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Nine Steps to Content Marketing Success One Step at a Time

The secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking down your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.
– Mark Twain

I presented a content marketing workshop for associations and non-profits this week (sponsored by Drake, see below for the full slide deck) and, afterward, heard this question from three people:

“It seems like so much. How do I get started?”

The answer is to start with the first step. Then move on to step 2.

So many organizations want to go directly into developing content, which in our model is step seven of nine. Creating content is the fun part, and marketers always want to jump ahead to that step. Save yourself the agony and don’t.

Content Marketing Steps

The Nine Steps to Content Marketing

Although there is no silver bullet when it comes to content marketing, I’ve found that it’s best to look at content marketing in these nine steps.

  1. The Marketing Goal – What are you ultimately trying to accomplish for the business? (see this post on Content Marketing ROI)
  2. Define Your Audience – What are the buyer personas you are targeting with the content initiative?
  3. Know the Informational Needs – What are the pain points your customers are struggling with?
  4. The Secret Sauce – How do those pain points line up with your expertise and product areas?  Remember, we ultimately have to see positive impact on the business.
  5. Where Is the Content? – Before you start creating content, we need to know what content we already have, and then map that content to the content segmentation plan so we know exactly what content we are missing.  This is also helpful in determining how we can re-imagine the content we currently have for our different buying groups.
  6. Where Are Your Customers? – Where are they hanging out online?  Which groups do we need to get active in?  Are their opportunities in print and in person initiatives?
  7. Choose the Content Tactics – Now we can start to determine which tactics make the most sense to fund, resource or partner.
  8. Develop the Content Calendar – Plug those tactics into a content calendar that makes sense for your different audiences.  Remember, think like a publisher.
  9. Execute Back to the Objective – Make decisions on measurement, sourcing, tracking, reporting. Continually refine the plan. Assign the Chief Content Officer (go here for a Chief Content Officer job description).

Even though the presentation below was crafted for associations and non-profits, any organization can use these nine steps to get started on the path to content marketing success.  Also see the book Get Content Get Customers for more.