Content marketing is hot. It's sexy, compelling and chock-a-block with benefits that make it a no-brainer for companies looking for a new and different way to jump-start their marketing efforts.
Well, that's certainly the hype around content marketing. Not that it's a bad thing because that is how it works with new trends and developments. People get very excited about their new-ness and potential, which creates a lot of momentum for the bandwagon and, at the same time, encourages many companies to climb on board simply because everyone else is doing it.
In many respects, the buzz around content marketing is no different from the enthusiasm about social media.
But here's the thing: many companies don't spend the time or effort to think through why they want to embrace content marketing. It's a mistake because any marketing initiative needs to be assessed, examination and tested to see if it offers opportunities for a company to be successful. If these steps are skipped, you're gambling as opposed to making an educated strategic decision.
So what should companies be asking themselves before they get into content marketing?
1. Why do we want to do it? It's a simple question but it demands tangible and common sense answers. Is it because content marketing is red-hot? Is the competition doing it, which means you need to do it too? Is it because Seth Godin, the marketing guru, gave his stamp of approval to content marketing? Whatever the reason, companies have to answer these questions to figure out whether content marketing is being done for the right reasons.
2. What do you want to get out of content marketing? Sales and leads? A stronger brand? Happier and more loyal customers? A competitive edge? Again, companies need to know their goals and objectives so they can understand what content marketing could deliver?
3. How do you measure success with content marketing? Like any corporate activity, metrics and benchmarks are important because if you don't know where you're come from, it is difficult to measure how well or how badly you're doing?
4. Who's going to be responsible for content marketing? At the end of the day, it's fine to be excited about a new opportunity but someone within an organization has to "own" it and be responsible for what happens at the end of the day.
5. Who's going to make content marketing happen on a consistent basis? Like social media, content marketing is a long-term journey with success happening incrementally as opposed to overnight. As a result, tactical execution is paramount, which means there needs to be resources in place to create, distribute and promote content on a day in, day out basis.
6. What's the competition doing? If they're all over content marketing, your company has to figure out how to carve out a different or unique place within the landscape. If the competition isn't using content marketing, you need to determine why this is the case and whether it suggests there is a big window of opportunity that should be capitalized on.
By asking these questions before jumping on the content marketing bandwagon, companies can not only give themselves a better chance of success but get into the game for the right reasons.
For more thoughts and key questions surrounding content market, check out Mike Sweeney's post on Sys-Con Media.
Questions to ask before getting into content marketing