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the complete online guide to content success

Is there any marketing tactic (PR is not a marketing tactic), customer- or public-facing practice and even business function that isn’t impacted by content (marketing)? The list is long.

A good communicator is serious about the ways you analyze, network, connect, understand, create and use social and content.

Ever more PR firms and providers of PR solutions have embraced content marketing and in many cases even made it the cornerstone of their renewed strategy or proposition. Unfortunately some companies confuse content marketing and PR as the content they produce proves.

Below are some evolutions in PR (in correlation with content marketing but also, for instance, with social media).

PR expert Frank Strong weighs in on the key role of content

Frank Strong, formerly at Vocus and now communications director with LexisNexis shares his views and experiences on the ways content marketing and PR work together. For Frank the conclusions are clear: PR should embrace content marketing. However, at the same time, much of what PR has always been about in Frank’s experience centered on content. Check it out.

Social, content and PR: connecting the dots

Deirdre Breakenridge and Shel Holtz are two of the world’s best-known PR experts and strong advocates of content marketing and social. They have been innovating and leading the way. When we met with both it was a great opportunity to look deeper into what was once known as PR 2.0 and is really about PR evolving as other business functions in a connected, social and content-intensive reality. The key principles remain, the hybrid PR professional is here. Read more.

More content success advice

There is no “silver bullet” or one-size-fits-all strategy, plan or success framework that applies to every organization. However, it’s certainly true that in each case, common elements exist for successful content marketing programs.

Below you can find more links to succeed in content marketing, with seven frameworks that can help you in building a program and more.

Addressing customer questions as a content marketing strategy

A great way to succeed with content marketing is by responding to customer questions and customer pain points in a smart way.

It works for smaller companies and “simple” buying journeys but also for more complex situations. Furthermore, there is ample room for differentiation, even if at first sight the approach seems easy to replicate.

Read more about it here.

What does it take to succeed in content marketing?

To succeed, content marketing requires integration and collaboration.

Content marketing success depends on a specific degree of “content marketing maturity“. While not all business want or need to grow in that maturity model, each stage requires the ability to work across silos, integrate, plan and collaborate. This article explains why.

Check it out.

Frameworks for smart content marketing programs

There are tons of models and frameworks to develop a content marketing strategy or plan.

They all have their own approaches. The reason for that is simple: each business and each content marketing strategy is different. We bundled some of time, providing again more tips.

Check them out.

Content marketing strategy, content formats and changing buyers

The customer journey has changed: more touchpoints, more control and choice, more channels and information, you name it.

One of the elements in a content marketing strategy is analyzing the needs and preferences of different target audiences (using personas or other ways to segment content) and finding the overlap with your brand. The so-called sweet spots. An overview and some models to do it + tips to pick the formats for your audiences and strategy. More.

Content marketing maturity models and roadmaps

Content marketing maturity models and roadmaps are about more than benchmarking and assessments.

A staged content marketing approach, following your content marketing maturity track, helps in taking actions now for tomorrow, see clearer and even get the budgets today to get buy-in for a full-fledged content marketing plan tomorrow.

Read why and how.

An integrated content marketing approach

This is a must-read in the context of content marketing, integration, customer-centricity, the need to focus on customer experiences and the role of content marketing in the broader picture.

Based on a keynote presentation and an interview with Mike Corak, one of the speakers at our Content Marketing Conference. Everything on integrated content marketing.

Check it out.

Content marketing strategy and audience segmentation

One of the steps in a content marketing strategy is correlating business goals with target audiences.

This audience segmentation is most often done using buyer personas. There are also other models, for instance in storytelling some like to work with archetypes. We made an overview of several persona models. Note that some people also work with specific content marketing persona attributes. However, if you want an overview to start with, you might want to read it.

Learn more.

Content marketing strategy beyond the first degree: value chains

People are connected. To understand what the so-called connected consumer needs and/or values, you need to understand his networks.

