When tasked to launch content marketing, there are many levels to develop in order to get it right.  Our process, at FOC marketing, is to begin with identification.  Identification can be broken down initially to definition, objective, brand analysis, strategy, execution plan for a task or project.

Phase one we developed our Definition: content marketing is a form of push/pull marketing focused on writing, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online with integral focus on social media vehicles.

Phase two was comprised of three elements, Objective, Brand Analysis, and Strategy, and outlined the following elements:

Audience

Marketing simply put is to reach people.  In our blog article, Branding Matters, there are some key information points on knowing your audience and building relationships.  Please visit that article to read more on Knowing Your Audience including identifying customer objectives, challenges and solutions

Beyond that, it is important to use CRMs to segment demographics and behavioral attributes.  If you need to reach and influence a target customer, you need to have and understand their profile.  Marketers should always be testing, researching and collecting data on many facts and traits.

The demographic side tends to be easier to both develop and identify when talking about location, job title, age, etc.

Traits are more complicated to develop such as brand perceptions, corporate relationships, values, concerns, internal challenges and bad experiences.

First step is to cultivate an inclusive list for each of these and use it as a check list.

Data Research and Testing

Marrying these ‘wish lists’ with historical data is a critical step.  Analytics provide great information about ‘where you are’ and then you develop ‘where we want to be’.  From website traffic demographics and customer feedback to A/B test results on how audiences actually respond in different scenarios is an important base line of knowledge.

There are many digital tools through Google and countless others on demographic and online purchasing behavior development.  The more tools, the better until you feel you are in your groove.

Mapping

There are two types of mapping we are talking about here.  The first is the map of the path your target audience member is taking and the understanding of those experiences.  The second is the internal department project map or sprint that outlines the order of all tasks with deadlines as it relates to the overall project’s objective.

  • target audience path map has a quick checklist:
    • define the potential customer’s specific needs and where you plan to intersect your message
    • draw the potential customer’s path as they interact with your brand (remember that you are looking at this from their seat, not yours)
    • keep your marketing funnel visible on the project board with the understanding that their path is not going to follow it exactly
    • create different customer profiles and path maps for each profile you have.  Always start from the same best practice template understanding that adjustment will be based on the details
    • identify and rectify barriers that stand in the way of moving your potential customer to the next stage
  • internal department project map ….”the sprint”
    • commit to the developed Brand before you lay out the tasks that will embody it  ….  language, voice, tone, and key values.  
    • know the differences among these and make them visible to your team at all times before beginning:
      • POSITIONING STATEMENT
      • FEATURES & BENEFITS
      • TAGLINE
      • UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION (UVP)
    • have strategic sprint planning meetings with the full staff to develop the sprint as a team
    • build an agenda that includes: tasks, order of tasks and task owner responsibilities, deadlines
    • conduct weekly team meetings to determine the working progress

Organize Content

Because effective content marketing depends on proper targeting, take the time to plan, group and define your content by topic and vehicle. 

Topic at FOC could be polishing and lapping film vs. epoxy. 

Vehicles are simply technical articles, blogs, videos, etc.

Every content topic and content vehicle should have its own best practices documented and analytics being measured.  The results of those are what creates your developing content marketing process.

  • test , evaluate, do not be afraid of change….live by analytics
  • use a calendar as a visual snapshot of frequency for both topics and vehicles….. color coding has always worked well for us.  There a few quick tips on Creation of Promotion Calendars in our blog article, Promotion Best Practices, under Notes on Operations.

Reference our blog article, The Dilemma of Online Strategy, for more information on content checklists, SEO and digital campaigns.

Remember, A MARKETER AFRAID OF CHANGE IS NOT AN EFFECTIVE MARKETER.

Follow @KATHLEENSKELTON

Kathleen Skelton

About Kathleen Skelton

Kathleen Skelton, as FOC's Director of Strategic Marketing, utilizes her expertise in business development, online strategy, market planning, digital best practices, standard operating procedure development, and content management. A graduate of Curry College, she holds degrees in Communications and Education, English and Psychology. Kathleen resides outside of Boston, MA with her husband and four children. Follow @KATHLEENSKELTON