Content Marketing

The Content Life Cycle [INFOGRAPHIC]

No matter how creative you want to get with your company’s content strategy, you need to prioritize process and a clear plan. Take off your stream-of-consciousness goggles, and start thinking like the minds behind a magazine. Behind every successful blog post, video, and infographic is an even bigger vision. That means doing your research to analyze your competitors, understand your consumers, and build out your brand’s unique, competitive edge.

As the following infographic from DigitalC4 put it, “content for online brand visibility needs to be well written, fluid, dynamic, and shared.”

Content-Life-Cycle-Infographic

DigitalC4 recommends taking the following steps before you hit ‘publish.’

1. Gather your sources 
Let inspiration come from everywhere via blogs, social media, and your favorite news outlets. Heck, expand your search beyond the screen — look outside your office window, interview a customer or two, or browse through some hilarious Craigslist ads. Don’t worry about finding the most unique breaking news. Focus on cultivating your unique perspective instead.

2. Curate
Think before you write, and clearly identify your theme, a blend of the unique storytelling elements that you want to mix together into the perfect story. Envision your blog post or article as a puzzle, and throw away the pieces that simply don’t fit. (That’s a more exciting way to approach it than “make an outline.”)

3. Write
Here comes the fun part. Once your plan from steps 1 and 2 is ready to go, the writing is more likely to “just flow” because of the preparation you’ve done. The more information you curate ahead of time, the more verbal ammo you have for crafting a great story — it’s a beautiful feedback loop where inspiration fuels more inspiration.

4. Publish
It’s time to unleash your 500-word masterpiece — but hitting the ‘publish’ button just isn’t enough. Distribute your content where your audience can easily find it. Social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are great places to start recruiting eyeballs and building a steady traffic stream. Remember that distribution is key to your content’s success — failing to promote and distribute is basically like leaving your content in a dark corner of the Internet.

What’s Missing?
DigitalC4’s infographic clearly outlines the planning steps necessary for a powerful content strategy. When it comes to execution and distribution, however, the audience-building picture is overly simplistic. (This happens a lot in infographics.)

Don’t kid yourself. Building an audience is hard. Ten years from now, you could become one of the world’s best bloggers, but when you’re just starting out? You’re a small fish in an infinitely vast pond. You’ll want to tear your hair out. In the brand world, this is particularly important to point out because it’s easy for rash judgments to be made about a marketing project if it doesn’t appear immediately successful.

With content marketing, you have to have patience. Keep at it. Remember that in this world, slow and steady wins.

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