your buyers actually care about so by doing the
research to determine what are your different personas care about and what
do they want to read you can certainly target what type of content you’re
creating your personas also help set the tone in the voice for all of your
content assets you might have one buyer persona that likes to hear their content
in a more conversational way another type of persona might want more of an
authoritative more research driven type of content and by doing buyer persona
research you can really determine what type and tone and voice of your content
needs to be buyer journeys help you know what content create for each buying
stage like I said each journey has multiple different stages in a proper
content plan will have content that speaks to the questions and concerns
your buyers have at each stage buyer journeys also help you know where your
buyers consume your content at each buying stage so somebody who’s initially
researching your product might be finding out about your content on social
media whereas somebody that’s close to making a purchase decision my
be looking at a content syndication site or potentially your website so it’s
important to know where exactly your buyers look at each stage of the journey
so how do you find out this information how do you create your personas and your
journeys you’re gonna have to conduct interviews and research so how do you do
this so first you’re gonna want to speak with your sales teams your sales teams
are really on the front lines of speaking with your prospects every CH
and every day they know exactly what types of questions and concerns your
potential customers have so sit down and speak with your sales team to determine
what exactly they know about your current customers your customer service
teams are also on the front lines with your customers each and every day in
fact they know very very closely what type of concerns your current customers
might have so speak with your customer service teams to determine what type of
issues problems and questions your current customers ask you also want to
speak with current customers it’s important to get both sides of the story
so speak to both happy and unhappy customers this will give you a
well-rounded perspective when determining what you should write
content about and then also if possible speak with prospects the people that
have yet to become customers but who hopefully will in the future during your
interviews you want to find out some of the following information and this could
be limited to what’s here or you could well expand it into what makes sense for
your own business the type of information you’ll want to
find out to actually create your persona as information about background
potentially job details the goals and challenges of your personas where do
they source their information watch their preferred content medium some
people like to read content in an ebook form other people might want to watch a
video get some actual quotes from customers what about their objections
what type of objections do they commonly say if they’re speaking to a salesperson
and then watch their role in the purchase process you might have multiple
personas that are the decision-maker and then some personas might also be
assistants to the decision maker so lots of especially long sales cycle these
days have large buying teams so you might want to create personas for each
member of the buying team and create a sample marketing message for
each one of your personas so that you know exactly how you’re speaking to them
in addition to your sample buyer persona you also want to create a sample buyer
journey the information from all of your interviews will lend itself very well to
creating this type of journey remember that a buyer journey has each different
stage and they might be different stages depending on your own sales cycle in
your own buyers but here’s just an example it could be calm status-quo
shattered search around problem frame problem in solution consult peers and
experts engage potential providers so those are just an example of some of
your buyer journey stages and then in addition to each stage you want to
provide an explanation and potentially any questions or concerns that buyers
bring up at each stage now that you’ve created your personas and your journeys
it’s time to align your content it’s extremely important to create content
that speaks to each persona and each stage in the buying journey and that
will make up your content mix so now that I’ve gone over persona and journey
sit down with your stakeholders in your organization determine what questions
you should ask and now create your own to make sure that your content is
consistent you want to work on developing your brand voice your brand
voice presents a consistent experience across channels giving your brand a
recognisable persona this is extremely important because your brand voice will
ultimately help you stand out there’s a ton of information out there and a ton
of noise out there online so you want to make sure that your content is specific
and unique and by developing a brand voice that really speaks to your
organization your content will stand out from the noise first you’ll want to
create your brand voice persona your brand voice persona is essentially the
feelings that you’ll want your content to convey your persona might be
conversational accessible humanistic educational authoritative professional
there’s a wide variety of attributes that you can use to apply to your brand
voice persona next you’ll have the brand voice tone your brand voice tone is
essentially the way that your content will sound it could be friendly direct
honest formal perhaps its scientific humanistic there’s a wide variety of
attributes in ways that your content can sound next you’ll want to determine your
brand voice language this is essentially the language in which your content is
written this could be simple wordy complex jargony it depends on your
business and who you’re selling to next step is to create a style guide once you
have your persona and your language your tone all dialed in you’ll want to put
that down on paper so that you your content team and any external writers
that work with your company to determine the exact style in which you write for
your style guide you might want to answer questions such as who is your
company who do you sell to who makes up the content team your style and writing
tone specific grammar guidelines as well as content types and structure this
could be sure or as lengthy as you want the more information you put in there
the easier it will be to train incoming content marketers on your company and
your style one thing to know is that your tone might differ slightly for each
persona as you build out your different persona
and learn what each persona likes for their content you might learn that one
persona might have a different tone than another so it’s important to make sure
that you’re writing content that’s relevant for each persona but overall
your voice should stay consistent throughout your content
now that we’ve walked through how to create brand voice and tone now it’s
time to sit down and write your own style guide get together map out what
you want your content and your brand to look like put it down on paper and put
it into action in order for your content marketing to
be successful you must set your content goals you should always have goals for
your content marketing and they should be the first thing that you set up goals
help you choose the right assets for your organization design content to be
measurable upfront and help you define success a content marketing plan without
goals will simply not go anywhere so goals are critical to ensure that the
content you’re creating is the right content and now you’re able to
appropriately define success so what are the steps you need to take in order to
set your content marketing goals step 1 meet with stakeholders to get their
point of view on goals you need to determine who is involved in creating
content there’s most likely a variety of team and a variety of team leaders who
are involved in creating content and promoting it so get together your
marketing team leaders sales team leaders and customer service team
leaders step number two ask yourself some foundational questions why are you
creating content what programs are you planning on using your content in what
are your short-term goals and what are your long-term goals asking yourself and
your stakeholders these questions will help you set a solid foundation for
creating your content marketing strategy step number three define your
qualitative goals these are goals like brand recognition thought leadership
social engagement relationship building trust these are all extremely important
goals to content marketing so although these particular goals might not have a
number assigned to them they are critical step number four define your
quantitative goals so these are goals that actually do have a number
associated with them so these might be number of new leads number of downloads
for each content asset specific number of social shares percentage of leads
that turn to opportunities that turn to closed deals how much pipeline your
content has generated how much revenue all of these quantitative goals are
