Content Marketing 101

Content Marketing isn’t a new marketing concept. The idea of marketing through great content that’s useful to your readers has been around for many years.

In the past, great content was an often-desired element in a marketing campaign, but it was not always required to gain results in search. The value that Google placed on inbound links somewhat minimized the value of what was on the page people eventually landed on.

Until recently, most people’s concept of great content was effective sales copy on a landing page. And since great content is expensive to produce, it wasn’t pursued as diligently as it should have been.

That’s all changed.

Google has been moving us away from keyword-based optimization, with all search being conducted in a “secure” environment that no longer reveals the majority of the keywords people are using to find your site. Google Analytics is giving the (not provided) response more frequently and revealing the day will come when they won’t share any organic keyword information.

This is why there’s a renewed emphasis on content marketing. But this isn’t your father’s content marketing. It’s not just content on a well-crafted landing page designed to trigger a conversion.

We’re talking about content that’s valuable to your prospective clients/customers.

Content that answers their questions throughout your sales or engagement cycle. Once they become a customer, it’s the content that continues to provide value to them post sale.

We want to give you a peek under the hood of content marketing as we know it and help you feel more comfortable discussing this type of strategic marketing with your agency or digital marketing department.

Engaging in content marketing requires strategy development in three distinct areas.

  1. A content marketing strategy
  2. A content strategy
  3. A content promotion strategy

Let’s take a look at the first component – your content marketing strategy – and then we will cover the remaining two in a follow-up post.

The Content Marketing Strategy

There are at least two fundamental steps in developing your content marketing strategy.

First, think strategically about:

  • Aligning your goals and audiences
  • Understanding your buyer persona(s) (For more on developing buyer personas, check out What are the World Are Personas? And Why Do I Need Them?)
  • Identifying the larger story to be told
  • Planning for appropriate distribution channels for your story

Then, start creating your plan, which consists of:

  • Determining the purpose for your content marketing
  • Creating content pillars (Those topics containing the longest, most well-researched and best content on your entire site that answers the most fundamental questions about you and your company)
  • Identifying the key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll use and your ROI drivers
  • Crafting and/or curating your content
  • Developing your SEO strategy
  • Executing your content

These fundamental steps will move you towards creation of your content marketing strategy. It cannot be overstated the importance of these first steps. Focusing energy here, now, will save you much grief and time over the long haul.

Once your content marketing strategy is in place…what’s next? Our next post on this topic will address your content strategy, and your content promotion strategy: Content Marketing 101 – Part 2