Just so that we are all on the same page, what is content? Content is the information produced by your business, that your audience and customers can access. It can be in the form of words, video, audio or images.
Why do you need a content marketing strategy?
It gives everyone in your company a direction to follow to achieve your goals, it avoids wasting money on unproductive marketing spend, and when creating valuable content, it helps with your search engine optimisation.
Content marketing can get overwhelming, especially when there are so many directions your company can take. You may feel the pressure to be doing it all – blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc. Your content marketing strategy will sort out your priorities and give you a road map to follow and grow upon.
The key to a great content marketing strategy is simply following the 6 P’s of marketing. It is a bit cheeky to use the 6 P’s like this but it makes it easy to remember when you are creating your strategy and easy to follow as it covers all the bases!
Before you start you need to get out your business plan and double check your goals – increase sales, brand awareness or improve customer service, and be in line with your company mission statement. This will become the basis for your content marketing strategy.
Ok, let’s start at the very beginning. Who is your target audience, what exactly do they look like? Where do they hang out in the internet world – are they avid Facebook users? What forums are they members of, what is the social media chatter, and what comments are they making? This will also help you to see the kinds of subjects they are discussing.
Follow the paths that your audience uses, so they can find you providing the content that they want at that time. Google has introduced the micro moments. You can be seen to be a provider of information at moments when your audience wants it – such as pizza delivery restaurant, be there with information when the customer is hungry (easier said than done, though!).
Now you know where they hang out and the types of questions they are asking and the information they are after, what is the best way for you to get in on the action. Is it a blog, to disseminate quality information or an Instagram to visually show your business brand and products? Do you want to increase your brand awareness, try a video to show a different and personal side of your company.
This includes the messaging, branding and topics of your content. Research thoroughly to find topics of interest, information or articles which may be of interest to your audience. For example, if you are a paint company, you may want to focus on interior decorating, as opposed to just creating content about paint, to attract an audience that may be redecorating and might repaint in the process. Have a look at Porters Paints pinterest, it gives good examples and ideas on furniture painting using their paint colours.
Don’t forget to check out the keywords your audience is using to search for answers and incorporate these into your new content.
Hint – make sure you do not sell to your audience, your audience wants information not copious content about how great your product is.
What is the budget you have available for content marketing. If it is limited then you need to keep this in mind when planning, and your strategy will need to include growing a following organically. Content marketing dollars could be spent on creating meaningful content through professionally produced videos, hiring a content writer, or on adwords to generate an audience to your new content.
Once you have created your content you need to promote it so your audience can find it. Use these same forums and social media hangouts to comment or partner up with industry leaders. Use your email database or Facebook page to promote your new blog. Try LinkedIn. Remember, don’t sell.
There is no doubt that creating relevant and interesting content is time consuming – so be honest with yourself and your business. Do you have the time and ability to craft professional content?
Who will write the content, edit and check it’s validity, how often will content be generated, who will monitor and respond to comments and complaints on a regular basis?
Don’t just look to the marketing department to create the content, these days valuable information can come from HR, procurement, guests, sales, executives – have a look at who writes for the IBM Commerce blog.
Also don’t forget to measure the success of your content marketing. Go beyond the comments on your blogs or tweets, downloads or links to your website. There are a myriad of tools and software to help with this including Google Analytics , Marketo, Facebook Insights, Chartbeat and Hubspot to name a few.
Let me know if you get stuck will any of these points or with your content marketing strategy in general. I am happy to help as the power of this plan will define your success and give you a great roadmap to follow.