measurable and should be measured and they should be measured in addition to
the qualitative goals so that you have a holistic view of all of your content
marketing how do you track your goals you can
track your goals in your marketing automation platform this is great for
tracking those quantitative goals like number of leads downloads and revenue
Google Analytics is great for traffic and conversions you want to track your
social channels for increase in social shares your CRM tool you could track for
customer engagement and your content management tool you can also track stuff
like downloads and engagement and then add your goals to a plan put it down on
paper you’ll want to socialize your goals with your team present it to the
stakeholders you can schedule weekly or monthly metrics check-ins meetings and
hold yourself accountable to your goals you can’t create a Content plan within a
vacuum so by showing your organization that you are able to tie your content
efforts to goals you ultimately get more budget and more team and bandwidth to
create more content over time now that we’ve sat down to discuss how
to create your goals for your content marketing sit down talk to your
stakeholders ask yourself questions put everything down on paper and ultimately
create your plan in order for your content to be
organized and effective you should consider choosing content technology
using only spreadsheets to keep track of content is not ideal so content
technology helps you run the business of content including collaboration
coordination creation and publishing there is a ton of different marketing
technology out here what are the different types of content marketing
software because there are multiple types you have project management and
production software which is primarily what we’ll be focusing on in this video
website content management competitive content tracking content applications
and content creation marketplace platforms so there’s a wide variety of
technology and as content marketing continues to grow as a discipline this
is only going to get more complex content project management and
production platforms help you organize and run the business of content
marketing they help you prioritize and assign tasks project manage your
different pieces of content no doubt you probably have a ton of different content
pieces going at any one given time so these platforms help you manage that
process they help you collaborate with multiple stakeholders if you have four
or five writers and reviewers involved in every Content asset this is critical
they help you keep track of content projects to know where a specific asset
is in its production timeline they help you create an overall editorial calendar
so that you can have a holistic view of all of your content across your
organization and have everything in one place
ask yourself questions before you delve into choosing a content project
management platform how many people do I need to collaborate with what’s the
current content creation process look like who needs to approve content
there’s many organizations that have multiple approvers what are the steps
needed for approval and do we have separate workflows for different content
assets so the next step once you know what you’re looking for is to vet
vendors so how do you do that watch some demo videos do some research see who’s
out there ask questions of the vendors ask them how they support all the
different things that you need to do within your content organization have
them show you workflows that are similar to your own asked for references
and then asked for a trial if possible those are all ways to help you vet out
your particular solution next you’ll want to make a decision and on board
your team first meet with the stakeholders go over your options and
decide on what project management platform to bring in-house next you’ll
want to create a rollout plan this could include training mapping out
your processes and different things that you’ll need to keep in mind when rolling
out the new solution to your entire organization next you want to make sure
that you map out any workflow or approval processes that you might have
this is critical because you’ll take those processes and put them directly
into the tool then you want to train your team gather out all the people that
will be using your platform get them in a room and take them through the new
process consider having the vendor come in and doing a direct demo or you could
do it yourself and then on board any external vendors that you’re currently
using so any writers that you have or designers might also be using this tool
so make sure you take time to train them on how to use it as well so now that you
have a good sense of all of the questions and considerations to take
into account when choosing your content project management platform do some
research choose the vendors and make a decision before you can start actually creating
your content you need to brainstorm your ideas and create your content arts
coming up with content ideas can be daunting it is easy to have writer’s
block when it comes to content but before you start actually writing your
content you need to determine what topics should you consider for your
content and this will vary based on your business often it’s great to first start
by taking into consideration your business priorities this could be new
markets that you might be trying to launch in additional product launches or
service launches branding initiatives within the business are different
thought leadership topics that you want to become leaders in the industry about
these are all great topics to write content form you also want to take into
consideration your personas and who you want to sell to you might be writing
different content for different personas you might find the different topics will
resonate with each one of your personas so you want to also take that into
consideration industry trends that’s a great place to start you want to make
sure that you’re on the cutting edge of what’s going on in your industry many
businesses want to be on the forefront and you want to be able to write thought
leadership about what’s going on with your peers so creating content and
industry trends is certainly a great place to start
search engine optimization priorities are also an important thing to keep in
mind many companies will want to make sure that their content is SEO optimized
meaning their content will show up in search results and you might have
specific keywords that our company priorities for example if your company
sells mobile applications mobile might be one of your keywords and you want to
make sure that you write plenty of content around mobile competitor content
is also an important thing to keep in mind take stock on what exactly your
competitors are writing about you can find this out through following them on
social media using a competitor content tracking platform or just keeping up to
date and researching and then do some of your own digging within your
organization to determine what other teams want you to write about meet with
key stakeholders in your company to figure out what are their key
it is make sure you get your product or service roadmap so you know what exactly
is coming down the pipeline ask your sales and customer teams what type of
content would help them not only sell deals but also keep customers listen on
social media to determine what your markets talking about you also want to
ask your audience on social media what they might want to hear send out a tweet
put a Facebook post out there and simply ask your followers what type of content
they’d like to see from you once you have a solid brainstorm of topics that
you want to write about then you can create your content arts content arcs
are monthly quarterly by yearly or yearly content themes that you can write
about by organizing your content and content arcs that makes it easier for
you to determine and select what to prioritize when writing your content but
then you also have ongoing initiatives throughout each of these quarters these
might be product launches or items based on the type of business units you sell
into so in addition to your arcs you also need to keep into consideration any
ongoing initiatives that you might have so now that you’ve sat down and done
some serious brainstorming about what type of content to include sit down
write your plan map out your arcs and let’s get started mapping your content to your sales
funnel helps to ensure that you’re moving new buyers to actually become
customers once you understand your buyer journey and have created your content
themes and brainstormed ideas you need a map your content to your sales funnel
why well you need to create content that speaks to your buyer at every stage of
your sales funnel first you need to know your sales funnel this could be
different based on your business whether you’re a b2b business or b2c business
that’ll make a difference your sales funnel typically starts at a top of
funnel stage where most of your new buyers and your new leads are coming in
it gets a little narrower in the middle of your funnel where you’re actually
starting to nurture your leads and you know who they are and then at the bottom
of your funnel you have leaves that are very close to becoming customers and
