28 may 2015

Technologies

7 Steps to a ‘Good-to-Great’ Content Marketing Strategy

Here are the seven steps for you to take your content to the next level:

 

Step 1: Reach Level 5 Leadership.

 

Level 5 Leadership, a concept developed by Jim Collins and revealed in his book, is the top spot on the corporate ladder: the executive. And that’s where you want to be with your content marketing.

As an executive in a company, you have a vision, and that vision is shared with others. To share your vision, you’ll need the right people to help create your vision and manifest it. It’s the same process with your content marketing strategy.

ou need the right people to help you create content, no matter what type of content you plan to use. If you want your own unique images for content you create, you need a designer. If you want your content to be flawless, you’ll need an editor on your team to comb through each content piece. If you have lots of content you want to write, but don’t have the time, you’ll need multiple writers.

To be a Level 5 Leader, you need to have a vision and be able to communicate your vision to other people who join your content marketing team. They need to know what you expect from them. That’s why your content marketing strategy needs to be detailed.

You need to know what you want to do for content marketing before you can pass on your vision for others to handle. The first step to developing a good-to-great content marketing strategy is knowing what you want.

Step 2: Know the who first, then the what.

To get your content noticed, you need to identify your target audience and market your content to them. You’re providing valuable content to them, not just building your brand’s image. You need to know who you’re marketing to first before you can decide on what type of content to create and offer to your target market.

When identifying your target audience, be specific. Let’s say your target audience is moms. Take it a step further: Do you want to target stay-at-home moms or working moms? First-time mothers or experienced mothers? Young mothers or moms in their 40s?
Once you’ve figured out your target market, you need to get involved with the group and learn about the people in that specific group. What do they need, but aren’t getting? What information are they hungry for? What matters to them? Where do they hang out most of the time (e.g., online forums, social media groups, etc)? Research your target audience to determine what type of content you want to provide.

To get your content noticed, you need to identify your target audience and market your content to them. You’re providing valuable content to them, not just building your brand’s image. You need to know who you’re marketing to first before you can decide on what type of content to create and offer to your target market.

When identifying your target audience, be specific. Let’s say your target audience is moms. Take it a step further: Do you want to target stay-at-home moms or working moms? First-time mothers or experienced mothers? Young mothers or moms in their 40s?
Once you’ve figured out your target market, you need to get involved with the group and learn about the people in that specific group. What do they need, but aren’t getting? What information are they hungry for? What matters to them? Where do they hang out most of the time (e.g., online forums, social media groups, etc)? Research your target audience to determine what type of content you want to provide.

 

Step 3: Confront the brutal facts.

Being honest with yourself may be challenging for you. In order to make your content marketing strategy a success, you need to face the facts. Even if you think a content piece you’ve created rocks, your target audience may not find it useful at all.

Don’t let that get you down, though. Being honest not only helps you come up with better content ideas, but honesty will also help save you time. If you blindly create content and share it without thinking about its effectiveness, you only waste your time and energy on something that won’t work for your vision.

Be honest with your situation right now. Do you have content ready? Do you know exactly what you want to do for your content marketing? Do you have content created by other people you’ve hired, but it’s not any good? Know where you’re at with content marketing, and figure out what you need to do to move forward.

If you’re stuck, ask yourself these two questions:

Would I share this content with my customers?
Would they think it was a useful piece?

Step 4: Understand and apply the Hedgehog Concept to your content marketing strategy
Three circles, one focus – these are the components that make up the Hedgehog Concept. According to the Hedgehog Concept, companies are more likely to succeed when they focus on one main goal; in this case, your vision or goals for content marketing. One focus is better than going in different directions at the same time.

contet

 

The three overlapping circles represent the following:

Your passion
What you’re best at
What makes you money
When the three circles overlap, they have a single focal point. Everything ties in together, and a single focus point maintains consistency in a company. To stand out from the crowd, a company’s image needs to be consistent. It’s the same for content marketing.

You can approach content marketing in countless ways. The key is knowing what works for you and your company? You don’t have to join every content marketing bandwagon out there; narrow down your content marketing tactics, and focus on ones that match your vision.
To apply the Hedgehog Concept, self-reflect and brainstorm with others (e.g., team members or higher-ups in your organization). Your passion, your best skill(s), and your driving force all need to be considered and ring true with your vision.

Write down these three details, and use it as a guide for your content marketing strategy. With these details, you’ll maintain a consistent message in your content pieces and make it easier to create an effective content marketing plan.

Step 5: Be consistent and disciplined with content marketing.

What’s the key to content marketing success? It’s consistency. If you want to achieve your goals with content marketing, you need to be consistent. You need to have a schedule that supports a consistent content marketing strategy.

Even if you have a ton of great content ideas lined up and ready to go, you still need to continue publishing valuable content for your target market.

Step 6: Gather your technology accelerators.

Letting your audience know about your content is the next big step for your content marketing strategy. To help you promote your content and get your content seen, get the right tools for your marketing toolbox.

Not only do you want to get seen, but you also want to use tools to accelerate the growth of content you publish. A few great tools you can add include: Buffer - Workado -  CoSchedule

 

Step 7: The Flywheel Concept and how it applies to content marketing.

The Flywheel Concept, developed by Jim Collins, is based on, well, a flywheel. If there isn’t anything exerting force on the flywheel, it won’t move. Once the flywheel starts moving, it gains momentum and speeds up before you know it.

The Flywheel Concept is similar to a snowball rolling down a snow-covered mountain. The snowball starts out small, but as it gains speed, it goes down the mountain faster and grows bigger.

This concept can be applied to content marketing. The more you do for your content marketing efforts e.g., outreach, content creation, editing, and social media posting, the bigger and better results you’ll get in the long run.
It’s like watching a small business grow into a large company. At one point, every big company started out small. But with the right, consistent marketing for their brand, services, products, etc., these companies continue to attract prospects and customers.

Take HubSpot for example. HubSpot’s blog attracts not only marketers, but agencies and salespeople. With the various content HubSpot provides on a regular basis, more people come to HubSpot for more information on topics that relate to them and their businesses. This means a larger audience for HubSpot’s blog.

That’s why it’s crucial for you to be consistent with content marketing. You start out with a small snowball, but when you roll it down the mountain, you’ll end up with great results. Be prepared, though – make sure you continue to track progress and adapt to changes as they come along.

When it comes to content marketing, leadership and management are just as important. You’re the leader of your content marketing strategy, and you’re the one who controls the writing process from the inside while being an influential individual on the outside.

So what do you need to do now? Have a BHAG – big, hairy, audacious goal. Get organized, and develop your content marketing plan around that goal. Follow the seven steps for good-to-great to enhance your plan. Take time to plan tactics you want to implement in your content marketing strategy and what you need to do to make your vision become reality. Lastly, aim to influence!

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