Content Marketing is more than a buzz word.  It’s how organizations communicate their expertise to strategic target markets in today’s digital world.  In fact, 80% of B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy (either documented or undocumented).  And more than 30% consider themselves at the sophisticated or mature level. *

How are marketers doing it? They put the “Creative Content Cycle” in place and stick to it.  The goal is to create digital marketing content that resonates with your audience, helps move them through the buying cycle and engages them with your brand.

To make the process work, astute marketers have a strategic marketing plan. They’ve defined their target market(s) and understand several critical things about them.  What problem do we help them solve and how we do it that’s different from other companies? Where do customers typically get their info from?

This isn’t theory! The Creative Content Cycle works.  It’s a big driver behind the branding success at Sign Effectz, Inc., one of Milwaukee’s fastest growing custom sign manufacturing companies.  This company has been so successful at marketing that one of the industry’s most respected trade publications included them in a feature article about sign companies on the cutting edge of promotional marketing.

content marketing cycle

THE PROCESS

BRAINSTORM – The process begins with a brainstorming session.   The output of brainstorming is the topic, an outline of the main points and identification of the necessary resources.

WRITE – For written content like blog articles, the first draft consists of building on the outline with either a personal interview or research into the topic.

Like producing a good film, some of the initial main points may end up on the cutting room floor! It may take several drafts before getting it right.  First priority is writing with the audience in mind, then find a way to work in a few key words.

UPLOAD – Upload the written content and an image to your blog.  This is the digital asset that you will distribute via your social media channels and e-mail marketing platform.

DISTRIBUTE – Post the link to your blog post on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Google Plus, etc.  Of course not every social platform is right for your brand (that’s a whole other topic).

Blog posts are also re-purposed in e-mail marketing, such as company newsletters.  Oftentimes, the topic of your blog post is news worthy enough for a press release.

This is a good time to elaborate on the term, “re-purpose”.  This simply means that marketing folks like to leverage the time and energy that went into writing content by distributing it wherever there is a good audience for it.  It helps avoid having to reinvent the wheel.

This is also a good time to mention Hoot Suite.  Hoot Suite provides digital marketers a great way to manage and distribute their content.  Its dashboard layout is easy to use and visualize a company’s social distribution. It offers several different levels of access and can be used by single users or for team members that collaborate with one other.  This has proven to be a very good approach for the team at Sign Effectz.

ANALYZE – This is where continuous improvement pays big dividends! The tools for measuring the performance of your content marketing include Google Analytics as well as the metrics provided by each social platform and your email marketing platform.  Use timely analysis to make future content decisions.

For example, watch for which topics and formats generate the highest engagement levels.  Also play close attention to time of day/day of week patterns.

REPEAT – Content marketing isn’t “set it and forget it”.  Repeat the process often.

CONCLUSION

Great content marketing requires several things.  Having a strategic marketing plan in place gives you and your team the direction it needs in terms of target market, value proposition, etc. Keep in mind that content has to reflect the company’s overall strategy.

Being process-oriented certainly helps.  It also helps to be creative, be dialed into your customer’s needs and be committed long term. If you need assistance with content marketing, contact us; we’re here to help.

* 2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends – North America: Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs.