Having an idea is pointless if you have no way of communicating it. How would Richard Branson or Steve Jobs have got their revolutionary ideas across without a method of communication?
While your method may not be Branson in a wedding dress (yes, this happened), your idea needs publicity to succeed. And powerful ideas have more chance than any.
If inbound is the idea, content is the delivery method.
If you’re excited by inbound, we’re going to show you why content is so valuable, and how to deliver it.
- Set Goals & Create Your Vision
- Conduct A Content Audit
- Determine Processes
- Who Delivers Content?
- Creating A Content Plan
- Crafting Your Content
- Promoting Your Content
- Republishing Your Content
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing makes your dreams a reality. It’s the medium you use to get your information to your customers. It can be videos, blogs, webinars and whitepapers. Different buyer personas require different methods of communication, and it’s your job to get it right.
If you know your audience favour podcasts over blogs because they can listen to them in the car, give them a podcast!
Why Is It Important?
We’ve already confirmed that content is the delivery method for inbound, and it can help you improve various aspects of your business:
- Increase your website traffic
- Give you something to post on social media
- Create an opportunity to be different
- Tell your business’s story
- Provide knowledgeable information
- Challenge traditional marketing concepts
- Improve your SEO profile
- Build a community of subscribers
1. Set Goals & Create Your Vision
Goals are what you’re setting out to achieve. Perhaps you want to increase the amount of video content you output each quarter by 50%. What are you going to do to achieve that?
Get your fancy new camera out and wander around the office for a while. That’s what you’ll do to achieve your goal. But why are you doing it?
Why on earth are you walking around your office filming Dan from accounts doing The Macarena while stood on his desk, desperately trying to trash the view that accountants are boring?
Because we want to show our company culture, we aren’t all stuck up suits and vanilla conversation. We’re top button undone and Neapolitan with extra sprinkles.
Sounds like one funky accounting firm. When you create your goals and vision, consider these five steps:
- Visualise — if you can't visualise it, you need to make it more descriptive.
- Simplify — make it easy for everyone to understand, a confusing vision is hard to achieve.
- Connect — you have to be able to relate it to your business's values and roots.
- Inspire — ignite passion in your team to achieve your goals and vision.
- Focus — everything you do should work to achieve your vision, relate all your work to it.
When your vision is complete, you have to align it with your goal. If the two don’t match, one of them is wrong.
Question what the vision will do for you as well. If you’re trying to show your company culture by increasing video output by 50%, what does that do? Attract better talent? Is it a branding exercise
Once you’ve set your goals and created your vision, you can move on to the next stage…
2. Conduct A Content Audit
“We don’t have any content”. Rubbish! You must have some content. It may be that product leaflet your apprentice bundled together on a Photoshop free trial or your website pages. It all counts. And you need to collect it and analyse it.
“Why?”. Because you can improve the quality and purpose of your content:
- Find and fix problems — content ages. If you wrote something two years ago, how do you know it’s still functioning? There may be broken links, corrupt images and incorrect information.
- Evaluate quality — content needs refreshing. If you shot a video about your company services five years ago, chances are they’ve changed.
- Discover gaps — your sales team may report to you stating clients are asking for certain information. This points to a gap in your content, and you need to address it.
- Repurposing — you may notice that one of your blogs is better suited to being a video.
- Get to know your content — the more attention you give it, the better it gets! You’ll understand your content and form a better understanding of your services.
How To Conduct A Content Audit
When you develop your content audit for inbound, you need to take your vision and goals into consideration.
If you're following the inbound methodology, one of your goals will be to get people to take action on your website to turn them into a contact, and potentially a lead.
After setting your goals, you need to gather all your content in an inventory and determine how you’ll catalogue it. You should consider the following categories:
- Buyer’s journey stage (awareness, consideration, decision)
- Content type (blog post, manual, product description, landing page)
- Content format (text only, images/video present, within/without call-to-action)
- Date of publication or last modification
- Author (if you have multiple writers on your website)
- Number of words
After you’ve gathered all your data, you need to analyse it. You may notice that your articles are only hitting the 800 words mark, or you have duplicate keywords for several articles.
As you notice the good and bad in your content, you can begin to create an action plan and improve it. This could include republishing strategies, redesigns or SEO optimisation.
3. Create Workflows
Whether you’re creating new content or repurposing and republishing old content, you need to have a workflow in place. Especially in larger organisations.
Workflows develop processes you can follow that give the people in your team clear direction. Without them, your process can become haphazard and disorganised.
Content Marketing Workflow
If your goal is to get visitors to take action on your site, then you’ll need a content workflow for that. The best way to do that is to reverse engineer your content creation.
A visitor will submit information for a piece of premium content (an ebook or product trial). So start with your content offer. Brainstorm some ideas. You could organise a content brainstorming session, where everyone gets to voice what they feel the best direction is.
Content Writing Workflow
This example shows how various people in your organisation play a part in your content writing process.
The content writing process doesn’t include one person, developers, writers, strategists and social media executives all pull together to ensure the process runs smoothly.
Create Unique Workflows
Every organisation is different which means workflows will vary. One company’s video production workflow will be different to another's.
