Just finished this last post on content strategy before content marketing, then saw this perfect post from Seth Godin. It really puts what we are trying to accomplish with content marketing in perspective.
Seth maps out six specific steps when it comes to success. Let’s take these steps and relate them to our content marketing efforts.
Note that Seth puts execution last. Many marketers focus on the execution of the marketing program first, without looking at the previous five points (hard to believe, I know).
Step 1: Attitude
I call this secret sauce. What is the intersection between your expertise and the informational needs of your audience (your customers)? Those content areas become the core for your content marketing program (and your business).
Your secret sauce should be very relevant to your product and service offerings. After all, you are in this to sell more of something, so be sure that is in the plan.
Step 2: Approach
In the approach section, think about listening posts. In step 1, you really took some time to figure out how you can truly be an educational resource. In step 2, you ask the questions and listen to find out the real pain points of your audience. This is where social media tools come in so handy. Use Twitter Search, Google Alerts and other social media tools to listen to what your customers are struggling with.
This will help define the story you are trying to tell. Ask yourself this: “If you don’t understand what your customers are struggling with, then how can you solve their problems?” It’s a simple question, but it’s the core of our entire marketing plan. Good editors dig deep to understand. You have to as well.
Step 3: Goals
Notice that we first have to find out what our customers’ information needs are first, and what our informational expertise can be in relation to our product/service offerings, before we move onto goals.
Remember, you can’t have strategy without goals.
Step 4: Strategy
Now you can put together your content strategy once you have your goals, approach (listening posts) and attitude (secret sauce) in place.
Step 5: Tactics
Now pick the most effective tactics based on what the first four steps tell you. Note that many marketers go to tactics that sound right first, without going through the first four steps.
“Wow, an ebook is a great idea.”
“We should do a custom magazine.”
“Why don’t we have a blog?”
Don’t go here until you understand why these tactics are a good or bad idea.
Step 6: Execution
Then we actually execute the plan. Execution is extremely important, but meaningless without the first five steps. Think of it this way – a perfectly executed dive at the wrong event on the wrong day is just a waste of perfectly good water.
As Seth says: “If the top of the hierarchy is messed up, no amount of brilliant tactics or execution is going to help you at all.”