Four Cornerstones of a Successful
Content Marketing Plan
To develop or evaluate a content marketing program, organizations should consider four key aspects:
In this edition of our bi-weekly Engage column, we tackle Creation and Distribution. We’ll follow up next time with a post on Engagement and Amplification.
Some of the content marketing channels you have at your disposal naturally lend themselves to the creation and display of original content. Blogs (writing), YouTube (videos) and Instagram (images) are good examples of this – and should be a central part of your content strategy. While all channels enable marketers to post content, some are more limiting (e.g. Twitter’s 140 characters limit). This does not preclude you from originating content directly on other channels; but more often than not, you will find that content in outlets like Facebook or Twitter should be more conversational and/or uniquely targeted to engage directly with your followers on that network.
While some channels are ideal for content creation, there is still the matter of actually creating said content. Many of our clients express frustration over the content creation process:
“Who is going to write blog posts, make videos for YouTube or take pictures for Instagram? Everyone is too busy!”
It’s important to remember that your admissions and marketing staff are not the only source of your content. Crowd-sourcing content from your constituents can be very effective. Current students (and recent alumni) can blog about their experiences in your program; you can then share that content across your social media channels. Setting ‘official’ hashtags for your programs (and encouraging their use) to organize content on Twitter and Instagram is another method of enabling others’ to contribute to your messaging.
Just as some channels lend themselves to content creation, there are others that are better suited for content distribution. Twitter and Facebook have higher reach and therefore are more appropriate for distribution (and for engagement, but we’ll get to that in our next post). Content that is created on YouTube, Instagram or via your blogs, should be shared through these additional channels.
A second aspect of content distribution is making sure your content is easily discovered by people who are not yet engaged with your content marketing efforts. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), optimizing for the keyword search phrases your audience will use to seek out relevant content to satisfy their needs, is critical in this endeavor. While the goal of SEO is to help with visibility and distribution (hence our mentioning it here), it should be noted that keyword placement needs to be infused into your content creation strategy as well.
Thus for a successful strategy, considering both creation and distribution is critical; different channels are optimized for each, and should be used in concert.
Armed with this knowledge, you can turn your attention to designing your content and distribution tactics so that your audiences engage, and share, which in turn increases the reach of your material. In our next Engage post, we’ll look at cornerstones three and four – Engagement and Amplification.
This post is part of Southwark Consulting’s blog series, “Engage”, which examines the new social media and mobile environment and offers case studies and advice on how to navigate this evolving landscape. These stories are published every second Thursday.
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