Monday, November 21, 2016

Keep Your Content Marketing Grounded in the Essentials

Paramita Bhattacharya
Director, Integrated Marketing,
Content and Digital Marketing, Demand Generation
Hitachi Data Systems

More than a few thousand content, digital and brand professionals convened at an industry event not too long ago. As they explored and exchanged insights, it became clear to me that it is ever so important to not forget the fundamentals that are pivotal to content marketing.

We are encountering increasing sophistication of marketing automation and content platforms and constantly challenged by fast moving changes in advertising, search and syndication. In the face of this, it’s easy to lose sight of the essentials of content marketing and adversely impact the customer experience.

Here is what I consider the key pillars of Content Marketing:

Pillar #1 Content Strategy: Start with a clear articulation of your business objectives and campaign goals. Highlight content themes based on core messaging around your product, solutions and brand propositions. Hopefully, at this point, you already have your customer-buying journey defined along with buyer personas. Doing this will help your content strategy deliver valuable content to your prospects and customers in each stage of their buying/purchase journey.

Pillar #2 Content Plan: Design a content map across your customer’s buying journey and define objectives for each content asset. Identify suitable formats based on your desired story to tell. Here, create an optimum mix of multiple media, short and long forms, and a combination of original and third party/expert content. As this plan starts to take shape, focus on content re-use and customization to address various audience needs. Draw in your best internal and external design, copy, UX, UI and video resources to build the best content - striving for efficiency, quality and effectiveness.

Pillar #3 Content Promotion: Promoting and distributing content is the game changer. This is where your content meets your channels in a distinct, unique manner – to delight and engage your prospects and customers. Map and plot your content into a matrix of paid, owned and earned media. Connect your various content interactions into a coherent customer experience - across web pages, PR articles, text and display advertising, along with blogs and social media posts. The more you match your media footprint with your prospects and customers, the better your engagement and value.

Pillar #4 Content Measurement: Gathering insights into what’s working and what’s not begins with measurement. It’s often helpful to measure incremental success or micro conversions - along the path to the final success criteria whatever that maybe for you (driving qualified leads, increasing the pipeline, or generating actual sales etc.). These micro-conversions can be content usage, consumption, shares, likes, impressions, views etc. and is primarily based on the channel. Even though they are sometimes dismissed as vanity metrics, they can be a leading indicator of the potential success of your content campaign and help you test and optimize accordingly. Plus these help establish credibility, relevance and engagement with your prospects and customers.

I hope you found this helpful in formulating an end-to-end content life cycle that is designed to engage new prospects and play a leading role in converting them to customers.

What, in your opinion, is critical to building a successful content marketing campaign? Let me know your comments.

Paramita Bhattacharya leads the development of content marketing strategy and the digital campaign content calendar for IoT, Cloud, Converged Infrastructure, Virtualization, Flash Storage & Mobility offerings at Hitachi Data Systems. She was previously a Group Manager at Adobe where she drove customer engagement and revenue through strategic content, integrated digital campaigns, multi-touch programs and digital platforms leveraging inbound & outbound tactics, and partnered with multiple disciplines. She is a member of the Frost & Sullivan Digital Marketing Advisory Board.