Content marketing is all the rage these days and as a content marketing software company, we’ve had a better vantage point than most to watch its rise.
From the increasing amount of ink being spilled to the dramatic rise in the number of Content Director job postings, signs are everywhere that companies are becoming aware of its importance and making investments.
But if we are in the upswing of a hype cycle how do you avoid the trough of disillusionment and instead get great results?
It starts with vision and strategy. You need to have a vision for how your existing content and the content you intend to produce will link together to help inform your prospective customers and persuade them to move through your sales cycle. Then you put together the strategy to implement that content architecture and attract the audience to different points of that cycle. And then you execute on that strategy through an Editorial Calendar and production workflows, and ultimately measure your progress and success using analytics.
There are a number of core strategic objects to help you with this:
- Buyer Personas (well-defined descriptions of your target customer or audience that inform the way you plan and write content)
- Themes (logical groupings of content around topics such as a specific product or customer challenge)
- Buyer Cycle (stage breakdown of different parts of a Customer Journey from initial Awareness to Raving Fan – there are many different models out there such as Dave McClure’s 5-stage AARRR model; we at Marketing.AI use a 7-stage model by default)
- Content Type (e.g. blog post, email or ebook)
- Channel (where you publish the content, e.g. on your blog vs on LinkedIn and where and how you promote it)
By understanding the cross-section of these objects, such as for what Buyer Persona, and what stage, and with what theme you are creating a piece of content, you can then create highly relevant content to that situation and also understand to what goal you want the content to lead the audience (and what call to action to use to achieve that).
So how do you get started with something like this? There are a few tools in the market that help you get started with creating strategic objects and aligning them through execution and measurement.
Marketing.AI is one of them, but there also tools like the recently-announced Customer Journey Builder from Salesforce.com. And if you are just starting out with your startup, then you can start lean by heading to Staples and buying a large drafting piece of paper with colored pens and sticky notes and map how your existing and planned content would look mapped together in a persuasion flow. As you grow and want more integrated collaboration, execution and tracking, you’ll want to go for a formal tool, but starting out with the Staples method will be much better than trying to generate Content Marketing success without a defined vision and strategy.