If you’ve ever slogged your way through reading a piece of marketing and only finished reading because you had to, then you’ve experienced bad content marketing. When I speak to companies about content marketing I tell them that content is good if they genuinely want to read it. Content is great if they’re willing to pay to read it. If you want to see great examples of content, just look at what you’ve paid to read, watch, or listen to lately. If you watched The Lego Movie this year, you saw one of the greatest examples of content marketing to date. Oh, you thought they made that movie in order to sell movie tickets? Think again. That was a 100 minute toy commercial, and rather than using a DVR to skip it you paid good money to watch it. Is it any coincidence that Lego recently leapfrogged Mattel, the creators of Barbie, to become the largest toy company in the world? You may not have the budget to make a feature film to promote your company, but you can still give potential customers valuable information.
You may also want to consider doing an internship at a publication you hope to work for full time in the future to make connections with editors and other writers at the publication. Many of these internships will likely not be paid, at least not at first. Be prepared to receive compensation in the form of connections and contacts. But be wary of being taken advantage of as free labor. If you feel uncomfortable working for free, try to find internships that pay.
You run an accounting firm that specializes in tax preparation, and business was lagging this year. You want to do better next year, so you start a blog on your website and publish posts about some of the common tax-related issues your target customer faces. You write a few posts a week, and eventually those blog posts start to rank in Google and other search engines.
Red Bull, which sells a high-energy beverage, has published YouTube videos, hosted experiences, and sponsored events around extreme sports and activities like mountain biking, BMX, motocross, snowboarding, skateboarding, cliff-diving, freestyle motocross, and Formula 1 racing. Red Bull Media House is a unit of Red Bull that "produces full-length feature films for cinema and downstream channels (DVD, VOD, TV)." The Red Bulletin is an international monthly magazine Red Bull publishes with a focus on men's sports, culture, and lifestyle.
The personal finance site Mint.com used content marketing, specifically their personal finance blog MintLife, to build an audience for a product they planned to sell. According to entrepreneur Sachin Rekhi, Mint.com concentrated on building the audience for MintLife "independent of the eventual Mint.com product." Content on the blog included how-to guides on paying for college, saving for a house, and getting out of debt. Other popular content included in-depth interviews and a series of financial disasters called "Trainwreck Tuesdays." The popularity of the site surged as did demand for the product. "Mint grew quickly enough to sell to Intuit for $170 million after three years in business. By 2013, the tool reached 10 million users, many of whom trusted Mint to handle their sensitive banking information because of the blog’s smart, helpful content."
You'll need some analytics for your website and blog so you can measure your content marketing performance against your goals. Some content marketing teams rely on Google Analytics, others rely on more robust closed-loop solutions that make it easy to tie content marketing activities at the top of the funnel to revenue. I recommend the latter if you want to use metrics to prove the success of your content marketing program so you can secure more budget and grow the team. If you're looking for an easy way to share numbers across your organization, look into DataHero. This tool integrates with the HubSpot software and allows you to track, visualize, and share your analytics through customized dashboards and charts.
Step 4: Produce and optimize your content. If you’re starting with original, high-quality content that you’ve invested real time and money to create, you’ll want to get the most out of every asset. You’ll also want to be sure your content stays fresh—out-of-date, no longer relevant content hurts your brand’s credibility. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your content marketing, remember the three Rs: