As a marketing leader and CMO, I think about content all the time. Figuring out how to categorize, control, and monetize intellectual property as held within unstructured content can be a challenge. So, what advice can I share in creating a content-driven marketing approach?
First and foremost, research your competitors' content. Whether you're launching a blog, website, or email campaign, determine what information is already out there and how it's presented. Then create a framework to differentiate. What specific elements of content does your firm own or deliver that are unique in the market?
Use a persona-based approach. Develop it based on a deep understanding of your customers' roles and responsibilities, and identify the type of content most relevant to then. If you're providing quick tips or techniques for consumers your voice and approach will likely be more conversational. In contrast, if you can deliver detailed, research-driven white papers for a B2B audience you may opt for a more formal approach.
Then, measure and optimize. As in any marketing effort, define clear goals. This means you must know your content and its relationship to your audience, and build a solid plan to deliver it in a cadenced manner appropriate to the content and audience intersection.
Content strategy, like all well-crafted marketing, is about planning
Before deploying a content marketing plan, make certain there are resources appropriate to the creation and ongoing management of the content. Putting a great piece or several pieces of content out there, then letting them get stale and languish, will defeat the overall purpose and ultimately cause the strategy to fail. Content creation specific to a marketing campaign should be an assigned task with clear objectives (and deadlines) assigned to specific people either within the organization, or to third parties.
Of course, organize content to accomplish your objectives. That means putting your content logically on your site, but managed in a central place. Create a visual language to optimize your content relative to your audience. Deliver a strategic and creative brief that defines the tone and voice for the audience. Provide templates incorporating the better practices.
Now you are ready to implement your content marketing strategy. Again, it is essential to have resources ready to continuously update content. Stale, out of date, or repetitive content will produce the opposite of your desired effect. Once you've implemented the initial strategy, use analytics tools to optimize content placement and the content itself.
Despite the very best plan, no content marketing implementation is perfect in its first iteration. Use the knowledge gained through usage statistics to optimize and refine the placement, the content, and the design elements to improve consumption.
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About the Author: James Latham is chief marketing officer of Open Text