The First 6 Months of Content Marketing: Setting Up for Success
Use the first months to lay a solid foundation for your content marketing program so it can begin generating leads and sales.
So you decided it was time to jump into the content marketing game. You’ve been crafting the perfect content. You’re posting on a regular basis. You’ve identified your target audience and have been researching keywords. You’ve even learned a thing or two about SEO.
But you have no leads or sales to speak of. And your boss is breathing down your neck for results, FAST. Is it time to throw in the towel? Absolutely not!
Content marketing is a long-term solution that helps businesses build brand awareness, grow their audience, and generate new leads and sales. But, like any good relationship, it takes time and effort to achieve results. You shouldn’t give up before the seeds you sow have time to bear fruit.
To understand the time table for content marketing, let’s look at some markers for the first six months.
Learn about your target audience and understand their needs.
In order to get the ball rolling in content marketing, you have to understand who you are trying to reach. It’s important to think holistically when considering who you are trying to reach at a potential prospects’ company. Typically, your target audience falls into two categories: Primary (decision makers) and Secondary (influencers of the decision maker). Going one step further, you need to identify your target audience’s needs and pain points so that you can direct your content marketing strategy at creating awareness around those needs.
Document a content marketing strategy.
You would never operate your business without 1) creating a strategy, 2) documenting it, and 3) following the strategy. A content marketing strategy outlines the methods by which you will target, reach, and engage your audience. Research and execution of these tasks can be quite complex. Writing out a plan and assigning appropriate resources can offer clarity and guidance to your organization throughout the course of your program.
Create and publish content.
93% of B2B marketers use content marketing. However, less than half (42%) of B2B marketers say that they are effective at content marketing. One of the reasons these marketers are ineffective: bad content.
When you are creating and curating content for your business, focus on original content that stands out to current and prospective customers. Valuable and relevant content is not a sales pitch. Rather, it is content that communicates valuable information to customers and prospects so that they have the knowledge to make more informed decisions. Moreover, it is content that establishes your business as a reliable source of knowledge — as the thought leader within the industry.
Promote content on multiple channels.
Understanding your target audience and which social media platforms they’re using is invaluable information. If you want to reach potential and current customers, you need to be where they are. You need to make it easy for them to find you and to engage with your business. And if your competitors are already active on social media, start by finding out where. If these platforms align with your ideal customer, don’t be afraid to kick start your social media presence alongside them.
Analyze your performance.
Track and analyze your metrics on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. Take a look at what is working and what is not. By tracking and analyzing your metrics you can see, for example, what type of content is most effective and which distribution channels are helping you achieve your goals. You’ll also be able to find opportunities for improvement. Look at the feedback you are getting through your engagement with customers and prospects, and make adjustments to your strategy as needed.
Expand your content creation.
If you’re focused on growing your business or creating awareness through the creation of engaging content, then you need to be ready to try new things. Have you been successful with blogging and Facebook posts? Then it’s time to try making videos and joining Twitter. And don’t be afraid to pull from other worthy sources. Content curation will serve to establish your business as a trusted resource and increase your brand visibility, all without over-promoting yourself.
Remember that when it comes to content marketing, it is important to think: marathon not sprint. An effective content strategy requires patience and determination. Many companies make the mistake of giving up on a content strategy too early. Give your relationship with content marketing time to play out, and don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy along the way if you find some things are working better than others.