ROI

5 Steps to Building a Content Marketing Powerhouse

By John Hazard October 7th, 2015

Seven years ago, Kathleen Matthews, Marriott’s EVP of communications, walked into Bill Marriott’s office with an idea. After 25 years as a reporter and news anchor for an ABC News affiliate in Washington, D.C., she knew the power of a good story—especially when it came from a compelling figure. So, naturally, she wanted Marriott to have a blog, and she wanted Bill Marriott to write it.

The blog was a hit and today, you might mistake Marriott for a media company that just happens to manage towering resorts and offer rooms for let.

The anecdote—cribbed from the opening of our Content Marketing Playbook series—was how Contently co-founder Shane Snow and I recently greeted guests at Google’s Campus London as we gathered for a “Content Salon” on the process of building a publishing house at the core of your marketing organization.

The program, the second in a planned series of Content Salons, had an ambitious topic: everything you need to know to get started in content marketing. It was a broad topic, probably too much information for any one night, but we wanted to start from the beginning and offer an overview of the process, tackling five key areas. Since only a small share of our global audience had the chance to make it, we wanted to share our takeaways, as well as a SlideShare of our presentation, below:

1. Building consensus

Most marketers can’t walk into the CEO’s office and pitch the idea of building a small media company within a large corporation. Instead, content marketers are faced with a task of persistently championing content marketing over time. But it’s more than just spouting stats at anyone who will listen. A big part of evangelizing content marketing is creating a strategic roadmap that will ensure success once execution begins.

For a detailed game plan on how to do that, head here.

2. Defining your story

Learn how to build a content strategy that works by defining your audience, identifying gaps in the sources already reaching your audience, and leveraging the special sauce that only your organization can bring to bear. What are you an expert in, and how can you tell stories about that subject better than anyone else? This robust playbook will help you build a content strategy and roadmap.

3. Staffing and launching

Once you have a content strategy in place, there are five key steps to getting started:

  • Craft a brand voice and content marketing mission statement to guide your efforts.
  • Identify your story types and requirements so you know what to create.
  • Build an editorial calendar to hold yourself accountable to a consistent publishing schedule.
  • Staff your content team so you can begin creating content.
  • Create an approval workflow so you can operate like a real newsroom.

This is easier said than done, so check out our step-by-step guide for more.

4. Engaging and building an audience

You have created a ton of great content, but there’s no guarantee that anyone will actually see it. The hard part—getting people to read, and keep reading, your content—has just begun.

We recommend focusing on four major tactics, which you can read more about here:

  • Email newsletters
  • Organic social media
  • Paid content distribution
  • SEO

5) Measuring and optimizing: The C→E→O Model

To execute a successful content marketing operation, you need to translate numbers into action. Your operation needs to be a virtuous cycle of creating content, engaging audiences, and optimizing the process again and again.

That’s where measurement comes in. You need to consistently examine both audience metrics that quantify your audience’s true engagement and business metrics that align with key company goals. Only then can you strategically figure out how to improve every aspect of your content marketing program.

It’s not an easy process, but you can learn all about it here. And for a visual aid—as well as a chance to check out my awesome presentation-building skills—check out the SlideShare below.

Image by Your Design/Shutterstock
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