10 ingredients for a successful content marketing mix

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Content marketing is a lot like baking.

While an ingredient – say a blog post or chocolate chips – might be what a customer or snacker notices first, it’s hardly the only one in the recipe.

In fact, the recipe will contain a lot of ingredients and use different tools that someone who consumes the end result will never even notice.

Think of things like baking soda and powder… hidden ingredients that activate much of the chemistry that makes baked goods so delicious.

Or the effect of using the blender or the right baking sheet on the overall effort required.

These ingredients and tools, while often overlooked by the end consumer, are crucial for the end product to be successful (and delicious).

In the recipe for content marketing, targets and research are your baking soda.

And having a smooth, systemized process is like having a coveted KitchenAid stand mixer with all the fancy accessories and hooks you could dream of.

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(Unless I’m the only one dreaming of dough hooks …)

Here’s what the full recipe for successful content marketing looks like, hidden ingredients included.

1. Targeted content strategy

A targeted content strategy is a bit like the big mixing bowl where you mix wet and dry ingredients together.

Without it, there are no containers or restrictions, and everything is happening everywhere.

But with a clear content strategy that focuses on a specific goal and timeframe, you have a way to limit yourself to the ideas and tactics that matter.

You don’t want to overfill the bowl with things the recipe doesn’t require, or you won’t have room for the important ingredients.

2. Clear guidelines on content

Your content guidelines are like small bowls or a measuring cup. Without them, you might know which ingredients to use but not how to combine them.

Your content guidelines tell writers, designers, and other contributors how to structure and deliver their work so that it fits into the larger finished product.

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What dimensions should designers make for blog cover photos?

What grammar and style rules should your writers follow?

The guidelines will lay this out so that all the different pieces fit together seamlessly.

3. Sustainable content calendar

Next, you’ll need a content calendar that shows all of the elements of the content marketing process for each piece of active content.

Things like due dates, publication dates, promotion dates, and content refresh dates all warrant a dedicated space on the calendar.

And what’s more important than the amount on the schedule is how well you can keep up with it.

A content schedule that you always fall behind on because you’ve tried to “shoot” daily posts is worthless.

But a content calendar with just two new posts per month can be something you can stick to for more than a few weeks.

4. Efficient content workflow

A content workflow is like the baker’s oven. You put in the raw dough and as long as the timing and environment are right, a beautiful and delicious finished piece will come out.

This is what turns the raw ingredients into a finished product.

Your content workflow should allow everyone involved to get their jobs done with enough time and hiccups.

You’ll also want to make sure you’ve made time for all stages of the content marketing process, not just creating and publishing.

And while the above four ingredients are the necessary tools to produce the desired results, the next six are consumable ingredients.

Things your customers will interact with and taste.

5. Website optimized for conversion

The next ingredient to pay attention to is your website. The design and structure, in particular. More important than any brand or design trend is its ability to turn visitors into prospects or engaged customers (depending on its purpose).

Is your company’s offering clear? Is a way to take the next step obvious?

Can a visitor easily tell if it’s for them? Can they find content or resources to learn more?

All of this is important to take into consideration.

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Too often marketers devote a ton of resources to building assets that they publish in a place that website browsers will never find.

6. Detailed targeted content

Once your content strategy and guidelines are in place and your website is optimized for your specific marketing strategy, your brand is ready to start publishing content.

Long on-site content targeted to strategic SEO keywords is like the sourdough of the marketing world.

It takes a lot of work to create, but it’s filling and tasty enough to make it worth it.

And once you have it, there are so many other recipes and meals that you can use it in.

7. Distribution and reallocation plan

Using a basic ingredient like bread for another meal (like French toast, it’s delicious) is a lot like distributing and reusing content. You take something that exists in one form and turn it into something else.

Unless you work in one of the few industries with no content competition, you will need to work to get your content seen and consumed.

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Once you have long-lasting blog content, there are so many things you can do with it: repurpose it for social media, turn it into video scripts, and more.

But to avoid being overwhelmed with all the options, it helps to create a plan ahead of time for what you’re going to do.

8. Sequence of care

Most people only think of email marketing when they think of development sequences. And while these are great options, they’re not the only ones.

Consider a nurture sequence for any type of campaign that can track content visitors to help them become customers.

This could be a sequence of emails after an email subscription, social media posts, or retargeting ads. It may be something completely different.

What matters is that you have a strategic way to bridge the gap between free content like your business blog and paid products.

9. Conversion points

What is it all for? To guide them towards becoming a customer.

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The conversion point is the final destination of this trip. Cart checkout, SaaS registration, lead submission form, or any other endpoint of your sales process.

After all, without it, what’s the point?

And 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, you need to know how well it works.

It requires a measuring device, the final ingredient.

Again, this will depend on your business selling process, but options you’ll probably want to consider include Google Analytics, Databox, and HubSpot.

You’ll also want to clarify the most important metrics to track with these tools.

Once you measure your efforts, you can evaluate and adjust accordingly.

It’s like the baker’s taste test. This is the only way to know if you’ve accidentally messed up another part of the process before the end consumer does.

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Start mixing

With the tools and ingredients above, you’ve got everything you need to strategize, create, and get results from your content.

In our pastry metaphor, you will be able to create baked goods Paul Hollywood would be proud of.

Now on your marks, get set, cook!

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The selected image: BATKA/ Shutterstock


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