Content marketing is a powerful force for generating leads and growing revenue, so it’s no wonder that 97% of businesses with established marketing efforts are also engaged in content marketing.
Still, it’s one thing to do content marketing. It’s another to truly succeed with it.
Many creative agencies are already engaged in content marketing, but their efforts aren’t as organized as they might like. The missing piece might just be an overarching strategy and a system for organizing and planning assets. In other words, content marketing management.
What is content marketing management?
Content marketing management is the overseeing and organization of a variety of digital marketing efforts, including: content creation (blogs, white papers, videos, and more), content marketing planning, email marketing, social media management, and any other digital content that supports an organization’s inbound marketing strategy.
Content marketing aims to create and distribute effective content that attracts potential customers by providing them with information or other content they’re interested in receiving. Organizing these various assets and ensuring timely content production requires a combination of management prowess and appropriate marketing tools.
What is the difference between content marketing and traditional marketing?
The primary difference is the audience approach. Content marketing is often called "inbound marketing" because you pull in warm leads who are already interested in what you’re saying or offering. Your message reaches fewer people, but those people are primed to respond.
Traditional marketing sends a message to a much larger audience that may or may not be interested, so it has to work harder to convince the audience to ultimately buy.
Why good content marketing management is important
Good content marketing management matters because creating the best content requires more than just high-quality staff and freelancers; it requires a carefully laid out strategy and leadership that can execute that strategy.
Without good management, many organizations end up doing content marketing without any documented strategy or overarching goals, which measurably harms success. SEMrush's State of Content Marketing report finds that, while most businesses use content marketing, only 57% have documented their content marketing strategy. Yet the vast majority (78%) of those who believe their efforts are working well do have that documented strategy in place.
How to establish a strong content marketing strategy for your clients
Use these tips to establish a content marketing strategy that drives results for your clients and considers their unique needs — whether you’re a creative agency serving multiple end clients or doing content marketing in-house.
Identify your marketing goals
First, you need to identify the marketing goals your client wants to achieve. Depending on your client’s size and maturity level, these goals may be highly detailed or extremely basic, and it’s not unheard of to have to shepherd the client to a better goal than they walked in with.
There are various ways to determine these goals, but no matter which path you take, don’t move any further until you’ve agreed with the client on a set of goals. Because it doesn’t matter how many incredible wins you achieve if you miss your client's highest priority item.
Research your target audience and ICP
Next is defining your target audience and researching that audience so you can create an ideal client persona (ICP) — or perhaps several ICPs. This is vital, especially for agencies, where clients can sometimes blend together, and it can be challenging to switch your focus between the proper audiences.
Defining your target audience includes demographics, industry, company size, shared pain points, and shared needs. Only by determining who your target audience is and what they are thinking, feeling, and needing can you reach them effectively through content marketing.
The ability to connect deeply with an audience is a major driver of content marketing success, with 50% of organizations in one study citing it as their primary success factor. Doing this well starts with defining the right audience.
Decide on content formats and distribution channels
There are all sorts of places to publish content and just as many formats it can take. Great content marketing focuses on the formats and distribution channels that are a right fit for the client and their target audience. (For example, LinkedIn may not be the best place to sell handbags, and Pinterest may not be a top destination for people who need complex business software.)
Audit your existing content
Chances are you aren’t starting from scratch; your client has existing material on their site and social media, and they may have run ad campaigns with a previous agency. Auditing existing content is vital because sometimes you can easily refresh or refocus that content for huge content marketing gains.
Create a content calendar and distribution strategy
A scattershot approach to content marketing rarely brings desired results. Instead, organize your content efforts into a content or editorial calendar. Ideally, you’ll plan assets months in advance — you won’t have all the materials completed that early, but you’ll know exactly what you plan to publish and when (and where).
As you implement these strategies for successful content marketing, you’ll need the right mix of tools to do it right. We’ve collected 14 tools to consider if you’re just getting started.
Central to all those tools is the right project management platform. Teamwork.com was built for creative agencies like yours, and it has all the tools you’ll need to succeed with marketing project management.
Key types of content you should consider sharing
Wondering where to invest your content dollars? These types of content should be your top considerations.
Blogs and articles are medium- to long-form written pieces, like the one you’re reading right now. They typically inform and provide information rather than aggressively sell products and services and are a huge driver of search engine optimization (SEO) and improved search engine rankings (SERP) when used well.
Social media posts
Social media posts are a great way to keep your brand in front of your loyal fans, and sponsored posts can target highly specific audiences containing people who match your ideal customer persona. Brands use social media to stay relevant and present and announce new products, sales, and discounts.
Social posts can also drive traffic to other content marketing efforts, like your blog posts and videos, pushing social viewers into your sales funnel.
No wonder 95% of B2B marketers rely on social for part of their content marketing strategy!
Podcasts are a great way to develop thought leadership. They may not reach as wide an audience, but a focused podcast can have real staying power with your target audience and establish you as an authority people can trust.
Videos are an extremely powerful content format, but they come at a cost: Video creation is typically far more complex than any of the other content types we’ve discussed. Plus, every “home” for video has slightly different formatting requirements. For example, a video formatted for YouTube doesn’t work well on Instagram, and LinkedIn is an entirely different beast.
