So you want to run a successful marketing campaign but you have no idea what you’re doing or where to start…
The obvious answer is to call on the services of a professional marketing company, but if that’s not an option, don’t panic. Over 90% of businesses rely on content marketing to drive traffic to their business, but interestingly enough, only between 30 and 40% of businesses who utilize content marketing believe that they are effectively marketing their content.
Just like anything else, a content marketing campaign requires you to have a certain amount of marketing knowledge. Going into your content marketing campaign blindly won’t just result in an ineffective marketing campaign but it will also result in your time being wasted. So how do you gain the marketing knowledge necessary for a successful content marketing campaign if you have no idea what you’re doing? It’s actually not that difficult.
The Successful Marketing Campaign: Understanding the Concept of Content Marketing
Before you can begin to set up your own successful content marketing campaign it’s important to understand the concept of content marketing. Your content marketing campaign should be used as a tool to model your brand image and as a vehicle to advantageously position your business. To be able to do this you must first establish what it is you hope to gain from your content marketing campaign and how your content marketing campaign can help you to achieve the goals that you have set.
So, How Does Content Marketing Work?
Using content to market your business may sound complicated, but once you get past the technical jargon it’s really all about utilizing posts on your blog, website content, photos, videos, webinars, infographics, and other unique media pertinent to your business to create “buzz” for your product or service. When done correctly, you can utilize this tactic to create a positive brand image.
How can you create a positive brand image with the content that you use to market your business? By focusing on what your customer wants rather than focusing on what a product or service can do. It takes things to a much more personal level by creating a value in your product for your customer. It tells your customer “this can help you to achieve your goals, create the you that you want to be, and realize your dream.” It does not tell your customer “here is what this can do” and leave it up to them to create a link between those features and their own life.
Essentially, successful content marketing is about developing your brand image to reflect to the consumer how your brand can facilitate a better self no matter what that self might be. It’s about creating connections, making things personal, and developing interaction while still maintaining an authority in your niche.
How Do You Deploy a Successful Marketing Campaign?
We’ve established that your content should be used as a vehicle to market your business, but how exactly do you do that? How do you create and build relationships with customers by exposing them to your content? Contrary to popular belief it’s not just a matter of “build it and they will come”. Deploying marketing campaigns is an active process of utilizing various popular channels to get your brand noticed.
One of the most popular channels for content marketing campaigns to focus on is the blog. That is, you are utilizing a blog to create, curate, and monitor articles that are relevant to your product or service and to your client base. A combination of informative and unique written word with appropriate visual stimulus SHOWS your consumer the value that you have to their life by targeting specific questions, problems, or concerns that are relatable to them. If written well and engaging, this content will promote discussion and interaction through comments on the article itself and via social media. It’s important to note that this discussion and interaction is just as much part of the process as actually creating the content, however, so you must always monitor, respond to, and interact in the discussion that develops.
Blogs aren’t the only applicable platform for marketing your content, nor should they be. The more diverse your campaign reach, the more well-rounded your marketing campaign will be. Video content creation is ideal for YouTube and similar platforms, infographic development is perfect for Instagram or Tumblr, guest posting on relevant websites or blogs lets you tap into a new audience stream… The limit of your content marketing reach is set by the time you have to develop it and the budget you have available for content creation.
In addition to your available time and budget, the type of content that you develop and the avenues used to promote that content are dependent upon your industry. For example, promoting a new dental tool for dentists is less likely to be effective when marketed to a general social media audience, but market that content through professional message boards and guest posts and your message is more likely to be heard and responded to.
The Value of Direction in Your Content
Where you promote content to any audience, it’s crucial that you have direction. Know what it is that you want to achieve by writing an article or sharing a video, don’t just blindly create content. Begin by identifying what your goal for this specific marketing campaign is. Are you trying to improve awareness of your business? Are you trying to reinforce a positive association between your business and customers?
No matter what the goal of your marketing campaign is, you should always focus on five key questions when determining whether your campaign has a solid direction:
- Is your campaign specific? Does it have a specific goal? For example “increase newsletter subscribers by 1,000 subscribers over the next month.”
- Is your goal a goal that can be measured? In the example above, the answer is yes, your stats program will let you know how many newsletter subscribers you have added over time.
