Back in the '60s, computers were big. Really big. Usually, they’d take up entire rooms or even buildings.
How did computers go from building-sized monsters down to pocket-sized companions? The answer is a process.
In 1971 Intel used the process of integrating circuits to build the first commercially available microprocessor. This revolutionary process caught on and gained speed. Every year microprocessors become smaller and faster thanks to this process.
In 2017, your smartphone is far more powerful than NASA’s computers were in the '60s, and the thing that made it possible was following a process.
Content marketing needs a process too
When you first start exploring content marketing, it might feel as big and expansive as one of those '60s style computers. It can be clunky, difficult to understand, and hard to get it to work. You have to integrate blog posts, lead magnets, sales funnels, emails, and traditional advertising into a single marketing effort.
Following a process can be all it takes to revolutionize your content marketing. It can make it as simple as answering a call to your phone.
The Content Reactor has worked hard to develop a process to help you. We’ve combined our experience, industry best practices, and feedback from business owners like you to create our own process. Hopefully, it will revolutionize your content marketing.
Let’s look at an overview of each step in this process.
Step 1: Research
Before you do any content marketing, you need to do your research. This will be the basis for every decision you make in subsequent steps of the process. Just like you follow instructions from your GPS to get to your destination, you need to listen to your research to create successful content marketing.
What do you need to research? There are three main categories that we recommend:
- Your audience. Learn their challenges, needs, how they prefer to learn, and what they expect from a company in your space. The easiest way to learn this is by using HubSpot’s buyer persona process.
- Your company. You need to understand your company’s core values, goals, and motivation to communicate in a genuine and relatable way. Do a brand sprint and use the golden circle to learn more about your company.
- Your competitors. The final piece of the puzzle is understanding your competitive landscape. You need to know how the competition communicates and markets themselves to find opportunities to stand out and be different. Your brand sprint will reveal a lot of this to you, but also consider doing a SWOT analysis to deepen your understanding of the market.
This basic research will take you at least a week to complete. However, it will save you massive amounts of time later on, and it will ensure the success of your content marketing.
Step 2: Strategy
Your research isn’t meant to live in a doc collecting dust. It should drive your business decisions and lead your marketing. This requires you to create a content strategy.
A content strategy is a plan for getting the right content in front of the right people at the right time. Your research has told you who your audience is, what content they want to read, and when/where they read it. How do you turn that into a plan?
- Choose KPIs for your content that will help you to reach your business goals. For example, you may want to double the number of visitors to your site and increase your conversion rate to hit your target sales numbers.
- Create a plan for the types of content you will produce and the format you’ll present it in.
- Outline the steps for amplifying the content to the right visitors.
- Put this into a publishing calendar.
Your content strategy is the roadmap that helps your business reach its goals.
Step 3: Production
Once your content strategy is in place, the next step is content marketing or producing the content. This is where many campaigns fail since writing is hard and people aren’t always consistent.
There are a few essential things you need to keep your content marketing efforts on track. They will keep you organized, ahead of schedule, and in line with your plan. Here they are:
- Create a content calendar to help you keep track of due dates, authors, links to files, keywords, and social media posts.
- Start your content efforts early to build up a few weeks' worth of content before starting to publish it.
- Have a solid writing process. Every piece of content should have a writer, editor, and final reviewer.
- Create a style guide for your project to ensure everyone uses the same voice, structure, writing style, and tone.
- Set hard deadlines and have someone enforce them, make writers feel accountable for delivering on time.
Producing content in a consistent, deliberate way is a must if you want it to be effective. Just like you need to take your full course of antibiotics to get healthy, you need to execute your entire marketing plan to see results.
Step 4: Refinement
This step starts a few minutes after you produce your first piece of content. Your research has given you an idea of what might work, but now’s the time to see if it actually did.
During the refinement phase, you want to look at cold hard data. How many visits is each piece of content getting, how long do those visitors stay on the site, are they converting into marketing qualified leads?
You also need to take into account the human side of it. What do the comments or social media posts say about the content? Is it striking a chord? Reaching a small, passionate audience can sometimes be better than casting a wide net.
Here are a few refinements that can be made during this phase:
- You notice that one type of title receives more clicks and more time on-site, for example, “10 content marketing tips.” Based on this, you update other titles to use this same formula and track results to see if there’s any improvement.
- You notice that users share your content strategy articles more often than they share content marketing offers. This prompts you to promote content strategy articles more heavily on social media.
- You notice that one of your lead magnets is performing twice as well as the others. Based on this, you use the high-performing lead magnet more often than the others to see if it increases leads.
The refinement stage is all about seeing what’s working and doing more of that while eliminating the things that don’t work. This is done on the fly to help you adjust future content or refine content that’s already been published.
Having a process is the key
A process is what made it possible for a giant computer to be sized down to manageable proportions. This has revolutionized countless industries and made dream technology possible in the real world.
Applying a process to your content marketing is key to making it successful. This success can revolutionize your business, bring a stable income, and create loyalty among your customers.
If you’re ready to try content marketing, then please contact us. We’d be happy to help you set up the right plan and process for you.