Content marketing is a hot topic, primarily in the B2B world but increasingly in consumer marketing as well. The number of Google searches for the phrase have increased 400% since January 2011. And as noted here yesterday, 93% of B2B marketers are now using content marketing, with more than half calling it their biggest priority this year.
The first step toward content marketing success begins with (or at least should begin with) creation of a content marketing strategy. But where does one begin? What are the best practices and frameworks for creating such a strategy? What are the critical elements to include, and pitfalls to avoid, in developing a strategy?
Discover the answers to those questions are more here in 18 of the best guides to crafting a content marketing strategy of the past year.
Content Marketing Strategy Guides
Why you need repetition in your content strategy by iMedia Connection
According to the brilliant Rebecca Lieb, “One of content marketing’s biggest challenges is coming up with new material. One of content marketing’s other biggest challenges is overcoming something you’ve been told not to do since you were small: repeating yourself.” She then explains how to “repeat yourself” creatively in order to drive home a message, without seeming repetitive or redundant.
How to Build Your First Content Marketing Strategy by Search Engine Watch
As the title implies, Jayson DeMers here outlines a solid content strategy-building process based on five questions (starting with “Who Are You Writing For?”) and five guidelines (among them, “Review Your Data to Develop Great Content”).
Content marketing: What is more important than strategy? by GO Marketing
Writing that “A sound strategic planning process is based on consistently applied business objectives that flow through functional areas and support each other,” John Gregory Olson presents a helpful model for planning, and makes a case for the one element that’s more important than strategy.
Let’s Move Beyond The Content Marketing Hype by WCG CommonSense
18 of the Best Content Marketing Strategy Guides of 2013Michael Brito contends marketers “must move beyond the content marketing buzzword and commit to building a content strategy that will allow you to execute your tactical content marketing initiatives flawlessly and at scale,” and promotes a four-pillars framework for content strategy development.
8 Steps To Become A Brand Publisher by B2B Marketing Insider
Stating that “Brands need to become better storytellers and think and act like publishers,” Michael Brenner showcases his presentation detailing the impact the Web and email have had on traditional print media, and why this means brands need to tell their own stories by creating “content hubs” to earn traffic instead of buying it through advertising.
Experts outline key content marketing trends for 2014 by The Guardian
A half dozen “content marketing gurus” offer their predictions for impactful trends in 2014, among them the importance of taking an “integrated omni-channel approach” not just in terms of devices and formats but also measurable multi-channel online marketing; an increased focus on user experience; and putting the story first (“Brands need to tell a story and it has to be a story that people can care about. The format, channels, platforms, devices and timing of how that story is told will be dictated by what you want your audience to feel”).
The Top 10 Content Marketing Strategy Lessons from the Last 15 Years by Content Marketing Institute
***** 5 STARS
Joe Pulizzi, the godfather of content marketing, shares 10 key lessons including “Content marketing is the great equalizer…Large budgets don’t always win; actually, the smaller players usually come out on top because they are equipped to move more agilely and quickly than their larger competition”; it’s more productive to focus on using a few channels well than being on all platforms; and being distinctive is a must.
Noting that “The old adage — build it and they will come — doesn’t work for content marketing,” Laurie Sullivan reports on Forrester Research guidance on building a content distribution strategy to overcome the glut on content online.
How to Create a Content Strategy (In Only 652 Steps) by Portent, Inc.
***** 5 STARS
Few writers can match Ian Lurie’s blend of sardonic humor and useful marketing wisdom. While there are not actually 652 steps here, there is a remarkable guide to auditing your current content marketing, setting goals, and then crafting a strategy to meet and exceed those objectives.
How To Develop A Content Marketing Strategy Framework by BloggerBeat
Matthew Anton presents three dozen questions to ask when creating a content marketing strategy, from questions about the company’s business model (e.g., “Which products make up most of the revenue?”) to analyzing competitors, to determining the driving factors behind customer purchase and loyalty.
4 Reasons Why Content Marketing Should Care About Audience Development by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS
Reporting that “60 to 70 percent of content churned out by b-to-b marketing departments today sits unused,” Tony Zambito explains why the biggest problem for b2b marketers isn’t a lack of content, but rather a lack of the right content—and how to fix it by strategically using buyer personas.
A Bigger Megaphone Doesn’t Mean Better Marketing by MediaPost
Laura Patterson addresses the same topic as Tony does above, explaining how mapping content to the buying journey and customer lifecycle enables marketers to more strategically build out their content marketing editorial calendars.
The Content Marketing Pyramid: Are You Hungry for Content? by Business2Community
***** 5 STARS
18 of the Best Content Marketing Strategy Guides of 2013Pawan Deshpande presents a remarkably useful model for content planning, the “Content Marketing Pyramid.” At the base of the pyramid is curated content, “which is relatively low effort and lends itself to high frequencies,” with each higher level representing formats which require greater effort and should be used with correspondingly lower frequency.
4 secrets of a successful digital content strategy by iMediaConnection
Miranda Anderson suggests four principles to underpin a content strategy, including the idea that all content should have an objective: “We create content because we want our audience to do something — to buy, learn more, or love our brand. Your content should always point back to that core objective.”
5 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Content Marketers by SteamFeed
Ross Simmonds helpfully exposes a handful of beliefs held by the best content marketers, among them knowing “when you have an ugly baby” (“This is one of the reason you see so many TV ads about people who work in marketing – Tunnel vision”) and my favorite, “Accepting Best Practice is Accepting Status Quo.” Don’t copy your competitors—be the source they try to copy.
The Top 6 Reasons You’re Failing at Content Marketing by BuzzStream Blog
Dan Tynski expertly provides “a guide to common errors and pitfalls that beginner content marketers should make themselves aware of,” starting with “problems of scope”—is your goal in content marketing to find new customers, improve search rankings, or up-sell/cross-sell existing customers? “If your goal is to create content that can drive leads or sales, it doesn’t make sense to create content that is too broad or targets large audiences with only cursory interest in what you are selling. Whereas if your goal is brand awareness, or perhaps link-building for SEO, going broad with your content can be an excellent strategy.”
How to avoid creating worthless content by iMedia Connection
Stacy Thompson highlights three key elements to take into account in order to avoid wasting your (and your prospective audience’s) time, including relevance: “content that neglects to factor in the preferences of the reader is nothing more than what CMI (the Content Marketing Institute) defines as ‘informational garbage.’”
Building Content Marketing Strategy – 10 Steps by B2B Marketing Insider
Michael Brenner (again) lists and expands upon 10 key steps for developing a content marketing strategy, such as stepping into your customer’s shoes to understand their point of view on what constitutes valuable content, and going mulit-format—maximizing the value of your content by repurposing a white paper as a series of blog posts, a YouTube video, and a SlideShare presentation.
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