Feeding the Content Marketing Dragon
A dragon is a good thing to have. Everyone knows dragons have magical powers. They are wise, although sometimes also vain. Dragons can be fierce protectors, too. The magic of the content marketing dragon is lead generation, lead nurturing, and SEO (especially if your dragon has a long tail.) But if you’re going to own a dragon, you have to feed it. Otherwise, no more fire. No more magic.
Here are a few tips on the proper care and feeding of your dragon:
Appoint a dragon keeper
This is the chief content officer. This person keeps the dragon in line. The keeper needs to be strong, insistent on regular feedings of great content, watchful of mischief and laziness.
Establish a consistent process. Create an editorial calendar to keep you ahead of the game, instead of rushing to identify and produce content under looming deadlines. Allow enough time for content ideation, and build in sufficient time for review and revisions to make the content great. Hold contributors accountable for both quality and deadlines, the same as you would for any of their responsibilities.
Create a team of caretakers
No single mortal can feed the content marketing dragon by himself. (There are some gods, but these are few.) Everyone needs to contribute; everyone needs to learn to cook. The dragon is always hungry.
Share the responsibilities. Identify a group of potential contributors, and ask them what they’re passionate about, what interests them. Writing will come easy if they’re focused on what they love. Meet regularly as a team. Remember to continually recruit new people to create content. This brings fresh ideas and new energy. It’s also a great compliment and opportunity for staff members.
Focus on the customer, not you
Although smart, dragons tend to be vain. They like to look at and talk about themselves. They could care less if anyone is listening. Make sure your dragon serves others and shares his wisdom generously—but in a nice way. Nobody likes a cocky dragon.
Your content marketing efforts are bound to fail if they’re focused on you. If you’re struggling to identify meaningful, valuable content, you’re probably too focused on promotion. What do your customers and prospects need? What would be helpful to them? When you’re focused on what they need, identifying and creating content becomes easy.
Dragons tend to hoard things. Greedy and jealous, they like to keep their jewels in their lair. When developing content, keep your focus on giving, not on what you hope to get. Too many organizations say, “We can’t share that. We can’t give that away.” That mindset limits possibilities and opportunities. I’m convinced that whatever you “give away” you’ll receive five-fold in return.
Groom your dragon’s tail
Content marketing assets are great for organic search. Allow sufficient time prior to release to align content with a keyword strategy for the piece. Make sure you optimize not only for head terms, but also for the long tail. That’s where these assets can really shine. If the full asset is only available with registration, be sure to create a publicly available optimized summary or abstract that can be indexed by the search engines.
Take care of the content marketing dragon, and it will advance and protect your brand. Feed it continually, and it will work its magic to deliver website visitors, generate new leads, and nurture those prospects until they’re ready to buy.