5 Content Marketing Tips from an Industry Rockstar
She may not have the name recognition of Beyonce or Dave Grohl, but in the content marketing world, Amanda Todorovich is a real rockstar. She is a regular presenter at Content Marketing World and other large industry conferences, and was named a Direct Marketing News 40 Under 40 recipient in 2015. And that’s in addition to her day job – leading the content marketing efforts for the Cleveland Clinic, one of the world’s leading health systems.
Last December, I had the pleasure of sharing the stage at the Association Forum Holiday Showcase with Amanda (who also happens to be a college classmate of mine) where we talked about Cleveland Clinic’s content marketing efforts, and how associations can turn some of her strategies and tactics into content marketing success.
In prepping for the session and then facilitating the conversation with her, I was able to whittle down how they have been so successful into five tips for associations in creating an effective content marketing program.
1. Articulate a content strategy.
Cleveland Clinic’s content strategy is very simple: Engage users in daily conversation using health, wellness and clinical content that is unique to Cleveland Clinic. They’ve boiled down their content strategy to one sentence. Amanda mentioned that is valuable for a few reasons – it is a roadmap for the type of content that they should (and shouldn’t) be posting, and having it in writing is an opportunity to share it regularly and consistently with people who participate in writing for their blog. As a resource, take a look at this post from Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, about creating a content marketing mission statement.
2. Have your customer/member/reader top of mind all the time.
Amanda and her team have created Judy – a fictional 60-year old grandmother who is an avid Facebook user and who makes the majority of the medical decisions for her family. They go into much more detail into this “person’s” psychographics (even going so far as to creating a Pinterest board for things that Judy might like). This is the person who is top of mind in every piece of content they produce, and is who they create every piece of content for. By spending the time to create this “person” and ensure they understand her, they ensure they are crafting content that will be read and gain traction. So what does your main persona look like? Who are you trying to reach?
3. Your blog is just where your content goes. The “marketing” piece of content marketing is more important.
Your blog is essentially just a container. It’s where you put the content you create. The real success of your strategy comes from getting eyeballs on that content. Doing so means utilizing a variety of strategies to get it in front of your target audience and knowing where and how they like to consume the kind of content you are producing (more in #4 below). Amanda and Cleveland Clinic got the vast majority of their traffic early on using Facebook as the place to post. They knew Judy was on Facebook looking at her kids and grandkids’ photos, connecting with friends, etc. So they invested in building their following there and they saw tremendous success. Today, their #1 traffic source is from Search Engine Optimization, which is an important tool to ensure you’re being found in search engines.
4. Fish where the fish are.
A question was asked near the end of the presentation from an audience member regarding whether his organization should be on social media platforms where he wasn’t sure if his members were interacting. Amanda’s response, which after she said it seemed a little obvious, was that you don’t want to be the first somewhere hoping that you can convince others to come join you. Why be on Twitter if your target audience isn’t there? You’ll be wasting a lot of time marketing your content with little potential for success in reaching your goals. Do your research to find out where your customers/readers are now, and invest time and resources in helping them find your content there.
5. Constantly use data to inform and enhance your efforts.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway I got from my interactions with Amanda was the incredible importance they place on data and using analytics. And for a 20-person content department with a large budget, interestingly they only use Google Analytics and the free insights programs provided by the social platforms they are on. They invest very little money, but a great deal of time in learning about what works/doesn’t (through A/B Testing), as well as finding out when is the best time of day for their specific audiences to engage with their content.
By following these five tips, you’ll be well on your way to launching a new hit content strategy, and perhaps one day you’ll be seen as the Beyonce or Dave Grohl of association content marketing.
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