then they are customers so again this will vary based on your business but
it’s important to understand your funnel and to start to map your content to
these different stages so let’s walk through let’s start with your top of
funnel tofu content this person is at the beginning of your sales and
marketing funnel she is aware of your service but she is not ready to buy this
person might have found you through social media she may have gotten on your
website offered types for your top of funnel content or educational and
thought leadership do not mix this with content that has too much product
information let’s take a look at some tofu content in action all of these
examples are ebooks that are best practice and thought leadership that
each of these vendor publishers have created to help educate their audience
so now let’s go to the middle of your funnel your mo foo content this person
has displayed buying behavior is engaged with your content and it’s potentially a
sales lead so this person knows who you are and you might be nurturing them over
time offer types here are third-party reports return on investment calculators
for your products or buying guides to help these people make a decision to
purchase your product so now let’s take a look at mo foo content in action in
contrast with the tofu content assets all of these three examples actually
speak a bit about the product in the core business Kate says each of these
companies are trying to sell so the one on the
left developing a business case from marketing automation the one in the
middle is a third-party asset that talks about the total and economic impact of
the company and then the one on the right is a buyer’s guide so all of these
pieces are working to push the buyer through that funnel now let’s talk about
your bo foo content that bottom of the funnel content this person is very close
to becoming a customer your offers here are very specific to your product or
your service so your offer types are promotional and return on investment
proving some examples here are to prove competitive and value so some ideas
could be pricing sheets these could be customer case studies you really want to
show a customer in the bosu stage that your product is the correct choice now
that you understand your own sales funnel you can take your content and you
can map it to each of the stages in your funnel then you can make sure that
you’re pushing leads to eventually become customers you want to make sure you have a solid
content mix so you need to choose your content types when it comes to content
there are a lot of types to choose from you can choose your content types based
on your brand look and feel the different content topic you choose your
content goals and your proposed promotional channels first let’s talk
about blog posts blog posts are a short piece of content that are regularly
updated on your company blog your blog posts can range anywhere from about 300
to 700 words and they can be about a variety of topics blogs are fantastic
for trend related content and when you need to put out a point of view at a
very fast pace now let’s talk about cheat sheets cheat sheets are short
pieces of downloadable content that are created for the purpose of giving the
reader quick access to a series of tips or best practices your cheat sheets are
typically one-page they can be front and back and they don’t have too much design
these are simple easy to digest content assets you may or may not want to create
a content piece similar to a definitive guide a definitive guide is a very large
content piece often over 60 pages that you can then break apart into smaller
supplemental content items these take a lot of effort and are often in
conjunction with a large promotional plan these can really anchor your
content themes for a quarter ebooks are the bread and butter of your content
strategy particularly if you are in a b2b company an e-book is an electronic
version of a shortened book it is designed to contain salt leadership and
best practices on a particular topic ebooks can be short four to five pages
or they can be much longer at around 50 pages your ebooks should be designed to
fit your brand and give you the opportunity to present your information
in a creative way infographics take information like statistics or best
practices and present it in a visual way infographics are generally vertical
graphics that are short and easy to consume your graphics should be highly
visual with an interesting hook typically infographics are created to be
presented on your blog and then you can promote them out for inbound links in
media attention reports can be created by collecting survey and industry data
and presenting it in a calm document reports often contain lots of
statistics a strong point of view and are generally formatted like an e-book
reports can be a critical cornerstone of your content and gain a lot of
recognition in your industry don’t just stop at downloadable content think about
what else you can create that is interesting fun shareable and engaging
for your audience think outside of the box because content can take many forms
videos are an engaging and visual form of live-action content that can be
filmed and promoted on YouTube social channels and your website your videos
can range from product related topics to stories music videos and more they can
also range in length from 30 seconds to 10 minutes however note that best
practices here are for most of your videos to clock in at around 1 to 2
minutes people have short attention spans visuals slide decks present
information statistics and best practices in a highly visual format
using slides often your slide decks can almost be like an infographic chopped-up
you can publish them on SlideShare and promote out on your website in social
channels a caution here is to make sure each of your slides are professionally
designed and does not include too much text a webinar is either a live or
recorded presentation that a speaker presents along with a slide deck these
are generally events for your audience signs up at ends and asks questions
webinars are generally topical and can be easily recorded for later viewing a
downloadable workbook provides your readers with an actionable template to
fill in his or her own answers to questions these are great if you’re
trying to teach your audience something in particular using a checklist table or
fill in the blanks now that we’ve broken down all the different content types you
can then start to really formulate what your content marketing mix is going to
look like once you have a good idea what types of
content you will be creating next you have to plan your editorial calendar
before you create your calendar you need to think about your content mix what are
the different types of content you’re creating and how are you going to fit
them in your plan to make a diverse content plan think about your content in
food groups this is actually a great analogy developed by Ann Handley to help
you determine what should be in your content mix first you have your roasts
these are your large content initiatives this would be if you’re planning to
create a definitive guide a large ebook or anything that has a promotional plan
that’s extensive behind it these would be your big rock pieces next you need to
make sure you have your Raisin Bran these are everyday pieces of content
they are quick and consumable like cheat sheets checklists and best practices
these should also be a big part of your content mix in addition to those roasts
next we have our spinach these are content items packed with nutrients this
is your high-level thought leadership this could be a report that presents
findings that you have in a survey it could be a really high-level ebook an
executive piece of thought leadership either way you need to make sure that
these items are included in your overall content plan next we have chocolate cake
these are your fun light-hearted and indulgent pieces of content this could
be infographics any type of special projects you’re creating fun videos
ideally these are pieces of content that you’re sharing on a regular basis on
social channels and then you have your Tabasco sauce this is content with some
spice content that challenges asks hard questions or provokes responses your
Tabasco content is often best on a blog post so definitely take that into
consideration but make sure you’re not saying anything that’s off-brand a
Content plan and an editorial calendar can help you stay organized so you need
to make sure that you are adhering to this mix you don’t want your content to
be homogenized and you don’t want to be putting out things that are the same day
in and day out editorial calendar also helps you
increase visibility across your organization so that people in your
company know exactly what content you’re creating and when it also helps to align
your team’s you might have different content that you’re creating on demand
gen versus customer versus brand so how do you organize your calendar first the
content mix that we spoke about earlier then you should organize based on
different teams depending on who you’re creating content for any ongoing
campaigns that you have to keep in mind and strategic initiatives these should
all be on your editorial calendar what calendar platform should you use there
