Content marketing: How to get started

If you’re like a lot of organizations, you’re already practicing content marketing – kind of.

You may have a blog that you post to regularly, or perhaps you’re active on social media. But despite this activity, do you have a strategy? Are you making progress? And toward what?  If you’re not sure, here’s how to refine your content marketing program when you’ve already been producing content.

This blog post is right for you if you’re already producing content (e.g. blog posts), but your posting schedule and topics are a bit sporadic, even random. The steps below will help you start being more intentional, organized and strategic in your content marketing efforts. Your end goal is likely sales-driven (e.g. generate qualified leads). This won’t get you there by itself, but it will give you a framework to get moving in that direction.

Establish benchmarks

At this point in the game, your main goal should be to just get things posted in a more organized and strategic way. If you don’t have any specific metrics for success, or if you’re not sure what you should be measuring, start by establishing some benchmarks to measure future content against. For example, keep track of the traffic to your blog and specific types of content (e.g. infographics v. long-form content). Track the number of visits, clicks and engagements against content geared toward a specific audience/buyer persona.

Revisit or create buyer personas

Buyer personas are a semi-fictional representation of your ideal client or customer. Buyer personas are who your content should be speaking to, on a regular basis. If you already have buyer personas, spread the love among them in your content. If you haven’t yet developed personas, check out this blog post to get started creating them for your organization.

Get organized

Create an editorial planning calendar, something simple with columns such as: blog posting date, author, topic, summary, and I think, most importantly, target persona and calls to action. This should get you and your team, and anyone else in your organization thinking about writing toward your personas as the top priority. If you’re unsure about calls to action, start by linking to other blog posts about similar topics.

Set your organization up for success

Now that you’re going into your blog writing with a persona and a call to action in mind, share this process with your team and across your organization. Especially if you have subject matter experts in other departments, bring them into the loop on your content efforts.

Just get started

Before you fall into what I like to call “analysis paralysis” (you’re not alone!), planning out every single detail before posting any new content, instead, just get started. Remember, a single blog post doesn’t have to accomplish every goal or simultaneously educate all of your buyer personas. Now that you have your editorial planning calendar together, test out some topics, see what people are reading, and go from there.

This should help you get started down a more strategic path with your content marketing efforts. If you’re ready for the next phase of content marketing – venturing into true lead generation, check out this primer on clicks v. leads.

Laura Elizabeth Saunders

Laura Elizabeth is a strategic dynamo, especially when it comes to implementing inbound marketing strategies. She also enjoys doing research, writing and media relations works for a variety of B2B clients.

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