Content marketing is fundamentally about being a helpful resource for you target audience. But amid all the acronyms and buzzwords — SEO, SEM, impressions, engagement, etc., — it’s easy to lose sight of this basic principle. Not a lot of people know how to excel at content marketing, but it’s truly not that complicated — as much as we may hate to admit it.
To demystify the process, we’ve come up with a quick guide to producing and distributing great content. The truth is, you create content every day. With just a few tips, you can be on your way toward using that content to achieve your objectives much more efficiently and by using less resources.
Review Your Existing Content
Here’s step one: start with what you already have. Your existing content can still offer significant value. In fact, you may have already done a lot of the hard work involved in content marketing without even realizing it.
If you’ve uploaded a short video to Instagram or your website, you’ve created several pieces you can already work with: scripts, frames, a creative brief. All of these on their own can be modified to become images for Twitter and Facebook or they can stand alone in a blog, story idea for local media or email newsletter.
In addition, the content you already have gives you an idea of what works — or not. Have a look at your past analytics. Use the data to figure out what people are already interested in. These are the website pages that earn repeat visits, so check Google Analytics. Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics are also a treasure trove, offering valuable insights into who you are actually communicating with on social. Update your content based on these insights and redistribute content through the most relevant channels.
Identify the Best Distribution Channels
I suppose one of the more challenging pieces to content marketing is trying to figure out, once you have a great piece of content, where do you put it? What channels make the most sense? Frankly, it depends on your audience and your goals.
Keep your primary channel in mind and consider creating a hub where all future content will live. A website, a landing page, any owned channel will do. From there, you’ll need to do some digging to learn what has worked in the past, how you’ve seen other like content perform and couple those learnings with some of the data we recommended previously.
Here are some general examples of what channels make the most sense for varying types of content:
- Travel and inspirational photos or video: Instagram, Instagram Stories
- Informative, educational and helpful content: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, the blog
- Technical and in-depth case studies, reports or studies: the website, gated landing page, link in an email newsletter
- Industry best practices or professional development listicles or blogs: LinkedIn, Twitter, the blog
Keep in mind, these channels appeal to different audiences. Know your target audiences, and their behaviors, develop and distribute content on channels when those audiences are most likely to consume your content.
Selecting an Angle
Each channel appeals to a certain audience. Long-form content might be reserved for professional networks like LinkedIn while your short, quirky nuggets perform best on Instagram or Twitter.
If you’re unfamiliar with the inner workings of these, or any channels for that matter, give each one a visit and read the “about” pages to get a feel for the environment. Think outside the box to determine what is the best fit for the message you are trying to communicate. For example:
- Are you trying to encourage travel to a specific destination? Consider a vlog or Instagram Story
- To educate people about the car buying process: Host a Twitter chat or Facebook Live and then share to YouTube
- To provide tech job seekers with valuable insights into their industry: Draft a listicle of 5 top watercooler topics in tech right now and then tweet the link using specific hashtags (#techjobs)
Of course, you may opt for several more formats, but you get the idea. Always go back to your goals and consider what’s most effective for your audience. One size does not fit all.
Measure & Optimize
After you’ve implemented a content strategy, you should assess its success, often. Before rolling out a strategy, identify a few key performance metrics that align with your content goals. Think about what you want your content to accomplish and who you are looking to help. Here are a few suggestions:
- Generate 20% more traffic to a website or landing page
- Increase engagement by 10% on Twitter and Facebook
Or, perhaps your goals are broader and will be drilled down after some testing and optimizations:
- Garner more email newsletter opt-ins
- Increase top-of-funnel sales leads
- Become more of a thought leader
Of course, you may want or need all of the above goals. But to start, focus on one or two and get specific. Then measure and optimize your efforts often to better understand what’s working and how to continue to build a stronger content strategy.
Start With What Works and Meet Your Goals
If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of developing a content strategy, take heart. It’s simply an extension of what you are likely already doing. By reviewing your existing content, taking stock of your distribution channels and setting up some key performance metrics, you are well on your way to becoming much more efficient and resourceful in your approach, and ultimately more successful.