are many options here basically you just need to make sure that you’re putting
them down into a calendar form you can use a calendar in your content
management tool consider a google calendar that you can share with folks
across the organization or a Google spreadsheet even if you don’t
necessarily want to put it in a calendar form or your marketing automation
calendar many marketing automation platforms today have calendar
functionality that you can add your content mix to who should see my
calendar your editorial calendar should be available to marketing sales customer
service executives or anybody else who wants to know what specific content that
you’re creating here’s a few examples of different types of calendars calendar
example number one is a detailed spreadsheet a spreadsheet could be
useful if you have multiple different content types you want to include this
status production start and completion date maybe you want to say what business
unit this is for your persona right resource section type if you have lots
of different items that you need to put in a calendar form sometimes a
spreadsheet type format works great calendar example number two is within a
content management platform this one is from Divi HQ this one has an actual
calendar format where you can toggle based on specific due dates
what calendar so what business unit is for the team member it’s assigned to
content type or your content strategy no matter how you decide to organize your
editorial under in what you include in your
calendar make sure it has that content mix that we spoke about and that
everything is organized so go ahead write down your plan and put it in a
calendar you
now that you have a solid plan in place you have to start writing and editing to
actually get that content done writing content can be extremely hard work and
building a repeatable process helps so let’s take a look at some steps to take
in order to build that repeatable process so that you’re ensuring all your
written content is consistent on brand and that is engaging so step one find a
subject-matter expert so you need to determine who in your organization knows
about your topic and then you can schedule a brain dump and record a brain
dump can be a thirty to one hour session whether in person or over the phone
where you’re asking a subject matter expert various questions about the topic
essentially having them do a brain dump if there is no subject matter expert be
prepared to do the research yourself step number two create an outline
creating an outline is extremely important to keep you organized and on
track with your content creation make sure you include your thesis in this
outline your thesis is the point that you’re trying to get across with your
particular content asset make sure you set up your different sections
particularly if it’s an e-book and then socialize your outline to people outside
of your content team to make sure that what you’re writing about makes sense
and it’s the right thing note that it has the title it has the different parts
an explanation of what the different parts might be and some links so that
you have places to reference when you need to go write the full piece step 3
write your first draft this is arguably one of the most difficult parts to
content creation make sure your thesis is clear make sure this thesis is clear
upfront and that it’s clear throughout your document and also make sure you’re
constantly referring back to your main point break your content up with h1s h2s
and other headers you can find these in your word processing program that you’re
using like word it’s important to break your document up in this way so you know
where each section lives use lots of bullets lists and numbers this is
important for scan ability note that your reader won’t necessarily read every
single of your document so by using bullets and
lists it could be easy to scan make sure you have an intro in a conclusion you
want your document to flow step number four always review this is an extremely
critical part of content creation the more people you have review the better
off you are so typically have one to two people
review each draft more if you have the ability each person will generally catch
different mistakes refer to a style guide make sure that you have a style
guide created that goes over tone and brand and that you’re always referring
back to that always copy edit for grammar and structure you want to make
sure your content is grammatically correct and you want to make sure it’s
structurally sound and then always edit for content and concepts make sure you
going through the document to determine what makes sense and what does it and
then use track changes in word and commenting for optimal editing this is
definitely recommended particularly if you have more than one to two people
writing the document and reviewing it this is important for collaboration step
number five write a second draft once you have your first draft created and
you have all of your edits incorporate all of them read over it an additional
one to two times to ensure that it’s a final copy and then make sure all your
stakeholders have seen the copy make sure everybody knows that the content is
correct and everybody that needs to has sign-off on that content and once you
have your final draft then you’re ready to send a design once you have your content created
written then it’s time to send it to design good content equals good design
all of your content should be highly visual it’s important part of creating
content in today’s market but how do you make all of your content visual so let’s
go over a few design guidelines to keep in mind when creating your content first
make sure that your logo and icon usage is on brand and correct you need to take
into consideration typography you might have a certain font that is appropriate
for your brand that you need to use make sure you’re consistently using brand
colors even though you can be creative with your content design you want to
make sure it looks like your company is a non brand and then you also want to
use photography and image styles that also make sense for your brand and that
are engaging and visual so let’s walk through some major types of content
design starting with ebook your ebook cover should be visual and engaging this
is how you’re going to get people to download your ebook and this is what’s
going to attract them to your content the cover the title should be clear make
sure that you don’t have lots of different design around your title so
that it obstructs it make sure your title is clear at all times
watch for proper templating keep your design clean again make sure that your
ebook cover and your ebook interior is extremely clean and easy to read and
then use images that relate to the content something that you need to be
aware of is having images throughout an e-book that have nothing to do with the
content make sure your images are relatable and they make sense and then
let’s take a look at an example interior page from that same piece of content the
interior page is clean the way it’s template it makes sense it has a
call-out that pops out and the title is obvious for the different headings and
sections you want to make sure that it’s easy to read now let’s go over
infographic design your infographic design should be engaging and shareable
this is definitely your opportunity to be creative into pop can
a theme for your infographic make sure that your statistics are presented in an
interesting but legible way so make sure it’s clear what those stats are so that
your readers don’t have any questions and then don’t make your infographic too
long don’t make it too long and that people have to scroll down quite a bit
and don’t make it way to copy heavy now you have your content design it’s
important to make sure you edit that design when editing and design here are
some items to watch for paint layout you want to make sure that all of your pages
are laid out appropriately and that they’re easy to follow and clean you
also want to watch for orphan words these are words or short lines at the
beginning or the end of a paragraph which are left dangling at the bottom of
the column separated from the rest of the paragraph if you’re see any orphan
words make sure they’re included in the above paragraph you also want to look
for photography and image usage making sure the images go along with the text
as well as the placement in the document look at typography make sure everything
is the same size and that if you do have a brand font it’s being used and then
add edits using commenting in Adobe this is the best and easiest way for
designers to look at your edits so sit down and make sure that you’re reviewing
all of your items once they’re InDesign if you don’t you really run the risk of
having unfinished content so make sure that you’re looking over all your design
content and edit it to completion a great way to get more content without
actually having to create each and every item is by curating your content
sometimes you might have trouble creating all the content you need this
could be because you have a small team a small budget or a lack of time curated
content helps you do more with less money and less time so what is content
curation content curation is content written by others which you then
