How to begin your Content Marketing journey is a daunting ask, for anyone. When I began a real job in Content Marketing, there was tons of material to start from on the topic- overwhelming if you ask me honestly. For any company big or small, or a start-up even, or individuals trying to get on with their “personal branding”, buzzwords fall from the Twitter heaven, a dime a dozen. The most I’ve learnt with respect to content or branding has been when I’m hands on and trying things. But it is also fair to say that whenever I’ve had something new to invest time and effort in, I have looked up the Google search or Social Media channels, and books to see how I can teach myself DIY hacks and improve my Content Marketing efforts. It is a constant beta and I am not reluctant to admit, we are all learning.
Many people often ask my this: what are the key tips. I am assuming this indicates many struggle with defining priorities with respect to Content Marketing. It is still new, and the rules are not always defined considering how real-time it is. However, coming back to the question on #1 important tip about Content Marketing, I have come to conclude that if you really had to read 1 book on content marketing: please get yourself a copy of Jay Baer’s: Youtility. The tip it propagates is simple: let your content be useful.
I had been blogging since 2003, although, for fun and a lot of testing. So, while I’ve had experience in content creation, Content Marketing in the corporate domain meant that it was a conscious decision leading to some real benefits to the brand/company. This meant measurable success. The reason why Youtility is so good, is because it allows you to find a method that really does work. It doesn’t matter if you come from a content-sexy industry (hello: Hugo Boss) or a rather un-sexy one say, metals & pipes- you soon realize, that being useful is a plan that works irrespective of the product, branch or functional area.
The key reasons you may want to get into Content Marketing as a part of your marketing strategy could vary from:
1) Build a stronger brand image through content marketing by way of organic & strong storytelling positioning the brand no longer as a seller but as a publisher, creator
2) Build user engagement through using various media platform to join conversations, talk to consumers and potential leads
3) Generate Sales through specific funneled campaigns and a well drafted plan. Allowing consumers to choose Brand “You” in their Zero-moment-of-truth
How to begin your Content Marketing Journey
1) Set Your Content Marketing Intent: Utility content and a Content Marketing strategy needs goals that the brand may have with a well thought out, simple (not easy but structured) method to reach these goals and track them (the full circle)
2) Create useful consumer experiences on a daily basis: This trumps creating a single one time viral post (although that’s wonderful while hardly predictable). People tend to talk about creating exceptional content, and while all that is true, what beats that content (in my perspective) is creating content that is useful to the consumer and brings in the sales & the leads. Going by your own experiences as a consumer, you will agree that high utility, information oriented content has a stronger chance of achieving that
3) Remember that Content Marketing is a long term investment: Most user friendly examples of companies of varying sizes that have achieved success through Content Marketing – beyond Coca Cola & other massive brands. The one thing that stops people short is often the fact that their brand is not comparable to big brands & thus may not have the same existing pull. Youtility gives you examples that you may not have heard of- a good thing, if you are a small /medium size brand. Success is a long term investment, but it is possible. I helped launch a couple of content magazines for my clients last year and through that I was in touch with an expert whose insights we were trying to share on our platforms. It was also a great opportunity for her, being able to establish and share her thought-leadership with a very relevant audience. However, instead of being excited about it, she called me. While I tried to explain my idea- she heard me out, but in the end seemed unconvinced. When I probed further, eventually almost at the end of our call- she said, but “why are you sharing it all for free“. I tried to think of a quick-witted smart answer, but ended up saying the truth- we are trying to be useful.
I leave you with two words on why it really does matter: it works.
~ Upasna Kakroo
This article first appeared in a slightly modified form on LinkedIn
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