The two above show workflows in their simplest form. These steps usually contain tasks within the task, so you need to show how to complete this process.
For example, if the Content Strategist’s role is to create the brief, there will be several jobs within that job: brainstorm ideas, create a working title, research keywords, research articles to link.
Remember: It’s hard to create a workflow if you haven’t done the task before. Sometimes it’s better to get something done and figure out the workflow when you find ways to improve.
4. Who Delivers Content?
Everyone is involved in the content process! Everyone must have a clear understanding of what their role is, and how they can help other members of the team.
Chief Content Officer
Chief Content Officers (CCO) are usually operating in large corporate businesses where media production happens on a large scale. Think organisations like Netflix and more recently, non-media companies like Capital One. They report to the CEO or other executive-level marketers.
The world is changing, and companies need content visionaries. Think of this role as a publisher, maintaining relations between departments while ensuring the company’s internal and external content meet brand guidelines, strategy and business direction.
In a content-driven world, this role will become more popular for larger organisations. Don’t expect to find positions on Indeed though!
Content Managers will operate as the leader and link to the CEO in small to medium organisations, or work under the CCO to manage the content team.
They’ll have a similar skillset and job role to the CCO, but it’ll be on a smaller scale. The Content Manager will oversee the creation of content across the company and be responsible for measuring the success of campaigns.
Essential: Content Strategist
Someone needs to refine the broader strategy that the CCO or Content Manager provides. There needs to be a blog, video, email and social media schedule planned; and that’s where the strategist comes in.
They’ll define keywords, buyer personas, calendars and repurposing schedules — which all need workflows attached to them. They’re the organiser and plan every detail of the process.
Essential: Content Writer
Once your strategy is ready to execute, you need someone to write it! The content writer must be versatile: video scripts, social media posts, ebooks, blogs; they have to be able to write them all!
Bonus: Editor — Whether it’s taking a piece and finding gaps or noticing spelling and grammar mistakes, the editor’s job is to make sure everything that you produce is free from errors.
Your content may read like an entrant for the next Pulitzer Prize, but if it looks rubbish nobody is going to read it! That’s where a designer can help.
Whether it’s creating a call-to-action or designing an ebook, a designer should be able to encapsulate what you’re trying to say on visual terms.
It also helps if the designer has UX experience. Understanding how to make the customer journey easier is a skill that stands out.
Bonus: Illustrator — Create drawings for most content platforms: video, print, online. And let’s face it, who doesn't want a caricature of themselves in the office?
Essential: Social Media Executive
A considerable part of the content production process is distribution. That’s where your Social Media Executive comes in. They’ll be shouting about your amazing content, and could indulge in some outreach work as well.
Bonus (but should be essential): Videographer — Video is everywhere! It’s crucial that all content teams possess this skill and it should play a big part in your content strategy. While a video isn't hard to produce (we’ve all got a phone), a videographer can take it to the next level with their filming and editing skills.
Other Common Roles & Titles
No two companies are the same, and neither are any two members of staff. That’s why various roles are created to suit each company’s needs. Here are a few that you may have, and if you don’t, it might be time to create one!
- SEO Specialist — useful for monitoring off-page SEO ranking factors such as URL ranking and page authority.
- Email Marketer — working alongside your Social Media Executive, the Email Marketer creates campaigns to share content with your subscribers.
- Developer/UX Designer — you may notice that you need to change the user journey to make your content better. That’s where a Developer or UX Designer can help, seeing and fixing problems.
5. Creating A Content Plan
As soon as you’ve started assembling your team, you need to focus on creating a content plan. Your plan drives the team forward and gives them direction, so it’s important to get it right.
You’ve set goals and created your vision. Now it’s time to implement them.
Where Do You Keep It?
We can give you the definitive answer to this; it’s definitely not in your head! If your strategy is in your head, how is anyone else supposed to know what it is?!
If you’re starting, you can write it down or keep it in a Google Doc so everyone can see it. If you have HubSpot, you can create your strategy in the Content Strategy Planner. Task management tools like Asana or Coschedule can help you deliver your strategy.
Who’s Your Audience?
Before you start building your strategy, you should consider who your audience is. You aren’t marketing to yourself, so you aren't creating it for yourself.
Decide who your buyer personas for the next quarter and create your content strategy for that persona.
When you know who you’re marketing to, it should be easier to create your strategy. Your Content Strategist can start to map out the journey they’ll take and what keywords will attract them to your content.
What Are the Nuts & Bolts of a Strategy?
Campaign name — your plan will consist of different campaigns, and attributing them will give you the opportunity to measure them individually.
Content team — who creates your content? If you’ve got video, design and text in your blog, you’ll probably have a few different people involved in the content creation process.
Content goal — each piece of content will have a specific purpose, and it’s your job to know what that is. Content without a goal is aimless.
Content brief — a well-written brief is the difference between success and failure. Confuse your team, and you could end up with a completely different piece to what you imagined.
Links — do you need to link to specific articles? Have you taken inspiration from somewhere else?
Keywords — what keywords are you trying to rank for? What keywords are your customers searching? Consider creating a keyword based blog calendar to help.
