How to develop a content marketing program

These three steps can make the difference between success and failure.

We have heard the drumbeat of the importance of content marketing for years.

Long before it was labeled “content marketing,” communications pros were using it in client work. Yet, with heightened focus (and more dollars spent) on content marketing these days, many pros are doubling down and ensuring that they have a masterful grasp on what is needed to create and sustain successful content marketing programs.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and ultimately to drive profitable customer action.

Content marketing is a valuable tool in the communications arsenal. Content marketing supports your efforts to:

  • Create and amplify brand awareness
  • Connect and engage your target audience
  • Demonstrate thought leadership
  • Generate and nurture new business leads
  • Build trust

Furthermore, as a solo PR pro, mastering content marketing opens up business opportunities for you. In a recent survey, 93 percent of respondents indicated that they outsource all or part of the execution of their digital marketing tactics to specialists, while nearly two-thirds consider collaboration between outsourced and in-house resources as the most effective way to produce content.

To plan and manage a successful content marketing program, don’t forget these three key steps:

Step 1: Define your goals.

Articulate what you want to achieve with your content marketing program.  Before you can guide your clients’ programs (or your own), you have to clearly define goals. Take a broad view and look at the overall organizational goals—what is driving the organization in the next 6, 12 or 18 months? How does content marketing fit into that plan?

Step 2: Gain approval and buy-in from stakeholders.

To successfully create and manage a content marketing program for clients, you need all key stakeholders to be on board with the strategy. This may include the CEO, CMO, marketing team, social team and others. There is nothing more frustrating than having a strategy that you know works and hitting internal roadblocks that derail the program. You can be proactive by engaging the right people right from the start.

Step 3: Define success targets and measure them.

To show the value of any communications program, you have to show results. Use Step 1 to define what you will measure. For example, if the goal is lead generation, you could track lead forms, web traffic or appointments.

These 3 steps are not all that you need to do, but they will help you to set a solid foundation to plan and manage a successful content marketing program.

We’d love to hear from you. What are your top tips for building successful content marketing programs?

A version of this post first appeared on Solo PR Pro.

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