How do we make the transition from marketer to content marketer?
Aside from acquiring new skills, we also need to adopt a new mindset, to really appreciate our new task. Our view of the marketing function needs to shift from one of delivering promotional messaging to one of providing a service.
That service is content.
I think of it as a publishing effort. At its core that is what the content marketer is building out. We’re now in the realm of producing and distributing valuable content that our audience not only wants, but needs. And because they have that need, we get the chance to turn some of our audience into prospects and eventual customers.
So let’s look at five ways that successful content marketers think and behave, fuelled by this new mindset.
1. You value C-suite collaboration: The content you are creating is tightly connected to the solutions your products and services are delivering. What you say with your content is more important – or more consequential – than what you are saying in a product brochure or the ‘About’ page of your website. By consistently producing informative, helpful content you are putting yourself out there, continuously. What you say is a demonstration of just how good your company’s products or services are. Certainly that is the link or connection that your audience will make.
Being tightly integrated with your c-suite team is key to your success. Content marketing doesn’t function without leadership input, so your workflow must involve frequent meaningful communication with your leadership team to help guide your efforts. You need c-suite input on themes to include in your content calendar over the next year, and you systematically involve c-suite members in content creation to see firsthand how they approach the subject matter.
2. You give the audience what they want: The content you produce through your publishing efforts is not solely about you, your products or your company. It still has a link and relevance to what you do, but you no longer lead with information about your products and services. By not doing that, you are giving your audience something to fully engage with, starting an ongoing exchange, which enables you to find out exactly what your audience wants so you can give them more of it.
The insights you get from reviewing content analytics are helpful. Engagement stats and audience comments can guide your future idea-gen journey, resulting in more and more content that your audience liked more and more. It seems simple, but this concept is at the core of your content marketing success.
3. You appreciate time and resources: You have a strong grasp of the time that the whole content creation workflow takes; creating pieces, growing followers across different social media channels, building your email subscriber list, reviewing analytics, managing the systems that link sales to marketing, and project managing the entire effort.
As such, you are realistic about budgets and the size of team you need for your content marketing framework. You don’t hand out more work than your team can manage and you give them time to do their tasks properly. You appreciate the overall effort because you yourself get your hands dirty. You are on the front line, involved in different parts of the effort. Whatever the task, you never shy away.
4. You think like a journalist: You may have worked as a journalist or in a newsroom before changing career. Or you appreciate the art of journalism and the skillsets that go with it. Marketers who have been journalists – or think like journalists – have a better appreciation for content creation than traditional marketers. They aren’t bound by a ‘promotional’ approach to marketing. They have great research skills and a natural hunger to educate their audience. And they love getting feedback on the work they produce.
5. You never slow down: You accept there is hardly a chance to come up for air between jobs. The publishing effort that is content marketing has no real end. One task always leads to another. Idea-gen kicks off creation which leads to distribution. You capture leads and qualify them to satisfy your sales team. You monitor your efforts using dozens of metrics. You constantly refine your overall content marketing architecture to make sure the publishing effort is delivering for your company as it should.
If you are heading up the effort, you push your team relentlessly. You distribute work fairly but don’t allow anyone to slacken off the pace or miss deadlines. You constantly remind people of their goals and targets, and you give praise generously and regularly. You approach the whole undertaking with a competitive attitude and energy. You are a coach as well as a leader.
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