Effective Content Marketing: What Does It Really Take?

by Arnold Lee | 21.08.2020

Content marketing is ubiquitous in the digital era. It is a strategic way to generate leads, build trust, and cultivate loyalty. Despite its widespread adoption, many executives still have a vague understanding of how it works.

Due to the proliferation of content marketing services, brand managers and marketers often think that hiring a few freelancers or an in-house specialist would be enough to deliver the results they seek. However, the process is more complicated than how it may seem at first glance.

Content marketing entails more than just creating material for the sake of publishing content. It requires a strategic approach to communication strategy and content distribution. Brands often fail at content marketing not because of poor content quality, but because of a lack of strategy driving their campaigns.

To help you better understand how content marketing operates, we’ll take you through the standard content marketing workflow.

Learn how to establish effective content marketing operation for your brand

Mischka

Content Marketing Definition

Content marketing involves producing and sharing different types of materials to effectively communicate with and ignite the interest of a brand’s target consumer. Efficient content marketing involves delivering the right message in the right format and at the right time to your “ideal” audience.

About 69.6% of businesses invest in content marketing. Its growing popularity has led to the explosion of different forms of branded or sponsored online content, such as articles, podcasts, and videos, across various digital platforms. Standing out can be a challenge, especially when brands don’t have a clear content strategy. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to content marketing. Since businesses differ in nature, style, and size, each company should use a unique set of solutions and a tailored content strategy. 

The Content Marketing Workflow

Let’s delve deeper into the content creation process behind developing successful campaigns. 

Research on Your Target Audience

Modern consumers are more well-informed than ever before. As they become more selective and critical of the content they consume, you have to be more strategic with your efforts. You need to understand the needs, interests, and pain points of your audience so you can produce content that’s valuable to them.

The better you understand your audience, the more effectively you can reach and captivate them. For instance, knowing which platforms they frequent and what types of content they engage with the most can help you determine the right digital channels and the forms of content to use.

A Market Research Specialist can help you gather and analyze consumer data and glean valuable insights.  Market Research Specialists may run surveys and polls to learn more about your consumer. They can also ask for reviews and feedback to figure out why consumers are interested in your products or services. 

By getting to know your audience, you can have a better grasp of the type of content and messages that they would want to consume. You can also become a credible source on the subjects that matter most to your audience. 

More importantly, tailoring your campaigns to cater to the needs and interests of a specific audience will increase your chances of earning their trust, and gaining their loyalty.

Note that if you run a B2B company, customer profiling might be a bit different. Since you’re dealing with organizations instead of individual consumers, you’ll need to identify each target company’s primary decision-maker.

Track Competitor Activities

Market Research Specialists also can help you learn more about your direct competitors. They can aid you in identifying what your competition is doing to stand out.

By keeping a close eye on competing brands’ digital marketing efforts, you can determine unsuccessful strategies, avoid ineffective tactics, and identify missed opportunities.

Market Research Specialists usually run an audit of the different types of content your competitors produce and evaluate them. They look at the engagement levels, such as shares, likes, and comments, and give insights on what works and what doesn’t. Through reports, they can help you spot key trends and understand your audience further. 

Analyzing your rivals’ marketing activities might be time-consuming, but it is an essential part of creating a successful content strategy. By keeping a close eye on the market’s key players, you can create unique, differentiated content that puts your brand ahead of the competition.

Define Your Key Message

Once you‘ve gathered sufficient data, you’ll have a strong foundation for crafting a brand message that can resonate with your audience, and you may opt to do this with the help of a Content Strategist.

A number of marketers skip this process and jump straight to creating their content. This approach may initially seem quicker, but it can be inefficient and costly over time. If you don’t have a clear core message, your audience might not be able to easily associate the content you produce with your brand and its equity.

Here are some of the points a Content Strategist needs to determine:

  • What do you want your brand to be known for? 
  • What do you want to stand for? 
  • What message do you need to share with your audience? 
  • Will this message resonate? 
  • Will it drive sales?

The brand message articulates what makes your company different from the rest. At the same time, it shows how these differences may affect your audience.

Plan Your Content Formats

The next step of the Content Strategy would be to think of the best possible ways to share your brand’s unique value proposition and personality. 

“Ideally, a brand should define one clear message that is used throughout all communication,” believes Yuliya Gorenko, Strategic Advisor at Mischka.

“This message can be modified into various content formats, from long-term whitepapers and e-books to tweets or 5-second YouTube pre-rolls.”

