Are you wondering to yourself, what is content marketing? Content marketing as a term has come to prominence only in the past five years. Yet brands and companies producing editorial content is nothing new. Products such the Michelin Red Guide (first launched 1900) almost predate radio.
Now, it runs across B2B and B2C. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 94% of B2B marketers said their company is committed to content marketing (Content Marketing Institute).
At FirstWord we believe the best content marketing is on a par with the finest journalism, and we’ve produced an infographic to show what content marketing should look like. It comes in three parts:
There are three core parts of a content marketing campaign
Strategy is an essential part of any content marketing campaign. It is estimated that about 88 per cent of B2B marketers use content marketing, yet only 32 per cent have a documented strategy.
Before a word is committed to paper, you need to understand your audience and what you’re trying to achieve. The end point could be sales, shares, impressions, brand exposure… anything. But it must be set down. Only once your goal is clear can you move on to consider editorial themes.
What is an editorial theme? If content marketing is journalism, then the theme provides an umbrella under which the content can sit. It could be your company’s manufacturing excellence, and a celebration of excellence wherever you find it. Once these themes are in place different pieces of content can be produced to go under them.
The campaign is the process and production of your content.
We have Giuseppe Verdi to thank for a common mnemonic in the production of content: AIDA, which stands for attention, interest, desire, action. Your content should provoke all these reactions from the user.
While this is well and good, we have always felt that you need to go further. Much further. Content marketing should be treated as journalism, and the best journalists research their subjects and conduct interviews before writing.
Once at the writing stage, the article should be planned out in terms of length, style and message. When it is written it should be edited by an experienced sub-editor. This is essential; even the most carefully-crafted piece can be completely undone by an unfortunate typo.
When the content is finished, the job is still only half done. With more and more content being produced, just putting a blog up and waiting for people to come along and view it is a recipe for disaster.
In some ways, distribution strategy should be considered at the beginning because to some extent it will define the work you produce.
Go back to your end points and audience. Look at how you will reach them. It may be through social media, which allows you to target certain segments of the public. Or you may have your own email list of customers. Email response rates can be high, but social media allows you to target more people. Certain types of content will fit better than others.
There always needs to be a plan in place if you are looking to schedule a content marketing campaign. If it is a series of articles or video covering topics around different themes, then it will quickly come undone without a strategy. Yet the act of putting down words or video is only half the struggle.
A campaign should first be focused with an end point in mind. Then comes the work, followed by distribution – letting people know it is there and establishing contact with the audience. All three of these need to be considered. It is not simply a case of writing or filming, putting it out there… and hoping for the best.