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Dec

20

2013

Best Practices for New Content Marketers

Inbound Marketing

Content marketing is a team sport. To do it well, you need a group of specialists to work together to create a seamless stream of relevant content in a variety of formats that is constantly refreshed. In other words, content marketing cannot be an afterthought or the (over)work of one or two people.

There is a great variety of activities that go into implementing a successful content marketing strategy and to maintain content quality and effectiveness. You can put together your own team or outsource your content marketing. Either way, you should look for content marketers who understand and follow these best practices.

Document Strategies and Processes

Content marketers should know that some things just have to be written down. At a minimum, successful content marketers should produce:

  • A content strategy
  • An editorial process

Before any content is created a strategy must be defined. To keep the team headed in the same direction, this strategy must be written down, shared, understood, and enforced. A content strategy requires an in-depth understanding of the target audience and of the various ways and means of marketing in a digital world.

A content strategy precisely defines the target audience(s), their problems, and how you can solve those problems. The content strategy contains clear goals and outlines calls to action within engaging content tailored for each audience.

Next is a documented editorial process.

  • Publishing: What content to write and edit? Where will it be published?
  • Content creation: What is the process for each type of content? What resources will be allotted to each type?
  • Editorial Calendar: What will get published when? Who will produce it? What elements of the content, such as titles, headlines, and tags, are needed? Are dates assigned for writing, editing, and publishing each piece?
  • Writing and editing guidelines: How long should various pieces be? What are topics to include and which should be avoided? What about grammar, punctuation, and language guidelines?

A good content marketing team works under a documented content strategy and editorial process.

Appoint a Content Manager

Every team needs a leader to keep things organized. With so many pieces of content flying around in various stages of completion, there should be a content manager who keeps it all on track. In addition, the content manager can be the liaison to the rest of the marketing and sales team, or to the company, ensuring the content produced is meeting needs.

Content management also includes planning a diversity of ways to present the content, video, audio, and text. Delivery methods and channel integration are critical parts of producing and managing a coherent content marketing strategy.

Leverage Social Media and Channel Integration

Social media is an integral part of today’s marketing activities. Part of content marketing is determining what forms of social media, if any, the target audiences prefer and use. If your customers do not use Facebook to research solutions, your content team shouldn’t spend as much of their time building a Facebook page. The same goes for any other social media whether broad-based like Pinterest or concentrated on a specific industry.

The types of social media where your customers hang out should be part of their buyer persona. The content team can then develop pieces that speak directly to those prospects in a tone and format that matches the typical interaction on that social media network.

Frequency and timing of posting is also part of the package. Your team needs to learn when and how often your customers check the network. It may be more effective to post to Twitter on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons or to place fresh material to your blog on Friday evenings.

Your team should ensure that your message is consistent across channels. This is called channel integration. If you have one campaign running as a banner ad and a completely different one running on Facebook, the power of each message is cut in half. An effective campaign has all marketing components supporting its message in a format and tone that, as stated above, matches the normal interaction within that specific channel.

If the website team charges ahead with a special on hedge trimmers yet the social media team is working on spreading the word about manure, neither of the teams will see the impact that would have come from both putting out the word on hedge trimmer specials at the same time. Let the print marketers, sales people, and the all the rest of the marketing team know they should be integrating their efforts into hedge trimmers right now.

Get Busy Blogging

Sound like a lot of work? Yes, yes it is. And it cannot be done effectively by one person on top of their other duties. Content marketing, when done to best practices, reaps more than enough dividends to pay for producing more content in the right place, at the right time, and in the best form. And the more content the team can produce, the more focused and effective your message will be.

Content marketing takes a team. Each member has a specific job to do but they are all work together to achieve a common goal. You can create the team by hiring or selecting employees who can fulfill each role. Or you can outsource to an agency.

Stand out from the crowd. Get a team that follows these best practices for content marketers.

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