- Is your goal one that you can reach? In the example we have given, yes, adding 1,000 new newsletter subscribers is something that any business should be able to do with a well-targeted campaign.
- Is your goal relevant to your business? Again, in our example, yes it is. Increasing newsletter subscribers will increase your company’s reach.
- Is your goal on a timeline? Our timeline in the given example is one month.
Together, these five points create a well-established approach to marketing, they set a firm foundation for a successful campaign.
Know Your Unique Value Proposition
The term “unique value proposition” refers to the unique value that your product or service has to offer when compared to competitors on the market. What makes your business stand apart? Your UVP may be anything from being a recognized authority on the topic at hand to being a unique product or service that is the first of it’s kind. Whatever your UVP is, it’s your “grab” and a great building block to focus on when setting up marketing campaigns. Once you have established the UVP, everything else in your marketing campaign should begin to come together.
Getting Your Ducks in a Row
Even when you create your own marketing campaign, that campaign is going to cost you money. whether you’re paying to have someone produce a video for you, paying someone to write regular blog posts, or paying for the creation of infographics, there is a required investment on your part. The good news is, however, that the investment required of you when focusing on content-based marketing campaigns is much lower than the investment required for more traditional marketing approaches. The better news is that content-based marketing has been proven to be three times more effective. How often can you say that you are getting more for less? Why is it costing you less though? Because a significant percentage of the marketing channels you will be using to promote your content are free platforms, e-mail campaigns are much less costly than traditional mail campaigns, and the bulk of your content creation requires nothing more than your understanding of your product or service.
What is Intellectual Capital Anyway?
Intellectual capital is the value of the knowledge of your company and your employees – that is, what you know in relation to your product or service that can be utilized to create unique content. Your intellectual capital should serve as inspiration for your marketing campaign and it will work to bolster your position of authority as a reputed business. When it comes to consumers and content-marketing however, the term intellectual capital refers to the consumer and workplace culture you have developed and your articulation of that culture.
The Importance of Creativity
Intellectual capital alone isn’t going to make a successful marketing campaign. You have to bring that culture to life through the use of creative talent. Of course, your available budget is going to influence the caliber of creative talent you hire, but with a combination of the right creative talent and your intellectual capital, your visual and textual media can make the difference.
No man is an island, it’s important to remember this when it comes to content marketing. By making use of network connections to create guest posts, do interviews, appear on podcasts, and feature in video content, you can create quality content that markets your product or service that are easily promotable through your contacts network of followers and fans.
The Successful Marketing Campaign: Developing Your Platform
If you are new to content marketing, you may not already have your website, blog, or social media networks set up. This is the first step in developing your platform. Start with building your own blog where you can create your unique content and interact with those who read it. Once this is done, also be sure to set up profiles on the pertinent social networks so that you can promote your content once it is developed. It’s best to begin by hitting all of the major networks so that you have a broad advertising foundation, but as time passes you will notice that certain platforms garner a better response within your niche and you can begin catering specifically to those audiences.
The Importance of the Blog
You may be wondering why the blog is so important to your business’s successful marketing campaign. The fact is is that having a blog increases your web presence by creating almost 100% more search engine indexed links for your business and creating over 400% more search engine indexed pages.
It’s important when developing your blog that you create a design that compliments and reflects your business in a professional way. It isn’t all about design, though. Your blog should be compatible with all current technology updates, it should be responsive in design to cater to mobile users, and most of all, it should be clean, clear, and concise.
While blogging is a great avenue for sharing content, it isn’t always the most ideal platform for every type of product or service. For example, if you run a “how to” business, video blogs may be a more effective and so YouTube would be preferable over blogging, but that isn’t to say that blogging is completely useless, it’s a good way to feature your YouTube profile link and keep website content fresh.
Social media accounts require much less effort to maintain than blogs and they are the perfect location for connecting with consumers, interacting with consumers, and creating buzz about your product or service. In today’s technologically dependent age, social media accounts also provide consumers with an accessible means of contacting your company for customer support. The bonus to being more accessible via social media? Consumers are much more likely to purchase products from the brands that they follow on social media.
