This is an excellent content post over at the Copyblogger site called ‘Content Marketing Checklist‘. One of the items that resonated with me was this idea of ‘don’t forget the “marketing” in content marketing’. So let’s discuss just that. When we are creating content and conceptualizing ideas for content, that is different from the marketing piece of it. It certainly will play into our overall strategy but let’s not think about the creation piece today. Let’s focus on what we are going to do with our content.

1. Define the goal

What is your goal for this particular piece of content? Is it lead generation? Awareness? Market leadership? Placement in a publication? Define your goal(s) for each piece of content before you do anything else. This will help set the stage for defining your audience and also deciding how much – if anything – you are going to spend on media placement and promotion.

2. Make sure there is an offer or connection to your product in every piece of content

With the exception of placement in a publication, I truly believe that every piece of content you publish should have some tie-back to your company and the solutions you provide to the market. This doesn’t have to be obvious and it doesn’t have to be smothered all over the thing, but it should be there somewhere. Couple things I have done is to place related case studies in the back of the content (whitepapers), offer links to related assets (blog posts) or insert related quotes and benchmarks (presentations). All of these examples enable me to provide a great piece of content but also leave the person with knowledge about my company.

3. Be consistent with your offers and messages across channels

Now I am not saying that you should be consistent with all your content here. What I am saying is that when you consider 1 piece of content, you should decide what your goal is related to that specific piece. Then, stay consistent across all channels. If you are promoting on pay-per-click or email campaigns or related websites, the offer and messaging should be consistent. It should look and feel and sound like the same offer from the same company.

4. Match the content to the audience

Now don’t go out and promote a whitepaper about IT service desks on a website like the Economist because I’m not sure you would resonate or get your return. Who is the audience of a whitepaper about IT service desks and who is the audience at the Economist? Match? If no, then do no pass go. Consider who is the audience for your content then define how you reach them – where do they hang out? where would they go to find this information? How do I put this paper in front of that audience?

5. Cross collaborate within your organization

What is your sales team up to? Could they use this content you have created? How dos it fit into the sales cycle? How does it fit into the upsell process? How does it fit into the customer experience your company delivers? Think of how you can market your content bot within your organization and also through other departments disbursement.

6. Take advantage of existing real estate

There are a few things I do each and every time a new piece of content is published; I update key strategic traffic areas with the new offer. A few ideas are product log-in screens, email signatures and CTA buttons on your website. All of these ideas don’t require much more than some simple artwork (you can use the cover image of your content too) and some help from the webmaster and product team. A quick easy way to use what you already have to market your content.

7. Setup a reporting system to track the success of each piece of content

No matter which path you choose to market your content, don’t ever forget the reporting aspect of it. I was just talking about adding the content to email signatures so if you do this, make sure you have a unique URL or are able to track traffic from email servers (you can usually see Outlook, Gmail etc. and get an idea that way). Go back to your goals and measure against them. Do you get the reach you wanted? How about leads generated? Did you hit the mark or miss it?

Does that help? Are you remembering the ‘marketing’ piece of content marketing? Don’t create and publish it and then just forget it. You should have a strategic marketing plan related to your content.