Content Marketing in 11 Steps. Now Go.
BY Kevin Cain
Here's how to create and manage content that will turn browsers into buyers.
As a content marketer who works for a venture capital firm, one of the most interesting aspects of my job is helping our more than 20 portfolio companies develop and refine their content strategies and build their own in-house content factories.
Content marketing is the best way to go to market, and you can be successful at it if you follow these basic guidelines.
1. Get focused Zero in on just one customer segment to start. Then do everything you can to understand your target buyers in that segment and the buyer journey they are on. Doing so will give you a framework for designing the content your buyers need to help them through that journey.
2. Hire a managing editor Every content factory needs its own CEO. That role is typically filled by a managing editor with the skills and experience to develop your strategy and manage your content creation and delivery. Content marketing cannot be an add-on responsibility to someone’s existing role.
3. Build a content creation community Your content factory should extend far beyond the marketing team. Create a real-life community of freelancers, industry influencers, and co-workers to support your efforts, as well as a virtual community of fans, followers, and subscribers.
4. Create high-impact content Every piece of content you create presents an opportunity to make meaningful contact with your target buyers and to get them to move through their buying journey. Take full advantage of that opportunity by creating high-impact content that is optimized for search, reflects a deep understanding of your buyers, demonstrates your brand aspirations, drives conversions, and promotes engagement and virality.
5. Repurpose, repackage, and recycle Find ways to re-use every piece of content you create so that you are maximizing your return on investment. Make sure that smaller pieces of content (such as blog posts, podcasts, and articles) get recycled into larger assets (think eBooks, webinars, and reports). Conversely, make sure any large assets are broken down into smaller pieces of content.
6. Focus on conversions Make sure that every piece of content you create has a clear call to action that directs your target audience to take an action designed to help move them through the sales funnel. Remember that each sale will be the result of many much smaller conversions throughout the buying process.
7. Amplify your content through multiple points of contact Create a plan for delivering your content to your buyers through all of the best distribution channels available. This includes your website and other sites that you can control, as well as social media, direct marketing, influencer marketing, campaigns, and more.
8. Establish a rhythm Get into a regular and consistent publication schedule. That will help you create momentum, build a community, and ensure that your content factory drives real business results.
9. Institutionalize your content factory Experiment to find the best processes for creating and delivering your content, refining them over time. Document best practices so that they can easily be replicated and transferred to others, and to help ensure consistency.
10. Measure what you do The only way to understand what’s working and what isn’t is to track and analyze key metrics. If your content factory isn’t underpinned by a robust analytics dashboard, it will be impossible to glean the insights you need to make improvements.
11. Hold frequent retrospectives Your content team needs to meet on a daily, weekly, quarterly, and annual basis to set strategic goals and priorities, assess progress, and to analyze results. Then you can adjust your strategy as needed for each piece of content.
While there’s no magic formula for success when it comes to content marketing, following the guidelines above will help ensure that you build a focused program that yields meaningful results.
KEVIN CAIN is the Director of Content Strategy at OpenView Venture Partners. With expertise in corporate communications and content marketing, Kevin has spent the past ten years working in the financial services and economic consulting industries. He is the author of the eBook It Takes a Content Factory. @kevinrcain