Content marketing is a lot like baking.
While an ingredient — say a blog post, or chocolate chips — may be what a customer or snack notices first, it’s not the only one in a recipe.
In fact, the recipe will contain a lot of ingredients and have used different tools that anyone consuming will not notice the end result.
Think things like baking soda and baking powder…the hidden ingredients that activate a lot of the chemistry that makes baked goods so delicious.
Or the effect of using the right mixer or baking sheet on the total effort required.
These ingredients and tools, while often overlooked by the end consumer, are crucial to the success of the final product (and deliciousness).
In the Content Marketing Recipe, Objectives, and Research It’s your baking soda.
Smooth, systematic operation is like owning a KitchenAid stand mixer with all the cool attachments and hooks you could dream of.
(Unless I’m the only one dreaming about dough hooks…)
Here’s what the complete recipe for successful content marketing looks like, including the hidden ingredients.
1. Focused content strategy
A concentrated content strategy is kind of like a big mixing bowl in which you mix the wet and dry ingredients.
Without it, there are no containers or restrictions, and everything spills out all over the place.
But with a clear content strategy focused on a specific goal and timeline, you have a way to limit yourself to the ideas and tactics that matter.
You don’t want to fill the bowl with things the recipe doesn’t call for, or you won’t have room for the important ingredients.
2. Clear content guidelines
Content guidelines are similar to small bowls or a measuring cup. Without it, you may know what ingredients to use but not how to combine them.
Your content guidelines tell writers, designers, and other contributors how to organize and present their work so that it fits into the larger final product.
What dimensions should designers make of blog cover photos?
What are the grammar and style guidelines your writers should follow?
The instructions will make this clear so that all the different pieces come together seamlessly.
3. Evaluation of sustainable content
Next, you’ll need a content calendar that outlines all the elements of the content marketing process for each active piece of content.
Things like due dates, post dates, promotion dates, and content update dates all warrant a dedicated space on the calendar.
More important than how much is on the calendar, is how well you can keep up.
A calendar of content that you always fall behind because you tried to “catch” the daily posts is pretty much worthless.
But a content calendar with only two new posts per month might be something you can stick with for more than a few weeks.
4. Efficient content workflow
The content workflow is like a baker’s oven. You put in the raw batter, and as long as the timing and environment are right, you’ll come out with a beautiful, delicious finished piece.
It is what turns the raw ingredients into the final product.
Your content workflow should allow everyone involved to do their work in a timely manner and hiccup.
You’ll also want to make sure you allow time for all parts of the content marketing process, not just creation and publishing.
And if the above four ingredients are the tools to achieve the desired results, then the next six are consumables.
The things your customers will interact with and taste.
5. Website optimized for conversion
The next item to pay attention to is your website. Specifically design and structure. More important than any design or brand direction is its ability to convert visitors into leads or engagement customers (depending on its objective).
Is what your business offers clear? Is the way to take the next step clear?
Can the visitor easily tell if it’s for him? Can they find content or resources to learn more?
All this is important to take into account.
Marketers often pour a lot of resources into creating assets that they post somewhere that website browsers will never find.
6. Targeted long-form content
Once you’ve established your content strategy and guidelines and optimized your website for your marketing strategy, your brand is ready to start publishing content.
Long-form content targeting strategic SEO keywords is like sourdough bread in the marketing world.
It’s labor-intensive to create, but it’s filling and flavorful enough that it’s worth it.
And once you have it, there are many other recipes and meals you can use it in.
7. Distribution and reuse plan
Using an essential ingredient like bread for another meal (like French toast, it’s delicious) is a lot like content distribution and reallocation. You take something that exists in some form and transform it into something else.
Unless you operate in one of the rare industries without content competition, you will need to work for your content to be viewed and consumed.
Once you have long blog content, there’s a lot you can do with it: repurpose social media, convert it into video scripts, and more.
But to prevent yourself from getting sucked into all the options, it’s helpful to create a plan in advance of what you’re going to do.
8. Feed sequence
Most people only think of email marketing when they think of the continuum of care. And while these are great options, they’re not the only ones.
Consider the sponsorship pipeline for any type of campaign that can follow up with your content visitors to help them become customers.
This could be an email sequence after you subscribe to email, social media posts, or retargeting ads. It might be something completely different.
What matters is that you have a strategic way to bridge the gap between free content like your company blog and paid products.
9. Transfer Points
What is all this for nurturing? To guide them towards becoming customers.
The transfer point is the final destination on that journey. Checkout a cart, sign up for a SaaS, lead submission form, or whatever the end point in your sales process is.
After all, without this, why all this?
And just like any other ingredient, each recipe requires a different type of conversion point.
10. Measuring tools
Finally, now that you have a complete path for visitors to become customers through, you’ll need to see how well it works.
This calls for a measuring device, the last component.
Again, this will depend on your business’ sales process, but options you’ll likely want to consider include Google Analytics, Databox, and HubSpot.
You’ll also need to articulate the most important metrics to track with those tools.
Once your efforts are measured, you can evaluate and adjust accordingly.
This is like a baker’s taste test. It’s the only way to know if you accidentally messed up another part of the process before the end consumer does.
Never get confused
With the above tools and components, you have everything you need to strategize, create and get results from your content.
In our baking loan you will be able to make baked goods Paul Hollywood He would be proud of it.
Now on your mark, get ready, bake!
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Featured image: Patka/clash