6. Crafting Your Content
Before you think about grabbing your pen and crafting a 3000-word blog, you need to think about what constitutes good content.
Good content comes in the following forms:
- Informative press releases
- Educational blogs
- Sleek infographics
- Entertaining videos
- Unmissable downloadable content
Good content also comes in the form of landing pages and CTA’s that take your browsers to your unmissable content. Or your team bios which tell your audience how amazing they are.
Basically, it’s all content! So you need to make sure every single piece has your undivided care and attention.
Understand the Marketing Funnel
When you’re writing content, you need to be aware of what part of the funnel you are writing for. At the top of the funnel your content will be more educational, the middle more informative and the bottom more persuasive.
Content Writing Tips
If your content is rigid and robotic, nobody will read it. Keep it fluid and remember you’re writing for people first.
Understand Your Audience
Your buyer personas will help you understand how to write content. For example, if you’re writing for young people, you’ll want to be upbeat and inject some life into your content.
Use Tools to Create & Optimise
There are plenty of tools you can use make your content SEO and people friendly, for example, HubSpot helps you optimise your blogs by pointing out whether there are enough headers and links on your page.
We know too many tools to name them all, but here are five you can use to improve your content.
7. Promoting Your Content
Content doesn't rank overnight, so it’s important to have other delivery methods. You wouldn’t create an amazing product and leave it on the shelf hoping people notice it if you know it’s good, get it out there!
Social Media Distribution
With millions of businesses on social media these days, it would be silly not to share your content on there.
Unfortunately, your chances of getting noticed organically are slim, as there’s a vast amount of content posted on channels daily. You either have to have a significant presence or create something so unique it’s popularity soars.
Fortunately, you can pay to promote your content, and social media platforms tend to have excellent audience targeting due to the data they collect.
Pick The Right Platform
Consider where you’re going to post your content on social media. If you have a young audience interact with them on Instagram and Snapchat. If your audience is business minded Linkedin is the place to be.
Consider how you’re going to post your content strategy on social media. You may be aware that your audience resides on Pinterest, but you’ve spent the last six months trying to generate an audience on Instagram, what’s the point?
Tie It Into Your Content Strategy
You also need to know what type of content to target them with, and in what format to post it.
For example, if you know your prospect spend a lot of time reading blogs on LinkedIn, are you posting blogs on LinkedIn?
Promotion With Email Marketing
If you have a contact in your email list, they’ve probably engaged with your business and had a reason to submit their email address. This is marketing gold dust, but only if you do it right.
An email address is a golden ticket to content promotion. You have to make sure you promote the right content. For example, if someone has downloaded a pricing guide, would you send an infographic about your product or offer to arrange a call to talk about pricing?
Take a logical approach.
Promote Your Content With PPC
Paid advertising can propel your inbound campaigns while you're waiting for your content to rank. Pick content you want people to see and use Google Adwords and Analytics to track success.
As you start to see more organic traffic on your site, you can reduce your budget and let the content do the work!
8. Content Analysis
When you measure your content it’s crucial you refer to your goals. Have you achieved them? What metrics were you looking to improve? If you were hoping to increase traffic by 300%, did you accomplish it? And what effect did that have on your business?
People are aware of your brand, but what next? If you’ve increased your traffic by 300%, but lead generation only increased by 2%, maybe you should focus on that!
Here are some common goals and metrics you can measure to determine whether you’ve achieved them.
Are You Ready to Start Your Content Marketing Strategy?
Follow these eight steps and you’ll have a full fleshed out, high-performance content strategy in no time! You can download our template which will help you develop your strategy.
Content Marketing Resources
Access some of our most popular articles to further your knowledge:
- Why Is Content Marketing Important For Business Development? [BLOG]
- 7 Benefits of Content Marketing for Growing Businesses [BLOG]
- 15 B2B Content Marketing Ideas To Upgrade Your Skills [BLOG]
- How to Solve Your Content Marketing Problems in 2018 [BLOG]
- Start A B2B Content Marketing Strategy: 11 Tips [BLOG]
- The Red-Fern Media Content Strategy Blueprint [EBOOK]
- Why Should I Conduct A Website Content Audit? [BLOG]
- How to Conduct a Web Content Audit For Inbound Marketing [BLOG]
- What’s Content Writing & Why Does Your Business Need It? [BLOG]
- How to Write Website Content: The Beginners Guide [BLOG]
- I'm in a Technical Industry: Can An Agency Write for Me? [BLOG]
- 7 Reasons Why You Should Set Up A Business Blog [BLOG]
- 5 Business Blog Examples To Show Your Boss [BLOG]
- The Complete Guide to Starting a Business Blog [BLOG]
- Build a Keyword Based Blog Calendar in 5 Steps [BLOG]
- 11 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Blog [BLOG]
- 6 Ways Images Glue People to Your Blog Posts [BLOG]
- B2B Content Marketing Examples To Inspire Your Campaigns [BLOG]
- How to Get the Best from Your Content Brainstorming Session [BLOG]
- 5 Ways Creativity Improves Content Based Lead Generation [BLOG]