Content marketing is an effective tool used to create new channels of awareness without waiting for mainstream media to listen to your voice. Create and distribute a compelling story directly to your target audiences using these six steps:
1. Know Your Plan
As with any PR tool, content marketing requires you to research and organize before taking action. Answering questions like, “Why is this issue important to your audience?” or “Why is your goal, cause, or perspective relevant?” will clarify your objectives before you start. Set measurable, attainable objectives up-front so you can track your success.
2. Know Your Audience
Once you know where you are headed, it is critical to determine your audience. PR is all about people, and content marketing is a strategic tool used to create personal, trusting relationships with those who will influence the spread and support of your message. Because of this relational dynamic, content marketing can change long-term attitudes. Is your audience local or international? Is it gender-specific? What thought leaders or related issues does your audience already watch?
3. Know Your Story
The story is the central component of content marketing, because it expresses your message in a relevant, impactful way based on your research. Ask questions like:
• Who is telling your story?
• Are they believable, relevant, and inspiring?
• Does your story support the purpose behind your message?
Distinct from a sales pitch, content marketing uses a story to drive future efforts and create relationships. The story should remain relevant and use both emotion and facts to engage your audience.
4. Know Your Channels
Channels are the platforms used to reach your audience directly. The wide variety of non-traditional media channels gives you more control and more options through which to tell your story. You can also target your audience in a cost-effective way, since most content marketing channel are inexpensive or free, and spread organically online or in-print. Examples of content channels are:
• Mobile Applications
• Social Media
5. Know Your Process
The process is the way you maintain relevant content and gauge your success. Create a process that allows you to craft, adjust, and measure your content and its influence. Sharing content is a two-way exchange requiring interaction, collaboration, monitoring, and response. Listening to your audience and adapting to their needs is essential to building lasting relationships and long-term support.
6. Know Your Metrics
Finally, evaluation is critical to success. Measuring your reach against your original objectives enables you to reevaluate and refine by asking the questions:
• What is working? What isn’t working?
• Is the story driving the action?
• Does my story increase support for my messages?
• Are the channels cost effective?