1. I will not confuse content marketing with advertising
Soft sell is the key word in achieving this resolution. While advertising is a little like a bull in a china shop, content marketing is like a ladybird visiting a rose – done right, it’s a joy that customers want to engage with. Done poorly as a hard sell, it’s a prompt to switch off and go make popcorn. Soft sell is about telling stories, not pushing product. It’s about having your eye on building a relationship with customers and potential customers. In fact, if you really want them on your side, leave product out and focus on useful, relevant and inspiring content brought delivered with the compliments of your brand.
2. I will have a documented content marketing strategy
53 percent of businesses have a documented content marketing strategy, according to the 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report from the Content Marketing Institute in the US. Strategy goes hand in hand with executive buy in, which is another key factor in content marketing success. You’ll want to include a mission statement that defines the unique content marketing value proposition your business offers customers and potential customers, goals, business impact and what success ‘looks’ like, budgets and resource usage. Your content marketing service provider should be doing most of the legwork on this.
3. I’m going to think long term
Content marketing is about building a relationship with customers through storytelling. It’s about consistently connecting with them so that over time they trust the stories (useful + relevant + engaging) you’re telling. And – to continue in the vein of analogies from nature – from that happy cocoon of content, the butterfly of brand loyalty emerges.
4. I’ll let the experts do what they’re good at
While it may seem on the surface more cost effective to use internal resources to produce content, there are a few things stacked against it being the most effective way to connect to customers. The truth is, you’re too close to your brand. An external expert has the distance to see things from a customer-needs perspective and is better able to provide customers with a rewarding content experience, while melding this with your strategic business needs. Time and again we see content marketing done internally dwindles into a sales drive, losing the potential of a deeper connection.
5. I’m going to structure my internal resources
All marketing tactics need internal resources that ‘own’ them. Clearly defined roles within your marketing team will help to streamline the process and relationship with your content marketing service provider. Having dedicated staff responsible for liaising on a day-to-day basis and ensuring all the sign off “i’s” are dotted and ‘t’s”crossed makes a huge impact in streamlining the process. Regular planning workshops plus quarterly strategy overviews with senior and executive team members are key to executive buy in and a smooth passage to success.
Wishing you a prosperous 2016, engaging stories with your customers, excellent ROI and oodles of loyalty that ultimately transfers into sales. Happy content marketing!