Is content marketing a smart move for your business?
Content marketing can increase awareness, interest, and consideration from your company’s ideal customers or clients without breaking the bank - in fact, you can do it yourself, for free! How’s that for your bottom line?! It’s also a great way to stand out from the competition and give your audience the information they need to confidently choose your business over someone else’s.
To kick start a content marketing plan you don’t need a large team or marketing expertise. However you DO need to plan, follow-through, and collaborate with others that you work with - unless you are a solopreneur in which case, no collaboration is necessary!
Elaine Ball from Elaine Ball Ltd takes a deeper dive into what content marketing is, why it’s an important part of your business strategy , and how you can get started on your content marketing journey to become the superstar you know you are!
WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING? Put simply, content marketing is planning, creating, and sharing content that benefits your audience while also supporting your big old juicy business goals. This content can have several objectives such as teaching, entertaining, providing an offer, or helping you to stand out from the competition. You may already have a marketing strategy that includes other areas, like social media or email. So why do you need content marketing? Well, did you know that multiple touchpoints are needed before a sale is made? In B2B industries, buyers will look at around 13 pieces of content during the buying process - that’s a lot to get from an email newsletter!
THE BASICS OF CONTENT MARKETING OPERATIONS Content marketing is nothing new. It can be traced back all the way to 1792, when Benjamin Franklin (an important American, in case it’s not ringing any bells) published an almanack (an annual publication to you and me) that gave helpful and entertaining information to farmers, as well as promoting Franklin’s business.
Just like historic examples of content marketing, modern content marketing should provide value to your audience while supporting your business. Although the right content can provide a high return on investment (ROI) for businesses, creating it doesn’t have to be complicated. Instead, think about it in three simple parts: strategy, creation, and analytics.
CONTENT STRATEGY Content strategy simply refers to your plan for content. Set the goals you want your content to accomplish and create a plan for achieving them. You may want to increase awareness of your business locally, and will be doing this with a mixture of social media, blogging, and newsletter content.
As part of your content strategy, you would plan a calendar detailing when to post and what topics to cover. It’s great to look at a variety of types of content and include images, videos and text, as well as share advice, behind the scenes information, motivation, and offers - these are called content pillars.
Whether you focus on blogging, creating YouTube videos, hosting webinars, or other content, making a plan is essential. As part of this strategy stage, you’d also determine which metrics to use to measure your success. For a blog, it would be useful to look at the number of page views and how long people are staying on the page in order to measure content performance.
CONTENT CREATION This is the fun part! Start creating the content that you’ve planned out. Enlist the help of your colleagues when you can! You could ask to quote them in a blog post, feature them in a video or on social media. Content marketing is a great opportunity to showcase everyone in a company, from the newest starter right up to the company leader. You can introduce your audience to the newest member of the team, or get the CEO to share their thoughts on where the industry is headed - this is called ‘thought leadership’ content.
Make your content marketing a team effort, and look for strong writers – note STRONG writers – or colleagues who are confident in front of a camera to feature. You will be super surprised at how many you have in your organisation! If you are a one-person company, ask your nearest and dearest clients and biz besties to chip in! They’ll more than likely jump at the chance to help since sharing their story will be a win for them AND you.
When you’ve finished creating all this engaging, juicy content, get sharing! And remember, you can make it work for you more than once. If you’ve gone to the effort of writing a blog post, then tease it in a newsletter and split it into several social media posts as well.
CONTENT ANALYTICS Now that the most time-consuming part is over, it’s time to see how well your efforts worked. Look back at the metrics you chose to track in your content plan and see how your content performed. Google Analytics can help you track metrics on your website like page views, and other platforms like YouTube will have built-in analytics.
Look at the data and think about questions like: 1 ) Did I achieve my goals? Why or why not? 2 ) Should I adjust my goals in the future or set new ones? 3 ) Which content was most successful, and how can I create similar content in the future? 4 ) Which content was least successful, and should I avoid similar content going forward?
You won’t have all of the answers at first, but over time, you’ll start to notice patterns in the data that help you to make better content in the future.
WHY CONTENT MARKETING MATTERS FOR BUSINESSES Even when companies have a strong USP, or unique selling point, it can be hard for them to differentiate themselves in the eyes of customers, and there are new businesses being created daily.
Content marketing helps you to stand out from the competition, giving you a chance to emphasise your company values, who you are, and the value you offer your customers.
Content marketing also gives businesses a chance to connect with the different types of clients that they serve. For instance, if you run a dog-walking business, you may have clients in different demographics, and those who read your newsletter may be different to those who watch TikTok.
You can create different types of content for each customer focus. Once you have those assets, you can share them in the places where your audience is hanging out, building those touchpoints and your ‘know, like, and trust’ factor.
5 TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL CONTENT MARKETING Now that you know why content marketing matters , it’s time to get started. Keep these five tips in mind when building your strategy, creating content, and analysing performance.
1 ) “SHOW, DON’T TELL” Anyone who’s taken a writing class has probably heard this advice before. “Show, don’t tell” basically means to paint a picture for the reader to experience and interpret instead of spelling everything out for them. This advice is handy for content marketers as well.
Instead of listing out features and benefits in content, use quotes or stories from customers to show how your products or services have helped them. Or, describe scenarios where the product or service can help potential customers. Tell a story instead of sharing product specs.
2 ) EXPERIMENT WITH CONTENT MEDIUMS Let’s say you have a cleaning company and you have the idea to share one tip each week about house organisation. The purpose of sharing these tips is to demystify how simple these hacks can be for people who are unfamiliar and to highlight your expertise in the area. Should this be a TikTok video series, blog posts, LinkedIn posts, or a Facebook Live event?
If you don’t yet have historical data to help you make the decision, you can try one medium for a few weeks and then switch it up if you think you can get better results. You can also post to multiple mediums and compare the engagement results. Or, you can see what’s working for your competitors, and start there. Over time, you’ll start to see what gives you the best ROI for the time and money you invest into your content marketing strategy.
3 ) FIND OUT WHERE YOUR CUSTOMERS SPEND THEIR TIME Where you share your content should be based on where your ideal customer hangs out. Are they on LinkedIn? Do they spend a lot of time on YouTube? Are they in Facebook groups or industry forums? Do they usually prefer email newsletters?
You can find out this info in a few ways. One is to send surveys to your past customers to understand where they prefer to see your content. You can also check out the spaces where your competitors distribute content to get an idea of channels to try. Another key place to find data: ask the sales team if you have one. They’re working face-to-face with potential customers every day and are bound to have some insights based on conversations with them.
4 ) REPURPOSE YOUR CONTENT With content marketing, work smarter, not harder. Once you’ve created content that’s performing well, brainstorm ways to turn that content into more content. You can turn videos into blog posts, blog posts into an email series, and emails into podcast topics. Content projects shouldn’t be one-offs, especially when they perform well. Reach larger audiences through additional channels.
5 ) DO MORE OF WHAT WORKS Set regular intervals to examine your content performance – monthly is a good place to start. Take a look at the data, and see which pieces of content performed the best and met your goals. Use that data to plan future topics, rethink content mediums and distribution channels, and set even higher goals.
Although content marketing can be complex, it doesn’t have to be. Focusing on three steps – planning content, following the plan, and analysing the results – can and will bring you closer to your business goals.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Rhiannon Bates .
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