Content Marketing: The Modern Marketing Game Plan
Last year I was attending an email marketing conference in Dallas and Joe Pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute had a session all about content marketing. I wasn’t attending this conference for content marketing tips – I was there to learn about email! – but my greatest takeaways from that event came from Joe’s content marketing session.
Content marketing is a marketing process to attract, retain, and serve customers by consistently creating and curating content to change or enhance customer behavior. It is not the same as inbound marketing; it is far more advanced and complex. Inbound marketing brings new customers in through blogs, videos, ebooks, enewsletters, etc., but content marketing takes it a step further. Content is created and distributed through the same channels as inbound marketing, but content is tailored for various steps in the buying process or different types of buyers, and the content doesn’t stop once they become a customer.
Marketers have interesting challenges today. With customers now in control of the content they consume, you need to make sure you’re putting the right content out there for the right people – whether they’re shopping around for a product (or membership) or already using the product (already a member) – “feeding the beast” with the latest and greatest content.
Content marketing isn’t a new topic for B2B audiences, but it’s been more and more prevalent among associations. Have you been thinking about bringing a content marketing plan to your association? Overwhelmed yet?
You don’t have to be. You can’t go from a newbie at content marketing to a content marketing master overnight. It takes a lot of time, planning, and strategy to get a strategy in place. The good news is, you probably already have a lot of content out there that you can start with or repurpose.
If you’re thinking about starting a content marketing plan for your organization, start with these steps.
The strategic planning step, along with actual content creation, will likely be the most time-intensive steps. Start by mapping out all the different stages you want to cover – from prospective member, nurturing, and retention – and the content that you’d like to create for each stage. Maybe there are videos that correspond with each step, or ebooks and podcasts. Develop a realistic timeline for content production and start thinking about how you’ll distribute each piece. Not all content is appropriate for every channel.
This is where the fun begins! Now’s the time to put the plan in action and gather, curate, and create all of the content you mapped during the strategic planning process. Look to experts at your organization who can contribute their expertise to particular topics and reach out to industry thought leaders for their input as well. You don’t have to be an expert on every topic – there are other people that can help.
It’s time to get all of that great content out there! Here are some popular channels for distribution:
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Vimeo, Pinterest, Instagram)
- Mobile Apps
- Direct Mail
Once your strategy is up and out there, evaluate its performance. Are prospective members reading your emails? Are they downloading your content? Are current members happy and content with the information you’re putting out there? Is it making them want to renew? Look at the numbers. Numbers don’t lie. Look at your metrics to evaluate whether or not content has been well received, and see which pieces had the most impact. What was it about them that made them most desirable? Use all of this information to help you plan going forward.