organize and share with your own audience so what type of content can you
curate these could be relevant articles or blog posts that work for your
business different industry best of lists trend highlights or news roundups
and where can you find this content this type of content can often be found
through large brands that have quite a following brands that discuss relevant
topics customers and partners and make sure to change it up and also make sure
that if you are curating content from any brands that you are supplying a link
to link back to the original article where can you use curated content
there’s a lot of places where you can use curated content for your content
strategy consider curating content for your blog to share in social media you
can curate content for email sends or even your website content curation is a
great way to do more with less particularly if you have a budget or a
small team so go out research content from relevant brands and start to curate if you are a Content marketer with a
small budget or a small team consider working with lean content creation most
content marketers are on a budget that’s simply a fact and you have to do more
with less especially with the increasing demands on marketing teams and content
marketers today we’re being asked to do more with less resources so how can you
really get it all done I like to think about the turkey dinner analogy that was
put in place by Rebecca liebe from Altima tour group this basically says
that you can create one big large piece slice and dice it to create additional
smaller supplemental pieces so that you can get more content with less so let’s
take a look at how this works in action step 1 create a big rock content asset
so a big rock content asset is a Content piece that you put a lot of effort into
this could range anywhere from 50 to 160 pages in length if you have the time
it’s really worth the time and effort because from this one piece you can
generate a ton of additional content and if you can generate a ton of additional
content that’s just more for all of your programs step 2 create ebooks from the
chapters so what we did is we took that one piece and we broke out each of the
individual chapters to create additional ebooks each of them have different
covers and different titles so they differentiate themselves you can see the
common theme going throughout all the ebooks however they are shorter and they
are on the different topic so it is more content that you can source out and
promote step number three create cheat sheets cheat sheets are smaller more
digestible pieces of content that range in length from about one to two pages go
throughout your big rock piece of content and pull out items that you
think could make a good cheat sheet this is a simple easy exercise that was about
one to two pages and then mapping lead generation to your sales funnel another
quick cheat sheet some of these can even be print out by your readers and posted
on their desks the idea is to give them something easy to digest and scannable
step number four create visuals you want to really extend
life and the value of your big rock content campaign so you want to make
sure that you’re creating visuals from each of these pieces a visual could be
an infographic a visual slide deck or a workbook remember you’re just taking the
same content in the same statistics that you’ve used in your big rock piece and
you’re just repurposing it in a different and more engaging and visual
way and these are great assets for you to share on social media as well as
email campaigns step number five create a video take the content from your big
rock piece and create a fun video this doesn’t have to be something that’s
highly produced it could even be a video created on your iPhone or something that
you create in-house the idea is just to have an interesting engaging and fun
supplemental piece of content to promote your content asset step number six
create blog posts from your big rock content asset you can create dozens of
blog posts from the content within just slice and dice it out based on what
would make sense for your blog as an example for the big rock content piece
of definitive guide to lead generation we generated about twelve to fifteen
blogs that we spaced out over the course of two to three months really your blog
content can go on forever so certainly keep this in mind as you’re writing now
that you know all of the steps that it takes to create a big rock content piece
and to slice and dice the content out to generate more with less sit down with
your team determine what your topics should be and get to writing you
before you start promoting your content you need to determine your gating
strategy what is gating gating means putting a forum in front of your content
for the purposes of gathering lead contact information it’s often in front
of a Content asset in order to download it
it typically asks for first last name sometimes job title email phone number
company or role when it comes to gating there are a ton of different choices on
how you can approach it so let’s go ahead and take a look at some of your
options option number one gating all of your content so by gating all of your
content you can gather all of the lead information each time somebody downloads
a content asset this can be a good option for small companies in startups
to build their database and it’s a consistent user experience through all
of your content as your readers are seeing the same thing each time option
number two is gating none of your content gating none of your content
enables you to remove the barrier of entry for your content
so that means that somebody who is downloading your content doesn’t have to
put in their information it helps you to grow your thought leadership and
branding over time and it’s good if you have a lot of early-stage content your
early stage content because it’s so educational people might not want to put
their information in in order to get it option number three is gating based on
buying stage and this is the option that I prefer personally gating based on
buying stage enables you to gate only the assets that show buying intent when
downloaded so this means that you will only gate the items that are really
close to your product and so that you know if somebody’s downloading that item
that they’re closer to being a customer it also helps you to score your leads
and determine where they are in their buying cycle scoring is something you
can do in your marketing automation system and it enables you to determine
where a person is in their buying journey if you’re only getting some of
your content you can give them a higher score if they’re downloading the pieces
that your gating here’s a sample strategy for gating based on buying
stage for early stage those real thought leadership
educational and best practice pieces don’t gate this is because those assets
are great on social they’re good and promotion plans and they let people
introduce themselves to your company mid-stage assets are great to gate
because those are the assets that really show buying intent if somebody downloads
an ROI calculator or a buying guide you want to know who that person is and you
want to score them appropriately and then late-stage items you don’t have to
gate late-stage items would be those customer case studies pricing sheets you
want to make sure all of that is easily accessible to somebody who’s close to
being a customer gating based on asset type also enables you to have more
premium content take those items that you spend a lot of time on and put a
form in front of them you don’t want those to be as easily accessible and you
can create variable content value based on effort and output put a gate in front
of the content items that take you and your team a ton of time to create and
then don’t gate those items that aren’t as time intensive now that you know your
gating options sit down with your team and stakeholders to determine what makes
sense for your unique business case before you actually go out and promote
your content you need to outline your promotion strategy once you publish your
content online you then have to promote it through various channels let’s go
through step by step what you need to think about when outlining your
promotion strategy step 1 create a strategy document once you have
published a piece of content you must send out a strategy document to your
team that outlines and includes the following items what topic the content
is created about the audience the content piece addresses the different
goals at the content piece addresses the thesis that’s included in the content
throughout the table of contents if available the buying stage that the
content was created for and any promotion suggestions that you as the
content team might have by creating the strategy document you can help guide and
outline your promotion team step number 2 always score your content you can use
your marketing automation tool to score your content base your score on the
different content types you’re buying stage and persona you can often toggle
the score up and down based on the importance of your content piece but by
scoring your content you can help determine how close a person who
downloads it is to being a customer step number 3 meet with your stakeholders you
