A Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing
Do you want to know the big secret to content marketing? The secret is actually fairly simple – consistency. While many people might have great ideas for content that should improve the attention they get online, often they fail in the overall execution of getting that content from the idea stage to final implementation. That is why we are providing our beginner’s guide to content marketing as a blueprint for what you should be doing to achieve content marketing success.
Just as a refresher, content marketing is the process of creating and distributing relevant and useful content which attracts and engages a target audience.
Content Marketing 101
There is no secret to proper content creation and promotion. It is really just a formula-based approach that needs to be consistent and regularly repeated to achieve success.
- Ideas – Always the starting point for content is the actual ideas of what to write about. Rather than just coming up with one or two ideas, look to brainstorm dozens or more. At this stage you just need the idea itself, not a full-fledged outline.
- Refine Ideas – Take those ideas and cut them down to workable content. This stage might involve the creative head, a manager and even a bottom level employee to try and identify which ideas are the best and most interesting to work with using a variety of opinions to gauge interest.
- Research – Now that we are down to a handful of ideas they go back to the writers for some research to see if 1) there is a market that exists for this type of article and 2) if that idea has recently been used or overused by competitors or other factions in cyber world. In the case of recently used ideas, can you create a new spin or add to what has been written for a fresh perspective?
- Pick the winner – The decision maker(s) pull the trigger on selecting an article. At this stage, with a few refined ideas that are deemed workable, you might set up a few articles to be written which gets you ahead of the next deadline.
- Write the content – Now the easy part, write the content. At this point with a great idea and research done the focus needs to be high-quality, informative content along with a great graphic. Don’t short change the process by just providing text. Instead create an infographic, heatmaps or find great images to make the content that much better.
- Decide where to send content – For some people, content is posted only on their site. In our opinion, this is a mistake. Blogs can be syndicated out to any number of locations these days as everyone looks to have the best feed and that should be taken advantage of. Articles can be pitched to a variety of publishers with slightly different angles to ensure they are unique enough to meet guidelines. This is what is going to get those links coming back to your site driving up your traffic numbers.
- Pitch content to publishers – Create a refined pitch that showcases your content in its’ best light. Then start emailing that content to publishers. Ideally you will develop relationships with publishers so over time they will look for and be excited for your high-quality content.
The critical nature of a pitch
A good pitch is important, a great pitch is priceless. After taking all this time to create fantastic content, you need to get it published in lots of locations. That means customized pitches depending on who is receiving your content and possibly creating a few unique angles on the idea you have depending on that audience.
What you want is a great pitch that gets the correct person at the right organization excited to publish not only this article, but future articles. That means you need to identify who you are sending to is the right person and that the place you are sending a pitch is receptive to what you are offering.
You need to spend time thinking about what is going to get that person at the other end of the email interested and excited so they read your content rather than deleting it. They need to not only open the email but also read the email before they will even think about checking out your content.
Always do your homework
Before you even launch a content strategy it pays to study what other people are doing. This isn’t necessarily industry or market specific, but just in general. Looks to see who is successful and what they are doing.
Even after your content marketing journey has started you still need to study, looking at trends which will ebb and flow as things come in and out of style. One of the best ways to do this is simply to have people who enjoy reading content on their own time assigned to the tasks of studying trends, because they are already consumers of content.
The bottom line is that there isn’t a big secret to content marketing; it just takes work. While our beginner’s guide to content marketing will save some time and energy in learning the proper process, you still need to work the process before you will reap the results.