7 steps to start your first content marketing campaign

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By now you’ve heard of all the amazing benefits of content marketing. You know that with the right strategy, you can gain more traffic, build a better reputation, and see compound growth in both areas over time without dramatically increasing your budget.


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In fact, content marketing is truly one of the most profitable marketing strategies, but its rewards are commensurate with the quality of your strategy and its execution. This is why more experienced copywriters and marketing agencies charge more, and why long-term strategies work better.

So what if you have no content marketing experience? It would seem that someone who is completely unfamiliar with this strategy has no chance of success. But, at the same time, everyone has to start somewhere, right?

The truth is you can entering the content marketing game with no experience. You might not live up to your full potential right off the bat, but if you follow the approach outlined below, you’ll be posting with the best of them in no time. Here’s how:

1. Get a briefing.

Your first job is to get a briefing on what content marketing entails. Yes, while you are reading this you have probably understood the basic concept, but you need to dig deeper into the details. Familiarize yourself with the beginning, middle, and end of a content’s life, how you’ll measure your results and ROI, and the process you’ll use to build your empire.

Also, get a high-level perspective on the strategy before you start mastering those details – you’ll be glad you did. If you need some help getting started, I presented a webinar about a year ago on this topic, which will teach you the basics of content marketing and how those basics relate to search engines.

2. Research your competitors.

Then, before you start typing, take a moment to research some of your competitors. Look at companies like yours and see what they are doing in terms of content marketing. What types of articles seem to be the most popular? How often do they post? Who are they for?

Related: 7 Content Marketing Tips for New Entrepreneurs

Even if your businesses are nearly identical, don’t be tempted to copy each other’s strategy exactly. Instead, learn from them and get inspired to form your own.

3. Establish an editorial calendar.

Once you’ve spent some time brainstorming and reviewing the contest, it’s time to create an editorial calendar. Don’t worry about it being perfect – you can always make adjustments later. If you’re concerned about formatting, use an online template to guide you through your ideas.

Start dividing your content into different categories and sketch out potential item titles (including each item’s content type, such as an article, infographic, or video). Set publication dates.

4. Set goals and stick to them.

With an editorial calendar in place, you can start setting goals for your publication and determining the results you want to see. For example, how often do you want to post? How many impressions do you hope to get with your first publishing efforts, and how fast and how high do you want them to grow? Where do you think you will be in six months? In a year?

Finally, how do you want to improve as a marketer? Again, these goals don’t have to be perfect; and you can adjust them later, but you have to set a vision for yourself.

5. Treat your first posts as experiences.

Now is the time to do the work. Your first few messages will probably be difficult, but don’t let that stop you from finishing them. If you need headline ideas to get started, check out 101 headline ideas for your next blog post.

Once you’ve finished drafting, take the time to review and edit your work, following the best practices you learned while inquiring; then put them into practice. Treat these articles as an experiment, observe carefully to see how people react to your work, and take notes on what you could do better.

You’ll also need to be careful not to let confirmation bias dictate your impressions of your results. Stay neutral and don’t be surprised if some of your original ideas don’t work out the way you thought they would.

6. Publish, syndicate and follow.

At this point, you’ll have the basics down and can begin to harness the true power of content marketing. Take what you’ve learned and keep publishing new articles that appeal to your target demographic, carefully measuring how well everyone’s performing.

After posting, promote and syndicate these posts on your social media channels (both as a brand and as an individual), and follow up by engaging anyone who chooses to comment or share your content. Although the process may seem daunting at first, you’ll get there in a matter of weeks.

7. Never stop improving.

Your last task is the most important, and it’s the one you can never cross off your list. The reason experienced content marketers do better than inexperienced ones is because they’ve had more time to learn new things. If you commit to constantly learning and improving, you’ll create better content and achieve better results, with no upper limit to your potential.

This is also important because content marketing trends and standards change frequently, so keep reading the news every day, experiment with new techniques, and strive to improve your abilities in general.

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As you can see, there’s nothing stopping you from launching a content marketing strategy or developing the skills needed to get into the business. It takes time and discipline, of course, but anyone with dedication and a reasonable path can make it happen.