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The 4 “simple” steps to content marketing

September 24, 2014

jrlisk

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I find myself frequently explaining the four steps to a content marketing campaign to clients, and even to friends who are curious about the buzz surrounding brand journalism (or what the hell I do all day).  The breakdown below is simple, accurate and an effective formula for launching your first, or hundredth, content marketing campaign.

1. Strategy

Skip this and you’re screwed.  Your campaign should be part of an overarching content strategy which includes the following:

  • Your brand persona
  • Your company style guide
  • Your audience persona
  • Your goals for your readers (what will they get from your content?)
  • Your goals for your business (Common goals include brand awareness, relationship building, establishing thought leadership, SEO and lead generation.  I always urge my clients to complement these big picture goals with concrete targets, such as how many views, clicks, or subscriptions you’d like your campaign to generate.)

2. Creation

Okay, now someone has to produce this content–the article, blog post, white paper, video, infographic or listical (I could go on!) that will educate your audience and align with your brand’s messaging.  For many businesses, this is the most challenging part.  Whether you decide to create the content in-house or collaborate with a partner, just be sure the content is high quality and aligns with your strategy.

3.  Distribution

It doesn’t matter how good your content is: if no one sees it, you’ll feel like you failed.  How are you getting customers to your content and/or bringing the content to your customers?  This step is often overlooked because of budgetary restraints or lack of knowledge; but if you’re going to create content, you’re wasting time and money if you don’t take the means necessary to ensure that it’s seen.

4. Measurement

So how did you do?  Analyzing your campaign will provide you with insights applicable to your entire marketing program, and help you make more cost effective decisions in the future.  Common metrics include views, clicks, time spent on page and social shares.  When something is working, look for trends.  What keywords did you use?  What time of day did you publish?  Where did you distribute it?  Was it shared by an influencer on Twitter?  Content marketing involves a lot of moving parts so this last step can be tricky, but it’s an integral component to assessing your efforts and setting yourself up for future success.

It would take more than 400 words to tell you everything you need to know about content marketing, but thinking in terms of these four steps is a good start.  Questions? Comments?  Feel free to reach out – info@jrlisk.com

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