December 13, 2013: If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time ripping through your Netflix queue because you’re lame and waiting for Season 4 of Game of Thrones to premiere in “the first half of 2014,” whatever that means. In a fit of nostalgia, I recently re-watched a few of my childhood faves, including such renowned titles as Home Alone (which I, admittedly, watch every Christmas season), Mr. Destiny, and Field of Dreams.
It became clear to me that I had content marketing on the brain when I heard “If you build it, he will come” and immediately thought of distributing content across social media channels. Who wouldn’t? Normal people think of their professional lives when they hear Ray Liotta whispering cryptic messages across corn fields, right?
Well, probably not. But, step aside, Shoeless Joe Jackson & Co., because we’re going to break this thing down content marketing style.
If You Build It…
Like everything else in life, this is easier said than done. Here are a few steps to help make the process easier:
- Define the goal for your content marketing program first—and then assign the appropriate resources from there. Putting together the right team of individuals (i.e., content writers, SEOs, and social media specialists) to make a client initiative a success is impossible if you haven’t previously mapped out the overall goals of the program.
- Solicit input from everyone across the organization. In other words, don’t limit content creation/idea generation to content marketing personnel alone because it’s likely every member of the team has a good story to tell. At KoMarketing Associates, for example, we have 9 different blog contributors on staff who can provide valuable insight on SEO, social media, content marketing, PPC, and more!
- Consider the buyer personas you intend to reach and influence. In Derek’s column on Search Engine Land, the key to buyer personas is in “understanding the goals, needs, and limits of a buyer are important to crafting the right content needed for SEO and social media marketing”
- Don’t forget to measure your content marketing performance. A MarketingLand report reveals that, while nearly 50% of marketers surveyed have a content marketing plan in place, only a quarter of them could accurately measure results down to the individual pieces of content they produced. So, prior to creating a new piece of content, be sure to spend some time digging through Google Analytics to determine which assets have had the highest number of page views (total and unique) as well as the most activity (shares, comments, likes, etc.).
…They Will Come
So now that you’ve got your content marketing team working like a well-oiled machine, how do you get your audience to engage with the material you’ve created? Consider the following:
- Develop a single workflow. In a Marketo eBook, Jeff Davis, Editorial Director at Original9Media, explains that an important part of the content creation process is developing a so-called “assembly line” (i.e., pitch, assign, draft, edit, approve, post) for each content type. However, when it comes to production and distribution, Jeff claims the assembly line shouldn’t stop at “post.” “[The workflow shouldn’t] tax everyone’s time,” he says, “but [should ensure] that every piece of content will get a baseline minimum level of promotion (across all relevant social channels), and it’s baked into your production process as painlessly as possible.”
- Do your research and plan accordingly. SproutSocial interviewed three different experts to find out how an approach to sharing and distributing content can be just as effective as the strategy for creating it. Responses were mixed but, collectively, the experts identified the need for careful planning and due consideration for content execution across social channels. Understanding your audience, knowing the strengths of each social network, determining how (and when) to schedule posts, sharing outside the brand, and thinking evergreen were specific ways of doing so, as identified by the experts.
- Get help from brand advocates. As much as content marketers try to identify customer needs through social media, surveys, live chat, user testing, etc., the most powerful way to your material seen and talked about is to get your customers to become brand advocates. “Nothing scales quite like word of mouth,” claims Social Media Today. “Even if you get just a small percentage to plug your products, the ripple effect can be immeasurable.” When you win over customers and help them share your company’s story, you help programs get amplified, spark positive conversations across online media, increase web traffic, and win new customers.
So maybe your target audience won’t be appearing out of thin air to read your content the way the White Sox showed up to throw the ball around the baseball diamond Kevin Costner made for them in the middle of his corn field. But I would argue that “If you build it, they will come” still has its place in the world of content marketing. Which tactics have you used assemble your content marketing team and get your readers to consume your material? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below.