The little (content marketing) engine that could
During a recent #HITMC tweetchat, there was a lot of chatter about building robust content marketing programs, including having a strong content marketing engine. But what exactly is a “content marketing engine”? Is it a technology platform? Is it buying list of contacts? Do you have to have a big budget to be successful?
Simply put, a content marketing engine is all the elements of an integrated communications program—whether big or small—working together to reach target audiences and drive results. Whether you’re just getting your content marketing engine up and running or have been on the tracks for a while, here are a few key steps you can take to ensure ongoing success:
- Define your goals and your target audience – The first step to building a strong engine is defining your goals within the context of overall business goals. Make sure you ask: Who am I trying to reach? Why am I trying to reach them? What do I want them to know? What motivates or interests them? As you’re defining goals, don’t forget to also evaluate your overall communications strategy goals to ensure message alignment and maximum success. Setting clear goals at the beginning will also help you monitor success over time, so it’s easier to make improvements along the way.
- Develop a content strategy – Whether you’re just starting out or revamping existing efforts, map out how and when you intend to reach audiences. This includes considerations such as determining an overall campaign theme to ensure cohesiveness, identifying existing content, developing new content that will resonate with target audiences, and deciding how you’ll share the content. It’s important to remember your content library should include a mix of thought leadership and promotional material, so you’re able to engage with audiences on all levels.
- Distribute content – Once you’ve defined goals and determined what content you’ll share, it’s time to start the engine. Marketing automation tools are a great way to manage all the components, including social media sharing, in one spot. It serves as a hub that can automate sending content, track engagement and nurture leads. For example, if you’ve decided to include advertising in your content strategy, a marketing automation program can help you gather information from new prospects and provide them with additional insight based on their level of interest.
As your marketing engine powers-up, you’ll begin to make more connections with industry influencers and key prospects, who will then help you further extend your network. Eventually, your program will grow, and you’ll be able to run multiple targeted campaigns at once. Just remember, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”
How would you define a content marketing engine? What other areas have you found helpful to evaluate when building a strong program?