There are many different stages to the content marketing funnel, with a variety of tools and services specializing in each one. But while focus and expertise are always valuable, it is the connection and synergy between the different stages that creates marketing magic.
Unfortunately, this crucial notion often gets lost along the way.
To better understand why an A to Z approach is so crucial, let’s take a closer look at how each of the major steps in content marketing relays on those that follow or precede it.
Step One: Write It Down
A common mistake is assuming that content creation is merely writing an article. When done correctly, it includes turning the brand’s content strategy into a well thought-out, well-written piece. This part of the process is all about choosing the right format, visuals, and tone based on predetermined goals, and in many cases, data.
The difficulty (and sometimes travesty) of attempting to separate the creation stage from the entire process, becomes clear with every poorly crafted article that finds its way online. When content professionals--including very talented ones--lack the strategic knowledge or data metrics to turn their words into results, they will most probably fail at capturing the right audience or generating leads. In addition, most of the following steps require revisiting the crafted content, meaning that the creation part is never fully over.
Step Two: Spread the Word
Content distribution includes contacting external publications and placing the brand’s content where it is most likely to be seen by potential customers. At this point in time, professionals must juggle the brand’s goals with the publication’s guidelines, a balance act that calls for excellent timing and flexibility. Any feedback or edits offered by publishers will send the content team back to the drawing board, keeping the brand’s strategy in mind all the while.
Disconnecting content distribution from other parts of the process could prove to be quite problematic. A good content marketer understands what it takes to get an item published, and writes in a way that keeps the brand, the editor, and the reader happy. Instead of going back and forth between the writer and the publisher it’s best to create the content with both aspects in mind.
Step Three: Make It Better
Today’s content optimization technology allows for real-time changes based on viewer-behavior. For example, say a trivia quiz was created by a certain brand, and results show that while the open rate is rather strong, most readers abandon the item after the third question. In this case, re-ordering or rephrasing the questions might be a good idea.
But to do so, marketers must respond quickly, and optimize their content pretty often. Once again, timing and a strong understanding of the entire funnel come into play. The marketing team must be able to follow the readers’ reaction, draw the right conclusion, and change the content accordingly -- all in a matter of minutes.
Step Four: Crunch the Numbers
There are many data and insight tools and services available that offer a variety of ways to track, measure, and analyze a brand’s published content. In fact, some might say that today’s marketing arena is data obsessed, to the point of measuring too much and losing focus.
That is why it’s important to consider this part of the funnel when strategizing and optimizing content. Not only that, but even though we placed the data stage last on the list, when the next content campaign arrives, its starting point should be based on the insights gathered during the current round. Every end is a new beginning.
Each step of the content marketing process is like a piece of a puzzle. To get the full picture and really see results, we cannot skip a step, nor isolate it. A smart content strategy invests in all of the above stages, while making sure that the teams working on them understand each other and work together closely.