Five Key Tactics for Getting Serious About Content Marketing

Aug 30, 2012

The content marketing industry is moving faster than I ever anticipated. Back in the early 2000s, the major goal was only to get senior marketing professionals to start thinking about and integrating the importance of storytelling into their overall marketing programs. Today, we see content marketing at the center of everything we do in marketing.

We are seeing the silo-fight happen as wespeak. All departments - marketing, PR,social media, communications, IT, email and customer service all believe they "own" content to a certain extent (and they'd be right). Trying to reign this in is creating pain points throughout the organization, especially as brands aremoving from "testing" content marketing to developing all out content platforms, like American Express Open Forum...or better yet, Red Bull's MediaHouse.

There are literally hundreds of content marketing challenges we are seeing across the small and large brands we work with. That said, here are five key content marketing tactics that are really standing out for us, and possibly for you as well.

Review, Edit and Reposition Print Content for the Web

Traditionally, the normal practice for print content marketing has been to repurpose the content, barring some design changes, as is on the website. Unfortunately, this has led to under-performing content. What we've clearly found is that content that is fit for print is often times not fit for the web.

To combat this, brands need to work on a numberof initiatives, including:

  • Planning for multiple-purpose usage of a printed article at the beginning of the planning stages, not after the article is written.
  • Making decisions that some print content isn't suitable for the .com site.
  • Creating a process ofheavy editing to turn print-oriented content into content that will be better engaged with online and on mobile devices.
  • Developing a total content process that integrates all content marketing under one person, regardless of channel distribution.

Identify Best Converting Content

We've been monitoring our best performing content, in terms of share-ability and analytics, for years now. We've suspected for some time that our most popular content is not necessarily our best performing content (in terms of the goals for the page). Through our most recent site audit, we now know this to be true.

We're taking steps to track every piece of content individually and mark the goal upfront as to the particular call to action we want. Once we set that process in place, we can now determine what content performs the best to drive the business in the right direction.

This is important in the maturation process of content marketing, moving from just creating and distributing content to a thoughtful process of content creation based on goal weight, audience, and the goal behavior.

Navigation Should Mirror Goal Weight

In general, our site navigation for our two sites, Content Marketing Institute and Content Marketing World, has been what we"thought" made the most sense. Unfortunately, we didn't clearly run the site navigation through our goal set for the site, as well as for each individual type of content we create.

This means we need to adjust our site strategy with the following:

  • Create a site navigation that completely syncs with the goals for the site (more important goalsmove to the left-side navigation).
  • Begin looking at eachpage as its own and not blindly attaching a general sidebar to all pages and blog posts. This means we will start developing dozens (if not more) content templates for our content.

Not Just Photos, but Shareable Design

I'm sure we are not alone on this, but often our editorial team comes to the "choosing of the obigatory image" last when creating blog content. That means that many times we are not satisfied with the image, which in turn does not drive our share-ability goals for Facebook or Pinterest.

This is a longer-term process issue, but we are looking into the creation of our own art and design, moving away from stock art altogether if we can.  Our best performing posts are often ones where some people share because of the textual content, and others share for the design. By developing a piece of content without a strong design component, weare missing out on number of social media opportunities.

More Bricks, Fewer Feathers

There are two types of content: feathers (passing/common) and bricks (lasting/uncommon) (kudos to Chris Seitsema of Convince and Convert). Most organizations have thousands of feathers, but not many bricks.

Our content team is now tasked with baking more bricksand we are working with our clients to do the same, including:

  • Repackaging multiple feathers into bricks.
  • Analyzing current content opportunities (events, webinars, etc.) for possible brick creation.
  • Taking a look at old bricks to update into new and improved bricks.