As business owners we have all faced the challenge of reaching out to the right audience. The best way to reach out is to market your product through the right channels. This is where a lot of businesses miss the entire point of reaching out. When you are trying to reach out to your potential customers online your product needs to speak for itself. The language that your product speaks is called marketing and the genius of marketing lies in the content that describes, positions, presents, introduces, or elucidates your product. The point is content is not important to the success of your product, content is an indispensable part of your product’s journey.
Let me rephrase that. Your content is your product. Don’t use it to sell your product. Sell it.
While the importance of content marketing is widely recognized today, many business owners still don’t rate it as one of their priorities. This is where a change in attitude towards content development is needed. The marketing wings of organizations, both big and small, need to start treating content as a separate product. Why is that important? Well, in the online world the only tangible connection a product can establish with its potential buyers is through outstanding content.
Here is a 5 step process that will help you make much better use of your content strategy. But before you even begin to implement these steps adopt a “content is product” mindset because that will give you the impetus required to give your content the push it deserves. Remember that it’s not a second priority, it should be your number one priority. Right at par with the product that you hope it will help sell.
Step 1: Strategize
For people, such as myself, who have been part of the content industry for a decade or so, it’s hard to believe that even in the year 2015 a lot of business owners still don’t understand the importance of having a content strategy before they begin to produce content.
You will not build a product without recognizing the problem that it solves, will you? Then why would you not carefully examine the issues that your content should deal with before you publish your first blog post, or send out your first tweet, announcing to the world that your product has arrived? Always have a content strategy in place that resonates with the issues that your product aims to address. Strategizing ahead of time gives you the opportunity to build a brand and product presence, as well as the flexibility to quickly incorporate a new marketing medium when it becomes available.
Step 2: Analyze
Creating a content strategy and sticking to it is a good start. But analytics is the backbone of any growth hack. You need to define and analyze metrics like data trends, user-behavior, and various statistical comparisons suited to your business. Once you have analytical data at your disposal you have the valuable insights required to determine the contingency of your deliverables.
Thanks to this analysis you will also know what to optimize, when to optimize, and how much optimization will suffice. But a word of caution here, do not fall prey to paralysis by analysis. Analysis is helpful, when done right.
Step 3: Optimize
The next bit is to optimize your existing content strategy. Once you know which e-newsletter had the best open-rates , which poll attracted the maximum responses, and which twitter campaign had the target audience retweeting like there’s no tomorrow, congratulations, you have hit a home run.
Now, optimize these great results.
Replicate this success in other newsletters, polls, twitter campaigns, et cetera. Be sure not to create duplicate content, but a good understanding of user behavior obtained from analytics will certainly help you duplicate and even optimize user behavior for new campaigns.
Step 4: Sell
As mentioned a little earlier in this article, don’t use your content to sell your product, sell it. ‘It’ here is your content. How do you sell content? Well, you make it valuable. Through a well researched content strategy, a good analytical approach, and a good optimization follow-up you are already on your way to creating valuable content. And valuable content sells on merit. This merit lies in the authenticity, originality, and solution-worthiness of the content in question.
Step 5: Repeat
If you have successfully created a structured approach to high quality content that sells itself and benefits your product by carefully and diligently going through the first four steps, don’t stop, repeat the cycle every quarter or financial year, whichever suits your business.
Remember to give your content and its marketing the diligence it deserves. Treat your content as you would treat your product and reap benefits that cut beyond sales figures and market share. Content, when done right, may give your brand the facelift it has been lacking despite your outstanding product offerings.