Small Growth Content Marketing CollageLast week I discussed the process of developing personas so you understand who you’re talking to and what message that you need to be delivering to them.  Once you know who you’re talking to and what to say, who do you engage them?

Today content marketing seems to be all the buzz, but can you afford to do it?  Depending on your business and who you’re talking to, it might be the right strategy.  But, before you embark on that journey, there are some things you should know!

What’s Your Goal Using Content Marketing?

As with any new campaign, the first thing you need to know is, what’s your objective?  The Content Marketing Institutes/Marketing Profs recently published a report, B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends in North America here is an interesting fact.

If you notice, there are a number of goals that are well served by content marketing.  Are any of your major business objectives in the top of this list?  If so, the content marketing might be a good tactic to employ to achieve your objectives.  If not, then as Jack Sparrow would say, “run away, run away.”

Why would you run away from something that is hot?  Because it’s not a marketing tactic that will best serve your business purpose.


Do You Have the Resources to Employee Content Marketing?

Ok, so content marketing makes sense for your business objective, but can you support the effort?  While content marketing may not have a direct expense like many traditional marketing tactics, it does require a time commitment.  The time commitment is one that is far greater than many business owners realize before committing to content marketing.

If you are not posting new content on a regular basis, then you’re not really practicing content marketing.  Do you have the time or the staff that can commit to this kind of marketing effort?  And if you do commit them to this what else are you taking them off to do it?

I see business owners make these kinds of decisions all the time.  They frequently decide without realizing the commitment of resources that they are making.

Now, you can outsource this effort to a content marketing company.  But, then you have just taken your marketing dollars and moved them somewhere else.  Before you do it, make sure that the other marketing tactic was not providing a greater ROI than content marketing.  This is a little tricky to calculate, but it can be done.

Script Your Content Marketing Efforts

Content_Marketing_CalendarIf you notice most of my blog posts sort of follow a theme that build upon each other week to week.  That’s because I plan my posts.  I have an editorial calendar that I follow.  To effectively use content marketing you have to do the same.

First you need to define the message that you want to communicate.  We talked about this last week.  Now you need to outline how are you going to communicate this message over time?  What information will you need to tell that story?  Where can you find this information?  What is the best way to assemble it to tell your story?

Let me give you my example.  When I started this blog the purpose was to give me a way to easily begin writing my next book.  So, I defined the topic – small business growth.  Next, I outlined the things that impact business growth.  Finally, I researched those areas and setup Google Alerts to feed any new information about those areas daily.

Now with all the pieces I needed, I set a day to write each week.  I write my post Tuesday as it seems to get the best readership via Google Analytics.  I add posts to my social media channels – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. as I see articles throughout the week that are in the areas of interest of my audience.  So, this gives me a fairly good content marketing plan.

Is Content Marketing the Right Tactic for You?

So, don’t jump in blindly.  First make sure that you’re defined your target market by identifying your customer personas.

Next, do some research.  Find out if your target uses online channels to find companies like yours.  If they do, can you commit the resources needed to support a content marketing effort.

Finally, make sure you know what story you want to tell.  Use that theme as a focus of research and topics on which to write and schedule it to make sure it happens!

If you have to search for outside help, make sure they are showing you that this process is where you need to go.  If not, guess what, they’re just a content marketing “wannabe” and you should look elsewhere.

Another option is looking at a connect provider.  DE, Inc. has become one with all the material that we have compiled through our own content marketing efforts.  Our content marketing affiliate program may give you an idea of what a service like this might look like.

Well, good luck and happy posting if you look to go down the content marketing path.  If you’ve already gone down this path share your story.  Have you found it to be a successful marketing effort for your business?