Content Marketing Fundamentals

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Good writing is no longer enough to maintain a successful content marketing program.

A glut of content that is exceeding demand as a result of content shock has emerged. To maintain a competitive advantage over their rivals, content marketers must exert greater effort than ever before or risk starvation while a more experienced rival eats their lunch.

Organizations sometimes focus on new best practices and growth hacks rather than the fundamentals of a great content marketing program in order to keep competitors at bay or to surpass them. They don't want to wait for the results, after all. Now is the time for them!

Here are just a few signs that a content marketing program is in trouble:

  • Content marketers struggle to prove the business value of their efforts
  • No one understands how new visitors move down the marketing funnel to a conversion
  • The executive team is considering reallocating content marketing budgets
  • User engagement on content is very poor

All of these signs lead back to a common cause: the fundamentals of the content marketing program are not in place.

Here are the seven fundamentals that are essential to any successful content marketing program.

1 Understand Your Business Objectives

You’re not creating a content marketing program for fun. You’re creating it to accomplish a business objective.

The first fundamental of a great content marketing program is to define the business objectives you want your program to accomplish.

These objectives can include:

  • Brand Health
  • Marketing Optimization
  • Revenue Generation
  • Operational Efficiency
  • Customer Experience
  • Innovation

Once you’ve identified the business objectives of your content marketing efforts, you need to get buy-in from the c-suite to make it a reality.

2. Get Executive Buy-In

Your executives hold the keys to the resources your content marketing program needs. If you can’t get your executive’s buy-in and keep it over the years, your program is toast.

To get executive buy-in, focus on these six points:

  1. Why your organization needs content marketing—what is more appealing about it than other means of advertising/communication?
  2. Don’t lead with creatives when talking to executives. Your executives may like to see pretty mock-ups, but those don’t sell a program.
  3. Instead of creatives, lead with dollars and cents. This is the language of the c-suite.
  4. Tie the program to business objectives. How will the program be better than other programs at achieving specific objectives?
  5. Show how you will measure the strategy (this will be discussed in the fifth fundamental.)
  6. Lay out the budget and the expected return the c-suite should see as a result of the program. If you can’t demonstrate this, your content marketing budget will quickly get reallocated to projects that can.
3. Understand Your Audience’s Pain Points

Your content shouldn't be used as an advertisement for your products and services; rather, it should solve the problems of your audience.

You need to imagine yourself in your audience's shoes in order to comprehend the issues they face. What keeps them awake at night? What are their concerns? What content could you offer that would simplify their lives?

There are numerous sizes and shapes of pain points. An annoyance, such as gnats breaking through a window screen, might be a pain point. Or it could be a significant pain point, like knowing how to care for a parent who needs extra help. For the first example, a homemade gnat trap might be used, and for the second, an article outlining all of the essentials that a person should acquire in order to provide their parent with the best possible care might be used. Both of these examples can make use of content to alleviate those pain points.

4. Create a Documented Content Strategy

If you want to acquire and maintain resources for content marketing, you must sell your executives. Your budget will be quickly redirected if you are unable to demonstrate the ROI of your content marketing efforts without a documented content strategy.

A great content marketing strategy requires time and effort. However, it is crucial because the success of your entire content marketing strategy depends on it.

Additionally, it provides a single point of truth for your entire content team when developing future content marketing campaigns.

5. Identify the Methods and Metrics for Measurement

Before you produce a single piece of content, you must determine the methods and metrics that you will employ in order to demonstrate the value of your content marketing program.

The first fundamental of content marketing programs ought to serve as the foundation for these metrics: Know what your company's goals are.

Your content marketing strategy and each content marketing campaign ought to specify the metrics you use.

Companies that put off this step until the end of their campaign struggle to demonstrate its success. They are left with vanity metrics like total inbound traffic or social shares rather than solid metrics that demonstrate the content campaign drove an actual business outcome if they do not establish a clear method for measurement at the outset.

As a result, awkward conversations with the executive team ensue.

6. Identify the Most Effective Distribution Channels

How does your audience access content that aids in problem-solving?

Do they primarily use search? If so, then you should probably start with SEO.

Are most of your customers on social media? It might be time to write articles that are friendly to social media and will pique their interest.

Do they read a particular trade publication on a regular basis? Maybe a good channel is to use sponsored content on that publication.

7. Create Amazing, User-centric Content

Yes, we are currently discussing content creation at fundamental 7 of 7. This is due to the fact that the most crucial factor in the content's success at the business level is the research that precedes it.

Any content marketing campaign can't succeed without great, interesting content. Your audience must be the focus of that content, making them the protagonists.

You are not writing content to promote yourself. You are creating content to solve the problem of the user.

One of the most common mistakes made by organizations is this. They believe that content marketing is merely a method for writing lengthy advertisements. At the door, check your organization's ego.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to get your audience to do something else.

Offering a free trial, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading something even more valuable in exchange for an email address are all logical next steps that can naturally move audiences further down the marketing funnel.

You can nurture and build trust with them from that point on until they are ready to move on to working with your organization.