Distribution can also be tricky, depending on the brand, audience, and the product or service being promoted. Still, if your brand (or your agency) can produce quality video content, that content can be a real differentiator.
Case studies tell real-world stories of how a product or service meets a customer's needs. They can be a powerful sales tool, as any reader experiencing a similar problem can immediately connect a brand with solving that problem. They function similarly to blogs, where they may be a value-add resource or a piece of a funnel.
Webinars are live (or recordings of a live) educational seminars that audience members sign up to attend virtually. Usually, guests on a webinar can ask the presenter questions, providing direct access to a subject matter expert. These, too, are used in marketing funnels and as sales tools (because inevitably, the products or services of the business offering the webinar will solve whatever problem the webinar discusses).
Roles involved in content marketing management
Content marketing is a broad discipline requiring numerous skills. It typically involves at least these roles.
Content marketing manager: Coordinates all the parts and pieces and is typically the senior member of the content marketing team. Some content marketing managers handle the content strategy (who creates what, when, and where it gets published).
Content writer: Provides written content for blogs, case studies, social posts, and more. This role is responsible for executing the SEO and content requirements as listed in the project brief.
Editor: Ensures content is up to brand standards. The editor may also have some content strategy responsibilities.
SEO specialist: Builds content strategy, contributes SEO direction to project briefs, and verifies whether SEO strategy is succeeding.
Graphic designer: Creates visual elements to support any content marketing collateral (infographics, landing page headers, images for email marketing initiatives, etc.).
Paid advertising specialist: Plans, researches, and executes paid advertising campaigns using content marketing collateral as well as content designed specifically for ads.
Demand generation manager: Fine-tunes content to meet the needs of specific pipelines and channels, optimizing content for maximum conversion. This role also includes business development functions like identifying new markets and strategizing how to reach them.
Best practices for executing a successful content marketing campaign
As we’ve seen so far, content marketing includes quite a wide range of responsibilities, deliverables, and tactics. Most of the time, all these elements are combined into a specific content marketing campaign. It could be a brand refresh, a product launch, or even a brand-wide push targeting sales, conversions, lead gen, or SERP.
The specifics of each content marketing campaign will differ, sometimes significantly. But these six elements are keys to success, no matter the client or the nature of the campaign.
And if you’d like to dig deeper into the project management side of marketing, you’ll find even more information in our ultimate guide to marketing project management.
1) Brainstorm content ideas
“Content is king” is only true when the content is well-made, on-topic, and relevant. So any successful content marketing campaign starts with a solid brainstorming session. Create a bank of useful ideas, which you’ll later refine into specific deliverables and infuse with SEO magic.
2) Create a content style guide for each client
Content style guides define what a brand does — and doesn’t — do in its content. They help define a brand’s look and feel, and they keep clients (and your team) on track in keeping content on-brand. Communicate with the client to determine their brand voice and content preferences and document them in a place accessible by the entire content marketing team.
3) Build content workflows in your project management software
Most pieces of content should follow a predictable, schedulable series of steps. Those steps will look quite different for a video than for a blog post, of course. What we mean is that every blog post should follow the same “blog post workflow,” and so on.
Many content marketing projects work well in a Kanban-style board view. Check out how to use Board View in Teamwork.com to create a killer content marketing process. And even though your clients and workflows will vary, you never want to start from scratch. Teamwork.com’s marketing plan template will speed up the process: Check it out now.
4) Connect with client subject matter experts to enhance content
Your team comprises expert marketers with highly specific skills. Your clients know more about their businesses and industries than you do, so take advantage of that! Writing blog posts for your most complex client might seem impossible, but a 20-minute interview with an expert on the topic may be all your writer needs to produce a polished, powerful post.
5) Distribute, distribute, distribute
It’s tempting to take an “if you build it, they will come” approach to content marketing. And if you do SEO and content strategy right, they will. But you’ll attract more people more quickly if you actively distribute your content.
Email newsletters, social posts, guest posts and contributor posts, industry publications: the distribution channels for your clients’ content are diverse. Find the right channels for your target ICP and then distribute like crazy.
6) Collect and analyze data to see content performance and ROI
One of the greatest strengths of content marketing is the ability to analyze what digital efforts are working well, down to an extremely granular level. When you leverage that data into actionable insights, you can take your clients from simply throwing content out into the world to doing so with discipline, intention, and focus.
Use tools and software to keep tabs on your marketing performance. You can opt for tools like Google Analytics that track your metrics and provide actionable, real-time insights based on your business goals. Or, you can even take advantage of your existing marketing software's analytics and reporting features.
Manage your agency’s content marketing workflows with Teamwork.com
Building reliable, repeatable content workflows is a significant step toward efficient content marketing management as your agency grows in its content marketing maturity.
Creating and tracking those workflows is most successful when you have the right tools in place — including a powerful project management platform built for today’s creatives and agencies.
Teamwork.com understands the challenges of running a creative agency. In fact, it was built for teams like yours first. With a wide range of prebuilt templates and powerful tools for customizing workflows and tracking tasks, Teamwork.com delivers an elevated experience for managing your content marketing.
Ready to take control of the chaos? Try Teamwork.com today.