At Digital Summit Charlotte, I had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Shana Sullivan of Vertical Measures. As a project manager and trainer, Shana leads a range of digital-centric initiatives, as well as teaches her clients (and teams) how to be smarter marketers. The session was titled: “10 Critical Factors for Success in Content Marketing.” I’ve summarized them as follows:
1. Start With Strategy
In addition to defining your audience, set out your specific goals for the project at hand. Why are you doing this? Identify which team members will be responsible – planning through analysis. Know how you will measure success. You wouldn’t start a road trip without a map. So don’t start a marketing project without a strategy.
2. Practice Patience
When it comes to content marketing, don’t expect immediate results. After 3-6 months, change will likely be around 20-25%. After 2 years, the potential is upwards of 167%. A number of factors impact success (and final metrics), but a willingness to play the long-game is mandatory.
Long-term results are directly tied into short-term efforts. Daily, weekly, monthly, you need to be adding content, assessing metrics, and changing course as needed. A big piece of this puzzle is prioritizing content and its creation – everyone on your team has an expertise, encourage (and recognize) contribution. Embrace variety, prioritizing what works and scrapping what doesn’t.
4. Engage Leaders and Leads
Too often, content development starts and ends (or even dies) at the middle. Internally, the executive team must lead the way. Leader buy-in drives investment – both of employee time (spent on content creation) and out-of-pocket costs. Likewise, externally, listen to your leads. Clicks may speak louder than words. Watch, learn, and deliver.
Shana encouraged us to embrace the “emotional journey of digital marketing.” This makes sense.
At bg, we’ve constantly observed that customers (whether B2B or B2C) think with not only their heads, but also their hearts. Effective content marketing showcases your expertise, as well as lends your brand a voice and exposes the people behind it all.