12 Steps to a Content Habit

Contemplating a content marketing program?

Content MarketingThen you know the potential impact.  A well executed program will elevate brand awareness, increase engagement, generate leads and ultimately increase sales and revenue.

However, publishing content haphazardly or developing valueless information isn’t content marketing.  Instead, follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to content habit!

1 | Define your objective

If you are training for a marathon, swimming isn’t your primary training option.  Instead, you lay out a plan that includes long runs, slow runs, races and cross training.  Similarly, content should align to your overall business strategy.  Aligning your strategy will help you define relevant content topics, select channels that your audience frequents and form your overall program.  Start with a defined objective, to get in the best shape.

2 | Quantify your plan

You defined the objective, what resources are required to execute it?  A new content program, even one that is conservatively designed, almost always takes more time than you think. Let’s say your content plan produces new leads, who responds?  If you get negative feedback, how do you handle it?   Do you have one person that reviews and publishes all content?  What happens if that person is out?  Not accounting for time demands in advance often leads to a conflict in priorities.  Programs fail when resources are diverted.

3 | Make sure your team is all in

You’ve defined your objective and quantified the plan, make sure the team supports your efforts.  Who’s the team?  Customer facing staff throughout the company but especially executives, sales and marketing.  Review the program and get their ownership.  A content program won’t work if you operate in a vacuum.  You need buy in to ensure success.

4 | Commit to the plan

You convinced your organization that a content program is the way to go.  Take a deep breath, now you have to commit the time, resources and unwavering support to make it successful.  Nothing destroys momentum more than taking your staff away from their content responsibilities. Daily execution over the long haul works.  Seven in eight business-to-business blogs fail. They don’t fail because content marketing is easy.  Don’t start the program unless you are willing to fight the priority battles and foster a content culture.

5 | Setup measurement criteria

followers, likes, site visits and page views are nice but ultimately you’re trying to expand your audience, improve engagement, get more people interested in your capabilities, generate leads and increase conversions.  Make sure you define your key ROI metrics and measure them.

6 | Leverage your channels

Both online and offline.  For social sites, develop short and long form content that fits the respective channel.  Take the blog headline and make it your Twitter post.  Use the new website image on Instagram.  If you are a B2B company make sure you include arguably the most important channel, your sales force.  Making it easy for them to access and spread content to their contacts will perpetuate the program.

7 | Develop an editorial calendar

Define the who, what, when, where and why for all content and hold people accountable.

8 | Build your inventory

Inevitably, sources that agree to contribute content will miss a deadline.  However, if you can build an inventory and get articles teed up, you’ll reduce the consternation that goes along with late or non arriving content.

9 | Execute the plan

Many years ago I was languishing behind my sales goal and getting grief from my sales manager.  However, I had confidence the plan I implemented would pay dividends.  I weathered the storm and the next year, it was my best ever.  Develop a good plan and then meticulously execute it.

10 | Give it a month

Doubling your followers, jumping to first page search results and impacting revenue are worthy goals but unlikely to occur in the first month.  However, you can measure a number of important attributes.  Did articles get out on schedule?  Did contributors complete content on time.  Were your initial plans too ambitious or should they expand a bit?  What results have you observed?  Revise and improve.

11 | Promote the wins

Make sure your team knows successes you’ve achieved.

12 | Utilize analytics

Web and social media analytics provide the specific details you need to make improvements.  Set up a regular time to review the data and make appropriate changes.

Execute these steps and your content marketing will improve dramatically.  But even with perfect execution, you will hit the content wall.  Whether it is developing relevant material, losing a content provider or dealing with the naysayers and conflicting priorities, you are destined to face challenges.

But as the organization starts to see your audience expand and leads and revenue increase, the culture will shift.  Content marketing becomes ingrained in daily activities.

So fight through the challenges and build the content habit!

How To Use Content Marketing To Convert More Prospects Into Buyers

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