How to Launch a Content-Driven Marketing Program

By Patrice Meadows — Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 at 11:00am

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Using blogs, images, videos, and podcasts to attract and engage prospects is commonplace in most marketing circles. Many brag about how much content their team cranks out or close they’ve come to ‘going viral’. The trouble with all this content is that it is rarely the result of strategy.

Instead of thinking about how to best use content to drive business, many marketers simply create it and hope for the best. This is not good. To see results from content marketing, marketers must develop a strategy that governs their work. Similarly, marketers must also decide if content is simply a marketing tactic or the driving force behind all marketing activity.

Marketing with Content v. Content-Driven Marketing: What’s the difference?

Figuring out how your organization uses content is critical. It is the difference between whether you expect content to support outbound marketing activities or if expect it to lead new prospects to you. Content-driven marketing programs look a lot like the latter.

Organizations that use content to attract and engage new prospects participate in inbound marketing. Those that use advertising or other means to identify new prospects first and use branded content to convert them later, rely instead on outbound marketing to create opportunities. Before you can create an effective marketing strategy that leverages content accordingly, you must determine which one applies to you.

Determine what prospects are looking for

Once you’ve determined that a content-driven approach is right for you, it is time to strategize. Think about what your ideal prospect needs to know to make a purchase. Content-driven marketing programs use content to answer questions to drive prospects toward conversion. And because you’ll have little, to no, control over the order that prospects consume content, you’ll ensure that each piece gives prospects a reason to re-engage.

Find out where they go to find it

There are several ways to help prospects find their way back to your content and, by extension, your brand, most of which involves a strong content distribution strategy. Like the content strategy that came before it, how you distribute content is heavily influenced by who you’re trying to reach. Sure, you’ll need to understand their interests and goals, but you must also know where they go when looking for answers related to your offering.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Which outlets do they deem trustworthy?
  • Who are key influencers they’re likely to follow?
  • Do they respond to user-generated-content like reviews?
  • When do they search for information?

Find ways to add value authentically

Many prospects recoil at content that seems sales oriented,  so it’s important to produce pieces that clearly entertains, informs, or otherwise helps prospects in some way. Studies have shown that sponsored content can generate the same, if not more, engagement than unsponsored content when the creative works. The same is true of branded content.

This is where things get tricky. Obviously, you want your work to push prospects forward in their purchase journey, but you know that anything that seems disingenuous or self-serving will likely be dismissed.

What do you do?

Provide value anyway. To market is to know that a good portion of your prospects will inevitably choose an alternative. Sharing valuable information in good faith will likely make a positive impression on your audience and help support your brand’s image in the marketplace.

Read this piece to learn more about how creating value can increase conversions.

Whether you are answering questions on Quora or connecting with prospects through video, make sure your content-driven strategy delivers by providing value. Help your community achieve more with helpful information they can’t find anywhere else and you’ll start to generate better opportunities. A sincere commitment to quality and strategy often precedes success.

Are you running a content-driven marketing program? Share your secrets to success below or tweet us @hannon_hill.

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