Every content marketing campaign has to start somewhere. Maybe yours is a brand new business, and you’re just setting out to build some online brand equity. Or, maybe you’ve simply been putting off content marketing for far too long, and are ready to get serious about it. Either way, a day will come when you compose your first tweet, draft your first blog, and run your first set of social analytics—the proper kickoff to your content marketing campaign.
But wait: Before that day comes, there are a few steps that you need to take to lay the foundation for success. Make no mistake: If you just start posting company Facebook updates without any kind of formal planning, your content marketing efforts are unlikely to bear any fruit. Better to take the time to fully prepare yourself and your team, following the steps below:
- Make note of your content marketing goals. Don’t just think about them; write them out. What are you trying to accomplish, and how would you define a successful content marketing campaign? Use these written goals to guide your content creation. Reference them regularly.
- Also take the time to construct buyer personas. What are the individual, identifiable groups of consumers you’re seeking to engage? Draft some profiles of them, including age range, gender, financial status, hobbies, values, and so on. Buyer personas should be used to target your content toward specific audiences, and to position your products and services in the appropriate light.
- Have a mission statement that reflects what your brand stands for.
- Also establish a clear division of labor. Are you outsourcing your content marketing? If so, then who will be the point of contact with your content marketing company? If not, then who on your team is tasked with content creation? Distribution? Analysis? Customer engagement?
- Make an editorial calendar. At the bare minimum, plan out the first two weeks of content—blog topics, each and every social media post, press releases, everything. A full month’s worth is better still.
- Invest in a program that will allow you to automate—and track—your content marketing endeavors. Something like HootSuite will work for most small businesses—and it’s affordable.
- Finally, make sure you think about your expectations—and adjust them appropriately. Your content marketing campaign is all about building trust, cultivating relationships. It’s not going to generate results over night, but it should generate results in time.
Taking the time for these tasks will help you to really prepare yourself for content marketing’s long haul—and to position your business for online success!