Content is the lifeblood of your marketing. It is your primary vehicle for communication and learning. Apply these best practices to your content development to stay in step with your market.
OPTIMIZE YOUR CONTENT TEAM
There are so many aspects to content marketing. Exactly how you structure your content marketing activities will depend on many factors.
Some organizations run a dedicated content unit as part of the marketing function. Others choose to distribute content creation responsibilities across the business.
For most companies, the solution is somewhere in the middle. In any scenario the bottom line remains the same: content needs to be managed with a strong central vision.
COVER YOUR TALENT BASES
Most companies will require a mix of the following skills to do content well:
- Design & UX
- Video production
- Social media
- SEO & paid
- Data analysis
- Strategy planning
You may combine certain responsibilities in the same role. Perhaps your writer takes care of social media, or your marketing manager is responsible for producing blog posts as well as drawing up the content calendar and managing freelancers.
However you structure it, you will expect your team to produce from an array of content assets, including:
- Blog posts
- Website copy
- Product & service videos
- Corporate promos
Content done well is exciting and engaging, and your business should feel enthused and informed about your content creation activities. Extend this approach to any external partners, such as agencies, you involve in the development and execution of your content program.
EMBARK ON BLOGGING
Blogging is a central element of many well-rounded content marketing programs, but it is not a requirement.
The practice of regularly updating a dedicated blog on your website has advantages in terms of thought leadership, site traffic and SEO.
More important, however, is first ensuring that your website is in good shape overall.
It's like investing in an addition to a house that you haven't updated in years. Better to spend your time reviewing and refreshing your existing site copy and architecture before you commit to a dedicated blog strategy.
Most organizational websites are exhausting. A new paragraph here, a new page there. Layer upon layer of content. They sprawl.
Yes grow your website. Add pages, add content, add detail over time. But don't forget to be continuously editing what you have already published. Update old messages, refresh and deepen content, and delete what is no longer relevant. Editing is key to successful and sustainable growth.
EMBRACE VIDEO MARKETING
You can run a content marketing program without video for a while, but don't leave it too long.
Video is a proven format, and engaging relevant videos across your website and through your channels will serve significant value to your customers.
The format is great for telling stories, and stories are at the heart of strong content marketing. Let video projects serve as core elements of your content marketing plan.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RESEARCH
You don’t need to know everything about a subject to start work on it, but you do need to know the basics.
David Ogilvy (1911-1999), the advertising pioneer, knew a thing or two about research. “You don’t stand a tinker’s chance of producing successful advertising unless you start by doing your homework,” he wrote in Ogilvy On Advertising (1983). “I have always found this extremely tedious, but there is no substitute for it.”
Research requires diligence and application. But the discipline of hard work will guard against the perils of charlatanry and put you in a stronger position over time.
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Reframe your organization's approach to content. View content both as an infrastructure cost and as an asset that yields over time.
The process of content creation requires vision and organization. It requires investment and patience. And it requires consistency of approach
Leveraging the full force of your communication channels, get your experts and your senior executives to speak up and contribute to industry discussions, whatever those topics may be.
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CEO and CFO are in the CEO's office. "Why are we funneling so much money into content creation these days?" asks the CFO.
Asset managers should provide content to their clients that focuses on the bigger picture and doesn't simply repeat the news of the day. That's the advice of Richard Lander of CityWire.
There's no doubt blog posts are getting longer. But let's not forget economy of expression. What takes 1500 words to say at first pass can generally be condensed to 1000 words without over-diluting the content.
A building is defined by its style. In the same way, a piece of content has its uses but it is primarily remembered for the way it looks and feels.
There's a lot that goes into creating your content schedule, but don't make things more difficult than they need be. Remember the three R's - Refresh, Repurpose, Review - and you will stay in good shape.
Advertising used to be an accepted feature of modern life. Now adblockers and web browsers allow us to switch off, or significantly minimize, ad exposure. What has changed in recent decades? Why are we becoming ever less tolerant of, ever more desensitized to, ads?
Expressed well, opinion will lend an edge and appeal to your organization's content. Wherever you have an opportunity, take a stance.
As a marketing leader, you ultimately need to own the strategy, the creative and the execution. If your agencies went away tomorrow, would you be able to carry on regardless?
It's true that great advertising and great marketing are generally motivated by a brilliant idea, a stroke of genius if you will. But the actual execution of any project requires hard work.
How you build your plan is dependent on numerous factors - the size and structure of your company, your comfort level with content creation, and the degree to which you are invested in content marketing as a practice.
Content marketer Mark Bornstein asks what's in store for webinar marketing in 2018.
Leverage the power of news in your content marketing, and provide value to your audience in tangible ways.
Too many marketers measure the effectiveness of initiatives only in terms of marketing metrics and miss the opportunity to connect it to overall business performance, says executive talent firm Korn Ferry.
We don’t expect infographics to die off but we do expect them to become better integrated into the content that surrounds them.
Once companies understand what they are spending on content, it's time to consider ways of driving efficiency from that investment.
Your content process should be a core component of your business marketing plan, not an afterthought. How well you "do content" can strongly influence the success trajectory of your business.
Marketers must understand the overwhelming upsides of developing trust over the long-term. The brands, the companies, and the people we most trust are the very individuals and organizations that we turn to when we have a need.
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What is the value proposition that separates you from the rest of the market? What do you do differently and better than everyone else?
Business leaders who adopt a content-first mindset will maximize their success.
Businesses that have open and robust conversations at the executive level around the cost of content and the role marketing content plays within the enterprise will create a stronger foundation for future success.
To achieve consistency in your blog output and to avoid "blogger heartache", you need a clear method. And at the heart of that method should be a simple document: your content brief.