We do a lot of different kinds of Content Marketing at Marcus Thomas, so I find myself doing a lot of thinking about it on behalf of clients and just because I find this "new" thing very curious.
First off, there's a lot of confusion about, mostly because different players, i.e., software vendors, content providers, etc., each want it to fit their selfish needs.
One thing almost everyone seems to agree that Content Marketing is a viable strategy, although there is still conflict and confusion over how it's done and what it's used for.
Then it hit me. Content Marketing is to marketing what dieting and exercise are to personal well-being.
After all, we don't argue that it's a good idea to eat right and stay in shape. We just argue about how to do it. Or, to be honest, we argue because we don't really want to do it. The discussions, the arguments, are all things that make us feel like we're in the wellness game, while at the same time avoiding the 800 pound gorilla in the room: we're not getting any more fit.
In the context of Content Marketing, we go to conferences and talk about it. We listen to speakers. We read books and articles about it. But most of us don't really do it.
Because we think it's hard. Or that "I'll never get the CRM I need. I'll never get the content I need..." Just like with exercise, we're afraid we'll get started, or we've gotten started and bought a piece of technology that promised instant results without putting in the work. (The next thing you know we'll have an old marketing automation platform gathering dust in the closet next to our P90X CDs).
Get over it. Start small. Start simple. Just do it.
The trick is to get a baseline first and then work to get little wins.
Look at your customers. Dissect them. Get to know them and how they might want to get to know you and buy your products. Map out that journey and what role content can play to add value.
Then see what content you might already have and what content you still need. Look to your agency for help procuring the content you don't have yet and for ways to present the content to fit the ways your customers want it.
Then develop your content distribution strategy. It can be as simple as a regular newsletter or as complicated as a fully-integrated marketing communications effort where content plays a key role. The trick is to get started--and to actively observe, measure and optimize your effort. This is fundamental to whether your program is simple or complex because it shapes your effort, it motivates you to keep going, and it gives your bosses reasons to keep funding you efforts.
Most importantly, don't get ahead of yourself. Don't look three months ahead and conjure up all the reasons you won't get there. Don't confuse conversations and/or technology with action. Focus on today. Make each day the only day that matters.
The next thing you know, you'll be looking back at a successful Content Marketing program and you may finally know how to properly use that marketing automation platform gathering dust in your closet.
I'd value your input on this subject, specifically how you've got your Content Marketing effort off the ground and sustained over time.