want to set up some time with your various promotional teams to go over
goals and to describe to them what the asset is about and what it should be
used for teams use have set up some time with are your demand generation teams
social media your online marketing teams product marketing and public relations
step number four create a promotion plan so work with each team stakeholder to
create an overall promotional plan for each assets four large assets consider
meeting weekly or bi-weekly until launch assign a project manager this might be
yourself or it might be a member of the promotional team and then ensure that
team member stays on task over time step number five is to make sure your plan is
multi-channel you want to be where your buyers are your Buy
might be on social media they could be on your website but wherever they are be
sure that your promotion plan touches all these areas by promoting your
content on multiple channels you can ultimately maximize your exposure and
also remember to promote content on appropriate channels for the content
type not all channels make sense to promote every single piece of content on
and then always test your promotion strategies you might think that you want
to promote a Content asset on a certain channel but then discover that it’s not
the best channel for that particular asset so now that you’ve sat down with
your stakeholders an outlined your promotional plan it’s time to actually
get promoting one of the most important aspects of
promoting your content is merchandising your content on your website so your
website is the key place that you want leaves to download your content you must
merchandise correctly in order to optimize for conversions so where can
content live on your website content can live in a specific resources section
dedicated to content on your home page or uh nads throughout your site so let’s
take a minute to walk through each option your resources section this is
where your content can call home it is a section of your website dedicated to
thought leadership I definitely recommend that all companies that are
engaging in content marketing create a resources section your resources section
should be easy to navigate it should be very obvious to the reader where to find
each content asset it should also be SEO optimized you want to make sure that
you’re calling out the different keywords for search engine optimization
throughout your resources section it should also be categorized by key topics
that are important to your business should include visual images throughout
and include forms for lead generation so now let’s talk about content on your
homepage this type of content should be designed for conversion add your best
content to your homepage rotator or include a call to action in a prominent
place so now let’s talk about ads throughout your site you can promote
content throughout your website using banner ads and other images consider
promoting content on your product pages where applicable now that you have your
content published on your website it’s important to think about how to optimize
it for conversion one of the most important channels that
you can promote your content on is social media social media is a great
place to promote all of your new content so let’s go over some key tips for
social media promotion success when it comes to content marketing number one
don’t take yourself too seriously remember that social media is a place
where people congregate to share their thoughts and ideas and it could be a
personal network that you’re sharing your content on number two organic isn’t
enough on its own and don’t be afraid to boost your presence it’s one thing to
post your content organically through your social channels but you want to put
a little bit of paid boost behind your content in order to optimize it for a
conversion and get it seen by a lot more eyes number 3 focus on valuable content
and solid offers number four create strong calls to action when you post a
content asset make sure that your audience knows exactly what to do
whether it’s download an e-book or share an infographic number five always
provide value make sure that the content that you’re posting on social media is
educational and helps your audience do their job better and number six
never forget that social is a two-way street make sure that you’re constantly
listening to your audience in taking their feedback into consideration so
let’s go over all the different social networks in different ways that you can
promote your content on those networks let’s start with Facebook Facebook is a
great place to promote your content Facebook is a highly visual medium and
so it lends itself very well to content promotion you can promote your content
through organic posts on your company page you can also promote those posts by
putting some paid ads behind each of those organic posts for additional boost
and lift you can create Facebook ads that appear on the right side of your
newsfeed you can promote your content by creating custom cover photos that appear
in back of your profile image you can also create apps and tabs and that would
also appear on your business profile page and somebody could click on a tab
and download a content asset by filling out a form so now let’s talk a little
bit about Twitter Twitter is a very fast-moving social
network and also a great place to promote your content you can promote
your content via organic tweets from your business Twitter profile you can
promote those tweets using paid ads you can also promote your content hashtags
by using promoted trends where you put some page spend behind those hashtags so
that they’re more easily searchable by your network you can also use Twitter
lead generation cards where you can actually have somebody fill out a form
through Twitter using their information and they can download an e-book now
let’s talk about LinkedIn LinkedIn is particularly useful for the b2b market
as people are generally on LinkedIn for business purposes here are the different
ways you can promote your content through LinkedIn you can use LinkedIn
updates from your company page and then you can sponsor those updates to get
additional reach and visibility you can create LinkedIn ads which appear on the
right-hand side of your LinkedIn profile and you can also join LinkedIn groups
that are relevant to your particular topic and promote your content through
those groups next up we have SlideShare SlideShare is the perfect place to
promote your visual content such as slide decks and infographics you can
also optimize your SlideShare postings for search engines by using keywords in
the descriptions SlideShare also offers the opportunity to include lead
generation forms that sync automatically with your marketing automation tool so
that somebody has to fill out their information in order to download one of
your content assets and you can also appear in the featured presentations on
the home page as well now let’s talk about Pinterest Pinterest is also a
highly visual medium that’s great for promoting types of content like
infographics and slide decks on Pinterest you can share your content and
engage your audience by creating boards and pins Pinterest is particularly great
for the b2c audience but also works well for b2b especially if you’re creating a
variety of visual content so now that you have your content published on your
website and selected it’s time to determine what social channels work best
for each content asset note that all social channels won’t necessarily work
for every single content piece so very particular where your post your
content but take your content post it on social media and engage your audience one of the best ways to get your content
out in front of your audience is promoting it via email increase the
reach of your content by promoting it on email promoting your content via email
gets it in front of your customers so let’s go over a few tips on how to make
sure your content emails are engaging and relevant to increase opens tip
number one always segment your email sends so send your content only to
people who will find that content relevant align your content emails to
buying stage enroll which should be easy since your content should already be
aligned to each stage and roll and don’t forget about sending content to current
customers tip number two design your emails to be engaging so you want to
make sure that the people that are reading your emails find your emails
engaging and want to download the content asset inside create a custom
header by using the design of your content asset make sure you include
brief copy with bullets you want to make sure that your email is easy to scan
include a strong and a clear call-to-action which will often be
download this ebook download this infographic or something along those
lines and then create a hero shot of the content asset you want to make sure the
cover of your ebook or the cover of your cheat sheet is included in the email tip
number three send an email to your entire database so hopefully you have a
large marketing database once you publish a new piece of content send an
email out to your entire database using the segmenting rules discussed above tip
number four consider a sponsored email a sponsored email is when you pay a
trusted vendor to send out an email including content on your behalf be
