Don’t Get Content with Your Content

Posted by Alexis Sawyer

“Content: It’s Kind of a Big Deal” –Ron Burgundy

Content is king. It always has been. But only recently have businesses truly bought in. Thanks to years of loud and endless beatings of the content marketing drum, marketers from all organizations are doing their best to create content that sings – and delivers.

Content marketing is simply the most effective vehicle to build brand authority, control the conversation, and cast a wide prospect net. Let’s take each of those advantages one by one:

  • Build brand authority – Content helps you demonstrate your expertise and knowledge, earn trust, develop prospect familiarity, and build relationships that transcend the impact of traditional marketing efforts.
  • Control the conversation – Several key content deliverables serve as a vehicle to educate, persuade, and generate traffic, shaping the story of your industry, solutions, and brand.
  • Cast a wide prospect net – Layered content marketing strategies allow you to engage prospects at every stage of the buyer’s journey, with a variety of asset types and in a variety of locations. Content marketing not only addresses the questions at each stage of the buyer’s journey but also guides prospects through the marketing funnel toward a potential sale.

But for all its potential, strategic content marketing can be hard to sustain — or even start. Yes, there are the OPEN Forum’s of the world (thanks to an American Express size budget). But the overwhelming majority of businesses struggle to dedicate the requisite resources, time, and energy that drive lasting results.

It’s the tension between the fact that 72% of marketers report that content marketing increases engagement and leads, and the fact that 65% of businesses find it difficult to create engaging content.

So what’s a marketer to do?

Start With a Plan

That’s right — Strategy. Comes. First. (And not just because we love strategy). You can’t create content for content’s sake. You must learn what kind of content your prospects want and how you can establish a framework for shaping results-driven engagement.

So first and foremost, you must explore who your audience is. It’s not nearly enough to lean on your experiences (and biases) in painting your prospect picture. You need to leverage data and analytics to better understand prospect pain points, needs, desires, and the keywords they use to search relevant topics of interest. And from there, you can identify how your targets engage with content and where they go to find it.

These data points are the foundation of an effective strategy. And with these insights, you can develop a plan that’s sure to engage and stimulate action.

Put Your Content to Work: Create, Reuse, Repurpose

When you know what your audience wants and how to deliver it, you just have to create. From blogs and guides to infographics and videos (and even memes), your content can take any form as long as it addresses your prospects’ desires.

And don’t lose out on the opportunity to reuse and repurpose content over time. Think of all of the ways you can deliver content across platforms on which your audience engages. An infographic, for instance, is a great resource to include in an email, blog, and social post. But even these bread-and-butter content types can be used to great effect outside of traditional content marketing domains.

That same infographic can be the centerpiece of a digital ad campaign. If it’s especially relevant to key topics in the news, it can be leveraged in public relations. And speaking of news, as relevant stories break or best practices change, be sure to update and spin your existing content to create new, relevant assets.

Content is kind of a big deal, Ron. And it’s an even bigger deal when you maximize its potential. The first step is recognizing all that content can become and do. Now it’s time to put it into action.