I mentioned a few weeks ago the privilege I had to hear Joe Pulizzi speak at the Interaction Marketing Summit hosted by The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron. Pulizzi’s approach toward outcome merited its own blog post, but I wouldn’t ever want to discount the epic message that he conveyed during the event.
So if you have a website, you have content. But what exactly is that content doing? Is it sitting stagnant? Is it fodder for your next Facebook post? According to Pulizzi, 90% of all companies are doing some form of content marketing, but sadly only 40% believe that their content is successful. And let’s face it, at least 10% of those people are painfully optimistic (but that’s my own deduction).
So how DO you become a successful content marketer? According to Pulizzi, if you follow these five key elements, you will be on your way to successful content marketing.
- Sales, Savings & Sunshine – This is the WHY question that should be applied to your content strategy. Just because everyone else has a Facebook page doesn’t make it the best platform for your business. So as you are generating your content and pushing it out, be sure to ask WHY. Does your eNewsletter initiate sales, savings or sunshine?
- Sales – content that generates revenue
- Savings – content that saves money
- Sunshine – content that makes your customers feel good
- Create a Content Marketing Mission Statement – Does your business have a mission statement? Are you living up to that mission? Are your content efforts supporting your mission?
- Audience – Establish your core target audience and know your niche.
- Delivery – What will your message deliver? Does it have a purpose?
- Outcome – Add an outcome column to your content strategy. What is the outcome for the audience?
- Don’t Build Your Content Ship on Rented Land – Yep, we’re talking about Facebook (mostly). We’ve all seen our Facebook engagement drop over the past few months. But don’t turn Facebook into your content marketing scapegoat.
- Customer Data – Know your customer base. Collect customer data, work with your IT department and learn how to gather that customer data that is so valuable to your content message.
- Focus on your subscribers – What is the difference between those who subscribe to your eNewsletters and your one-off customers?
- Leverage Influencers and then Build an Audience – This doesn’t mean hire the mayor for your next car dealership commercial, but if the mayor buys a car from your lot, talk about it, tweet about it, blog about it. If you own a local business, don’t be afraid to tweet to local celebrities, a simple Retweet or Mention can lead to a big boost in followers and can help to spread your message.
- Make a list – Find 5-10 influencers to target and find ways to incorporate them into your content strategy.
- It isn’t all about YOU – We find this far too often with social media. Sure, your product or service is awesome and you want to shout it from the rooftop – but try to follow the 4:1:1 rule. Simply put, the rule means that for every one self-promoting tweet, blog post or status update, you should share four new pieces of content and one re-share.
- Open Up Your Wallet – This one kind of gave me shivers when I first saw it, but I get it.
- Pay to Play - As much as we scoff at the idea of boosting our Facebook post just so people who ALREADY like our page can see it, pay to play is becoming the new normal. And do you know what? It’s working. People who pay to boost their posts are getting more engagement when they pay to play, even within their existing audience.
- Build vs. Buy – Are you looking to expand your market? Before you start from scratch, consider a buy-out. Acquisitions are becoming more popular for brand expansion, even on the local level.
So this was a lot of information, right? Before you dive in head first and wind up flailing around calling for a life preserver, consider starting out slowly. Take one or two of these ideas and perfect them. It might take a few months, it might take a year. Once you have those tactics perfected, add another and another, until your content is truly epic.