This isn’t just about social media and the crucial involvement of social listening and the connected consumer in your content marketing strategy. It’s also about channel enablement, understanding the customers of your target audiences (internal and external) to serve them better and get more success. More advanced but crucial.

Check it out.

Content marketing software

With the growing importance of content for marketing purposes, a range of new software platforms hit the market.

Some content marketing software looks at more practical elements (for instance search engine optimization), others are mainly about planning, collaboration and editorial calendars, a group of platforms focuses on social sharing and/or content curation, and, last but not least, there is a range of enterprise-level platforms doing it all.

In the latter category we also find platforms that are closely connected with, for instance, marketing automation platforms. The industry of content marketing software is growing fast but also evolving fast, with some players being acquired by large marketing software vendors. At the same time, we see several marketing software vendors but also content management firms and others including content marketing features.

We started categorizing them and, more importantly, provide advice on how to select what you need as the market itself is evolving fast and the question is not what tools are the best but what tools serve your individual goals best.

Content marketing software: categorization and tips to select a vendor

Does content + marketing = content marketing?

The key question is how content marketing can offer value to your business, customers and audiences, depending on the challenges, opportunities and areas where it is used.

And this is where we encounter some pragmatic issues with the two words in the term “content marketing”, the reason why we spent quite some time defining and explaining it.

The two pragmatic issues with content marketing as a term

  • The “marketing” part of content marketing can lead to confusion as content marketing is not just used for strict marketing purposes. It’s also used for sales enablement, public relations, etc. Good programs involve multiple internal customers (customer service, sales, product marketing, brand management, etc.) and content marketing is not owned by marketing (nor by PR or any other division).
  • The “content” part of content marketing has been leading to numerous debates on what content exactly is. We’ll spare you those (for now) but it’s clear that it can lead to further confusion regarding the what, why, how and who of content marketing, which is already an umbrella term as such.

The essential thing to remember is that it is NOT just about the marketing function.

Content in marketing: a historical perspective

The Michelin Guide – an old one that is – source

Content marketing as a term might be relatively new (it exists since the end of the nineties and was popularized in its current context around 2008-2009), the practice of content marketing most certainly isn’t.

However, as content marketing is increasingly moving towards digital as mentioned earlier and the modern way of looking at it is very much related with the advent of Internet, we created a separate page on these online roots and their impact on, among others, media, publishing, looking at the customer and more.

In recent years and due to the success of the term and the growing awareness of marketers that relevant content is necessary and undervalued, the term content marketing is used for many purposes and tactics in the digital and social marketing context, ranging from social content and search engine optimization to even online advertising.

Internet and the origins of modern content marketing

 

External content marketing resources

We promised to offer you many resources and of course want to live up to that promise. So, below are several sources where you can read and watch much more about content marketing.

A list of experts for your inspiration

A few years ago we started a list with experts in content marketing and related areas.

There are over 50 people on it whom you might want to follow to learn more. We also wrote an article, mentioning the list and highlighting a few individuals.

You can read all about it here (where you also find the list).

A list of great blogs for additional information

Many of the people in the above mentioned list obviously have their own blogs but there are plenty more. We’ve also built a list of blogs about content marketing (sometimes about other, related topics as well).

The list is crowdsourced too and contains over 100 resources. Check the blogs out for even more content inspiration and advice.

Read more about it here.

A list of definitions

As you could read earlier there are quite some definitions regarding content marketing.

We even made a page to summarize some of them. So if you want to see how others defined content marketing: take a look here.

The corporate blog: for many still the content hub

The role of the blog – source infographic why blogging matters via MyCustomercom

In most (digital) content marketing and social media strategies, blogs play an essential role, often as the hub of social activities.

Blogs have many benefits for content marketing too. Do you need a blog for your organization? It all depends but there are many befits and reasons to at least have a corporate blog (which doesn’t mean it should be company-centric). Blogs have many inherent benefits, can serve multiple (content) marketing goals and there are dozens of good arguments to get started.

If you don’t have a blog yet but are considering one or if you want to improve your existing corporate blog, our corporate blogging guide might come in handy.

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