4 Steps to Making Sure Your Content Matters
Coming from an agency background, the bread and butter was always around original content creation. Well, I’m here to say that I still think compelling creative and content is a key component to a marketer’s success, but just because it is original, doesn’t mean it is good or has the desired effect.
For example, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed for the first time this morning and I saw an urgent post from a family member: “If you use a cell phone regularly, you really must get this information”. So I clicked and read the article where I was led to the end and found it was really a lead generation tactic for a doctor. I am not saying that cell phones don’t cause health issues, and who knows, we all might be dinosaurs in billions of years because of it, but this approach to drive new patient leads for this doctor is probably a good example of attracting some and alienating others, or having it backfire all together.
I am not sure if Good Content means anything. Good Content is closely linked to a good, centralized Content Strategy and that obviously involves a deliberate consideration of your targeted audiences, what end result you desire, and where to find them.
This sounds simple, but many Fortune 500 companies aren’t organized to consider a centralized content strategy. Marketing departments can be segmented – you will see separations between corporate communications and brands – which is obviously appropriate. But, within each marketing campaign effort, you unfortunately still see fragmentation of approach within social media, web properties, mobile and email efforts. There is a large opportunity to centralize around content and simply consider the channel as the publishing vehicle vs. having a separate content strategy because of the channel. To test this kind of centralized approach, you need to start with some basic blocking and tackling principles.
1. Audience and Campaign First: Consider your audience, then even further segment and think through desired outcomes. What is the desired end goal? Sales leads? Influencing around thought leadership, reputation or market reach? Then, what will the best content approach be to gain the desired effect? Sales leads can be driven by compelling original content if you are a brand marketer, but if you are B2B, perhaps 3rd party curated content can provide more credibility and allow you to market at a higher frequency.
2. Identify your Channel/Tactics: Where can you find your audience? Do you have web properties where you can market to this audience, or do you need to create one? Are you better off reaching your targets on social media networks or using a paid content model on a conglomerate of media properties? The answer is probably a blend, but you probably want to have a different voice and approach depending on the medium.
3. Sequencing and Testing: Once you have identified your audience segments, campaign and distribution channels, you should minimize content creation efforts by testing curated or smaller-effort messages in social streams or via blogs, before investing a ton of time on large scale, original creation efforts. Quicker testing strategies can give you insights into what is resonating with what audience segment allowing you to optimize your marketing team’s efforts and results throughout the campaign.
4. Cross Channel Analytics: Having content in the center of your strategy means that you need to have a centralized analytics engine in place that tracks what content is trending across all audience segments and delivery channels. Marketers who are moving in this direction seem to be using Omniture and Google Analytics.
If you do it right, you’ll consider your audiences across social, web, mobile, and email and do some testing, so they can let you know what they think of your content by their reposting, re-tweeting, and commenting behavior. If you can think through your approach with the end in mind, test tidbits of concepts, before sinking a ton of time and resources into something, you’ll find a winning end game. But let’s face it – ‘good content’ will always be in the eyes of the beholder.