When you begin to create a content marketing campaign, it’s a little like putting together a puzzle piece by piece. You need to start with a solid framework, much like the edge pieces of the puzzle. What gets filled in the middle is all the dynamic data and creative outputs. But you have to start with the corners and work your way in, which is possible in five steps.
It doesn’t mean that content marketing is an exact formula—there are too many factors for everything to go as planned all the time, but when you use these steps, you won’t feel like it’s a puzzle with missing pieces.
In this post, we’re reviewing the steps to create a campaign, which is different than a content marketing strategy (this should already be in place). A campaign is usually based around a specific topic or audience and may run for a set parameter of time like 30, 60, or 90 days.
Let’s explore how to develop a content marketing campaign in five steps.
Step One: Define Goals
Goals are always the best place to start. Yet, so many companies don’t! Instead, they look at the creation of a campaign as truly transactional. They’ll send this list this email and post some content about it in different places. But the big question is why? Why send it? Why post it?
The goal also needs to be a bit more defined than “for conversions.” Sure, that’s what you want but attempt to put some more context around it. Start with the hypothesis of if you do x, you can expect y.
For example, a technology company is introducing a new feature. The campaign around this feature—and more importantly its benefits—could have goals of raising awareness, more engagement on social media, and generating inquiries about it. These are concrete goals that you can build a campaign around.
Step Two: Understand Your Audience
Knowing your audience and what matters to them is critical for a successful campaign. At this point, you should have detailed buyer personas. Based on your persona information and the topic of your campaign, decide what’s most important to them and use this to seed content ideas.
Without proper alignment with your audience, no matter how much content you create or emails you send, you won’t get the response you want.
Step Three: Determine How Many and What Kind of Assets to Produce
Content marketing campaigns need content. At this point, you need to decide what assets you’ll have to create or repurpose for the campaign. This is a good time to start your content calendar for the campaign.
The end result of the calendar should be that every asset and tactic is defined and posted by date. Anyone in your organization should be able to look at the calendar and know what’s happening that day.
Now, you have to fill that empty calendar in with great topic ideas and the format of those ideas. Content formats include video, eBooks, whitepapers, infographics, blogs, social media posts, landing pages, and more.
There’s no shortage of format options but be sure to choose those most relevant to your audience. Do they care about data? Whitepapers are a must. Or, are they visual? Video is the way to go.
If you aren’t sure about what they prefer, then consider the most popular types of content for B2B last year, which were: social media posts, case studies, video, eBooks, and infographics.
Once you have your formats determined, it’s time to decide on topics and keywords.
Step Four: Pick Topics and Identify Keywords
You can begin this exercise by looking at keywords that offer good opportunities based on volume, competition, and relevance. But don’t let them be the only thing that guides topics.
Content marketing isn’t as simple as just writing a bunch of stuff that’s keyword heavy. As a content marketer, your goal is to educate and inform audiences to build their trust and generate worthwhile conversions.
When choosing topics, there are lots of tools you could use. Find out what’s popular on the topic by using Buzzsumo to have a glimpse at high performing content for a certain topic. Another way to find topics is to find out what prospects and customers most ask about related the subject. Sales and service staff should have valuable insights on this.
Two more ways to develop content ideas that are completely free are to set up Google Alerts for topics, which is a good way to find out what’s trending or breaking. Quora, a question-and-answer site, can be a goldmine for topic ideas, as the questions asked are from real people who might fit your buyer persona.
For any content ideas that didn’t start from a keyword, you should identify keywords that are appropriate for the topic. Now you have formats, topics, and keywords complete.
Step Five: Distribution
Now that you know what kind of content you’ll be producing, it’s time to decide how to distribute it. This is such an important step and the one where many campaigns fall flat. You need to think creatively about how you’ll distribute content because content is not something that’s hard to find. Over 86 million blog posts are published on WordPress every month.
There are the givens: your website, social media, and email. But there are so many more ways to get your content out there, including:
- Publishing a condensed version as a LinkedIn post from a thought leader from your company that would then link to the post or page on your site.
- Post the content, which should be educational in nature, in relevant LinkedIn groups.
- Publish on a third-party site like Medium, which has a high authority number, but remember it shouldn’t be the same content word for word. Vary it or get dinged for the duplicate copy.
- Get active on Reddit, which also gives your brand a boost from Google.
- Shop your content with industry publications to add more thought leadership to the story.
You may also choose to use paid search or social media ads to get content in front of your audience. That can be a powerful support system for all your other efforts.
In just five steps, you’re much closer to filling in that puzzle. All you have to do now is create the content and get it out in front of your audience. You’ll be measuring everything along the way, which will come in handy for your next campaign, as you learn what your buyers most prefer.
Even though there are only five steps, it’s not easy to create content marketing campaigns. You can get some help from us. Get in touch today to learn more.