careful here and make sure that you’re only using vendors that are not only
reputable but have a target audience that matches your target audience tip
number five always add your new content to your lead nurturing programs if
you’re using marketing automation you should be nurturing your leads once they
hit your database make sure to add any new content into
any relevant lead nurturing tracks to ensure that even people that are have
already been in your database for a while
receive your content email is a fantastic way to get your content in
front of your audience if you remember to segment make sure your email is
engaging in relevant you can increase the chances of content downloads promoting content on your blog is a
great way to get any new content asset in front of your audience your blog
attracts early-stage buyers is great for lead generation ensures more eyes get on
your content and is a great place for social ready content to live do not
discount the importance of your blog when it comes to promoting any new
content you may have created promoting content on your blog enables you to
drive even more traffic to your blog and your content over time so let’s go over
a few tips for promoting content on your blog don’t just promote your eBook give
your audience actionable takeaways this means when you write a blog post that
promotes a new ebook don’t just say hey here’s our new ebook and then include a
downloadable link make sure that you’re taking valuable content from within that
ebook and making it a standalone blog post that way it’ll be a piece of
thought leadership in and of itself use bullets and headers for easy skimming
this is really for your blog as a whole but most people won’t sit there and read
a blog post word-for-word so make sure that you include multiple
bullets and different headers so that your reader can easily skim through the
post include a hero image of your asset so just take a screenshot of the cover
of your ebook and use it as the primary image for your blog post and then always
include a strong call-to-action to download the ebook at the beginning of
the blog post as well as at the end of the post and perhaps in the middle you
want to make it clear to the reader that you want them to download the ebook for
additional information so once you have your content published on your website
on social media and have sent out an email make sure to create a blog post
that effectively promote your content to expand the reach of your content try
promoting it through content syndication content syndication is the tactic of
placing your high-value content assets on a third party website often gating it
with a form once a content syndication program ends the vendor gives you all of
the leaves that have downloaded your content by either integrating with your
marketing automation tool or sending you a spreadsheet so let’s go over what some
of the goals might be for content syndication so you might be looking for
net new top of funnel leaves by paying to use a third parties website you can
get access to their entire audience another goal might be mid funnel leaves
that indicate buying intent so depending on what type of content you put on the
syndicated sites especially if that content is more mid funnel if somebody
downloads that content asset it might be a more valuable lead that indicates this
person could potentially become a customer content syndication also helps
improve your search engine optimization and it of course helps you improve your
brand exposure because you’re putting your content on third-party websites
that already have a large following here are some tips for content syndication
because you’re paying to put your content on other people’s sites you must
make sure that you choose reputable vendors so these are website that you
are familiar with their content that you know has an audience that maps to yours
and that is all-around reputable if you have a marketing automation tool make
sure your vendor can sync it’s a lot easier to get leads if your vendor can
automatically add them to your marketing automation tool versus sending you a
spreadsheet target leads based on specific criteria that you can choose
most vendors give you the opportunity to target leads very specifically choose
content that is high value and will move the needle my advice here is to choose
content that indicates more buying intent so that you know if somebody
downloads a content asset you’re getting the highest return on your money and
make sure to have a follow up plan in place for all leads once somebody’s
downloaded your content off a third party website you want to introduce your
company and make sure they understand who you are and what you do testing your
content syndication is also really important to knowing what works
and what isn’t you might want to test the following what stage of content
works best for what vendor you might find that early-stage content works well
for one vendor while mid stage content works better for the other which type of
content works best for which vendor some vendors you might want to give them ie
books while others it will be more infographics or blog posts unis also
test what vendor delivers the best and most relevant leaves determine what form
length works best many vendors allow you to customize the form lengths and then
what is your call to action and does it work for your audience when it comes to
syndication you must be testing this over time so once you have decided on
content syndication as a promotion strategy in your content marketing make
sure to properly vet out your vendors choose your content wisely and like I
said continue to test over time a unique way to promote your content is
by leveraging influencer marketing influencer marketing is a form of
marketing that identifies and targets individuals with influence over
potential buyers so how does this help your content including influencers in
your content add some oomph to both your content and your promotion send
influencers early releases of your content asking them to share in blog and
distribute out to their network so where do you find influencers you can find
your relevant influencers by scouring social media and you can do this by
making lists by tracking hashtags by doing searches you can also find
influencers at conferences that are relevant to your industry network make
those connections especially with the people that are speaking at those
conferences industry bloggers are great surely hopefully you have a list of
bloggers that you follow on a daily basis reach out to those folks and then
there’s various software solutions that actually track influencers and tell you
specifically who is influential in your market so let’s go over some tips for
influencer marketing first of all be aware of your asks you don’t want to
always be asking the same people the same things all the time so it’s
important to know what’s in the pipeline already and who you’ve asked favors of
influencer marketing is a two-way street so make sure that they’re getting
something out of the relationship as well and show them the with them the
what’s in it for them make sure they know that helping you is beneficial for
their personal brand as well and then always show your appreciation when an
influencer participates in or shares your content you can do this by simply
saying thank you or never underestimate the value of sending cupcakes so don’t
forget to include influencer marketing in the promotion of your content in fact
you should think about influencer marketing before your content is even
created so that you can get creative on how to include your influencers once an
asset has published ask your influencers to share but make sure that you are
creating valuable in a two-way relationship with them over time using pay-per-click ads to promote your
content increases reach pay-per-click ads are highly targeted paid ads that
drive traffic to a custom landing page where you can generate leads let’s go
over a few types of ads that you might want to take into consideration first we
have search engine ads these ads appear on a search engine and are targeted
based on keywords and audience banner ads appear on various websites in our
targeted based on demographics and then retargeting ads appear on a network of
websites in our behavior-based these look very similar to banner ads however
they are behavior based let’s go over some logistics for your pay-per-click
ads you pay only if a visitor clicks on your ad and you can target your ads
using demographic behavioral in search criteria
there are various tips for using PPC ads for content promotion first of all
consider using high-value mid-stage content for your ads because you’re
spending a lot of money on your ad program you want to make sure that
you’re only using the most relevant content your ads should have a fun
visual or engaging copy this will make a difference whether it’s a banner ad or a
search engine on a search engine ad since generally you can only include
copy you need to make sure it’s engaging and a banner ad can have a fun visual
all ads should go to a landing page so your ad should not just go to a web site
if your ads do just go to a web site you run the risk of your leads leaving your
website or just going all over the place a landing page that’s custom shows your
