I delivered a webinar yesterday to a travel and tourism audience via eLearning University on How to Become a Data Driven Content Marketer. You're welcome to check out my slide deck if you're interested or in need of an effective sleep aide ;-).
The basic premise of my talk centred around creating, optimizing, distributing and measuring the engagement of intent based content. Relevant, authoritative content, which is designed to initially be discovered via organic search, but will also be distributed via social media. In either case, the aim is to entice and engage your target audience to read, like, share and/or click through on calls to action embedded in your content.
One area I'm not sure I put enough emphasis on was the importance of identifying, engaging with and building a relevant social audience at the outset. I've seen far too many organizations decide they will start to do content marketing because they've been told its important, but then just start creating and distributing content without first giving thought to the establishment of their audience. If you take this approach, you'd be just as well off burning your money. The key to successful digital marketing is establishing trusted, authentic human-to-human connections and yes, this takes time, just as any relationship does and even more so when brands look to gain the trust of their consumers. However, it's time well spent, otherwise the work you put in developing great content will fall on deaf ears. Taking a strategic, targeted approach will also help curtail the fact there is simply too much content currently out there. I did offer a few suggestions on how an organization might go about identifying where their audience is and then building their online community. A first simple step is conducting organic and social searches on your primary keywords and/or hashtags to see who is publishing like-minded content, following them and liking, sharing or commenting on their relevant content in the hopes of future reciprocation. You can also leverage targeted paid search or social advertising to grown an audience, but this can quickly become an expensive proposition. My preference is to build free organic authority. I welcome suggestions others may have on how they've successfully built community.