For those who are unfamiliar with content marketing, the Content Marketing Institute defines it as:
“The marketing technique of 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.”
The importance of content marketing in the lead generation process can be seen in the results of Google’s Zero Moment of Truth Macro Study. The study revealed that in 2011 consumers referred to an average of 10.4 new media or traditional sources before making a purchasing decision, which is double the amount of sources consulted in 2010.
Before making a buying decision, an individual might talk to friends or colleagues about a product and/or research the product online (comparison shopping, checking out company websites, and reading reviews). What the Google study shows is that companies (whether B2C or B2B) can no longer rely on a single message published in one location to make a sale.
As companies find it more and more challenging to gain and keep the attention of customers, they are realizing that they need to create original content across the entire buying cycle, and that content needs to resonate and engage consumers.
Customers want content that educates, inspires, and demands to be shared. It should help overcome challenges and achieve their goals.
So how do you do that?
Six-Step Content Marketing Process
Through our six-step content marketing process, we help our clients strategize, develop, and execute their content marketing strategies.
Step 1: Define Program Objectives
Defining program objectives sets the foundation of the work we are going to do and helps get buy-in from the various groups within a company so we can decide on our plan and how the success of that plan will look.
In defining program objectives, some of the questions we ask include:
- What are the objectives and goals for the program?
- g., lead generation, conversion, engagement, traffic, keyword ranking, etc.
- How will success be measured?
- Who is the target audience?
- What are the buyer personas?
- What is the timeline for launch?
Step 2: Define Content Needs
Up until recently, the most common type of content produced would be a blog post that was posted on a corporate website, but today, content can take many different forms (e-books, case studies, videos, infographics, etc).
In defining content needs, some of the questions we ask include:
- What content types will be produced?
- How will content be positioned?
- What topics are important to the audience?
- How much content will be produced?
Step 3: Define Writer Strategy
Not every company has the staff or the bandwidth to produce content on a regular basis. That’s why more and more companies are looking for help in developing content. Sometimes, companies are wary of having an outsider write content for them, which brings us back to step 2—defining content needs. “How will the content be positioned?” and “What will be the brand voice, style, and tone?” are things companies must consider when outsourcing content.
In defining the writer strategy, some of the other questions we ask include:
- Who will write for the program?
- What writer qualifications are important?
- Bloggers/enthusiasts, experts, journalists, etc.
- What is the ongoing recruitment strategy for writers?
Step 4: Prepare Website for Content
This is often the most overlooked step, but it is crucial to the success of a content marketing program. A content marketing program cannot be successful if there is no strong, clear, call-to-action (or CTA).
What is a CTA? It’s the part of your marketing message that should persuade people to act. Your standard CTA might ask the reader to subscribe to your blog, download an e-book, or sign up for a demo.
To help prepare the website we:
- Clearly define what we want the lead to do .
- Create urgency with the CTA.
- Position the CTA in a prominent area.
Step 5: Define Content Promotion Strategy
With the importance of online communities and social networks in the buying cycle, content today needs to portable; it needs to appear across all these different channels.
The content promotion strategy is a key part to the success of any content marketing campaign. How will this content catch the attention of your target audience?
To answer that question, we must consider:
What paid, owned, and earned marketing channels does the client use?
- Paid: search, social, display, etc.
- Owned: website, blog, newsletters, online community, etc.
- Earned: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.
Step 6: Define Measurement Strategy
We can now come full circle from our first step of defining objectives to our last step of determining our success metrics.
To help define our measurement strategy, we ask:
- What key metrics will be used to measure content performance?
- Where will performance measures come from?
- How will program results, success stories, and recommendations be reported?
- How will ROI be calculated?
Execute, Measure, and Improve
Content marketing and lead generation are not campaigns with a stop date. They are continuous marketing efforts, and by completing the six steps in the process we can significantly improve the success of your company’s content marketing and lead generation program.
Ready to start? Contact us today!