Content marketing requires manpower, so the first step is figuring out who is going to head up the program. There's no one-size-fits-all for team structure -- it depends largely on the size of your company, your marketing team, and your budget. But if we assume that those three things are interlinked, as they often are, I can provide you with some frameworks based off of other content marketing-focused companies' structures. These should help you hire the right people, and have them "sitting" in the right spot in your organization.
Before you even start to write content, you need to know what you’re writing about — and you can kill two birds with one stone if you combine search engine optimization with your editorial calendar planning. New York Times Bestselling author and top marketer Neil Patel calls keyword research “the most important part of digital marketing” and “how we keep our ears to the ground,” and for good reason.
You can choose to apply for assignments on various content writing platforms to receive work. This isn’t the most profitable way to become a freelance content writer, but it can be less stressful and give you more time to focus on writing instead of sales. When you find your own companies for which to write content, you’ll be responsible for finding the client, organizing the contract and payment terms, and doing all the customer service tasks, including delivering the assignment and follow up. Content writing platforms take care of this for you and pay you a portion of what they charge their clients to write the work.
While today Sunkist is a mega-brand, there was a period of time where they were growing more oranges than their customers were eating. They actually had to start cutting orange trees down. They ended up hiring an advertising genius named Albert Lasker who introduced American's to the idea of "orange juice". He patented an orange juice extractor, sold it for .10 cents a piece and American's started buying oranges in droves. The campaign name? Drink and Orange. It's a concept that is anything but new to us today, but back then it made for killer copywriting.
At HubSpot, we use ... well, we use HubSpot at HubSpot. It comes with a Content Management System (CMS), which allows you to create and publish content quickly in a format that's web-friendly. Whether you use HubSpot or another CMS, you need some CMS so your content marketing team can easily set up a blog, add blog posts, and add website pages without having to get help from IT or developers.
Let's say you're using PPC as your primary means of generating leads for your business. You need more leads, and decide to bid on the term "infographic generator" for $2 a click. At the end of your month-long campaign, you generated 1,000 leads and spent $10,000. Not bad. But what about next month? You have to spend $10,000 again. And again. And again. That is, if you want the leads to keep coming. In other words, when you turn the faucet of money off, leads stop coming out. The same concept applies with list purchasing, tradeshow marketing -- anything where you don't own the property from which leads are generated. Now let's contrast that experience against, say, blogging.
Webpages. What’s the difference between a normal webpage and a webpage that is content marketing? Consider The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz, a provider of SEO related tools and resources. This resource, offered for free, has been viewed millions of times, bringing in countless customers who otherwise might never have stumbled across Moz and the services they offer. Or take a look at a case study from the design firm Teehan+Lax. Most case studies are boring. Their case studies are fascinating. That’s the difference between simply putting content on your website, and content marketing.
Add value. That’s the secret. It’s not really a secret at all. We've already talked about it throughout this piece. Although when you look at some of the marketing companies engage in you wonder if they’re purposely avoiding the obvious. We skip advertising when it provides little to no value. If you want to learn about advertising that doesn’t get skipped, find a skateboarder and ask him if you can watch him look through a skateboard magazine. You’ll see that he spends as much time looking at the ads as he does looking at the articles and photos. Or check out The Berrics website. Much of the content is advertisements, but skaters don’t skip these videos, they watch them just like they watch the other videos, because they’re getting the value they want--good skating. As a skater I’d like to say skateboard companies pioneered content marketing decades ago, but I know they were only doing what came naturally, and selling more product was secondary to the fun of creating videos and magazines. If you want to hire someone onto your marketing team who understands content marketing intuitively, hiring a skateboarder might not be a bad step.
Take it from someone who writes for a living: Just start writing. Your first idea is probably not going to be a winner, and that’s why you should get it out of the way as soon as possible. Write out all of the ideas you have for your copy, no matter how silly– you may be surprised at what gems come out of a brainstorming session where you don’t edit or criticize your creativity.
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Competitor research is important, but you also have to be extremely familiar with your own product or service. Rolls Royce was one of the first major accounts Ogilvy won when his agency was in its early years. In his book, he talks about spending a full three weeks reading about the car to come up with one simple headline: “At sixty miles an hour, the loudest noise comes from the electric clock.” This might not seem like the type of detail that would take you three weeks to find, but sometimes you need to give your brain time to let the information soak in.
The proxy for content marketing in the following charts is "Attract", since content marketing is the top-of-the-funnel activity that attracts people to your business. "Convert" and "Close" refer to middle-of-the-funnel and bottom-of-the-funnel marketing activities, like email marketing, nurturing, sales enablement, marketing ops, conversion rate optimization, etc.