From the moment we wake until we finally peel our eyes away from our screens at bedtime, we’re inundated with content. Blog posts, videos, graphics, ebooks, social media posts, podcasts — there’s seemingly no end to the terabytes of information we’re served (and willingly consume).
As a marketing pro, this creates a challenge. With so much content swirling around the web, how can you possibly create assets that stand out, capture audiences’ attention, and guide your prospects down the path to purchase?
To discuss this challenge (and how to solve it), we recently sat down with a panel of content marketing experts for our webinar, The Art & Science of Content Marketing. Here’s a few highlights and words of wisdom from that discussion:
Assembling your content dream team
To produce high-quality, consumable content that drives conversions, you need the right talent. Whether you’re hiring new employees or amassing resources you already have within your organization, it’s crucial you look for professionals with a few specific skills.
According to Katie DeMatteis, content marketing manager at Okta, great content marketers are comfortable working across departments. They can equip demand gen, product marketers, sales, and other teams with the content they need to create success and teach them how to use it effectively. Additionally, Katie says content teams are responsible for ensuring a cohesive brand voice in tone in all communications.
Mark Brozek, Sr. product marketing manager at ZScaler, agrees. He added that content marketers should have excellent written and verbal communication skills and a knack for collaborating with all parts of the marketing ecosystem and sales. Additionally, he points out that to create content that resonates, you also need to listen to customers and understand their needs.
So while superior writing skills, expertise in social media, and a proficiency in content management tools are all necessary for the job, that’s not enough to drive consistent success. Today’s content marketers must collaborate with other teams to produce valuable assets and promote and evangelize content marketing inside the organization as well.
Developing strategic content marketing plans
Once you have the talent in place, the next step to content marketing success is developing effective content plans.
There are several steps involved in this process:
- Set your mission
Who are you trying to reach? What value will you deliver to your audience? What do you hope to achieve, and by when? It’s crucial you’re clear on all of these items before you move forward. This step lays the foundation for your success.
“You have to make sure that you’re creating content that your audience wants to be consuming,” Katie says. “Otherwise, you could have ‘the greatest content marketing program ever,’ and it just won’t resonate.”
- Establish KPIs
This is how you’ll determine your success. Your key performance indicators might include revenue targets, site traffic, search ranking, or engagement metrics like shares, mentions, and comments. Also, as Charles Waltner, Head of content marketing at Illumio, points out, you should consider measuring subscribers.
“I think that fundamental growth of subscribers is a great baseline to really see how you’re doing over time,” he says.
- Determine the appropriate channels and content types
Where does your audience spend time? On what social media platforms are they most active? What types of content performed best in the past, and what types of content are competitors using that seem to drive success? How can you create a multichannel approach to keep prospects in the funnel?
Here, Mark suggests identifying large pieces of content you can break up into smaller bits to maximize your effort. “What are the big pillar pieces that we can make and then atomize into a bunch of derivative pieces of content, so you’re not trying to reinvent the wheel?” he says.
- Produce the content
Next, it’s time to begin creating your content assets. Make sure you’re careful in how you allocate budget and other resources and strive to prevent scope creep.
- Distribute and promote the content
After you’ve completed your content, it’s time to publish and promote. Whether you’re publishing on owned, earned, or paid channels, promotion is essential to engagement.
- Measure your results
How did your content perform? While many organizations look to ROI to assess performance, Samuel Chapman, director of content and brand experience at Aprimo, says you should also consider ROE – return on effort.
“You have to have your finger on the pulse of the return on effort that went into producing a piece of content,” he says. “It could get as many impressions and other engagement numbers as you like, but what was the labor that went into that?”
Creating content that converts
As you establish and grow your content marketing efforts, it’s vital to continually seek opportunities to expand and change in response to your audiences’ habits and behaviors.
“As marketing evolves, so does the content we have to create,” Katie says.
Additionally, consider where you can be disruptive. Given the sheer volume of new content published every day, it’s critical you look for ways to grab your audiences’ attention with something unique and highly relevant. Don’t simply echo content that already exists — create something fresh. According to Sam, content marketers are responsible for finding “creative ways to pattern disrupt and get people out of the endless scroll.”
And if you can grab someone’s attention for even a moment, you can create a lasting connection that could inevitably turn into a sale.
For more insight into creating content marketing success, including valuable advice on creating specific types of content and how to drive engagement, check out the webinar, “The Art & Science of Content Marketing.”
If you are interested in learning about ViB and our effective marketing programs, contact us.