8 steps to content marketing success

Make sure you don’t lose before you start by considering these crucial factors.

Successful content marketing creates a foundation of trust between a business and its customers. It’s a process that takes time, commitment, planning and patience. So it’s worth considering a few factors when embarking on the journey, not least of which are getting buy-in from internal stakeholders as well as access to the necessary resources, including budgets and any existing information on your customers (demographics and preferences, etc.). Successful content marketing creates a foundation of trust between a business and its customers. But it’s also a way of ‘powering the message of your brand’, says digital marketing specialist and founder of Jackson Marketing Services, Stacy Jackson. For this reason, ‘your content needs to serve your business by supporting corporate goals,’ she adds. Where are you now? Where do you want to be? Your brand and style guidelines need to be documented and formally in place so that whatever you put out there in your content marketing strategy reflects your business’s voice and mission consistently.

1. What do you want to achieve?
Examine the goal of your content marketing strategy. Is it driving more people to your website, increasing brand awareness, driving sales, converting leads to customers, improving retention? Knowing what you want enables you to shape your strategy.

2. Are all internal stakeholders on board?
Your content marketing strategy needs the commitment of key people in the business. If there is an understanding of its value, it makes it easier to get the resources you need, which will include budgets covering, among others, the services of a skilled content strategist who will help you marry your goals with the type of content you need, skilled writers to produce that content, videographers for visual content, an SEO specialist to assist in developing and implementing strategies to improve search results and paid-for media.

3. Who is your audience?
Knowing who you’re targeting is perhaps the most obvious question to ask, as this helps you create the personalised content that is the cornerstone of building understanding and trust between your business and your potential customer. Perhaps your company already has these resources; if not, invest in building customers’ profiles. Content consumption will vary between age groups, the devices more people use frequently, and personal preferences such as reading over viewing. This informs you whether to choose to post content on social media, your own website, YouTube, and so on.

4. What are your customers’ pain points?
Knowing what ‘ails’ consumers will allow you to zone in on finding solutions for them that you deliver through your targeted content. Generally, these pain points relate to the following:

  • Financial – unsurprisingly, people look for products and services that offer the best value for money.
  • Time – along with money, consumers seek products and services that save time.
  • Service – no one likes to pay for something and then not receive immediate follow-up care or support.

5. How do you plan your operations?
Like any other marketing endeavour, content marketing requires planning: from developing a content calendar to managing workflow processes and deadlines. Getting highly skilled people on board to guide these processes is crucial. Bear in mind, there should be some flexibility involved in the initial stages.

6. How do you distribute the content?
Each piece of content created should have a relevant home. You don’t want to be publishing sales-type content to an audience that knows nothing about your company, when it’s more effective down the sales funnel where they are ready to make a decision to purchase your product or service. Blogs, email marketing, newsletters and social media are good ways to start creating awareness; use these to direct people to your website where the bulk of your services will be present.

7. What are your competitors doing?
It’s important to see what your competitors are doing in the digital space. Look at what they are doing right, and where they are not delivering. Step into that gap. But keep in mind, your message should be uniquely yours.

8. How long before you see results?
The fruits of your efforts will take time to become visible – around three to six months into a content marketing strategy. Potential leads will go through an awareness and education process the more they engage with your content. You do want your campaign to stand up to measurable results, so use tools that track likes, shares and comments, as well as traffic metrics (like Google Analytics) to see how you are faring.

Generating great content at the right time on the right platform where it is seen by the right people is where a skilled content strategist can assist. It’s worth investing in specialist services, as these are the people who know what works and why. If you need help with your content marketing campaign, get in touch.

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