The golden key to developing new business is a myth. New business is developed by hard work and commitment to a marketing and sales process. This process is driven by the content. Great Content drives great campaigns: It provides value to your target audience and it engages them in an ongoing dialogue. What is content marketing: Content marketing is creating and distributing digital assets for the purpose of achieving business results. Successful content marketing is much more about “perspiration” than it is “inspiration.”  Most marketers can come up with an idea for a clever e-book, quirky video or trippy infographic, but few invest the energy in actually producing any of those things.  Creating content is marketing’s lunch pail discipline, and the best content marketers are those that work the hardest. After developing and creating great content that connects you to your target market, intrigues potential clients and leaves them asking for more then you need to start working on distribution channels.

Content Marketing Best Practices:

  • Context—Your work needs to be placed in the right venues for the right audiences. Organizations need to research their target customers and understand how and where they consume content. Often organizations will create personas based on their prospects’ demograpics. Each persona gets a name, age, role in organization, business needs, etc. You will need to ensure that all of the important constituencies in your organization buy into the personas, especially marketing and sales management. Once you have personas, you can start modeling their online behavior. Do they read blogs or trade journals? Do they trust analysts or their peers? Do they participate in social media? Which venues? By focusing on personas and modeling their online behaviors you can begin to narrow down the targeted venues and ensure that your content gets in front of the right eyes.
  • Timing—Potential customers want different kinds of content at different stages of their research and purchase process. Similarly, newly engaged clients need different content than those who are long familiar with your organization. Build a time-line for each of your personas and brainstorm what kinds of content they would need at each stage of their engagement with your company. What are the content items that will push them to the next level?
  • Cost—Content is expensive. It takes time and money to develop and manage. After you have modeled your personas and figured out what content they need at each stage of engagement with your organization, you need to set priorities based on your current business needs. If your organization is looking for brand new contacts to market to, maybe you should invest in “top of the funnel” venues like social media and a blog. If you need to focus on moving a small set of known prospects through the buying process, perhaps you will prioritize content that can be personalized to each prospect’s organization and business need. No matter what your current priorities, remember that you should have a some amount of budget to keep new and existing content up to date going forward.
  • Creative—Your original content has to bring something new to the table in some way. Try to make it engaging and useful. Work hard to make it so enjoyable that your audience will share it with friends and colleagues.

Having a defined content strategy ensures that your clients and prospects will get what they need to make informed buying decisions. Content marketing works hand-in-hand with lead generation because as your prospects engage with your content, you gain insight from your customer’s digital body language. With this knowledge you can communicate with them (via email on the web) in a way that is aligned with their interests and business needs.

Travis Piepho