5 Must-Haves for a Successful Content Marketing Campaign
February 23, 2021
Ask a business owner about content marketing and you’re likely to get many different reactions. Some are all-in and have experienced the value of a strong content strategy while others feel overwhelmed by the idea because they don’t have time or interest in being the staff content creator and curator. Or maybe you are churning out content, be it in-house or outsourced, but aren’t seeing much traffic so you wonder if content marketing even works at all!
Content marketing isn’t hard to do but it does require a plan, a clear message, and a bit of creativity to properly execute an effective small business content marketing strategy. We don’t want you to feel overwhelmed by content marketing so we put together this checklist that we hope provides the guidance you need to see a measurable return on the time you’re spending on this important component of digital marketing.
Here are 5 Steps to Creating a Successful Content Marketing Campaign:
1. Start With a Strategy
We are firm believers that marketing without a strategy is like a ship without a sail. You can’t simply throw a few pieces of content out into the online universe and expect it to stick. A strategy will save you time and money as well as provide metrics and benchmarks to help you determine if your strategy is working. Here are some questions to process as you write a content strategy:
- What’s the goal? What are you hoping to accomplish with this content marketing campaign? Are you trying to launch a new product or service? Educate a specific persona? Gain traction as an influencer or thought leader regarding an area of expertise? It is crucial to know why you’re creating content before you start because once you get into the process of brainstorming ideas, knowing your “why” will help you to determine exactly the kind of topics you should focus on to accomplish your goal.
- Who’s your audience? When you are creating or curating any kind of content, you need to keep your specific audience in mind. Know what they’re interested in and where they spend their time online. Share information that answers their questions or helps them succeed. If you skip this step, your content may never connect with the people you’re trying to reach, resulting in a frustrating waste of time and resources.
- Who will create the content? If you are able to create the content yourself, or have someone on your team who can handle it, that is a huge benefit. But we know that for many small businesses, the actual content creation process is the big deterrent. The good news is that you don’t have to be a writer, graphic designer, or videographer to incorporate content marketing into your overall marketing strategy. There are many ways to obtain content whether that be through a service like fiverr.com or partnering with an agency like ours to create content for you.
- How will you publish the content? Publishing content can be a huge time commitment but there are many ways to automate these processes. Every blog and social media platform has scheduling capabilities, but it’s often more streamlined to use a service like Buffer or Hootsuite to streamline automation. Setting aside time to schedule content monthly is a good first step in the right direction.
- How will you repurpose the content? Let’s say that you are creating content yourself. You spend a lot of time perfecting a blog post. What do you do after you hit publish? You may not realize that your blog isn’t the only place your content can be distributed. You can publish the same content as an article on LinkedIn, take snippets of content and share it on social media, or summarize it and record a video that can be published on YouTube, Instagram Reels, or even TikTok.
2. Brainstorm Ideas
Once you have a well-defined content marketing strategy in place, it’s time to start brainstorming content ideas. This can be a lot of fun or a big headache depending on how you approach it. We are very collaborative in our approach so we recommend gathering your team, presenting them with the strategy, and then brainstorming ideas together. For the initial brainstorming process, no idea is a bad one. Save all the ideas you come up with because, while you won’t use them all, you will have a nice stockpile of ideas to pull from for future campaigns.
When the brainstorming session is complete, begin to categorize the ideas by subject matter. It’s good to have several content ideas on the same topic, some that are more general or high-level while others are more specific. Some of your leads will find your content as they initially begin researching a question or idea, while others will be more well-informed and ready to make purchasing decisions that will solve their problems or meet their needs. Think about creating content that appeals to each stage of the buyer’s journey.
3. Decide What Kind of Content to Create
With your content ideas categorized by topic and persona, it’s now time to refer back to your goals and overarching purpose for content creation and choose the ideas that will fit best with your strategy. We find it helpful to plan content in chunks, either monthly or quarterly, and center each campaign around a theme.
With a theme or timeframe in mind, consider what kind of content you want to create around these ideas. Blogs tend to be the more obvious choice here, and for good reason, as the organic SEO benefits of keyword-focused blogging can make a big difference in website traffic. But don’t forget about videos, infographics, and images that can help convey your message.
This is one of the core digital marketing services we provide clients. If you have a ton of ideas but need help organizing them into a cohesive message across your digital communication channels, please let us know. We would love to help you coordinate this aspect of your content marketing strategy!
4. Create a Content Calendar
Once you’ve narrowed down your ideas and decided which kind of content you want to create, it’s time to schedule it! This is probably the most impotent part of a successful content marketing campaign and the place where we see a lot of efforts fall flat. Mapping out when you will create the content and when you publish it will ensure that your plan is executed effectively.
Don’t skip this step! Creating a content calendar will help you stay organized, avoid mistakes and save time. Plus, you can rest assured knowing that you always have a steady flow of meaningful and useful content delighting your customers and generating more leads for your business. If you’re looking for an easy template, a quick Google search will yield several free tools or we would be happy to make some suggestions for you to consider.
5. Create, Publish, Repurpose, Repeat!
Whether you’re creating your content in-house or with a reputable agency, now is the time to work the plan and start reaping the rewards of a successful content marketing campaign. Here’s a bonus piece of advice concerning repurposing content: As your followers grow, they may not have seen some of the great content you’ve previously published. Once you have a good bit of mileage under your content marketing belt, an easy way to keep things fresh is going back through some of your most popular posts, updating the content, and republishing it from a new perspective.
Remember, content is king and will always be a reliable way to reach new audiences and continue building your brand.
So what do you think? Are you ready to dive into the content marketing deep-end? No matter where you are in your content marketing journey, we hope this article has helped you better define your strategy and equipped you with actionable ways to get more out of your content.
If you would like more information about content marketing, content creation, or any other aspect of digital marketing, please contact us today! We love partnering with passionate people who want to make a difference in the world and would be honored to help you crush your next content marketing campaign!