The proliferation of digital and social marketing tools provides today's business marketers with more opportunities than ever before to tell their own brand stories using self-publishing digital and social marketing tools and platforms, everything from Tumblr and Wordpress to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This era of content marketing is here to stay, and every business must make content marketing a prerequisite for their overall marketing communications strategy.
So what is content marketing anyway, and how can you leverage it for your brand?
In its simpler definition, according to content marketing guru, Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, "Content marketing is owning, as opposed to renting media. It’s a marketing process to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating content in order to change or enhance a consumer behavior."
Content marketing is about delivering the content your audience is seeking in all the places they are searching for it. It is the effective combination of created, curated and syndicated content. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)
OK, so now what? You know what content marketing means, the next step is knowing how to get the most out of content marketing. Here are 5 steps to get you off and running with a winning content marketing program in no time.
- Research: for starters, do your research...about your target audiences, where and how they get information, what people are saying about your company, products and services, as well as who you are competing with to capture the attention of those audiences. With so many tools and platforms available for self-publishing and self-promotion, just about anyone can push messages out into the marketplace. The key is having a plan to cut through the clutter and get your target audiences engaged with your brand.
- Develop your strategy: treat content marketing like any other part of your marketing communications strategy with defined objectives, key messages, tactics and tangible benchmarks. Without this, you're likely to very quickly veer off-track.
- Discover new and interesting viewpoints and angles to communicate: the best content marketers are experts in their industry, and they must have a close beat on the trends, news and information shaping it. Know what people are saying, writing, and reading or watching about as it relates to your business, and then come up with new and interesting viewpoints and commentary to share based on that information.
- Be proactive and consistent: to be successful, content marketers must be regularly engaged with their target audiences and proactive in reaching and interacting with them. If you've made the investment in a content marketing program, have a blog platform and your social media platforms, etc., you will only get something out of those tools if you utilize them on a consistent basis.
- Leverage strategic partnerships to expand your content visibility: look no further than your loyal customers, employees, advocates, and media authorities to help drive extended awareness for the content that you are generating. These types of strategic partnerships are worth their weight in gold!
For additional content marketing ideas, you may also find these other articles posted on the Content Marketing Institute website interesting:
42 Content Marketing Ideas for 2013, by Joe Pulizzi