Content marketing: Everybody's jumping on this hot area, coming up with innovative ways to reach their audiences. Marketers are creating TV shows, online videos, social media strategies, white papers, blogs, listicles—the opportunities in this area are endless, and marketers are taking advantage of that.
This area is growing. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 60% of BtoC marketers planned to increase their content marketing budgets this year while 70% of BtoB marketers say they're producing more content now than a year ago.
Of course, content marketing isn't new—it's been around for a long time under different names—but the ability to reach and appeal to audiences has never been greater. If you're doing it right, that is. Creating content is easy. Creating great content that connects with your target audience in the right place, and then tracking the results, is complicated. The top challenge when it comes to content marketing is creating engaging content, cited by 51% of marketers and agency executives in an Ad Age Content Marketing survey earlier this year. Partnering with the right content company can make all the difference.
To find the right partner and succeed in the content arena, marketers need to consider four essential areas:
1. Content strategy
Getting started in content marketing requires a solid strategic plan. Once you've decided to try content, you need to determine why: Who do you want to reach? Why is content the best approach? What kind of timeline do you have?
Companies that specialize in content strategy can help you figure out the basics of creating a content program. This runs the gamut from figuring out what your goal is, determining who you want to reach, setting a budget, figuring out what media will work best to meet our goal and, finally, establishing success metrics.
2. Content creation
Once you've established a plan, you need to create the content. Partnering with a company that produces content will save you a lot of headaches. These companies have the staff in place and the expertise to create the product you want, from websites, to social media posts, to TV shows, to print products.
The content creation firm will develop the initial concept based on your goals and handle it through to the completed project, all while working with you to create content to connect with your desired audience.
3. Content distribution
You may think that distribution is obvious. If you're creating a blog post, you want it on your own site, right? Or you create a white paper and then hand it out to your customers. But those options can be limiting and ignore the issues of promotion and amplification. A white paper can be handed out to your customers and posted on your website. A bylined piece could appear in print, on your website or even someone else's website. You could produce video for your website and post it in social media.
If you already know where and how you want to distribute the piece, there may be options you haven't considered that would complement your basic plan, or strategies that will further your reach. The right partner will help you determine the best distribution plan for your marketing goals.
You've established your strategy, created your content and distributed it. But your work isn't finished. Now you need to measure your results to find out what worked and what didn't. Companies specializing in analytics can help you set your main KPIs. Then, using these metrics as a guide, they'll work with you to find out who you reached and how your efforts measured up based on your initial objectives. These results will help you improve your ongoing efforts.
While these four steps cover the basics, marketers will find that doing content involves a lot hard work and can be more complex than they anticipate. To assist you with your content strategy needs, the Ad Age Content Strategy Studio has created the Content Marketing Guide, highlighting partners that can work with you in these four areas to help you succeed in content marketing.
About the Sponsor
The Ad Age Content Strategy Studio works with companies to help them tell their brand stories their way. Built on Ad Age's heritage of editorial expertise and excellence, the Content Strategy Studio works to develop articles, blogs, video, microsites, research, events, white papers and other opportunities to provide end-to-end solutions for brands that will create the story that's fueling today's conversations.