5 Qualities to Define in Every Content Marketing Campaign
The fundamental idea behind content marketing isn’t terribly complex; spend time writing great content that people want to read on a regular basis and, eventually, you’ll build a reputation and gain more traffic and respect as a result. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs and webmasters have taken this simplistic core concept and assumed that executing a successful content marketing program is just as simple. This misconception has led to the downfall of countless campaigns.
You don’t need years of training or formal education to be successful in content marketing, but you do need to understand that it takes work and forethought to craft a campaign that sufficiently builds your reputation. Your content needs to be unique—a hard feat to pull off in today’s content-saturated marketplace—and that means setting a proper, independent course for your material from the beginning.
If you’re planning a content marketing campaign, or if you’re just looking to overhaul your existing strategy, make sure you consider and outline these five qualities:
- Tone. The tone of your writing is going to set an expectation for your audience, so make sure you work out a tone that is both appropriate and consistent. For example, the tone of your articles could be formal and informative, leading to shorter sentences and concise, specific language; this tone could be very helpful to a conservative brand trying to build a reputation as an authority in a given field. On the other hand, you may want a lighter tone, created with informally punctuated and lengthy descriptive sentences, which would be more appropriate in an informal setting.
- Voice. Though similar to tone, the voice of your content is a distinct characteristic you’ll need to lay out in advance. The simple way to think of voice is the “personality” of your writing. What type of person is your audience imagining your writing to embody? In addition to questions of formality and informality, is your brand charming and down-to-earth? Is your brand esoteric and mysterious? The voice of your writing can speak volumes about the brand, and it should be executed consistently and deliberately if you want to build a familiar audience.
- Audience. Speaking of audience, you’ll need to define yours. Who do you want to read your articles? (Hint: the answer cannot be “everybody”). If you want your content to be successful, you’re going to have to understand the target demographics that are going to be reading your material. Is your audience primarily male or female? Highly educated? Wealthy? Are they parents? Teenagers? Managers? These are important questions that will define your writing style as well as the type of topics you cover. Even with the same voice and tone, you wouldn’t write articles to a 45-year-old working mother as you would to a graduating high school senior.
- Niche. The selection of your audience and niche are co-dependent; it’s difficult to outline your course for one without the other. Your niche is a collection of the specific sub-categories or fields you’ll be using as the foundation of your content, and the realm of expertise you’ll eventually become known for. It’s important to choose a niche, rather than a broad course of subject matter, mostly due to the sheer volume of content currently available to the masses. Try to choose something that has a limited amount of competitive volume, but a sufficient demand within your readership.
- Direction. It’s hard to set specific goals at the beginning of a campaign when you’re just getting to know your audience and style. But it’s important to set a direction, at least a preliminary one. Where are you going to be posting? What are you going to be posting? How often are you going to be posting? There are countless rules and best practices which dictate the typical ways people find success but don’t let yourself be bound by these. Every content campaign should be unique, and your approach should vary at least slightly from the competition if you want to stand out.
These qualities will come to define your content marketing campaign, for better or for worse. The more time you spend researching, planning and perfecting your strategy, the better chances you’ll have to stand out and build an audience who truly cares about your work.
However, it’s important to remember that none of these qualities should be set in stone. As you start publishing and syndicating your content, measure the results of your campaign and actively analyze those results to determine which elements of your content are most successful in attracting and maintaining your audience. You should make these qualities flexible enough to accommodate adjustments and improvements, made gradually over time. Your content is a living, growing organism, and only through change can it improve.