Mid-Altantic Marketing Summit 2016 - Content Marketing

I was intrigued by the title of this next session – I Became a Content Marketer Last Year: Now What? – and I’m glad to say it was just as interesting as I hoped. The presenter for this session was Greg Kihlström, CEO, Carousel30.

First off, what exactly is content marketing? It’s a way of talking about everything that has to do with your brand. It isn’t just about making a sale or running an ad. When it comes to content marketing audiences want to feel a connection with your brand and they want to know that your values align with theirs. Ultimately, audiences want to have help solving their challenges.

While most people probably feel that they can do content marketing and that it’s simple, Greg pointed out that great content marketing doesn’t always feel like marketing. In fact, it solves problems instead of asking for something and the combination of these two things builds loyalty because it helps consumers understand what you stand for.

Greg also pointed out that when it comes to content marketing you are not alone. Investment in content marketing is on the rise and many marketers now have dedicated content marketing budgets.

So we’ve gotten through the basics, and you’ve established a content marketing plan. Now what?

Greg advises that you remember why you became a content marketer. Hopefully the reasons are because you wanted to create a conversation, shape brand perception and gauge public opinion because you realize that traditional marketing and adverting can’t and won’t reach everyone you need to reach.

But content marketing comes with its own set of challenge. Some of those challenges include:

  • Too many channels and not enough time. How do you choose what platforms to be on?
  • It can be hard to measure effectiveness
  • You have no way of anticipating the unanticipated. When an opportunity arises you never thought of how do you work that in to the mix?

Now you’re ready to move forward but need to know where to start? The first step is to identify the components of the content marketing team – typically editors and creators. Next you need to establish guidelines – which includes outlining the process, the lexicon (agreed-upon terminology everyone understands), and style and brand guidelines. It’s equally important to identify up front what you are measuring (engagements, conversions, multi-channel success).

Once you’ve gotten your content marketing strategy established, how do you make it successful? Greg laid out five steps:

  1. Make it manageable – Remember the team and guidelines, maintain a content marketing plan editorial calendar, and balance other efforts as they come up (you’re your eyes on the prize – don’t get distracted but leave room for the unknown)
  2. Make it measureable – Measurement needs to be defined at the start, built into everything you create, and optimized with a testing plan. An astonishing 86% of content marketers say they are not held accountable for business metrics from content they produce. Don’t be like them; hold yourself accountable.
  3. Grow & share – If your audience is small you need to grow it and make your content shareable. You want people to want to share it.
  4. Make it about your audience – Your content has to be useful to them. It can’t just be sell, sell, sell. Additionally, content must be mobile friendly and must be something your audience is looking for. Keep in mind that your audience may not be looking for your product but rather a solution to their problem.
  5. Give you audience something to do – Involve your audience (could be a contest) and remember to make your message personalized. 83% of content marketers cited personalization as their biggest challenge.

With all of that behind us and your plan well under way, what’s next? According to Greg it’s to:

  • Analyze your results
  • Review/revise
  • Optimize
  • Repeat

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