By Michael Weissman
Do you struggle with getting results from your content marketing? Perhaps you could benefit from the best practices of successful online content marketers. Here are seven steps that will get you going in the right direction.
- Have a plan. Most small business owners don’t think through what content they need and what that content is supposed to accomplish in engaging customers. Put together a customer journey map for your content marketing, and figure out what information the customer needs at what point in the journey.
- Use your bullets wisely. Often, companies create content and then just “spray and pray”–aimlessly sending out content to whoever and wherever they can get it placed. They hope that by putting tons of content all over the place, they are building their brand. Yet, that creates noise, not engagement. The smarter approach is to know your audience and where they go and be very focused about what you are doing. Build a set of targets and focus your attention only on those customers and locations.
- Tell a unifying story. Instead of sending single, discrete pieces of content, integrate your message and package it together into interactive, dynamic experiences that engage the customer more completely in every digital touch-point. Sites like Prezi.com and SYNQY.com can help you tell more integrated stories.
- Distribute effectively. Once you know what you want to say and how to say it well, then you need to get it into the hands of people who can share your story on your behalf. Again, more planning is useful here to think through the best mechanisms to getting users access to that content. Consider using extranets or other sharing systems. There are a range of tools like Dlvr.it and others that can be used to get your content out there.
- Know where your content goes. It’s of paramount importance that you know who is actually using your content. Sometimes, good companies are using your content. But sometimes, not-so-great companies use it too. These “black hat” companies often misuse or steal your content or misrepresent your brand in fraudulent ways. Solutions like Google’s reverse image search or TinEye are useful in tracking where your content is online.
- Control and manage updates. The next step is all about retaining control of distributed branded content. This means keeping the content tethered and managing that content remotely. It makes no sense in this day and age to be sending static content out to websites. Embed-code driven applications such as YouTube, SlideShare, SYNQY, Scribd and others are superior approaches to to sending static files to partners.
- Report and track ROI. The final piece is to measure, measure, measure. Like every other aspect of marketing, content marketing investments should be tracked and measured. Make sure your content is always where it needs to be and is always delivering. Update it and keep it fresh.
With 25 years of high-tech marketing experience with large companies and startups, Michael Weissman is currently Chairman and CEO of SYNQY Corp. (SYNQY.com)—the first company enabling marketers to consistently deliver and control brand experiences on websites they don’t own, transforming static brand assets into a fully functional platform that delivers relevant content and services to the consumer, right where they are already engaged online. He may be reached at www.SYNQY.com. Follow SYNQY on Twitter @SYNQY.