Content started out as the little engine that could. It’s now a full locomotive. 10 questions to answer building your content marketing engine.

Content is all the rave. It’s everywhere. Everyone talks about it. Whether you’re selling a house or selling software, companies and marketers are using content marketing as both acquisition and engagement tactic.   75% of marketers are increasing their investments in content marketing, according to a global survey conducted by a software company Curata among 1,000 companies. And another survey by the Content Marketing Institute touts that 70% of marketers plan to create more content than they did in 2016.

And on and on, countless other research points that tout the power of content marketing, it’s staying power and how all the cool kids are doing it.

But before you jump on the content marketing wagon, you should really understand what it is and what makes the content marketing engine work. And why you are in for a fantastic ride.  And If you’re already on the ride, you should always be asking yourself whether you’re feeding your engine the right fuel.

So Let’s take this Content Marketing story from the beginning.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a strategic marketing tactic, aimed at creating relationships with your current and prospect customers through educational, valuable, relevant information.

The ultimate goal of content marketing is to sell, increase revenue, and increase profitability through this ever-expanding marketing channel. 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles rather than an advertising.

Content marketing doesn’t live and grow by itself. You have to integrate into your whole marketing strategy and you have to put some muscle behind it to make it work.

Just because you created an ebook doesn’t mean it’s out in the marketplace doing it’s thing.  You have to make it go out and make some friends.  Pair your ebook with an effective email marketing campaign and you’ve got the makings of a great relationship.

But don’t be fooled that once you’ve got it down, it’s done. The rules of content marketing are changing, evolving as our search engines evolve. So while the practice of building content marketing assets can become operational, how you test and build upon it will be ever changing.

So why in the world are companies doing it when the rules of engagement are constantly evolving?

The truth is that no competitor is gonna wait for you. Sorry to break it to you. Companies are using every marketing tactic to be on the forefront of customer’s buying funnel and to keep those customers.   

  • Nobody buys a product or company just on name anymore.  Your content will help to attract and teach your prospect customers about your company’s value, more than just the product or service.

  • Customers often buy the story before they buy the product. Content and story telling is how you engage those customers.

  • Customers want to feel that they are getting the best, buying the best, part of the best. Content marketing enables you to create your own form of branded leadership - become the voice that customers have been looking for.  And no it’s not singing. Though you could start a singing content series. Heck I’d watch it.

  • Content marketing speaks to more than just customers, it is your connection to the search engines.  Your content marketing efforts is key to boosting your SEO juice.

Best reason yet to get started? Your content strategy can influence, expand and even solidify your marketing strategy. Content marketing can strengthen your brand’s presence in a variety of mediums. Content can be repurposed over and over again, increasing your return on investment.

So roll up your sleeves, get some paper (okay your computer, laptop, tablet, phone works too), and put your thinking caps on. We’re going to dissect the building of your content strategy.

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The content marketing strategy break down starts with 10 Questions You need to answer.

  1. Who are you trying to speak to? What is that audience look like? Are you talking to consumers, businesses, both? Are they a certain age, gender, demographic? What do they care about? If you don’t have this information, you might want to stop, drop and roll into some research. I’ll help you if you don’t. Go to my research section. Get to understand your customers otherwise all of this awesome stuff I am sharing with you may not prove to be as awesome.

  2. What do you want to achieve? What’s your goal? You want to answer your audience’s most pressing concerns or help solve a problem they are facing. Cough Cough. At this point, you know who your target audience is correct?

  3. How will you speak to them? There are dozens of content marketing tactics you will try. Hint hint. I’ve got a list ready for you to learn about. What tactic will work best for your audience?  Just creating an arsenal of content won’t necessarily work for your audience or help solve their problem.  

  4. What will be the voice of your content? Your content tone is a way to extend your brand, your company’s approach to talking to their customers. Are you super serious, fun, lighthearted, technical.  Again based on the audience you are talking to, you have to adjust the tone of your content. This also speaks to the type of marketing tactic you choose to take on and the problem you are trying to solve. If you’re too light hearted in your approach for a very serious problem, your customers may not believe you have real interest in helping them resolve it.

  5. When do you want to talk to them?  This is about timing your content and your message.  Just like any type of audience, there is likely a good and bad them to tap them for a conversation. Also be mindful of your audience and when that problem needs to be solved. If you’re looking to sell a service for Thanksgiving holidays, hitting them up in March is likely not going to cut it.   

  6. How often will you talk to them?  This is about the frequency of touch. You’re looking to strike up a conversation, a “date” with your prospect. Be mindful of your audience’s sensitivities around the problem they need solved. Business audience will behave differently than a consumer audience. Your business target may have more people in the command ladder and turn around response time may not be as simple. Finding a way to remain intact and in touch without being intrusive is a vital part of this frequency touch. This also speaks to

  7. How will you share it? As I mentioned earlier, just because you build it, doesn’t mean it knows how to get out there and make friends. You’ve got to give your content some wings to fly.  Distribution can come in many marketing forms. You’ve got email, social, website, referrals, direct mail… the list can go on.  Start with a nice pairing, steak and wine for me. But for you pair content with the distribution. Test it before you expand it everywhere. You want your content to make friends but you don’t want to make unqualified friends either. I talk more about qualified and unqualified leads in my sales development section if you want to learn more.

  8. How will you track your content marketing distribution efforts? ok. You’ve done it. You’ve created it, made it for your right audience, paired it with the right marketing channel and are ready to send it off to make friends. Now what? You make sure your tracking efforts are in place. Data is one of the most powerful assets your content marketing efforts will give you.  Understanding what matters is important. While it’s not to have a lot of data, it can also be data overload. You have to be able to discern what is nice to know data vs actionable data.

  9. How will you evolve or repurpose your content to take it further?  To be a content marketing machine, you want to be able to take one idea and leverage it over and over again.  As content gains traction, it may give you more ideas on how to expand and take it further.   29% of leading marketers say they systematically reuse and repurpose content.

  10. How will your content marketing strategy be integrated into your overall marketing plan?  Remember when I told you that your content marketing doesn’t live by itself.   Just like sales is a whole company initiative, your content marketing strategy should be treated as a whole marketing initiative.   

Did this article help you? Think I'm missing something or have questions, shoot me an email at Jkim@mkinceptions.com or Tweet me @JisunKimNJ.  I would love to hear from you.