Managing Content Marketing: An Arial View from the Experts

managing content marketing
content marketing success
Image courtesy of Content Marketing Institute

Managing content marketing is the most crucial element of digital marketing in the post-Penguin era. In case you hid under a rock for the last 3 years, content is the new SEO, and creating valuable content on a consistent basis is how you earn viewers’ attention today, much the way early TV relied on programs to get viewers to watch commercials. Now that TV advertising is dead, or at least in its death throes, content marketing is the name of the game.

Managing content marketing

Seems simple, right? You create content, share it across social platforms, and money begins flowing in.

Maybe that was your expectation, but, has your result matched that expectation?

Probably not. That’s because managing content marketing requires a variety of activities and skills that you may not have. Here’s a checklist of requirements for good content marketing:

managing content marketing
Next, let’s take a look at these actions individually.

Managing content marketing: calendars

You don’t need anything fancy to create a marketing calendar. You can use Excel, a whiteboard, a big wall calendar, or any one of a number of apps to help manage your content marketing calendar. You should include posts by date (I normally schedule a month out), title, image links, keywords, campaign goals, outbound and inbound links you’ll need, and spaces for individuals to sign-off before the content goes live. Let’s take a look at some advice from the experts in the infographic below. Nearly all B2B and B2C companies use content to drive purchase–whether that’s in-store or online. But, you need a story that readers want to hear if you wanna cut through the clutter.

A calendar keeps you from staring at a blank screen and wondering what to talk about today. It allows you to easily see previous posts to allow easy internal linking. And, a calendar ensures you stay on message. If you want more on content marketing calendars, check out this post from the experts on content marketing, Content Marketing Institute.

managing content marketing
Image courtesy of Marketing Insider Group

Let’s also take a look at some advice from the experts in the infographic below. Nearly all B2B and B2C companies use content to drive purchase–whether that’s in-store or online. But, you need a story that readers want to hear if you wanna cut through the clutter.

Nearly all B2B and B2C companies use content to drive purchase–whether that’s in-store or online. But, you need a story that readers want to hear if you wanna cut through the clutter.

You also need to be flexible. If something happens in the news, you should adjust your calendar to take advantage of or avoid being insensitive. For instance, a national tragedy warrants a suspension of promotion and, instead calls for messages of sympathy or offers of help. Don’t use a tragedy to tout yourself or minimalize the impact of events. For instance, many TV programs, like The Tonight Show, changed their formats in the aftermath of 911 to show their support for the loss of life.

Managing content marketing with images

I’ve written extensively about the importance of images, so, rather than clutter up this post, I refer you to an earlier post on managing content marketing with images.

Managing content marketing: Keywords

Years ago, keywords were actually words, so the name stuck. Today, keywords are really phrases representing the words users employ when searching for something and they’re the key to reaching your target audience.

Again, I’ve written extensively about keywords and the Google Keyword Planning Tool, so I’m linking to those posts.

gap analysis in SEO

Choosing the “right” keywords requires an in-depth understanding of your target market — often in the form of personas, which are stereotypical individuals who make up your target market.

  • Who are they and what do they look like?
  • What are their biggest pain points?
  • What aspect(s) of your products are most important to them?
  • Who and what do they admire? Hate?
  • What factors interfere with their ability to purchase a solution?
  • How do they talk about their problem … the problem you solve?

You also need to understand your competition, since you don’t really want to go head-to-head against a strong rival.

Managing content marketing: linking

We’ll talk about inbound linking a little later. Right now, I wanna talk about outbound linking. While you may not consider outbound linking is an important part of content marketing, it is for 2 reasons. First, linking to authoritative sites shows you’ve done your homework. You understand what’s happening in your area and you’ve researched your topic to make it easy and fast for readers to learn more about your topic.

I learned the hard way that internal linking is also important. When someone steals or “borrows” your content, you deserve an inbound link to your website. For instance, one of my posts ended up on IBM’s site, but, because I hadn’t used any internal links, I didn’t get this very valuable backlink. I messaged IBM and they haven’t had the courtesy to include a backlink to my original post.

Managing content marketing: SEO

I sound like a broken record, but you can learn more about SEO from an earlier post.

I highly recommend the Yoast SEO plugin if you’re running a WordPress site.

Include a CTA

The most basic advice for new salespeople is to ask for the sale, something often overlooked in the mass of other things they’re doing.

managing content marketingThe same goes for your content. Tell readers what you want them to do. Should they download an ebook, join your mailing list, or buy your product.

And, don’t flood your posts with a bunch of CTAs. One, strong CTA is all it takes, with maybe a fallback offer is enough. Anymore and visitors get confused about what they’re supposed to do and, instead, do nothing.

Managing content marketing: Tracking codes

Google Analytics is your friend and EVERY website should include codes in the head to track visits to your website. Google Analytics includes an enormous amount of valuable information and tools to extract insights from your website.

Consider including advanced tracking to make better choices about content marketing moving forward. Use unique tracking codes to track:

  • Goal completions
  • Conversions within your pages
  • Actions on various social media or external sites
  • and, lots more

But, it’s not enough to simply add tracking and codes to your content. You need a strategy to optimize performance, such as using A/B testing to improve performance.

Next, you need dashboards to make sense of your data. Create several dashboards to reflect different goals and derive insights. For instance, you might monitor your SEO with a dashboard that includes keywords driving visits. You can monitor conversions by setting up dashboards reflecting multi-channel attribution models. Then, segment your conversions based on customer demographics, geographics, and psychographics to optimize performance.

Share liberally

wheel of digital marketing
Image courtesy of Kissmetrics

It’s not enough to share your content once … or share it across only a single media channel. Here’s a great schedule borrowed from Kissmetrics. It shows some of the top social channels and how frequently you should share your content across the various channels.

This was a game-changer for me. When I started implementing this schedule, my visits soared — more than doubling in just a few weeks.

Obviously, the channels used vary with different target markets. For instance, as a B2B marketer, I share on LinkedIn using a schedule similar to Facebook.

Keep in mind that you can’t just talk about yourself or share only your own content on social media. Experts recommend an 80/20 split, with only 20% of your content being promotional. I take a liberal view of this, so any content I create I consider promotional since I include a CTA in the post. Hence, I spend time each day curating content from other, related sources.

Managing content marketing: Influencers

I get emails every day from marketers who hope I’ll include their content on my site.  Then, they send a number of follow-up emails that seal their fate. I almost never do this. Not because their content isn’t valuable, just that it’s time-consuming to keep up with it all: storing, organizing, etc. Instead, I normally use Google and search for the best sources for links that suit my purpose. I find I frequently link to the same resources because I can count on them to provide quality content.

So, I don’t recommend creating a huge list of influencers then emailing them every time you create something mildly interesting. Instead, I recommend developing deep relationships with other bloggers and social media influencers. Then, when you have something valuable to share, you can bring it to their attention with much better results than just reaching out to large swathes of influencers.

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