I recently returned from Social Media Marketing World 2015, the largest social media marketing conference, which takes place in San Diego. This was the third year for the conference. The speakers come in from all over the world to share their best insights!
There were so many amazing sessions and it was impossible to see them all, which is why I'm super excited about the virtual ticket. (If you want to see all of the sessions I definitely recommend a virtual ticket which you can still purchase - click here to learn more)
Back to School
Although I had my own speaking session this year on "how to build LinkedIn influence" at the conference, I really went back to school sitting in on a couple of terrific content marketing sessions.
One of those sessions was with Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute. His session was entitled How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy. The other was Michael Hyatt's session entitled How to Blog with Consistency.
Both of these sessions were very helpful because they reinforced the fundamentals of what it takes to be successful with your content marketing. It's easy to forget the fundamentals! We get busy. We get distracted. We stop practicing.
In the midst of the March Madness basketball tournament, I've reminisced about the importance of fundamentals. As a former college basketball point guard myself, I know how much they matter.
It wasn't enough to be a decent 3-point shooter, for example. You had to master all of the other fundamentals as well. You had to know how to make good passes, dribble while protecting the ball, play good defense, rebound and make your free throws to be a good player!
The fundamentals are expected if you want to be successful in basketball or content marketing, but the consistent practice is what separates the best from all the rest.
Committing to the practice of content marketing is certainly not easy, but it is necessary if you want to be successful. Going back to school on this at the conference was definitely a compelling reminder for me.
A Content Marketing Confession
Even though I've had some success with content marketing, I realized that my strategy could have been a lot better. In fact, I haven't really had a concrete strategy other than to write and publish articles when there was something important to share.
I also could have narrowed my niche more rather than just speaking broadly to all of the professionals in my market. I could have been more focused with the themes and topics covered. I could have kept a more consistent schedule and published more posts. I could have hired someone to help me edit, format and optimize blog posts to save time. The list goes on and on.
Perhaps you've strayed from the fundamentals like I have. The good news is, it's never too late to start taking control of your content marketing and doing things differently. Start where you are, but start first with a content mission statement.
Develop Your Content Mission Statement
For your content strategy to have real meaning and focus, you will want to develop your content mission statement. This is a concept that Joe Pulizzi (Content Marketing Institute) shared with the audience during his presentation at Social Media Marketing World. (Joe refers to it as an editorial mission statement)
A content mission statement provides a clear direction for your content strategy.
According to Joe, your content mission statement should consist of these 3 things:
- Who is the core audience (target one persona, not multiple)
- What will be delivered to the audience? (information, insights, advice, etc.)
- What is the outcome for your audience? (what do you want them to achieve?)
What Makes for a Great Content Mission Statement
As you can see from above, you probably need to spend some time thinking through your content strategy to formulate your statement.
If you are targeting too many personas (or target markets as I like to call them), that's typically a problem. Try to get more specific about who your ideal client or customer is and what their needs, challenges, goals and dreams are.
Joe recommend "going niche until you are unique". Find your angle. Your perspective will differentiate you and help you stand out. You don't have to resonate with everyone, just the right people. Find your people.
Joe shared a well-constructed content mission statement with us from Inc.com:
Welcome to Inc.com, the place where entrepreneurs and business owners can find useful information, advice, insights, resources and inspiration for running and growing their businesses.
Notice that Inc.com isn't trying to sell anything through their content mission statement. That is not the goal of content marketing. The goal of content marketing is to help your ideal client or customer improve, solve problems, and achieve more.
Inc.com's core audience (entrepreneurs and business owners) is quite broad, but they have been established for a long period of time. It's much more difficult today to target a broad audience with your content and gain traction.
Write it Down
You may be carrying your content mission statement around in your head. Get it out of your head and write it down where you can view it everyday. This is something I definitely plan to do.
Once you have your content mission statement committed to writing, you can filter every single blog post idea through it. If the theme or topic doesn't fit with your mission statement, it doesn't get published!
You can read more about Joe Pulizzi's insights on the value of a content mission statement in this Content Marketing Institute article.
In my next post, I'll share some insights from Michael Hyatt on how to blog with greater consistency.
Do you have a well-defined content mission statement? I'm working on reinventing mine. I hope you will join me.