Image source: The Guardian
Not every piece of content is going to go viral. Not every piece of content will generate you hundreds of thousands of visits, build authoritative links or generate you millions of pounds in revenue. But what content marketing will do – if it is bought into, given a seat at the marketing table and done correctly – will gradually improve your brand visibility, traffic and revenue! Whilst I was at SMX Advanced recently, I enjoyed a presentation that talked about a very good baseball related analogy: 1 in 4 at bats = hit (a success) 1 in 36 at bats = home run (a big success) 1 in 1,691 at bats = grand slam (viral success) And this for me perfectly sums up content marketing. To go viral, you need to have a very good idea and also be lucky, but, if you have the right process then you can earn some of that luck and it can be achieved. So, here are the steps that we feel form the right path to creating blockbuster content over and over again!
Determine the goals
One of the first mistakes we see on a regular basis, is people rushing into the creative rooms, generating ideas without even thinking about the goals. Setting the goal for each piece of content is one of the most important parts of the entire process and should be agreed prior to any idea-generating sessions. Goals can cover a range of metrics including those that are shown below:
- Brand visibility – Social shares, ranking improvemnt
- Conversion improvement
- Increase in traffic
- Supporting the launch of a new product
- Email sign-ups
When agreeing these goals however, they need to benefit the business across all marketing channels and not be seen as a siloed piece. The better content marketing pieces are those that have buy-in from the entire business, and has all parts of the marketing teams involved.
Identify the audience
Now that you have a clear set of goals, it is time to identify the audience that you are trying to target. This step could be fairly simple as you may be solely attracting one of the target personas the business already identified. However, there are times where you are likely to be targeting new audiences as your product/service/offering opens into new uncharted waters. It is at this point that you need to fully understand the personas that you are targeting, to ensure that the content that you create fits with that the target audience.
How will the content be consumed?
Goals covered, personas ticked off but what content is being consumed by those users? What devices are they being consumed on? What channels do they prefer? These are all questions that you need to know before creating your content piece to ensure that the right users are seeing the right content in the right places. This includes understanding the different mediums your target market uses, such as:
- Social Media
- Curated Content
- Native content
And the different types of devices they may use to consume the content, including:
All this information should form part of your personas, allowing you to create the right content for the right person based on the goals for the content piece.
So we have all the backgroud detail that we need to start coming up with the right ideas for our content piece. Although a time consuming process, those three previous steps are extremely important for focussing your content idea discussion to topics that will achieve your aims. During the creation stage, you are going to need to come up with a large number of ideas; your first is rarely your best and having a selection allows you to narrow down your choices to a select a few, and then flesh out those winners further. There are a number of ways that you can come up with different ideas, including those that are shown below.
- Site Search
- Ask staff (subject matter experts) / Customers
Research tools such as Google Suggest/Ubersuggest/YouTube Searches
- Q&A websites Yahoo/Quora/Answers.com
- OSE/aHrefs – Understand the top pages from competitors.
- BuzzSumo for social metrics
There will also be areas that will necessitate competitive and user research to cover all the bases. This is one stage that should not be rushed, and needs to have the appropriate time allocated to ensure the best possible idea is generated. Throughout the idea genearation process, you should write all your ideas down, so that they are recorded and kept. It is also at this stage that you will need to understand what design and development resources are necessary so that these are factored into the decision process. Now the tough decision is to determine which idea you want to progress with, create the development map, and move it forward. *Note: Depending on the type of content that you are creating, you may want to run your idea past a number of influencers within the industry before progressing to creation.
Publication & Promotion
Now you have made it this far, you are ready to start promoting your content. The promotion of this content should have already been somewhat determined during your persona research. You want to be targeting the channels this audience frequents, and could include some of the following:
- Social Media
- Presentations/Documents (Slideshare/Scribd)
- Influencer research & outreach
Measuring the success of your content will be based on the goals that you have set at the very start of the process. This should be measured after an agreed period of time rather than instantly, as sometimes the content could be a slow burner, or your target channels may take longer than others. On analysing the results of the campaign, try to identify where improvements can be made. So those are our steps to creating blockbuster content for your targeted audience. Not every piece will blow everyone away, not every piece will go viral, but as long as every piece has set objectives and is targeted, then you give yourself the best chance to generate better results. If it doesn’t succeed at first, try, try again! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the process that we go through, and how it may differ to yours in the comments below or other on twitter @danielbianchini.