If you create and share information related to your business online, then you are a content marketer. Most small businesses do share content but very few think it through strategically. Anyone can do it but few of us are doing it well.
Over in the big business world, almost 90% of brands have a content marketing strategy, and 25% of their entire marketing budgets are now spent on content marketing.
Just in the way that you would take a step back and plan an advertising campaign, it pays to take a step back and think through the components of a content marketing strategy in order to achieve optimum results.
First though, a quick reminder of why content marketing is so important. Two reasons: one, it’s a great way of increasing brand awareness, respect and credibility; two, a good content marketing strategy will increase traffic to your website and improve your ranking on search engines. In the internet age, it’s a no brainer.
So how can you do better in the way that you promote your business using content? Here are our top tips:
1. Have clear goals
Content marketing doesn’t necessarily cost a lot of money; you could deliver a fantastic plan for quite a small budget. But if you’re not focused, it can consume loads of time. And your time is valuable. So take that step back and think about exactly what it is you want to achieve with content marketing. Is it more traffic, more sales, a better reputation, all of those or something else? Whatever your objectives are, be very clear about them.
2. Demonstrate your brand story
What does your business stand for? What do you want to be known for? How do you want to make people feel? The content you produce should reinforce your brand story.
3. Profile key customer groups
Put together personas for your key customer groups. You need to really understand those key groups and know where they hang out online. This will help you to get the right tone and to decide where to focus your content marketing efforts.
4. Keep up to date
Social media trends in particular can shift at a very fast pace, so find a way that works for you of keeping up to date. It could be a social media savvy friend, following a blog like problogger or just exchanging notes with other small businesses. If content marketing is important for your business, you cannot afford to fall behind.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on your competitors. What is working for them? Could you try something similar?
5. Choose your platforms
Regular blogging is at the heart of most content marketing strategies. Make sure that your blog is integrated into your website, rather than on an external platform. Otherwise, your site will not benefit from the increase in ranking that the blog generates. You then want to select the social media channels that your key customer groups prefer. You can repurpose the blog content into other formats or snippets to use on social media platforms. Increasingly on some platforms, particularly Facebook, you may have to pay to get your content seen.
You could also produce associated guest blogs for other sites that reference and link back to your original article. Everything should be aimed at driving traffic back to your site and triggering the goals that you’ve set.
6. Make your plan of action
Streamline your content marketing activities with a regular weekly or monthly plan. Be specific about what content you will produce and when and where you will distribute it. You can use a social media management dashboard like Hootsuite to schedule postings in advance so that the entire plan could potentially be implemented in a very short time. After it’s scheduled you just need to make sure you get alerts when anyone interacts with your content so that you can quickly respond.
7. Measure and improve
Keep tabs on the performance of your content marketing strategy. Build in regular reviews. How is the plan performing against your goals? What parts of the plan are most successful? What types of content are most engaging? Is there anything you could drop? Keep reviewing and making adjustments.