Many times, when people think of marketing, it’s the activities that come to mind - social media, blogging, events, email campaigns, and advertising. However, before conducting those activities, it’s essential to have a marketing strategy to understand how the company will focus its efforts. A key component to establishing a proper marketing strategy is conducting market research that provides important information about the target market and the overall business landscape. It’s essentially the lay of the land.
Trade shows can be an exciting event for any company. The ability to reach a large pool of potential customers in just a few days is a beautiful way to display, demonstrate, and discuss your company's latest products and services. You also get exposure to industry trends and make connections. However, as exciting as they are, it can also be a daunting task, especially for the one(s) in charge of the show, which usually falls on the marketing department.
I wouldn't be able to start explaining the 80/20 rule in marketing if I didn't provide some insight on what this rule is and where it originated. If you conduct a quick Google search, you'll find an article on Wikipedia where the term was initially coined by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. This article goes on to explain how he used this rule to describe land ownership in Italy. However, this article doesn't solve the 80/20 rule in its purest form, which is that 80% of the effect will come from just 20% of the cause. In Pareto's case, he was explaining how 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. This principle is often used in economics, computing, sports, occupational health and safety, and of course, business.
You’ve just about closed the loop on your content marketing strategy. The only thing left to do is measure and analyze how your content is performing. There are many Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that can be used to determine how your efforts are faring, I’ve paired it down to just thirteen metrics that will give you a full picture of your efforts.
You’re now a content marketing machine, creating some fantastic material. Let’s take it a step further by repurposing that beautiful content. Repurposing content is the act of reformatting your content to target a different audience. Some examples include turning a blog post into a video or podcast, combining blog posts into an ebook, or taking a presentation and turning it into an infographic. There is a lot of content being created every day, chances are your target audience may have missed your article or video. However, repurposing your content will increase the chances that they will see it in another platform.
You’ve been hard at work crafting the perfect blog article making sure that every aspect is just right. The headlines are attention-grabbing, you painstakingly created the best image that represents the article, you provided a perfect call-to-action, edited all the spelling and grammar mistakes, and its formatted in a way that takes advantage of SEO and other related benefits. Now all you need to do is sit back and wait for the quote inquiries to come flooding in.
The single most important piece of content that you will create as part of your content marketing strategy will be the blog post. A great blog can drive traffic to your website, increase search engine rankings, but also provides a starting point for all other content. Now that your website has that shiny new blogging platform and you’re prepared to attract and engage with your audience, it’s time to get down to business and create those posts. There is one small hurtle to overcome; how should you format the blog post? What is the best structure for a successful post that will get your article found, get them to read, and hopefully get them to act?
People consume a vast amount of content every day. Depending on the source, experts say we’re consuming content upwards of twelve hours a day. That’s half the day of consuming info from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, text messages, Netflix, Snapchat, radio, TV, and you get the idea. The more media outlets we create for ourselves, the more we consume. Let’s face it, we’re content consuming machines and it seems to increase every year. In fact, as I’m writing this article at a gymnastics facility waiting for my son’s parkour class to finish, I notice that four out of five parents are busy with their smart phones ravenously consuming information. If you’re wondering about the fifth parent, she’s busy chasing a toddler around the room.
At the hub of every marketing strategy is your business website. We’re living in a digital world and your website is the face of your company in that virtual world. Before you unleash the content marketing beast, be sure your website is the best representation of your company and set up properly to allow visitors to find the necessary information to help them on their journey.
Now that we’ve completed the planning phase of the content marketing framework, it’s time to start the creative phase. This phase just happens to be my favorite part. Here is where you’ll start to brainstorm ideas for creating blog articles, videos, ebooks, and other content important to your initiatives.
Now it’s time to organize and chart your long-term content marketing strategy into a document to help you stay on target using a content compass. This document will allow you to react to upcoming initiatives, grow your content library, hit goals, and track ROI from content campaigns.
The content compass should include three sections; a content audit, event-based audit, and yearly content initiatives.
