Step-by-step approach to content marketing

February 12, 2016

A balanced approach to adopting Content Marketing

Over the years I’ve seen many firms start to engage in content marketing, some more successfully than others. Ultimately it comes down to recognizing that this shift in how you engage with prospects requires changes in process, people, data, technology, metrics, content and the marketing engagement programs to convey the assets to prospects. Imagining that you can deploy a piece of technology and suddenly be in the content marketing business is a sure way to fail.

Process

There are two processes you will focus on:

  1. Map out the Buying Journey and audit your current content against this journey. Start developing content to fill the obvious gaps immediately.
  2. Consolidate the content operations process to having one owner/driver, worldwide. Consolidate all the requirements gathering from stakeholders (Sales, Marketing, Service), and develop a single content roadmap. Production may be dispersed, but roadmap planning is centralized.

People

Train your campaign team in best practices around content marketing

Train your content operations team in best practices in what content works, and when, and through which channel, and how to leverage a single piece of content through multiple channels and media.

Leverage change management concepts in your training, and in setting milestones, and goals.

Develop personas that cluster prospects together based on similarities in how they buy. This may be unrelated to their job titles!

Data

Now that you have nicely defined personas, figure out how you will collect or append the data that identifies which persona they are in, otherwise your personas will remain shelf ware, or you will resort to using job titles as the primary determinant of the persona (in which case it is just a target market segment and not a real persona).  The other key piece of data is the information about where prospects are in their buying cycle.

Technology

Your Content Management System or Digital Asset Management system are not the same as a platform for managing content operations. If you want a platform which supports ideating, planning, organizing by buying journey stage and persona, and tracking usage through all channels, you will benefit from a system such as Kapost.

Metrics

Start measuring content influence on revenue. Your technology should help you do this, but you have to start to use the reports to make decisions on messages, media, channels etc.  Use it to remove older outdated content that is clearly ineffective.

Content

Developing new content will be the long lead item. It will take longer than training people, or deploying technology. So you will need to quickly follow the process items listed earlier to start the ball rolling on your new content. And we are not talking about cranking out data sheets and brochures. We are discussing educational pieces in prospects preferred media that move them from one buying stage to the next stage.

Content Engagement Programs

The final piece is of course the marketing programs that will convey the content to prospects or enable Sales or Service to do so. The key here is to target based on where the recipient is in their buying cycle, and based on their observed persona.

By taking this balanced approach, recognizing that content marketing requires a shift in multiple areas, you can reap the great benefits of becoming more customer centric in your marketing efforts.

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