The ‘rinse cycle’ of content marketing
William Tyree, CMO of RingDNA wrote in this article about the disconnect between sales and marketing, and how marketers need to look at lead scoring your content and bringing the results back to your sales teams.
That is critical, but what if your marketing teams are just as new to the idea as your sales team are? In our last post, we talked about tactical marketing versus content marketing and how to move beyond the ‘big bang’ approach.
Next we’ll look at how to get your marketing team on board by understanding the lifecycle of content marketing.
Step one: Realize
If you’re reading this post or any other content marketing material right now, you’ve probably realized that marketing today can’t be done the same way it was yesterday.
You’ve realized that while existing marketing strategies and tactics are still getting you results, they don’t seem to be a) as effective, b) as sustainable, c) reaching your right TA, or d) all of the above and then some.
Realizing that you need to move out of your comfort zone is the first step. And to admit the need to change will help you identify the areas of improvement needed. Question your internal practices - are you producing the marketing material that is in demand coupled with suitable tactics and channels to reach your intended audiences? Once you get that, you should be able to map the gaps between reality and expectations.
Step two: Recognize
Recognizing past campaign achievements and statistics should bring insight to what worked and what didn’t. However, we sometimes focus too much on the former and not enough on the latter. Addressing “what didn’t work” will likely bring up difficult conversations with your management, sales or even your own marketing peers, but it also presents you with the opportunity to offer them an alternative solution.
This is the next step that will push you far outside of your comfort zone. Throw what worked aside for now and focus on what didn’t. Review how these challenges can be addressed through content marketing. It may not work for all of them, so streamline and prioritize your needs, then start checking them off the “to-do” list.
Step three: Resource
In an ideal world, we would all have internal resources to help us strategize, execute, monitor and analyze our content marketing plans. A greater number of marketers are deterred from new initiatives, because they simply don’t have the resources on hand.
If you are starting from scratch, this can and will amount to a mammoth task. Consider external support when you start planning. These resources can be content providers, consultants, media planners, communications professionals or even freelancer writers. Producing valuable content takes time, and you may face a few ‘misses’ before finding the right business partners. Once you do, you will find it much easier to move ahead.
Start your preparations early by reaching out to your professional network, through your existing marketing agencies or industry peers for possible help in the days to come. Have a clear direction and start putting a dream (internal or external) team together.
Step four: Review
Customer environments are more complex and dynamic than they have ever been before. Technology have drastically changed the ways our customers engage with brands and businesses. Campaigns and marketing mixes need to be constantly reviewed and refined in order to maximize their efforts and generate results.
Set milestones in your content marketing plan to tweak your content to what your customers are talking about. Think of your plan as a long term nurture program, as opposed to a one-off campaign. Determine tangible success metrics from the beginning and keep them in sight at every check point. This will help you map results to objectives, and work as a scorecard for your internal stakeholders. You may also discover opportunities to better integrate marketing practices with business functions along the way.
Step five: (Rinse and) Repeat
Stay focused. Be prepared to go back to the drawing board to refine your strategy.
Keep in mind that content marketing is not able just getting leads; it is about building brand equity, reaching your marketing goals and creating a repository of valuable content that can be tapped on by the entire organization.