Recently, we received an email that said, in essence, “Great job. It’s rare to see a company creating such great content on its own.” What struck me was not that we were creating great content. In fact, we have a great editor whose job it is to ensure our content is as good as possible. What struck me was the phrase “on its own.” And then I dug a little deeper.
If you look at most companies and their content marketing strategies, you realize how much they rely on others. They hire out content. They swap their own content for content written by others in a similar (but dissimilar) industry, call it their own, and hope for the best.
The truth is that original content that resonates with your audience is difficult to write. Effective content marketing requires five things.
1. You need a passionate head of content marketing.
They are your mouthpiece and you must trust them implicitly. Your leader must understand a.) why great content is important; b.) how to get others to write posts on a regular cadence; c.) how to edit their posts; and d.) your brand’s values and voice. They should also be someone who is constantly learning and keeping up with trends in both your industry and the world of content marketing.
2. You need a team of individuals excited (not just “willing”) to write for your brand.
These are not people whose teeth you are pulling. They are people hoping to be selected and enthusiastic about your red marks to their work. They know the impact their thoughts can make in the market.
These people may not necessarily be in your marketing department. Look for people across the company who have a deep knowledge of topics that will interest your audience, and work with them to create valuable pieces of content. If your contributors are enthusiastic but aren’t natural writers, consider interviewing them and distilling their wisdom into your blog or website content.
3. You need ideas.
Ideas are probably the most difficult requirement. This is why you recruit others on the team and in other departments to submit posts – you can’t possibly have all of the ideas on your own. At our company, we are fortunate to have guitar players, food bloggers, tennis studs, poets, and ex-military on board. A lot of rich pasts to choose from. The richer your employees’ backgrounds, the wider the range of ideas you’ll encounter.
5. You need a forum.
When our team writes, their posts travel far and wide – across our blog, sure, but also across social media (from Facebook and LinkedIn to SlideShare) and often outside our own outlets. And that’s where it gets really interesting.
Think about where your own company can share content to get in front of your target audience. Maybe that involves contributing guest posts to an industry blog, answering questions on Quora, or promoting your blog posts on Twitter. Do your research to determine the best forums for your audience.
5. You need to measure your results.
If content marketing exists solely to share ideas and doesn’t result in business, it’s a hobby. Measure how many people are interacting with your brand because of a post you’ve made. If you’re doing it right, you’ll see the impact of your work.
Content marketing is big right now, and it’s far more than just a passing trend. Companies recognize that there may be no better way to interact with a potential customer than to offer them free information. In the short-term, the benefits are minimal. But in the long-term, the payoff can be a new customer that trusts you.
To learn more about effective content marketing, check out our eBook: The Secret to the Most Effective Content Marketing.