13 Content Marketing Steps

  |  April 30, 2012   |  Comments

How to ensure your content is developed, discovered, and distributed.

Content marketing that delivers high-quality, relevant information yielding measurable results without promotional push should be on every marketer's 2012 priority list. (Here are more insights on content marketing.) Not only because content marketing fuels social media, search, and sales but also because it's more credible than advertising. Content marketing in the form of emailings, branded websites, and editorial content was trusted by 50 percent or more of respondents to Nielsen's Global Trust in Advertising survey from Q3 2011.


As a marketer, how do you get your content marketing on track to drive results? Focus on the three D's of content marketing: development, discovery, and distribution.

7 Steps to Develop Your Content Marketing

As with any form of marketing, it's critical to establish a plan for content creation.

  1. Set marketing objectives. Consider your answers to the following questions: What do you want your content marketing to achieve? How do these goals relate to those of your organization?
  2. Know your audience. Really understand your prospects and customers. Create marketing personas for each segment.
  3. Extend branding. Understand that content marketing requires a 360-degree brand since it requires a human voice, photographs, and video.
  4. Determine content marketing needs. Examine your target market's needs and questions at every step of the purchase funnel.
  5. Select media formats. Create content across a variety of types of content that your audience uses. Think beyond just articles - use photographs and videos.
  6. Create an editorial calendar. Integrate all of these factors into a schedule to ensure that your content is developed and distributed appropriately.
  7. Measure content marketing results. As with any marketing initiative, it's critical to track your results back to your goals by setting appropriate metrics, namely people, actions, branding, sales, and expenses.

3 Steps to Get Your Content Discovered

You can create the best content in the world but if no one consumes it, it doesn't help you achieve your marketing goals.

  1. Present your content to get attention. Remember your content is fighting for consumers' most scarce resource - time! Therefore, it has to stand out. This translates to writing killer headlines they can't resist reading, magnetic photographs, especially of people, that draw them in, and bulleted, easy-to-scan information.
  2. Remove roadblocks that hinder your content's findability. Optimize your content by focusing on one or two keyword phrases. Make your content compelling. Engage your audience while they're already consuming content with related links.
  3. Nudge readers to take action. Integrate a contextually relevant call-to-action. Build a social media tribe to help support your efforts. Pay-it-forward by supporting other members of your social media group by promoting their content.

3 Steps to Expand Your Content Distribution

Beyond getting your content discovered, you need to help expand its audience. Often this translates to a tailored plan.

  1. Socialize your content. Make it easy for readers to share your content with their social networks by supplying social sharing buttons. Further, leverage your social networks by sharing the content, doing blogger outreach, and participating in live events.
  2. Optimize your content for search. Focus your content around one to two keyword phrases. Also, use content formats that aid search optimization, such as blogs and video. (Here are some great keyword research insights from ClickZ columnist Ron Jones.)
  3. Offer related content while consumers are in content consumption mode. To this end, extend and enhance content engagement by offering additional content on related topic(s).

While content marketing may not be as sexy as other forms of marketing, it breaks through today's message-filled clutter because it lacks the buy, buy, buy of other marketing options. At the heart of social media, search, and sales, content marketing is a powerful tool when your development, discovery, and distribution work together.

Do you have any other suggestions for powering content marketing through development, discovery, and/or distribution? If so, please include them in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

If you'd like a fuller presentation of these ideas, please listen to my ClickZ webinar on the topic. (BTW - it includes a special offer from Outbrain for content marketers!)


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Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies, an interactive marketing consultancy. She has over 20 years' experience helping clients increase profitability by developing innovative marketing programs to acquire and retain customers based on solid analytics. Clients include New York Times Digital, AccuWeather.com, CheapTickets, and the UJA. Additionally, Riverside Marketing Strategies has worked with numerous other online content/media companies and e-tailers.

Prior to starting Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi held a number of senior-level marketing positions at The Economist, the Bookspan/Doubleday Direct division of Bertelsmann, and Citibank.

Her blog, HeidiCohen.com, was nominated as a finalist for Top Social Media Blog of 2012 by Social Media Examiner.

Heidi is also a popular speaker on current industry topics.

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