Marketers in every industry are recognizing the value of content marketing; it’s becoming the most widely-used strategy according to industry research.
However, “feeding the content beast” – or populating an organization’s social and traditional marketing channels – can be a daunting task. Between email newsletters, blog posts, Tweets, and whitepapers, marketers feel challenged by creating sufficient quality content to sustain their content marketing programs. Furthermore, to make the problem worse, surveys have shown that marketers are facing dwindling budgets and even staff.
What’s a time-strapped, budget-bound, aspiring content marketer to do? Fortunately, there are five simple and effective steps that can be implemented to ensure marketing professionals create and manage a content marketing plan that works for them and is an effective tool for their organization.
1. Find your niche. It might seem obvious that an organization will publish content that’s relevant to its own industry, but go beyond that. Is it possible to carve a niche within the industry for your organization? Is there an untapped issue or trend that your company can own and become the leading expert? Maybe there’s an opportunity to put a new spin on content that feels overdone dated. No matter the opportunity, be sure to define the space you’re working in and have a clear focus, ensuring that all of your content helps drive your organization’s goals and objectives.
Verne Global, a data center provider, identified “green” data centers as an underrepresented niche in the data center industry. It is now the go-to resource for all news associated with green data centers as Greendatacenternews.org.
2. Share the load. You may have a team or you may be the sole marketer in your organization, but regardless, you may feel the responsibility of content creation rests squarely on your shoulders. While you should certainly drive and manage the effort, content can seem stale and monotonous if it’s only coming from one point of view. Enlist colleagues from different departments to contribute to your content efforts. This will help keep content fresh and offer new perspectives.
Are you concerned that you may not receive responses from your colleagues? Try sending a list of four of five straightforward interview questions that will encourage participation. Taking the idea of guest content one step further, ask third-party influencers to add to your content strategy. A blog post or guest article from an industry analyst or key reporter or blogger, or even a customer or partner, can be invaluable for strengthening your content marketing efforts.
3. “Color” your content. When most people think of the term “content,” text usually comes to mind and can feel like a time-consuming initiative. Text is certainly a critical part of content, but don’t underestimate the value of an image, such as an infographic. Images can often influence an audience even more than text, as it may be more attention-grabbing right off the bat. An image can be the lead point of a particular article, or it can complement your text. It’s a great way to keep your content exciting and different for your readers. Furthermore, infographics are often shared by the original reader, especially with encouragement, which means that a reader’s audience is now seeing your content and spreading your message. Remember, if your image is not developed by your organization, be sure to cite the original source.
Intel’s iQ was created for anyone interested in experiencing the impact of technology on our lives. Its articles are filled with colorful images that provide insight into how Intel believes technology is driving the world forward.
4. Curated content. As mentioned before, today’s marketers are facing an enormous resource strain. Curated content helps eliminate the challenge of limited staff and budget as it is an effective way to keep populated with fresh content. For starters, identify a blog post or article that you want to share with your audience and write a short excerpt that includes your commentary, including a summary and thoughts on why the content is relevant. Similar to including images, be sure to link back to the original source in order to curate in an ethical manner. You should also be sure not to share the full text of the original article without permission from the author.
Oregon Wine Board curates content on the local wine scene in Oregon, making its site the top destination for Oregon wineries, local Oregon businesses, members and tourists visiting the state.
5. Invest in technology. With the advent of content marketing, there is also a slew of software to simplify and streamline many of the laborious or complex tasks. For example, there are now specialized tools to help manage the workflow of content production, the outsourcing of content to a team of writers, the distribution of content to multiple publishing channels, and the curation of content. While you can implement a content marketing program with existing tools and technologies, you can greatly improve your efficiency and efficacy with such tools.
Allsalesforce.com, the leading destination for news and information related to lead management software, Salesforce, has employed a software content curation solution to successfully become the site-of-record for the entire Salesforce community.
Last year at Curata, we surveyed more than 450 marketing professionals, and found that content marketing was the most popular marketing strategy, over existing strategies such as search engine marketing, events and print/TV/radio advertising. Furthermore, we were surprised to find that content marketing is the only strategy that is growing in adoption while the others continue to decline.
Content marketing is popular and growing because it’s effective and it works. Yet, it only works when it is done right with a fresh, well-populated content stream. By seeking resources outside of the marketing department, be it guest contributors, third party content, or tools, marketers can create the quantity and quality the content that meets results.
Pawan Deshpande is the founder and CEO of Curata, a provider of a business-grade content curation platform that enables marketers to acquire and retain customers through curated content. You can follow him on Twitter, Google+, or Quora.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
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