Creative marketing always starts with the same question: “How can we best communicate this (our products, service, event, etc.) to our targeted audience (based on one of our buyer personas) in a way that moves them to take action (buy our product or services, register for the event, etc.)?”
At the front end of the equation, “creative” seems to be the word of the day. It’s only after-the fact, when the execution of your creative marketing idea generated success, that we can really look back and call that marketing effort “innovative.”
So innovative marketing solutions start with a solid, well-thought-out plan. And in 2014, that means a content marketing plan that has a goal or goals, is well thought out and executed.
Content marketing? We don’t use that!
I’ve actually heard this from a couple companies lately: “We don’t use content marketing. We not ready for that.”
Really?!! Maybe this stems from a misunderstanding of content marketing.
Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. ~ Content Marketing Institute
And that relevant and valuable content? That can include any mix of text, images, video, infographics, ebooks, blog posts, sell sheets, white pages, slide presentations, live presentations, webinars, podcasts, photos, graphics, etc. All of these are forms of content.
This content is used to engage our target audience and move them to action. Everyone uses content marketing — but few companies use it well. Content marketing is more about giving customers what they need then it is about pushing products or services. It’s through engaging content that we build the brand and an emotional connection with customers.
How do I create a successful content marketing campaign?
We use an 9-point process to create content marketing campaigns for our clients:
- Identify the audience. Target correctly and speak directly to their challenges and concerns.
- Set your goal(s). This usually takes the form of:
Generate X number of ____ for Y product/service/offer by this date.
- Create your offers and landing pages. Remember to optimize landing pages for SEO and keep the forms as short as possible.
- Plan and build related nurturing emails (drip emails) and any workflow automation.
- Kickoff the campaign with an email to a targeted segment of the client’s database.
- Write a blog post or posts to share your campaign content with a wider audience.
- Share on social media.
- Consider paid search and other channels.
- Report on our outstanding results!
You can adapt this to meet your needs. The key here is to start with an overall plan, and not just shoot from the hip each step of the way!
To be successful, content marketing requires time for planning as well as time for creating all the various pieces, executing the campaign, and reporting results. If you’re ready to get started with content marketing, you’ll find the book below very helpful.
Ready to learn more?
Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah have a new book, “Inbound Marketing: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online” which shares the collective learnings that HubSpot has had with thousands of companies over the past 8 years. It’s very readable and actionable (even with a little space for your notes at the end of each chapter) — get a FREE chapter from the book and learn about creating remarkable content.