Wanna know the biggest mistake companies make with their social media and content marketing efforts?
Promise you won't tell or think less of them for this obvious oversight?
Ok... come closer...shhhhhh, don't tell but here it is.....
If no one finds your content, it doesn't matter if it is interesting.
Let me clarify.
There is an old saying in the advertising business... "It isn't creative if it doesn't run." I think David Ogilvy was purported to say it to copywriters and art directors on his staff who would fuss over every creative detail at the risk of missing the ship date/time.
His point was basically that it doesn't matter how creative an ad is if the consumer never sees it because you missed the shipping deadline for publication. And he was right.
Applying Traditional Thinking To Digital Marketing
Now let's apply that to content marketing in today's inbound marketing world. If Ogilvy was a content marketing expert, he would say, "It isn't creative if it isn't found."
The meaning is a tad different, which is why I changed the wording but the intent is the same. You see, for most content marketing efforts, companies (rightly) focus on trying to create interesting, relevant or entertaining content that customers and prospects want to consume.
But their failure is not placing enough time and effort against search engine optimization strategy, cross-posting strategy and community building before, during and after the launch of these content platforms.
Best Practices for Content Marketing
As a content marketer, you need to be as fluent in Google Analytics as you are in Garage Band. Understand as much about community building as you do about copywriting. And if you don't or just don't have the time, then turn to those that do.
Need expert advice in link building, seo strategy and execution. There are lots of folks that do that... a few of my favorites are Lee Odden of Top Rank Marketing and Cardinal Path, who publishes more great and FREE information on Google Analytics than about any SEO shop I've found yet.
Want to hire or at least consult with one of the best community managers in the business... try reading Deb Ng's blog Kommein or reaching out to her. Prefer someone with a more "outbound marketing" mindset... talk to DJ Waldow over at Waldow Social... he built a great community around Blue Sky Factory's email software and on top of great community building -- the guy has forgotten more about email marketing than most email specialists ever knew.
Most importantly, don't fall into the trap that because you "can" do your own content marketing, you won't find value in hiring a content marketing agency to help you create and optimize your content. Likely you'll end up producing more effective content and you'll get to market faster than figuring it out yourself.
Lead Funnel Planning
Whether you choose a DIY approach or reach out and retain a content marketing strategy partner, you owe it to yourself to create outstanding content AND to build content consumption funnels that turn readers into leads for your brand.
A Content Consumption Funnel can be confusing but in it's simplest form, it involves five things:
- Define a very specific target audience for each piece of content
- Define a role for each piece of content (for instance... roles could be to impress, educate, convert)
- Define the next most valuable piece(s) of content you could offer the reader to nudge them one step closer to "buying"
- Make it easy and enticing to click from the content the reader is on now to the next most valuable piece
- Rinse and Repeat.
Creating Effective Content Marketing
If you're goal is to create more effective content marketing this year -- as in driving more leads to your brand, growing your blog's subscription numbers or any other reasonable metric -- then you owe it to yourself to not only create outstanding content but to ensure that content is found by YOUR prospect audience.
So what do you think? What are you going to do differently on your next blog post to ensure it's found by your audience? Let me know... I'm always looking for smart people to help make me smarter.