Content marketing is an essential element in almost every form of digital marketing. You need content to engage your audience on social media. You need content to promote your products or services through paid ads. But the challenge is developing a content marketing campaign that delivers the kind of results you expect.
When implemented correctly, your content marketing campaign could yield three times as many leads as traditional marketing methods while costing 62% less. So if you want to create a successful content marketing campaign, you need to get a few elements right.
Here are six of the most essential elements of a successful content marketing campaign:
1. A defined target audience
Successful content marketing is all about creating content that’s useful to your audience rather than highly promotional sales messages. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute found that 90% of the top performing B2B marketers aim to deliver content that satisfies their audience’s informational needs.
But to create content that’s useful to your audience, first you need to know who your audience is. Unless you have a clear idea of who you’re creating content for, you will have no idea what is useful for them. This makes it crucial to clearly define your target audience when developing a content marketing campaign.
You can start by taking a closer look at your current customer base. Who are they and why do they buy from you? Take a closer look at their demographics such as age group, location, occupation, etc. This will give you a better sense of what kind of audience is interested in your brand and your products.
Next, take a look at who your competitors are targeting. Are there any audience groups that you missed targeting? Are they overlooking any potential customers? Use these collective insights to build a stronger definition of what your target audience looks like and what their values and pain points are.
2. Clear and measurable goals
If you want to set up a successful content marketing campaign, you need to have a clear idea of what success looks like to you. That’s why it’s crucial to set a clear and measurable goal for your campaign so you know what to measure your performance against.
Your goal may be to raise brand awareness, build brand credibility, generate leads, or something else. When you understand the most common content marketing goals, it can give you a better idea of what you can achieve. According to the CMI study cited earlier, 81% of B2B marketers have used content marketing to create brand awareness, for example.
But make sure whatever goal you define is highly specific with a clear timeline. For instance, you can’t just vaguely aim to generate more leads because there’s no way to really understand the impact of your campaign.
Instead, you should aim for a specific number of leads within a specific time period. So in this case, maybe your goal is to generate 2X more leads within the next three months.
However, make sure your goal is realistic as well. You could set a specific and measurable goal, but if it’s impossible to achieve, it can demotivate your team. You may not have enough writers or resources to keep producing the amount of content required to achieve the goal, for example.
This makes it crucial to take your current resources and circumstances into consideration when developing a goal for your campaign.
3. Relevant buyer personas
Just like you require buyer personas for other marketing efforts, successful content marketing also requires relevant buyer personas. In fact, the previously-cited CMI study also found that 77% of the most successful B2B marketers use personas in content marketing.
There’s no way you can cater to the needs of your entire audience through a single piece of content. Your audience may be comprised of people with different values and job roles. So you need to produce content that will address each of their unique needs if you want to succeed.
One customer’s priorities when choosing a product or service may be completely different than those of another customer. For instance, an agency using your social media management and reporting tool may prioritize white labeling features and the ability to switch between multiple accounts.
But for a small startup, cost may be the biggest concern. They may be looking for something that fulfills the purpose without spending too much.
You need to create content that effectively addresses these unique concerns. This makes it crucial to define the unique buyer personas that your campaign is going to target. You can use Socialbakers’ AI Persona Mapping tool to create a comprehensive visual representation of each persona.
In addition to choosing a name and avatar for each persona, you can define them by their demographic traits like age and education. You can further add business-related characteristics like their industry, job title, organization size, job responsibilities, challenges, etc.
This tool allows you to really get down to the specifics of each buyer persona. So everyone in your team can refer to it and use it when creating, publishing, or promoting content for your campaign.
4. Diverse range of content
Setting up a blog is crucial for every content marketing strategy because you want to produce informative blog posts to engage your audience. However, the type of content you should use for your campaign doesn’t just end at blog posts. Not everyone may be interested in reading your blog posts; some may prefer visual content and others may like audio content.
So make sure your campaign includes a diverse range of content that will intrigue different types of personas. You could create product demo videos, infographics, ebooks, and webinars. You could also host podcasts, develop case studies, and conduct interviews with industry influencers.
You should also consider the effectiveness of specific types of content based on the lifecycle stage of your customers. According to the CMI study cited earlier, blog posts, articles, ebooks, podcasts, and videos are the most useful at the awareness stage.
Whitepapers, webinars, case studies, and interactive content are ideal for the middle stages. And case studies and in-person events are best for the final stage of the buyer’s journey.
Keep a close eye on how each of these content types performs so you know which ones to place more focus on. You can conduct an experiment by tagging your content with unique UTM parameters that you can track to measure their individual performance.
This will help you understand how much traffic each type of content is driving to your site. You’ll get a much more comprehensive look at your content’s performance aside from just tracking engagement and shares. However, UTM tagging on a large scale can be time-consuming, not to mention difficult to keep track of.
You can use tools like UTM.io to create UTM templates that you can customize for each piece of content. This means you’ll be able to create multiple tagged URLs based on a single template. The tool also keeps a record of all of your tagged URLs so you never lose track of them.
5. The perfect content marketing platform
You may have the perfect plan for your content marketing campaign, but there’s only so much that humans can do to execute it. Without the right tools in place, your team could lose productivity, efficiency, and organization. And some aspects of your campaign, such as performance measurement, are impossible to perform without technology.
The CMI study also found that the most successful B2B companies make the most of technology in their content marketing efforts.
67% of the most successful marketers are advanced in their content marketing technology proficiency. 86% say they use technology to understand content performance. 73% also say that technology helps them understand their audience behavior and preferences.
So a successful content marketing campaign also requires the right content marketing platform. Invest in the right platforms for every aspect of your campaign – from planning and development to publishing and measurement. For instance, Socialbakers can be used for the research and planning phase of your campaign, and it’s also perfect for publishing, project management, and social media management.
6. A robust distribution and promotion strategy
Content marketing doesn’t just end at content development; distribution and promotion are equally crucial aspects of your campaign. You want to make sure your content reaches as many people as possible so it can drive brand awareness and engagement, and possibly even conversions. So make sure you have an effective strategy for distributing and promoting your content.
This means you should pick the best channels to distribute your content. If you’re using social media, which platforms would be best for you? Ideally, this will mean choosing the social media platforms where your audience is the most active. You could test out different distribution channels to see which ones work best, and then realign your efforts with a focus on those platforms.
Additionally, you should consider distributing your content through content syndication platforms. Paid promotions on social media may be highly effective as well, especially when you’re still just starting out.
Some companies may also work with relevant industry influencers to promote their content. This can be very effective, as you’ll be able to tap into an established and relevant audience. However, be prepared to pay for those influencer content promotions.
You’ll typically have to pay between $124 and $1,405 for sponsored posts on Instagram, according to an Influence.co study. But this rate may also vary depending on the niche, platform, and type of promotion.
Once you have these six essential elements down, you can execute a highly successful and organized content marketing campaign. Make sure you clearly define your goals and target audience so you can create highly relevant and persuasive content. You should also be able to produce a diverse range of content to engage every type of audience.
Don’t forget to invest in high-quality platforms to manage your content marketing efforts. And finally, have an effective strategy in place to distribute and promote your content.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.