Content marketing is widely used across various industries and organizations. In fact, it's so widely used that we just assume everyone uses it and is familiar with it. So I did some research to understand the actual usage of content marketing. I came across two studies by the Content Marketing Institute, one of which stated that 89 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing. The other stated that 86 percent of B2C marketers use content marketing.   

What about the remaining 11 percent and 14 percent respectively? The number of people still failing to use content marketing is huge. And I know for a fact that the reason for this isn't because the channel is ineffective. 94 percent of B2B marketers and 93 percent of B2C marketers experience success with their content marketing campaigns.

It's possible that the marketers who aren't using content marketing to promote their business are hesitating because they don't know how to do it. That's why I've decided to provide you with this handy guide on how to launch your first content marketing campaign.

Step 1: Define your goals and metrics

Just like before any marketing campaign, you start your content marketing campaign by defining your goal. What do you expect to achieve out of the campaign? Do you want to raise brand awareness or increase customer loyalty? Or maybe you want to educate your customers and build a connection with them.

Once you've defined your content marketing goal, you can list out the metrics relevant to the goal. For example, website traffic resulting from content, time spent on site, bounce rate, conversions, social shares, referrers, etc. are some common performance metrics. Some metrics will even be relevant for more than one goal.

Step 2: Generate content ideas relevant to your goal

Now that you have a fair idea what you wish to accomplish with your campaign, you can come up with ideas for the kind of content that will help you achieve this goal. You can create how-to blog posts, tutorial videos, valuable infographics, enriching whitepapers or ebooks, bite-sized visual content for social media, etc.  

This step may be the most challenging for those of you who are fairly new to content marketing. That's only natural since you'll feel obligated to create content that's unique, useful, and engaging.

I'd like to recommend that you start off by understanding what works for your competitors. You can use tools like BuzzSumo to discover the top-performing content of your competing domains. Based on these results, you'll be able to see what type of content and which topics your target audience responds well to. Portent's Content Idea Generator is also an excellent option to help with this stage of the campaign.

Step 3: Create a content calendar

Before you can start creating your content, it's important that you have a plan to organize your content creation efforts. This involves creating a content calendar that helps you keep track of when to create and publish your content and ensure timely publishing.

But make sure you consider your capabilities and resources when creating this calendar. In other words, your content calendar should be realistic. You can start out by publishing a blog post every week and an infographic or some other visual content every month, for instance. You can then make adjustments as necessary and as you enhance your capabilities and resources.

Step 4: Develop your content

Now the most important step is to develop the actual content. Your content should be of high-quality without any grammatical or spelling mistakes. It should have a captivating headline that makes readers want to continue reading. And you should be able to back up your claims with reliable studies and sources. It would also be wise to include lots of visuals such as screenshots, graphs, etc. to ensure the content is more engaging.

What's next?

Your content marketing campaign isn't over yet. After creating and publishing your content, you should keep track of your efforts and the results generated by them. Measure the traffic, engagement, leads, and conversions generated by each piece of content. These insights can help you understand how to make improvements to your campaign.