How to start your first content marketing campaign: the 5 must-do steps
There is a lot of hype and plenty of statistics that suggest that if you aren’t doing content marketing, you are losing out on a big chunk of business. A lot of it is true too. To find out, examine your own online behavior.
How many times have you searched Google to find out answers to your most pressing personal and professional questions?
More than twice daily?
We bet. We’ve all gone on to use the information we gather online to make purchase decisions too. In 2016 alone, an estimated 1.61 billion people worldwide purchase goods online.
Did you know that content plays a sizable role in pushing up those sales numbers?
A report titled ‘How Educational Content Impacts Purchase Power, Brand Affinity and Trust’ gave three important statistics:
- Consumers who read a brand’s educational content are 131% more likely to purchase from that brand.
- One week after reading content, customers were still 48% more likely to buy.
- Reading content greatly increases consumer trust and brand affinity, which increases as time passes.
Combine this with the fact that over 80% B2B marketers have planned to use content as a part of their strategic mix this year. If you don’t have content in your 2018 marketing plan, be ready to answer your boss when he asks “Were you living under a rock?”.
Content marketing isn’t rocket science (not all of it). Some parts can be implemented swiftly and easily once you set your mind to it. This guide will help you get started.
Before you start…
There is already a lot of content out there. We neither have the time or the inclination to skim through it all for a particular topic. Instead, we only go for the crème. The average lifespan of a human is 672,000 hours. More than 4x that number of hours worth videos are uploaded to YouTube every day!
The one that grabs our attention is the content that is most relevant and easily ‘findable’. This fact gives us the first understanding towards content marketing that if your content isn’t optimized, you’ll be missing out on the results of the marketing campaign. This will form the crux of all content you write including your blogs and website content.
Step 1: What are your marketing goals? How do you create your content goals out of your marketing goals?
Marketing is an overarching term of which content forms a subset. You could be setting your marketing goals on both a quarterly or annual basis. Most marketing goals revolve around generating leads for your business. Other goals like strengthening your brand identity, launching new products and optimizing company communication. Each of these goals can translate into a content goal.
- Gathering leads: Writing content with a great call-to-action that works as a traffic magnet and aids in generating leads.
- Brand identity: Using content to ensure more people hear about your brand and engage with you in the long run.
- Launching new product: Understanding market needs, creating an excitement around the launch and ensuring that your target audience knows about the product.
- Optimizing company communication: Undertaking customer surveys for feedback, queries, satisfaction ratios, replying to reviews and maintaining online reputation.
Step 2: Brainstorming ideas
It is one thing to Google topics and starts writing. But the real content game players plan out a strategic campaign with the goal and metrics in mind. This is, by far, the most difficult part of content marketing. The idea of the content should not be to sell your product but around a problem you solve or a way to engage and excite your audience. The fact that your product gets visibility which eventually leads to conversion becomes the high point. Here is an example of three brands that chose the off-beat path for a content campaign that gave them great results.
Step 3: Create a content calendar
Once you have the overall campaign idea, you’ll need to plan out how it’ll all come together. What info will go on your website?
How often will you need to push content and what you can expect from each content piece?
Which media will you use to engage with your customers?
How long will you run the campaign?
How will you capture the leads?
And finally, how will you measure the success of campaign at the end of it all.
Step 4: Develop your content
This can either be super easy or super difficult based on how you handle it. The first option is that you can add this as a task for your in-house team. Depending on their level of expertise, you can map out the content as per your plan. This may not be as simple as it looks it requires both time and expertise to craft content. The second option is to hire someone who does content for their bread, butter and some jam on the side. With the right brief and timeline, the execution of your content plan will go on an auto-pilot, allowing you to only pay attention to the success analytics.
Step 5: Measure and iterate
The fact that content is good or bad can be very subjective. Sometimes the most well-written content does not deliver what a click-bait can. You’ll need to experiment with different facets of content like video, infographics, white papers and case studies in your content marketing mix to see how each of them fares against the goals you’ve set. If you see a quarter on quarter increase in the goals you’ve set, you are most likely to be on the path to success. If not, you’ll have to iterate to your plan B for the quarter. Either way, you’ll need to quick and agile to be a step ahead of your competition.
Content marketing does deliver results. There are several success stories on the web on the innovative use of content. See an example of how we used content marketing for Alliance Fintech and increased their traffic by 149%.