lead exactly what they should be doing particularly if it’s downloading a piece
of content plus you want to make sure that you’re collecting all of their
information in a form so all landing pages for your ads should have a form so
now take your high-value content and determine what types of ads might be
appropriate for promotion because ads can get very expensive my advice here is
to ensure that you are only choosing your best content that shows buying
intent then create your copy develop your custom landing pages and purchase
some ads you
now that you have created your content and promoted your content it’s now time
to start measuring your content but first we have to start by defining your
measurement goals many content marketers think that content ROI is essentially a
mythical beast why is content ROI a struggle marketers
don’t often think about ROI during content creation you must think about
how to measure your content before your content is even created marketers aren’t
aligned on metrics amongst the teams this happens if you’re creating content
in a silo one team might be tracking one metric and the other team might be
tracking another metric and then marketers don’t know how to measure
content effectively because content marketing is a relatively newer
discipline with businesses there aren’t established measurements in place that
content marketers can take but measuring content can be done so let’s go over a
few steps that you can take to ensure that your content is created with
measurement in mind first establish goals and measurement estimates upfront
every time you create a content piece you need to determine what you’re hoping
to get out of that content piece in terms of measurement define what you
want to measure for each content piece are you looking for social sharing are
you looking for increased traffic are you looking to measure revenue and
pipeline define exactly what you’re looking for for each piece aligned with
all key stakeholders and get their input it’s important to sit down with all the
executives in your business to determine what the proper content measurement
should ultimately be and then budget it out you need to make sure in order to
measure content that you have an actual content budget and you know exactly how
much you’re spending on content because this will make a difference for the
return on investment in the end by putting together a sample budget you can
better determine exactly what the ROI is on your content over time and then you
should determine what exactly our other marketers measuring in your content so
now that you’ve thought about goal creation for your content marketing
analytics make sure every single piece of content that you make is created with
measurement in mind you can track your metrics in your marketing automation
tool or create a spreadsheet that tracks monthly metrics over
so you can see exactly how your content is performing once you have defined your measurement
goals now you have to start tracking with early-stage metrics early stage
content is primarily for brand awareness and education so the metrics that you
track for your early stage content will reflect that so let’s go over exactly
what you can look at for your early stage content first look at traffic to
your site you can track this using Google Analytics you can track an
increase in a decrease in traffic overall you can track referring sources
as in how are people getting to the various pieces of content exit pages
where are people going after they read your content bounce time how often
people are bouncing away from your page and how long that takes
and then what the top content assets are you can actually track what are the top
content assets that people are going to next you can track content downloads you
can track this in your marketing automation tool or your content
management system this is when somebody either downloads a content PDF via a
click or a form or it could be views if content is not in a downloadable file
this will help you determine how engaging your content is how often do
people actually want to download it and read it social engagement is also a very
important early stage metric that you should be tracking you should be looking
at social shares how often are people sharing the different content you’re
posting how often are people liking your content on social channels how often are
they commenting and actually engaging with the content and then social
follower increase can also be a good indicator of whether or not your content
is engaging your audience now that you know what you should be tracking for
your early stage content make sure you track these metrics on each and every
piece of content that you create then you can test and iterate over time in order to track the revenue impact
that your content has on your business you need a track mid and late stage
metrics mid and late stage content is for lead generation and moving your
leads through your sales funnel your metrics here will be more revenue driven
lead generation is a critical metric when you’re measuring mid and late stage
content you can track this in your marketing automation tool and you’re
really looking at how many leads are generated one thing to track here is how
many known versus new names are generated then you can determine which
content assets are bringing in net new people in which content assets are more
nurturing in nature and then you also need to determine what content is
working to move leads through your funnel in nurturing is the content that
you’re generating pushing leaves further through your funnel until they become
customers next you should track opportunity generation an opportunity
happens when a lien moves further through your sales funnel to become
qualified and is on their way to being a customer you can track this in your
marketing automation tool so you’re looking at how many total opportunities
were generated because of your content you should look at both first touch
opportunities as well as multi-touch first touch means that your content was
the initial thing that brought a lead into your system you should also look at
how many multi-touch opportunities were generated multi-touch tracks if your
content has touched that lead throughout his or her life cycle over time to
become an opportunity next you should be tracking revenue generation this is
actually how much money your content has generated for your business you can
track this in your marketing automation tool you’ll be looking at how much
pipeline pipeline being potential business and how much revenue being
closed one deals was created from your content you can also look at first touch
and multi-touch here as well to see if your content has brought in first touch
pipeline or multi-touch pipeline next we have paid program performance most
likely you’ll be using your content in a variety of paid programs such as
sponsored emails pay-per-click ads and so on so you want to track this as well
you can track this and marketing automation tool you’ll be
looking at email programs content syndication pay-per-click campaigns
anything paid that you’re doing with content you want to pay attention to
audience content type vendor and copy and you can toggle these different
things to determine if they make a difference in your overall performance
and you want to also take into consideration the cost of these programs
when determining ROI next we have sales usage you want to determine if sales is
actually using content in your deals remember your content is created to help
sales sell whether it’s early stage mid or late stage all of your sales reps
should be using your content strategically in their deals so you want
to know how they are using your content and when and their sales deals are they
using it are they asking for printed content to take along with them if
they’re doing in-person sales and are they sending leads your content over
time these are all important things to take into consideration mid and late
stage content metrics are what proves out revenue and return on investment for
your business make sure that you are tracking each of these metrics show your
business leaders how your content is directly affecting business growth and
take that seat at the revenue table you
content marketing is critical in today’s noisy world by creating valuable
educational and engaging thought leadership you can create the type of
relationship with potential buyers to move them through your sales funnel to
ultimately become loyal customers so you’re probably thinking now where
should I go next the first thing I would check out is an Hanley’s groundbreaking
content books content rules and everybody writes both of these books are
great starting points to creating a holistic content strategy also check out
the resources section and blog for the Content Marketing Institute founded by
Joe pulizzi one of the premier thought leaders of content marketing this
website provides a host of valuable content tools definitely check out
Marquitos resource section and blog for valuable ebooks definitive guys and
cheat sheets to help you get your content marketing started
congratulations on completing this course I look forward to seeing your
great content getting shared downloaded and helping to drive growth for your
business you

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