Content marketing is one of the key elements to any marketing strategy, but with so many platforms available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start and what will play to your business’s strengths when considering how to create content that delivers.
Strategic thinking is vital when it comes to a cohesive content strategy. This guide should help you figure out the best plan for you and your business.
What’s the end goal?
Before you can create, you need to understand the purpose. What are you trying to achieve?
An increase in traffic?
Joining the dots between what you’re making and why will make the creation a much clearer process.
More often than not, marketing goals are subscriber based (it might be your email sign ups or your blog subscribers). This type of goal can be easily measured with a conversion rate, and this will help focus on the final outcome and how to get there.
Know your audience
Who is your content for?
Content that works has your audience at the forefront; don’t be afraid to use social media polls or ask your current followers questions to find out more about them and the sort of content they enjoy and want more of.
It’s also worth remembering to dig deeper and check out the analytical tools available on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook that allow you to see the age, sex and locations of your current audience. You might find a few things out that you didn’t know helping you to create content that delivers.
Visualise your audience
Now you know who your audience is, you can build up a profile of your perfect customer and work out how to relate to them on a human level.
Visualise your ideal client avatar so you can create a connection with your audience. Create a story or list of that person’s personality and the things they care about, and now ask yourself what content makes this person tick?
Ask yourself – are they on Facebook or more likely Snapchat? Are they visual or do they prefer longer written content? Asking these sorts of questions should help maximise your content and where it goes.
If you don’t yet have a blog, the good news is it’s never been easier to set one up.
Ask yourself early on if you’re happy to hold your blog on one of the many sites that offer that service, or if you want to host your own Word-Press powered blog.
There are pros and cons to both: while building your own blog gives you flexibility and freedom, it’s also time consuming and potentially expensive.
If you use a pre-existing platform, like Medium.com, there’s less room to be creative with customisation, but it does offer instant access to an active audience.
For blog ideas for your business, download my free Blog Brainstorm Guide.
Keep it current
Is something not working? Change it!
There’s never a bad time to re-evaluate what you’re producing. Is there something you’ve tried that’s gone well? Why not think about building it into something regular and publishing it across other platforms?
Keep in mind the three Es.
Engagement – does the content spark conversation?
Evergreen – does this content truly represent your business, and can it be recycled at another point?
Events – does this content refer to an event or news item relevant to your industry?
Manage your mail
One of the most vital parts of any content distribution strategy is your mailing list – communicating directly to your subscribers means whatever you’re sending is landing in their inbox and this is a great way to amplify your content.
But where to start? There are a lot of email service providers out there, and they should all make it easy for you to build and maintain your list whilst helping you stay out of spam folders.
Using content from your blog in your emails is a great way to showcase what you’re working on to your subscribers, while encouraging them to click through to read the rest of the blog on your website, driving traffic to your website.
There are generally three types of emails you can send:
- General campaigns to your entire database – good for when you’re building your list. You know everyone signed up wants to hear from you.
- Targeted campaigns to segments of your database – your email service provider will allow you to segment your database via demographics or what they’ve clicked on previously, so you can use this to really target content to those who you know will want it and avoid spamming.
- Automated emails – these cover the welcome emails or delivering free e-content.
Sending frequency will depend on how big your list is and what content you have to send out. If you’re just starting out, once a month will probably suffice to create content that delivers.
Once your database grows and you have more to share, consider weekly or bi-weekly; try to make sure you don’t leave any longer than a month between emails, as you might find your users forget who you are and why they signed up.
Brainstorm and Research
It’s important to stay strategic and not fall into the trap of reactive marketing. Make time to take stock and regularly brainstorm how to create content that delivers.
Go back to your business and content goals and build a content calendar based on these while repurposing past content that fits in with this.
Researching keywords will help formulate new content.
Rand Fishkin of Moz explains this brilliantly: “When you’re thinking about your audience, we want to take a look at the folks we know are in the group we want to target and ask ‘what are they searching for today that they can’t successfully find or aren’t being well exposed to?”
Formulate your Format
Truly great content happens when you create something that sits perfectly in the environment it’s in, so consider whether what you’re creating will work best visually on Instagram, in written form (blogs or email), or via a podcast or interview.
What emotion will this content provoke?
Will it encourage sharing?
Plug into Social Media promotion
Content marketing and social media practically go hand in hand these days. But it takes more than just posting to make things come to life.
It’s a place to make your business come to life and offer as much value as possible, so that your followers feel like they are part of your brand. Utilise stories for a more informal approach and figure out what platforms your ideal customer prefers.
Choose your platforms wisely – where are your customers most likely to spend their time? Don’t waste time with TikTok if your audience is 40+ men!
As Seth Godin says, “Marketing is the act of telling a story to people who want to hear it. And making that story so vivid and true that the people who hear it want to tell other people.”
Sit and brainstorm story ideas, if you have a team get them involved.
What do you do differently?
What emotions does your story evoke?
How will people feel?
How will it make them change?
Will it change behaviour or perspective?
What do you want them to do next?
Check out my podcast episode about storytelling for more ideas.
Think outside the box
Last but not least try something different – try a new form of content.
Look at the new features on the social platforms and utilise them, as they want to use them. Check out your competitors. Is there something they aren’t doing that you could do or is there something they are doing that you could do better?
You might even want to think about generating new leads through calls, networking, and PR as many people are fed up with being online and being on Zoom.