Content Marketing: The One Thing Everyone Needs

Content Marketing Is An On-going Cycle

Wash cycleWhile content creation and quality rate high on marketers’ lists of content marketing issues, their real challenge is finding sufficient content marketing resources in the form of time, talent and money to develop and distribute content. According to IMN research, over 40% of marketers dedicate less than 10% of their marketing budget to content.

Content Marketing is human communication of non-promotional, yet branded information that educates and entertains to achieve specific, measurable business goals.

The irony is that most organizations create lots of information. The problem is that it’s not content marketing, often because it’s filled with corporate-speak, promotional filler or not cataloged. Yet by rethinking the strategy and creation of this information, most organizations can become effective, cost efficient, content marketing machines.

How do you create an effective content marketing machine?

Assuming you have a fixed amount of content marketing resources, the way to build your machine is to reallocate the resources you currently have and re-imagine the breadth of your organization’s information into more accessible and consumable content tailored for your audience.

You can augment your internal content with an active content curation strategy. This requires enhancing the external information you select to incorporate your 360° brand message and facilitate its consumption and distribution. While curation can augment your owned content, it doesn’t surprise or provide new insights.

You still need a content development strategy to feed the ever-expanding need for more content in a cost effective way across your organization. Unfortunately there’s no content supermarket where you can just buy the information people want to consume and share.

At Gartner’s 3C’s of Content panel, Ian Schafer of Deep Focus made the point that you need to change how your think about content marketing. It’s not discrete campaigns or projects, rather it’s an on-going, cyclical process.

How do you create an effective content marketing cycle?

Here’s a 5 step content marketing cycle to keep your content on track.

  1. Build your content marketing strategy. This sets the parameters of your content marketing efforts. Most important is your content marketing objectives and knowing your target audience.
  2. Create content. Determine what information is needed at every step of the purchase process as well as the stories that you’ll convey.
  3. Execute content. Transforms your information into valuable content formats that are findable and easy-to-consume.
  4. Distribute content. Here’s where you maximize your reach because if no one sees your content, it’s ineffective.
  5. Measure and revise your content strategy. Track the results from your content marketing to yield insights for improving your content offering on the next iteration.

Content Marketing Cycle Chart- Heidi Cohen

2 Tips to empower your content creators

To empower your employees, customers and fans to contribute to your content marketing efforts, you need to give them a structure:

  1. Provide content guidelines.  Ensure that your employees know what they can say when they’re representing your firm and in their private lives. These guidelines can be your social media policies. At the panel, Tim Gilchrist talked about training your staff so that they’re qualified to present your content.
  2. Support content creation. No one wants to look bad or foolish. Provide editorial and/or creative direction to ensure that the content is of high quality, formatted for easy consumption, and contextually relevant. The nirvana is to provide content that your audience will share, augment and re-share.

To ensure your organization’s content marketing strategy develops effective, human-friendly information that achieves your goals given your limited resources, you need to break down the organizational silos. This requires an on-going content marketing cycle: wash, rinse, repeat.

How do you maximize the content marketing resources in your organization?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/janetmck/6340609991/

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