There is no cost to you to set up social media accounts for your business, so you have nothing to lose! Just set up a profile that is representative of your company as a whole and remember to keep things professional yet warm.
Other Media Sharing Platforms
Other media sharing platforms are available, for example, YouTube, and they come with various benefits and pitfalls that really depend on the structure of your business and the niche you are working in. Do a little research to determine which platforms are better suited to your company structure, which platforms are more responsive when you share content, etc. Then focus on the sharing platform that performs the best for your business model.
The Successful Marketing Campaign: Actively Marketing
Actively marketing your content is the most labor intensive part of your marketing campaign, but it is the aspect that carries the most weight when it comes to ongoing success. What does that mean? It means that you can plan a great campaign, you can have the creatives done by a fabulous designer, but without consistency and focus, your content marketing campaign is going to flop. In fact, it can take up to a year of consistent blogging two to three times per year for a business to really develop a reliable online presence…but how do you begin?
Creating the Idea
The first step in active marketing is to come up with a concept. Use what you know about your product or service and what you have observed in your audience to brainstorm a pool of content ideas. Generate these ideas and follow them through until you find that thread that is both inspiring and interesting, something that will hook your readers, keep them intrigued, and spark discussion. Not sure where to look for ideas? Check out trending searches, current events, competitors blogs, and general topics of interest.
Once you have generated a nice pool of ideas, take out a calendar and schedule content topics on that calendar so that you have a solid schedule for your marketing approach. Don’t forget, a HUGE factor in your success is consistency so when you’re tempted to “skip today’s article” don’t.
Make Use of Analytics
Analytics can feel overwhelming if you’re new to the whole idea of statistics, demographics, and figures in general. Google Analytics is a great tool that can automatically track a lot of this data for you and it’s a tool that you should use to your advantage. It can give you insights into what your readers are looking for, what they are buying, what content they are reading, where they came from…it’s a goldmine of information that you can use to your advantage when it comes to curating your next content release.
In-depth use of Google Analytics does require a little more education and a little less “click through and learn as you go”, but if you invest the time in a YouTube tutorial or take time to read professional marketing blogs about the uses of Analytics, you will certainly reap the benefits.
Diversify Your Portfolio
Although you will find that certain marketing channels are more advantageous for your business niche, it’s still important to diversify your reach. Do this by targeting various social networks, maintaining your blog articles, keeping up with guest blog posts…this will help to expand your reach as well as serve to build your reputation and authority. If instead, you stick with the one social platform you’re simply going to be targeting the same audience on a repetitive basis. An advantage of diversifying your content marketing in this way too is that you have the chance to try out multiple types of content to target audiences who are seeking different types of content. For example, a YouTube video will appeal to your visual learners, but more academic clients may prefer the text version that they can more easily reference in the future.
However you utilize your social media networks to promote your business, though, the one thing that you should always keep in mind is that you’re not simply reproducing content and sharing it across multiple marketing platforms. Your purpose of using multiple marketing platforms is to take advantage of the media that each platform is catered towards. This means more editing and curating for you as far as content goes, but it’s the only way to truly get the most out of your marketing efforts for a successful marketing campaign.
The Successful Marketing Campaign: Looking Ahead
Once you have spent the time to research, build, and curate your marketing technique, you will be able to take the information that you have learned from that process and put it to work for you. With each new marketing campaign, you will be able to take a look at your analytical data and make tweaks to your current approach to make content better suit your audience. This means that as time goes on, your marketing efforts are going to become increasingly effective and your business will start to see a steady rise in business and return on your marketing investment.
Like any other marketing approach, you may find that over time things shift, this is perfectly normal, it’s a part of the “breathing” that makes ever-shifting technology so effective. Your analytical data will give you a lot of information about these changing trends but it’s also important to keep an eye on your marketing platforms as a whole. For example, if one platform used to be ideal for promoting video content but more recently that platform has shifted gears and become more text-centered, you will need to make adjustments to your approach to accommodate these changes.
Remember, your job is to create a positive brand image online utilizing the content you develop, the data you gather, and the information you observe over time. Much like a growing child, you don’t just have to cater to the basic needs of providing content to your successful marketing campaign, you also have to monitor what is changing in the world around that campaign so that you can make the necessary accommodations that promote success.