Content Marketing

These are the 6 Steps I Use for Great Content Marketing

 These are the 6 Steps I Use for Great Content Marketing

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badge jay says These are the 6 Steps I Use for Great Content Marketing
Now that it’s a “thing,” we have a tendency to overcomplicate content marketing. Not coincidentally, this was also the case when websites became a “thing” as well as when email, and SEO and social media got hot. Probably even butter churning, when that first went viral (or whatever passed for viral in feudal Europe). But I have one piece of advice that will serve you well as new technology and marketing trends capture our imagination:

People who make things more complex than they are either know less than they think, or are trying to sell you something (tweet this)

There are certainly people and organizations in social media and content marketing that are living proof of that principle, and one of my deepest desires for Convince & Convert as a blog and as a consultancy is to not be among them. Our unofficial motto is “Uncommon advice without the hype.” In that spirit, I wanted to spend a few minutes with you today talking about how content marketing gets made.

Of course, there are at least as many types of content marketing as there are squirrels in my yard, and as I type this I can see 17 squirrels. So there’s that. At the execution level there are indeed myriad ways you can “make” and deploy content that works. However, the process that companies undergo to plan, create and measure content is (or should be) mostly static and consistent.

Here’s the six step process we use for content marketing plans here at Convince & Convert. Perhaps it’ll help you see through the smokescreen of obfuscation that is starting to creep into the content marketing field.

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6 step content marketing process

1. Business Goals

Now that it’s hot, far too many companies are creating content just to be able to check that box on their marketing tactics chart. “Let’s do content marketing” is replacing “let’s do social media” and “let’s try to go viral” as the most commonly heard – yet utterly rudderless – corporate mandate. Content can serve different purposes within a company, and the best content marketing programs define the role of content beforehand, not after the fact.

2. Strategy

What is this specific aim of this particular content execution? For which audience is it intended? At what stage of the purchase funnel? What is the key question or need that this content fulfills? How do we know that this need exists (social listening, search engine keyword analysis, customer feedback, etc.).

3. Production

What form should this content optimally take, recognizing that in many cases there isn’t a right and wrong way to do content, just a way that is more right based on your audience and their information consumption preferences. This is where you get to figure out what you’re making, who is making it, and when.

4. Atomization

Too often, content marketers attempt to reinvent the wheel instead of just chumming more bodies of water with a content tentpole they already possess. This is content atomization – taking one big idea and making many smaller content executions from it. My favorite example of content atomization in practice is this Fix In Six program from Lowe’s.

5. Amplification

You must market your marketing. The notion that you can simply create interesting content and people will magically find it is a lie. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. You have to treat your content executions like a product, and launch them the same way you would a product. I employed dozens of integrated tactics to launch my book Youtility last year, instead of relying on Amazon and this blog to generate sufficient awareness. (for a related ebook on my 25 Secrets About How I Wrote and Marketed a New York Times Bestseller, check this out).

6. Measurement

Content isn’t inexpensive. It’s just different expensive. The time required (and in some cases, the production costs) can be significant. Some day, someone in your company is going to ask “hey, is all that content actually making us any money?” The best content programs are those that are measured, because the data gathered can be used to optimize the content next time. Here’s an ebook I wrote with Content Marketing Institute called “A Field Guide to the 4 Types of Content Marketing Metrics.” If you haven’t seen it, you should grab it. A couple of notes on measurement in general:

You may not be able to measure content’s impact on transactions, per se. But, if you are wise about survey research you can isolate content’s impact on preference and sales that way. For example, this remarkable program from McDonald’s Canada has been found to have increased Canadians’ trust of McDonald’s food quality by nearly 10 percent. That’s an enormous impact that shows up in surveys, but cannot be neatly measured in-store.

Also, make sure you have fully thought through your measurement narrative BEFORE you produce your content. You need to bake trackability into the content wherever possible, and if you don’t do that at the beginning you end up with a patchwork mathematical mess. Remember this:

Trying to measure content after it’s made is like trying to pinstripe a car once it’s moving. (click to tweet)

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Slide1 e1394646750985 These are the 6 Steps I Use for Great Content Marketing
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These are the 6 Steps I Use for Great Content Marketing
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Content marketing is often needlessly over-complicated. Here's a simple 6-step process used by Jay Baer and Convince and Convert to create content marketing.
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  • samrex

    Love it, thank you. Hype free for sure. ;)

  • HoussemD

    I love the first tweetable Jay. Albert Einstein once said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”. Great advice as usual. Thanks!

  • http://trappedinboost.com/ Gary Gaspar

    Hey Jay,

    For me, my content can only have two MEASURABLE goals:

    1) Generate more traffic
    2) Get more conversion

    Knowing in advance what I’m trying to achieve with my piece of content, helps me to know whether the post was a success or not.

    Do you view your content the same way?

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      Ditto, Gary!

  • http://www.buildandbalance.com/ Michael_N

    This is a great framework that I can understand and remember! Now if only I could get BSPAAM to be an acronym that sounds like something meaningful. Hmm. Seriously, thanks for sharing this Jay. It’s a clear process that one can go as deep as they want to with. I really like the Atomization step. I think too many people keep creating new content and skip this valuable step.

  • guptaabhijit318

    Great! Its really a valuable post. All this points are described here very well. This blog is very informative and useful too. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • http://www.ryankparker.com/ Ryan K. Parker

    You need to bake trackability into the content wherever possible,- how does one bake trackability in?

  • http://twitter.com/deand Dean Dowd

    great post Jay!

    I think the first and most important part is to develop persona’s for who the content is intended that way the strategy is geared to the right people

    • http://rockthestatusquo.com/ Carrie Morgan

      Persona’s can be an agency’s way of overthinking the obvious. Not always, but…. #justsayin They don’t have to be pretty – but they do work well to center your thinking around end audience needs.

      • http://twitter.com/deand Dean Dowd

        Yah I’m not saying you have to make a brochure about each person, just a quick facts about the person, what is the problem they have (why are they reading the content), their behavior (what do they do about the problem), and lastly what’s their goal. It shouldn’t take to long to come up with this but I feel that if you know all this the content will be more successful.

  • natethegreat

    replying to comments is the #1 rule to making sure your content has legs and not just feet – : ) #justsaying great article! love lowes fix in 6 ….

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

      Yeah and did you know that Lowes program started from customer recommendations? Awesome.