Outlining a process for creating, measuring and disseminating your content will help streamline your content marketing and maximize the performance of your content. Generally speaking, this is a five-step process:
1. Analyze data and insights: Understand the customer, identify influences, collect data and develop a single view of the customer.
2. Develop a content plan and strategy: Use customer personas to develop a centralized strategy and define an appropriate mix of original and curated content.
3. Create and curate content: Through internal and external resources, create, co-create and curate content.
4. Distribute and amplify content: Determine the right devices and channels to target and use paid media to amplify messages that work.
5. Measure and optimize content: Measure your performance data against KPIs, conduct a competitive analysis and recalibrate strategies as needed.
Take note of that last step; it’s key to an effective content operation. Establishing metrics for content performance, audience engagement, brand awareness and lead generation/sales will give you the necessary feedback to elevate the quality of your content and reap the greatest returns over time.
Adopt Best Practices
Along with getting your people, resources and workflow in order, consider how you can make these best practices work within your organization:
• Set ground rules. Establish guidelines for content creation — voice, tone, style, type, etc. — to ensure consistency in your messaging.
• Test your content. Use organic social channels to test your content verticals and messages. Learn what content works and what doesn’t, and then use that insight to decide when to amplify messages with paid media. Balance the big bets with small experiments.
• Plan for agility. Like a publisher, you want to plan for the expected and prepare for the unexpected. Editorial calendars and annual budgeting cycles will help you anticipate events (e.g., a new product launch) and leverage content appropriately. Breaking down silos between historically disparate teams (for example, your communications, customer service and research groups) will help encourage everyone to contribute to the content operation; which, in turn, will ensure coverage when the need arises.
•Account for global vs. local. If you’re a global brand, implementing content marketing requires a slightly different organizational structure. Your global office should establish brand guidelines (tone, voice, look and feel), manage global assets (logos) and articulate a content strategy that applies organization-wide. Local offices should account for local market planning/adaptation, media/publisher relationships, social communities, languages and more to ensure that your content marketing is regionally relevant and resonates with local customers.
• Revamp your legal process. The typical process for legal reviews is not efficient enough for content marketing, nor does it provide enough editorial independence. Develop a new process for legal reviews that will enable your content team to produce content that’s interesting to your customers in real time.
Admittedly, this process is an undertaking. Remember that you can’t transform your brand into a newsroom overnight; it’s going to take time to rejigger teams, shift your culture and determine the depth of your content operation.
But making the change is necessary. This is the future of marketing, and it means big things for your brand.
This article was originally published in Target Marketing Magazine