Content, content everywhere – it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of it all, and by the scale of the task of trying to make your mark in a loud and crowded market.
Just how do you make sure YOUR content gets heard above the noise?
Here’s what it takes to succeed with content marketing. I hope this simple checklist will make it easier for you to know where to focus your efforts and find success this year.
1. The right strategy.
To get results in our noisy world your content has to be spot on. This takes some thinking. If you want results from content marketing and a return on your investment, don’t just create content willy-nilly; focus your efforts around a well thought through plan. As Joe Pulizzi (founder of the content marketing movement) so rightly states: “content without strategy is just stuff”. This is the year of content strategy.
2. The right story.
The best content marketing businesses have a golden thread that runs through all the content they produce – a meaningful central message that people can get behind.Without a grounding, compelling and authentic story – focusing on the ‘why’ not the what – your content runs the risk of being the same as everyone else’s. Hiut Denim does this beautifully, but B2B can do it to: IT firm Desynit has it right – http://storify.com/SonjaJefferson/desynit-a-small-company-with-a-big-story.
What does your business stand for?
3. The right content.
A quantity of any old content won’t cut it. To get results that content has to be relevant, interesting and downright valuable to the people you are in business to serve (see: Content Rules, But Any Old Content Won’t Do). Quality over quantity we say. Uncover your sweet spot – the intersection between your company goals and expertise and your customers’ needs.
What do you really want to be known for? Focus here.
4. The right platform.
Your website is your home base for all your valuable content. Make sure your content is built on firm foundations and get your website right. A valuable website is anything but self-oriented. It’s a hub of valuable, educational content answering questions at every step of the sales process. “Put audience engagement in the foreground and the corporate stuff in the background,” says Calum Cooper at Hymans Roberton. Spot on.
5. The right contacts.
The work doesn’t stop at great content: once you’ve created it you have to take it out there. There’s a raft of opportunities now open to get the quality stuff onto the screens and into the hands of those you are in business to serve – new things like SEO, social media, email, but the ‘old’ ways too, starting with lots of plain old fashioned networking.
Build your network of contacts this year – a community to serve.
6. The right systems.
Make valuable content the focus of a joined up marketing system. Get that content working first and then smart automation will give you a system to really make it fly (not the other way around). Learn about The Digital Lead Development Ecosystem, from those clever people at Newfangled Web.
Time to get the wider system in order?
7. The right team.
What is sometimes forgotten is the human factor – at the end of the day it’s people who make content marketing work. Wider than the marketing department, success comes when you get all your people – your leadership team, your experts too – onside. Give them the skills, the knowledge, the desire, the organisation to succeed and willingly create and share content that clients love. (Our e-book on feeding the content creation monster might help).
Invest in training and engage the whole team.
8. The right attitude.
Live by the valuable code and your content efforts will fly. Being helpful, generous, collaborative, and with a laser-like client focus, and dare I say it, having some love and respect for your customers or clients – these are the values that the best content marketers share. The right attitude underpins everything. Only if you put your heart into it will you succeed at content marketing. Only then can you strike the right tone, and only then will it be received and acted upon in the right spirit.
Does your content strike the right tone?
No doubt about it, it’s a noisy and overloaded world. We all know we’ve got to work harder and smarter to get found, heard and trusted. I know this is easier said than done, but keep the faith and put the effort in this year. The hard work is worth it.
If you’re looking to up the game with your content marketing, where will you focus this year? Do let me know – we’ll make sure we home in on your most pressing challenge in future blog articles.
Other content that might help
- 10 questions to help you build your content strategy
- How to create a valuable website (free chapter from the Valuable Content Marketing book)
- Drive better results with this free content calendar