It’s 2014 and companies large and small are recognizing the powerful potential of content marketing to define and distinguish their brands. The huge buzz around content marketing is reminiscent of the media frenzy around the growth of social media, but buzz doesn’t always mean business.
What’s really needed for content marketing success? Most organizations who tried the “Let’s light up a Facebook page and a blog and see what happens” approach are taking a more structured approach to content marketing. It’s clear that the field of dreams approach won’t work any better with content marketing than it did with social.
Investing in resources, creating a content strategy and creating a content calendar are all necessary. But content marketing is more than a series of connected campaigns.
One key to any organization’s content marketing success is an ongoing commitment to providing the necessary human and financial resources. Content marketing can’t be done on a shoestring, but it’s very difficult to scale a program without some key skill sets and roles in place.
Lack of consistency is a huge content-killer. It’s difficult for any organization to consistently produce high-quality content that keeps their brands front-and-center in people’s lives. And perhaps the biggest mistake companies make in preparing for content marketing is failing to staff appropriately. What’s needed is a team of specialists:
Copywriter / editor
One of the quickest ways to tarnish your brand’s credibility is bad grammar, typos and careless writing. If you’ve ever visited a visually impressive website and quickly bailed because of substandard content, you recognize the problem. On the plus side, having a killer copywriter on board can make the difference between content that informs and content that converts to revenue.
Persuasive copywriting is a time-honored craft that’s often lost in the digital age, but it’s the key to connecting your content with results. The good news is that is that copy testing is faster and easier than it ever has been, and there are many free and low-cost tools to help you optimize and improve your content.
Visual / User Experience (UX) designers
There’s a raft of research to support the idea that visual content is more easily and quickly understood and shared more often. Video, animations and infographics can provide a powerful complement to words on the page. It’s easy to decorate your pages with stock photos, but if you don’t have design capability on your team, you’re missing an opportunity to let your content stand out in a sea of textual sameness.
Social media experts
Content marketing is at the core of great social media marketing. Great content without social media is like Hendrix playing Woodstock without a microphone or amplifiers – only a few fans will ever hear your bravura performance. The brands killing it with social have learned that spectacular results come from specialists who live and breathe social media and understand its power to tell a brand story in a powerfully emotional way that creates lasting connections.
Been Penguin-slapped or pummeled by Panda? Google, Facebook and others regularly change the game to reward more relevant content. This is a challenge for content marketers, but the choices are simple: Get found or get lost. Your search strategy is your business strategy.
Search is also a great opportunity to learn what people are looking for, their motivations and their pain points. Search fundamentals like keyword research and persona creation form a strong foundation for your content marketing strategy.
Content marketing is a big game. If you’re not keeping score, you’re just practicing. How will you know if your editorial, design, search and social efforts are successful?
The only way to ensure content marketing activities are aligned with sales results is to continually measure the relationship between the two. It’s impossible to gauge the effectiveness of your content marketing without key performance indicators that are agreed upon by sales and marketing.
Continuous refinement and incremental improvement are not as exciting as social media content that goes viral and becomes wildly popular. But content marketing is evolutionary, not revolutionary. But it does require a band of zealots who are completely committed to ending the tyranny of boring content. Staff appropriately.
Thoughts on building the content marketing dream team? Speak your mind in the comments section.
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