‘Content marketing’ is a term you may have heard, but many people aren’t actually sure what it means.

Here’s a quick definition of content marketing that may help: The process of creating valuable online ‘content’ (eg. blogs, videos, newsletters, photos) to share with current and potential customers, with the goal of getting them to engage with your business.

In an age where many customers have found ways to avoid traditional marketing channels, content marketing is a key tactic for businesses.

If you’re thinking of developing your content marketing, here are some key lessons that we’ve learned in recent years.

1. Have a strategy, have a plan
Any use of content marketing should be strategic. You need to follow a process to ensure a consistent approach that supports your organisation’s positioning — not just throw together a few blogs on interesting topics and post them to your website!

To this end, we suggest you develop a planned approach, using the following steps.

  • Define a marketing strategy. Understand who your target audiences are by segment and which are the priority groups (click here to read more about segmenting customers).
  • Analyse these priority groups and consider what their interests and needs are in relation to your offering and market positioning. Do some desktop research to identify where your potential customers are online, what social media sites they frequent and their behaviour and activities on these. For example, if you’re targeting management accountants – are they present and active on LinkedIn? If so, what discussion groups do they participate in?
  • Brainstorm creative ideas for content marketing with a group, including people who understand your brand positioning and service offering in detail. Also make sure to involve some people who have a good understanding of the target audience’s need in relation to this offering. Take time to consider creative ideas that link to a ‘sweet spot’ — something that your audience really wants to learn more about. Ask yourself what issues your customers face and how you can help them. Also think laterally and include the bigger picture when coming up with ideas.
  • Develop a campaign theme linking to a call to action that fits with your brand positioning. Then plan and schedule a series of topics and story ideas that fit within this call to action. Decide which channels and platforms you will use to distribute the content and develop a calendar of activity with set dates and times to ensure a consistent, strategic plan can be put in place.
  • Newsletters, social media posts – a variety of channels may be available to you. Think about how you integrate content to ensure it is optimised across different channels. It may be that one topic idea has multiple spin off opportunities.
  • Before you start writing, think about SEO (‘search engine optimisation’) – ie. the process of working out what words people are most likely to look for when searching for the kind of content that you plan to produce. It’s important to try to include these terms in your content marketing so that your content is easy for interested people to find.

2. Content IS king
‘Content is king’ is one of the most important concepts in content marketing. Basically, consumers aren’t stupid. No matter how good your SEO is, people won’t read and share unless your content is good.

Your content needs to be interesting, engaging, well presented and creatively formatted. Think about the best way to convey it — in writing, through pictures, or via the spoken word. Good pictures get attention and webinars/ videos are increasingly popular. And, above all, make sure your ideas are good. Do some research. Think originally. Whenever you can, give people something that they can’t get elsewhere.

3. Evaluate
Once you’ve unleashed your content marketing campaign, make sure you evaluate it on an ongoing basis.

You can find a goldmine of useful information through internet analytics (data on how customers are using your content – click here to read more on using analytics to optimise your website).

Lots of tools — many of them free — can provide in-depth information on who is accessing your material, when, for how long, etc. Take advantage of this to build on what’s working for you, change what’s not, and get a better understanding of your customer.

You also want to measure what impact your content marketing is actually having on your business. It’s important your content marketing campaign links to your business objectives, and you evaluate it regularly to ensure it’s supporting these objectives.

At Edmonds Marketing we’re passionate about the role content marketing can play as part of an integrated communications approach.

We work with our partners to develop fresh, engaging, search engine optimised (SEO) content with copy that includes your key words for use in blogs, email marketing and social media. We also undertake regular evaluation and reporting sessions so we can build on the success of your campaign and improve content for increased success.