fireIs your idea of content marketing to:

  1. Publish newsletters periodically but not consistently?
  2. Write about an eclectic mix of topics that may or may not be relevant to your audience?
  3. Reach out to your audience only when you have something to promote or when sales are slow?
  4. Churn out copy that varies in quality, voice, and tone?

If so, it might be time to heat up your content marketing program. If your content marketing is not heating up your business, there are ways you can raise the temperature and generate real results. The key is to follow these four best practices:

1. Create a Content Marketing Strategy With Your Audience in Mind

The best marketing and business decisions are guided by a strategy and plan, and your content marketing is no exception. Your content helps you engage with your target audiences, get found online, build credibility and thought leadership, and convert readers to customers. So why would you leave that to chance? Understanding your audience and developing a content marketing plan will help you to stay focused and use your resources most effectively.

Get Started Today: Create a detailed persona of every target content consumer you want to reach. Be sure that persona includes demographics and anything you know about their needs, likes, and content consuming habits.

2. Decide How You Will Make Content Available

If you took the time to really understand your audience and plan your content, this next step should be very easy. As you plan your content and who you are writing for, think about the best way to deliver that information. Is the content best delivered as a whitepaper available on your website after completing a short form that you announce in your newsletter? Is your content best delivered as a short, compelling blog post that you tweet about? Or should you create an educational video that you post to YouTube?

Get Started Today: Choose an existing piece of content to see how you can adapt or refine it for your new distribution method OR work the new distribution method into your next new content piece. (e.g. Turn a blog entry into three status updates on your company Facebook Page.)

3. Document Standards and Write From the Audience's Perspective

Consistently creating high-quality, audience-focused content is the biggest challenge most organizations face in their content marketing program. You will be one step ahead of many people if you have assigned an overall owner and then delegated topics (and a schedule) to various content creators. But you still need documented standards and a final review to make sure all the pieces that come from your organization are consistent and present an image that is in line with your overall brand goals.

Get Started Today: Review all content you are producing for appropriate calls-to-action so you make it as easy as possible for your audience to take a desired action.

4. Measure, Track, and Tweak

If you have taken the time to set specific goals for your content marketing program and invested in executing the activities to meet those goals, then it’s important to track your progress along the way. The beauty of most content marketing vehicles is that they offer clear tracking metrics. You may want to measure the number of blog comments, Facebook “Likes,” or whitepaper downloads you receive, for example, and that is easy to do. If you are considering a content marketing format or distribution method that is not easily measured, think about another option that you can track.

Get Started Today: Review how many qualified leads your content has generated in the past month or quarter. See which content generated those leads, and plan to create more of it. You can also see how your current program is faring with our Content Marketing Grader, which will tell you if your program is hot or cold and offer tips on what to do next.

In what other ways can you add fuel to your content marketing fire?

This is a g
uest post written by Susan LaPlante-Dube, principal at Precision Marketing Group LLC and sponsor of this year's HubSpot User Group Summit.

Photo Credit: p.Gordon


Originally published Sep 13, 2011 8:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016


Content Marketing Strategy