What I Wish I'd Known Before Building a Content Marketing Strategy

What I Wish I'd Known Before Building a Content Marketing StrategyYou’ve heard all the reasons why you should be producing content:

  • Relevant and quality content serves as a continuous, scalable, cost-effective traffic and lead generator over time.

There’s a big difference between knowing and doing. Despite understanding the importance of a content marketing strategy, actually embracing it isn’t always smooth or easy. Between getting buy-in within your organization, keeping up with the demands of regularly producing content, and measuring effectiveness, many marketers feel stressed out.

You’re not alone in the journey to create quality content. Every day, I talk to marketers who are trying to successfully navigate the content maze. Here’s some of my favorite advice from the pros:

“Anyone in a content strategy position should start with the basics. It’s hard to do in a fast-moving organization, but figuring out brand voice, organizational goals and what (if any) other marketing strategies are already in place is a smart place to begin — and quite difficult to do later on, as I’ve learned.” — Lindsey Donner, executive editor, Young Entrepreneur Council

“I always wish I had more information about my audience. Solid answers to the questions below can multiply your efforts. Any gaps in your knowledge about these and your content is far less likely to be clicked, read, shared and to convert.

  • What are their top questions?
  • What topics are they most likely to read?
  • What phrases are they searching for?
  • What blogs are they spending time on?
  • What kinds of articles are they mostly likely to share?”

— Andy Crestodina, author of Content Chemistry, and principal and strategic director Orbit Media Studios

“Placing unwarranted emphasis on technological mastery and digital tools in content marketing can sidetrack you and leave you feeling defeated before you start. However, if you understand that the underlying objective is to build trust by sharing useful information and nurturing relationships, you’re more likely to find success.”  Jenise Fryatt, content marketing strategist, Smarter Shift

“Truly think about what your audience wants to read and engage with – not what you want them to, and not content about what your product does, but content that inherently helps make your customer’s day-to-day easier.” — Jonathan Lacoste, co-founder, Jebbit

“I wish I would’ve recognized sooner that it’s OK to outsource some parts of our content marketing. We’re a small marketing team, and being able to work with an outside B2B marketing firm has been very helpful in creating high quality, valuable content for our target audience at a steady pace.” — Brian Barajas, marketing director, PreCheck

“Don’t be a perfectionist. Of course, grammatically correct and well-written content is expected. But you have to keep moving forward. If perfection is your benchmark, you’ll never get content out. It’s more important to consistently share.” — Brendon Schrader, CEO, Antenna

“Ninety percent of it is just about getting started. The rest you figure out along the way, step by step. Don’t let the desire for planning, preparation, and perfection stop you from diving in today.” — Josh Steimle, founder, MWI

“My top three lessons learned:

  • I wish I knew the importance of form factor — so it was easier for my readers to find me and ‘hang around’ longer. Use relevant hashtags, attention-getting visuals or bulleted blogs with interesting sub headings.
  • I wish I knew the same audience expects to be engaged with differently on each social media channel or watering hole. There is no-one-size-fits-all content strategy. Learn how to talk the talk for each social media channel — tone, voice, format — to win the hearts, minds and wallets of your readers. Or, you’ll lose it all — because your audience believes you lack authenticity.
  • I wish I knew that great content marketing was about solving — instead of selling. Readers want to learn and understand and not be sold. Take the time in every piece of content to improve the reader’s day; helping to teach and clarify. Become a go-to partner with your understanding and the sales will be a natural by-product.”

— Gerry Moran , global head of social media and content marketing, Cognizant

“Content can be anything — it can be simply visual — but it must be relevant and motivate the consumer to engage. Not once, but consistently, in a way that develops brand loyalty. When content isn’t meaningful, ‘unfollow’ is the new ‘follow’.” — Alex Sinclair, creative director, IBM Interactive Experience

Download Rep Cap’s new white paper, How to Create a Content Marketing Engine, for more success tips. 

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