While it is tempting to select the highest-performing content formats available, it’s important to consider the ones that engage your target audience the most. Take TikTok for example. This popular platform has massive reach. But the question is: does your audience consume this type of content?

Instead of going for the most popular options, select the formats that make the most sense for your brand and your audience.

Take note that you can repurpose content as well. You can turn articles into infographics to improve shareability. You can produce free resources, such as whitepapers and e-books, as rewards for audiences who subscribe to your email list. You may also create visual assets for Instagram or Pinterest to drive traffic to your website.

A Content Strategist can identify the most ideal formats for your brand. They can help you produce a comprehensive content strategy that can reach consumers at different phases of the sales funnel.

Partner With Influencers

Content marketing isn’t entirely about creating brand assets. It also entails making strategic partnerships with influencers and thought leaders in your niche.

Influencers are people who are well-known for their in-depth knowledge about certain subjects or fields of interest. Their recommendations and opinions are highly regarded by their followers. Unlike traditional celebrities, they have stronger connections with their communities. They use social media to build and maintain these connections.

Macro-influencers have a huge following, ranging from a hundred thousand to millions of followers. Due to their massive reach, you might want to partner with them if your objective is to raise awareness. 

Micro-influencers, on the other hand, have a smaller number of followers. However, they are often deemed to be more effective at driving consumer action because they maintain tight-knit relationships with their community. 

So, how can influencers help with your campaigns?

You may ask them to share their personal insights on the subject or experiences with your product through testimonial videos or blog posts. In doing so, you can build highly-engaging campaigns. You can also drive profitable consumer action.

Influencer marketing may require the expertise of an Influencer Relations Manager. This specialist can help you carefully select, reach out to, negotiate with, and cultivate a good relationship with influencers who fit your brand and your target audience. An Influencer Manager will also come up with engaging ideas for effective influencer marketing campaigns.

Develop Your SEO Strategy

Search engine optimization is a fundamental part of your content strategy. 

Content marketing should go hand in hand with SEO efforts so that you can cut through the noise online. Before you start writing articles for your company blog, you need a keyword strategy to maximize site traffic and visibility.

By creating informative resources instead of spammy content, you allow search engines to easily crawl your web pages and improve your brand’s visibility online. As long as you use white hat SEO strategies, you can reap the benefits that come with the approach. Although search engine algorithms are constantly changing, you can maintain and raise the rank of your content by keeping it up-to-date and relevant.

Content Creation

Effective content creation is a crucial part of a brand’s content marketing strategy. But as we’ve figured out above, content production is only one of the steps in the entire content marketing process. Once you have a content strategy mapped out, you can start producing content for your audience.

You might have to hire various creative professionals for this. Writers and editors can collaborate with you on creating valuable resources, such as blogs, social media posts, and e-books, based on the briefs that the Content Strategist assigns. 

Moreover, you might need to get graphic designers, illustrators, animators, photographers, or videographers on board to help you with different types of visual assets.

Content Distribution

Once your creative team produces the content, it’s the job of the Outreach Specialist to amplify the visibility of the publication. Reaching out to relevant blogs with a request to link back to your content or republishing it on relevant online media are effective techniques to promote your content. 

Aside from this, having a Community Manager on your team will allow you to expose your content and brand message to the real people at where they are. This professional can use relevant social channels and online platforms to share your content. 

Referring to the data gathered on the research step will help the outreach team make well-informed decisions on the best channels for content distribution. Regardless of which and how many platforms your brand is going to use for content promotion, it’s important to ensure a cohesive brand presence in all of them.

Performance Analysis and Reporting

Brand’s content marketing efforts pay off in a variety of ways – engaging content can attract new customers, convert them into loyal clients, and foster client retention.  

It’s important to measure the performance of your content marketing operation. An Analyst on your team will help you set the right business goals for your content strategy. They can also track the accomplishment of these goals by providing you with a detailed performance report. 

Content Marketing Operation

Here’s a recap of the functions and roles required for smooth content marketing operation.

content-marketing-workflow-breakdown-by-function

Conclusion

The scope of content marketing extends well beyond content creation. No matter the size of the company or the scale of the operation, you will need a team of specialists on your side who can help you strategize, produce content, and effectively reach the right audiences.

If you need to run full-cycle content marketing campaigns but have limited headcount available, it might be more efficient to seek content marketing services from professional agencies than to hire in-house specialists. 

A content marketing agency will strategize and execute a comprehensive content workflow for your brand, so you can focus on what you do best – running your business.

Interested in learning more about how your company can start benefiting from content marketing? Contact Mischka team today to help you establish and operate effective content marketing for your brand. 

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