Welcome to the Friday Fives series. Each week, I ask selected Tweeps a question to answer in five parts. This week’s question:
What five questions should marketers ask themselves to determine if content marketing can help their organization?
This week’s answers come from:
- Clinton Forry A content strategist at Brain Traffic, a content-strategy consultancy. Clinton blogs at Content-ment and can be found on Twitter at @wd45.
- Robert Rose is a guest blogger and brand advisor for the Content Marketing Institute, as well as founder of Big Blue Moose. He blogs at the Adaptive Marketer and is @Robert_Rose on Twitter.
Here are these expert’s tips:
- What am I trying to accomplish? Determine your core strategy, your unifying principles to follow. This is more critical than it might appear. Are you selling albums to adults? Soliciting donations for Dalmatians? With an honest evaluation of what you are trying to accomplish, only then should you begin down the path of content creation, delivery, and marketing.
- What are my competitors doing? Or not doing? Put on your detective hat and figure out where you stand in the marketplace. Though you shouldn’t necessarily copy what they are doing (or not), observing your peers / competitors will give you a benchmark of current market and user expectations.
- What do I already have? Complete an audit of your content. Audits uncover what you have, and what shape it is in. (Is it up-to-date? Accurate? Trivial?) Due to silo-filled work environments, many organizations are unaware of the value already in-house. The unrealized potential of ongoing initiatives may give you a head start on upcoming content marketing plans.
- Do I have the capacity to create content sustainably? Honestly evaluate your organization’s human resource capacity and budget for content creation. Many plans look great on paper. At the start, enthusiasm is high. As campaigns and initiatives wear on, it becomes clear that they are unsustainable. Any content marketing plan should be based on an organization’s true ability to sustain it.
- How will the content be cared for throughout its lifecycle? To remain effective, content needs to be maintained. Rather than implementing the “set it and forget it” mentality, content should enjoy regular, scheduled check-ups to ensure that it is still relevant, accurate, and supports the organization’s core strategy.
- How’s business? If it’s anything short of “we’re printing money” you’re a good candidate for content marketing. And, even then, I could probably make an argument for how you could use content marketing to print more.
- How can we build more trust with our consumers? Today’s consumer uses more content than ever, before they make a buying decision. They use online search to find that content, their social graph to filter what’s reliable, and multiple sources to come to a decision. We have to ask how many times will we get to build trust with that consumer? The business with more shareable, thought-provoking, informative or entertaining content is going to win out every time.
- Does our marketing need to “do more with less”? Content marketing can be one of the most cost-effective elements of your marketing strategy. It’s typically (and at its best) a resource that can be mined from within the organization. It’s frequently evergreen and, unlike most advertising, has the opportunity to increase in value over time.
- Are we perceived as an industry leader? It’s no longer good enough to just sell to customers. They now expect to be able to engage interactively with a brand. They expect to understand pre- and post-sale how they can get the best out of us and our products. Good content can both emphasize and pave the way for our brand to be considered the leader in our space.
- Are we creating evangelists? Marketing used to stop the second the “buy” button was pushed or the ink dried on the contract. But there’s no doubt that Marketing has more responsibility these days; and it goes well beyond the buying cycle. Content Marketing can help us to understand and actually facilitate the conversion through the new marketing funnel – how customers move from satisfied, into upsell and ultimately into evangelists.
Are you a content marketing strategist or consultant? What questions do you think marketers should ask?