|Content marketing programs... are like trees.|
Exactly two years ago to the day I wrote a content marketing cheat sheet. Sometimes your strategy should be "just fucking start already". Other times you need a more considered, comprehensive approach. You could call this post its sequel.
The easiest way to build a content marketing program is with a series of IF THIS THEN THATs. For example, if someone indicates they're a warm lead by browsing a section of your website, trigger retail message via display. If someone watches an awareness video, trigger educational infographic on Facebook. If someone doesn't open an email, trigger another one.
If behaviour occurs, then trigger content (and a means of distributing it).
Every IF THIS THEN THAT is built around a consumer's action and steers them toward a goal - signing up to newsletter, consuming more content, using a financial calculator, etc.
It's not too dissimilar to Google's Micro Moments where a real world action triggers an online search (my son wins his hockey game so I search for ice cream in the area). Ultimately it should work across more channels, integrating with not just search but social, display, web, email, video, etc. It's very easy to forget that distribution is just as important as the content.
Over a period of time, you steer people down the funnel, helping them convert when their ready. With the right message to the right person at the right time. Kinda like Advertising 101.
Eventually you end up a tree diagram made up of a series of IF THIS THEN THATs.
This can get complicated. Especially when you add the marketing tech requirements to build a single customer view, automation, asset creation and programmatic media buying (what a lot of buzzwords!).
But you can start with a single branch. Make an assumption about the current customer journey, and attempt to influence it with a single IF THIS THEN THAT. If you see a measurable improvement in their likelihood to move further down the funnel, add more branches. Or strengthen existing ones by testing different messages or formats or executions or means of distribution.
And watch your tree grow.