Before you dive head first into creating that comprehensive content marketing strategy, you first need to have a solid marketing plan. I realize this may seem confusing and a bit redundant since you may be thinking; isn’t a content marketing strategy a marketing plan? No, they’re quite different. A marketing plan is a high-level document that outlines goals, business advertising and marketing efforts for the coming year and describes activities involved in accomplishing specific marketing objectives within a set time frame. Remember, your content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that focuses on creating and distributing valuable and relevant content to attract and retain your target audience.
Now that you understand a bit more about the hero of your story (the buyer), you can focus your attention on planning a long-term content strategy plan. This long-term plan will be used to communicate how you plan to attract and attain the attention of your audience (potential buyers) with content marketing. It’s called a long-term plan since you need to forecast your content activities out longer than simply one campaign at a time.
One of the key components when constructing your content marketing strategy is to develop the business storytelling script. This story script is a way to identify how to connect with your customers. The story isn’t about your business or the history of your business, but rather, it’s about your customers quest. The hero of this quest is the customer. The script should appeal to their emotions so they remember the story and take action. Your company plays the role of the guide, educating and instructing the hero to success.
You’ve probably heard the term content marketing but you’re not sure what it is or how your business could benefit from this type of marketing. I created this framework to assist you in understanding all of the aspects of how content marketing fits into your marketing strategies. You may have experienced the power of content marketing and may even use a lot of the techniques. However, there is more to it than just a post on social media, sending out e-mail or just writing a blog article.
I've met many people who started their own business, whether part-time or full, and when they find out that I'm in marketing, they'll often ask me for some advice to help market their products or service. Of course, the first thing I always ask them is, do you have a website? More times than not, they reply, "no, but I have a Facebook page." Hmmm, that's great that you have a Facebook page, but that's not exactly going to cut it when you're marketing yourself. It's always good to be where the people are, and there are many people on Facebook. However, social media is only a tiny part of your overall marketing strategy.
I check out Facebook more times than I care to admit. That’s right friends, I do check out Facebook even though I say I don’t but for the wrong reasons and no it’s not to stalk people. Honestly, most people are not that interesting. There are just so many selfies, photos of your dog, cat, chicken or whatever animal you have that I can take. No, I don’t go on Facebook for that. I go on Facebook for meaningful content, when someone has something of substance to say, or an announcement of a new baby in the family, new house they bought, and so on. I’ll pay attention to that. However, I also go on Facebook for a weird guilty pleasure of mine, something called the suggested post, the ones that start with 10 times this happened or 20 things you didn’t know about this thing. The post usually takes you to another website that features the article and it is here that something horrible, sinister, and downright evil lives.
It’s understandable how complex SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be to someone just getting into internet marketing. It’s constantly evolving and even those with many years of experience don’t fully understand every aspect. The reason is search engine algorithms continue to change year over year. As the internet grows more and more websites are competing for our attention, search engines need to find better ways to make relevant sites stand out from the rest. Relevancy is the keyword. Whether you’re creating a new website, rebuilding an old site, or just making a few changes to help with a website’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) there are basic practices that can make a huge difference. A small amount of knowledge can go a long way. Here are ten basic steps you can take to increase your rankings.
There are numerous trendy marketing buzzwords floating around these days including inbound marketing, programmatic marketing, and referral marketing. However, one buzzword that doesn’t get as much attention is drip marketing. It’s often used in conjunction with other marketing methods and I find it to be very useful and effective. Drip marketing is sending, or “dripping,” a series of pre-written set of messages to a target audience. The messages can be delivered by email, direct mailing, or social media. Most drip campaigns are delivered using email which can be handled with an automated process or manually. Usually the message sent will change based on the actions of the recipient.
There are two categories that just about all marketing activities fall under, inbound and outbound marketing. You may have heard of these two buzzwords and thought that marketers, again, just put another word in front of the word “marketing” to make it sound trendy and cool. Though I have to say I do like when people look at me in that puzzled way as if to say “I don’t know what you’re talking about but please tell me more.” I often feel like a marketing hipster just saying “inbound marketing.” The fact is these two terms just represent new and old marketing techniques.
Brian Lundgren is a marketing professional, musician, and family man living in the Southeast region of Massachusetts.