Content Marketing Assessment: Are You Ready to Build a Content Factory?
Last week, I described why every company needs a content factory, citing the fact that good content is essential for building trust and a strong brand. This week, I’m focusing on an important step that startup and expansion-stage companies need to take before they can build that factory: conducting a content marketing self-assessment.
Taking the time to evaluate where your company’s content marketing efforts currently stand goes a long way toward helping you determine how to get where you want to go. Check out the questions below, all of which you need to be able to answer before you’re ready to build your own content factory:
1) What business objectives do you expect to achieve by building a content factory?
Every company wants a strong brand that’s widely recognized and respected. While that may be what you’re ultimately working toward, some of the shorter-term goals that you should consider focusing on include:
- Increasing traffic to your website by XX percent
- Securing media coverage and / or content placements
- Establishing a process for using content as a touch point to proactively reach out to customers and prospects in a non-sales context
- Positioning your company as a trusted source of information and / or a thought leader
- Differentiating yourself from your competitors
2) Do you have a thorough understanding of who your audience is?
The deeper your understanding of your audience (your customers and prospects as well as your overall industry), the more successful you will be at creating effective content for them. Knowing things like how sophisticated your audience is, what their most pressing needs are, and what they value most is the only way you’ll be able to ensure that you’re developing content that is on point.
3) Do you know what types of content will resonate most with your audience, how it should be delivered, and what it needs to address?
From sales collateral to newsletters and podcasts to videos, there’s no shortage of vehicles for content (see this post for more examples). For most startups and expansion-stage companies, however, trying to master all of them is an unrealistic goal. Instead, focus on whatever content will have the most traction with your audience.
Here’s where having a thorough understanding of your audience is essential. Lengthy white papers are great, but if your audience doesn’t have a need for that depth of content or the attention span to read it, your time and resources might be better spent creating something else like infographics. Figure out what your audience needs content about and how they they like to consume that content.
4) Do you the staff in place to build and operate a content factory?
Despite the fact that I refer to a content factory, don’t confuse it for something that’s automated to the point of being a part-time pet project. If you truly want to have a content factory, you’re going to need dedicated resources to build and run it. Hiring a managing editor is a great place to start (see more in this post).
5) Do you have a network of influencers that you can tap for content?
In addition to creating high-quality original content, ideally you will also want to be able to have people influential in your industry producing content for you. That can be as simple as getting permission to repost an influencer’s existing content or collaborating together to create something new. Either way, doing so ensures that you’ve got someone influential helping your promote that piece of content, giving you exposure to a broader audience (see more in this post from my colleague, Amanda Maksymiw).
6) Do you have the infrastructure to distribute and promote your content?
Just about every company has a website, but not all websites are designed to support an array of content. Is yours set up to accommodate reports and videos, podcasts and photos? Is it set up to make it easy to share that content via social channels? If not, there’s not much reason to create a content factory in the first place.
7) Which, if any, of the following do you currently produce? Which are you most interested in producing going forward?
8) Do you have an editorial and content creation calendar?
Your editorial and content creation calendars are essentially the schematics you need to operate your content factory. They tell you what content you’re going to produce when, and how you’re going to go about doing so.
9) What are the calls to action your content will be pushing?
What are you trying to get your audience to do? Buy your product presumably, but what’s the first step in that process? Is it to sign up for your newsletter, request a demo, or simply visit your website? If there’s no call to action, your content will never help you meet your business objectives.
10) Do you know how to measure the net impact of your content?
There are plenty of ways to measure the impact of your content. To prove it’s worth you’re going to need to do exactly that. Google analytics is one example of a great tool that can provide you with very detailed information about how people are engaging with your content online. Directly tying your content to your bottom line is no easy task, so capture as many metrics as you can to demonstrate its value.