5 Things You Need To Know Before You Start Your Content Marketing

It’s episode 11 of the Visceral Concepts Podcast! Today, join founder Michael McNew as he lays out the foundational keys you need to know before you start your content marketing.

For those of you that can’t listen, we’ve distilled the information below.

In modern marketing, content is king. Everything that people consume via their social networks and smartphones (shouldn’t we just call them “phones” now?) is competing for the same attention you want to earn, making quality more important than quantity.

If you want to produce the best quality content possible and gain that attention, you need to understand some fundamental ideas first.

Content Marketing Is Growing

According to a recent Content Marketing Institute study, over 90% of B2B companies are using content marketing to bring in new leads. Of the companies that don’t use it, 54% say they’ll be launching their strategy in the next 12 months. That means that over 95% of B2B companies see the inherent value in content marketing. That’s up from the previous year’s 89% who were actively applying a content strategy.

When there’s a major marketing trend seeing growth, there’s a reason. In this case, it’s because the numbers don’t lie. With an impact like that, it’s a trend you might want to get onboard for.

For Content Marketing To Succeed, Research Is Required

Before you jump in to your content marketing strategy, you’re going to need to know a few things first. Otherwise you’ll be headed in blind, which means you won’t likely get anywhere. Don’t panic, though, because these simple ideas aren’t hard to find. They may take a little time, but that investment is worth it not to waste efforts on ineffective marketing.

Build Your Content Marketing On A Strong Foundation

These fundamentals will help you create the best content marketing strategy you can, which will allow the best returns you could hope for. They’re truly the basics, and they shouldn’t be overlooked. Without them, you’re building on quicksand.

Know Your Why

Why are you in business? Why this business? Here, we’re talking about your mission statement, and you must know it if you want to streamline your decision-making process. It’s not something you’re going to share directly in your marketing (unless it makes sense to), but it’s going to steer your marketing – and any other – decisions your company faces.

If you need help developing your mission statement, check out our book, The Green Tie Effect. It contains a step-by-step guide to help you build your mission statement – and your brand – from the ground up.

Know Your Who

Do you have any idea who the perfect fit for your product or service is? Sometimes, it isn’t who you want to sell to, but who wants to buy. For example: one of my clients has a product that he intended small business owners to buy. Instead, his primary customers are salespeople. His target market wasn’t who he expected.

You need to know who your content marketing is being directed at. You certainly don’t want to try to make content that appeals to everyone because “casting a wide net” generally doesn’t work for any business smaller than a mega-corporation. Your content needs to appeal to the type of person most likely to make a purchase. For example, if you run a burger joint geared towards sports, it might be a good idea to position yourself as the place for a team to go after a game.

Know Your What

Given any thought to what you’re going to say, exactly? Content marketing puts your message in a crowded space. There are tons of messages floating around, so it can be tough to get yours heard. One of the best ways to boost your signal, though, is to be consistent. A little repetition is good for marketing.

Develop a simple message consistent with your mission statement that appeals to your target audience. That burger joint might pick a concise phrase, like “Celebrate your wins, everyday” as the core message. They could then communicate that message consistently, from their print materials to video ads. Hell, with the right images – maybe a series of the same kid celebrating a sports victory, then award, then birthday, then graduation – the words don’t even need stated.

Know Your How

Now that you have the message sorted out, how are you going to get it across? Content may be king, but content marketing entirely depends on solid distribution. A well-thought-out combination of mediums (blogs, videos, podcasts, slideshares, etc) and outlets (social networks, YouTube, websites, etc) can change the results your content marketing gets.

Figure out which outlets best reach your target audience, then set up your presence there. Be sure to include a well-distributed mix of types and outlets that will help to reinforce the message you’re trying to send, and make sure each piece of content speaks the “language” of the platform.

Know Your When

As with anything you want to end well, you need to get committed to your content marketing plan. With everything else that your business demands of you, you can’t afford to get in to content marketing unless you have the time, money, and other resources you can direct at it. You need to know when it’s time to dedicate your efforts at your content.

Plan out how often you intend to release content. That schedule will help you identify where you need to make room in your other activities. It may also identify that you need to look to an external agency for your content marketing. You’ll need to make a commitment to your content if you want it to succeed.

Great Content Marketing Takes A Plan

In the end, your content marketing strategy is going to need a solid plan to succeed. What you create, when you create it, and how you distribute it need to be thought out in advance with an understanding of these ideas. If you do the work, you’ll get the results.

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About the author:

Michael McNew
Web developer, marketing innovator, technology enthusiast, and founder of Visceral Concepts, Michael McNew has developed a passion for delivering value to small business, turning his creativity towards image and reputation building for small business owners.