The 5 C’s of Effective Content Marketing

  |  March 5, 2014   |  Comments

If you're not already producing content for your brand, now is the time to start. When you know what you're doing, there's no more effective way to generate interest in your product or industry.

If you're not already producing content for your brand, now is the time to start. According to a recent Curata study, 71 percent of marketers will spend more on content marketing this year. And why not? When you know what you're doing, there's no more effective way to generate interest in your product or industry.

If you're new to content marketing, have no fear. Our five-step guide will put you on the right track.

1. Curate

Being a great curator is an important skill for a brand publisher, and it's not as easy as it sometimes looks. Sure, there are lots of interesting items you could share with your audience, but if you grab and share the first thing you see, it's unlikely that your audience will check back for more. As a curator for a brand, you've got to know your audience inside and out and then search hard for the unique pieces of content that speak directly to them. A popular article or video that's already being shared all over the place isn't good enough. You've got to unearth the gems, and that means putting in the time to consume a lot of content.

2. Calibrate

If it's important to understand your audience and objectives when curating, that's doubly true when it comes to creating original content. And that means that before you even begin creating your content, you've got to calibrate and have your key performance indicators (KPIs) ready. Every single piece of content you create should be understood in the context of your larger strategy. Otherwise, you're going to waste a lot of time and money. Remember, creating interesting and engaging content isn't necessarily enough. Your content has to be interesting and engaging while moving you closer to your campaign goals.

3. Create

Creating great content is a mindset. There are stories all around you and your job is to be observant enough to identify them. Don't assume that your content has to come in the form of articles or videos. Content comes in all shapes and sizes - from social media to games, videos, books, white papers, and on and on. If you're new to content campaigns, it's important to be flexible and to test out different approaches. No matter how careful you are about calibration, you'll learn a lot more about your audience and what they like once your content is out in the world. Remember that not all content is created for the same purpose. Each stage of the sales funnel can sometimes require a different approach.

4. Circulate

There's no point in creating content if no one sees it. That's obvious enough, and yet all too often we see companies spend huge sums to create content and then throw up their hands when it fails to go viral. The truth is that you can never be absolutely certain if a given piece of content will catch fire. What you can do is distribute your content as effectively as possible so that every piece of content at least has a chance to catch on. The first step to circulation is figuring out which distribution channels should receive the majority of your attention. Do your fans watch videos? Read articles? Which social networks do they use most? Simply put, you can't circulate effectively until you have a very clear understanding of how your audience consumes content. And while you're doing your research, don't forget that direct mail can still be a valuable marketing tool.

5. Convert

It might involve a lot more creativity, but, when it comes down to it, brand content is no different from other forms of marketing. It exists to make your brand stronger and more profitable, and if you're not pushing more prospects through the sales funnel, it's time to rethink your approach. The challenge when it comes to content marketing is how to measure the work it's doing. As with display, it's often hard to tell how your content is performing because click-throughs can't give you the whole story. Be sure to gauge your audience's actions across all channels and pay close attention to the feedback from clients and prospects. When traditional metrics can't give you the full story, conversations with people on the ground can fill in the gaps.

Image via Shutterstock.

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Ben Plomion

Ben is Vice President of Marketing at Chango, where he heads up all marketing and communications initiatives. Prior to joining Chango, Ben worked with GE Capital for four years to establish and lead the digital media practice. This led to the development of GE Capital's digital value proposition and its execution worldwide.

Ben graduated from GE's Experienced Commercial Leadership program after completing his MBA at McGill University. Before GE, Ben held a variety of marketing and business development roles in the e-payments industry, while working at Gemalto in London.

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