When you're creating an online business, you hear, over and over, that you need to be a master of content marketing to build your online brand. But how do you create the content marketing strategy that works? How do you turn your business into a lean, mean, content creation machine?
Define Your Purpose
So you've decided to start a website/blog. What are you going to talk about? Are you going to relay and interpret industry news? Talk about your products? Talk about the customers who are satisfied with your services? Educate your customers on how your products can make a difference in their lives? All of these topic areas can make great content blogs, and the best ones combine many of these elements to blend into a multidimensional whole.
To make sure that your business isn't just recreating the content of your competition, it's worth surveying the other blogs in your niche that exist. Find out what space others are occupying so that you can make a space for yourself.
Do Your Research
Beyond finding out what your competition is doing, also do research on keywords, popular searches, and common questions in your industry. After all, if your blog is going to become a destination, you need to create a roadmap for your audience. Answering their questions, catching their interest, and advertising yourself through social media and search engine results is the first step toward making yourself visible to them.
Make a list of topic keywords that can be headlines as well as phrases that you can use periodically throughout your content posts to attract attention from search engines. Use the brainstorming tab in our Free Content Marketing Planner.
If you need help coming up with ideas for your posts, checkout Neil Patel's great post called How to Come Up with 93 Blog Ideas in 10 Minutes.
Create an Editorial Calendar
One of the most frustrating things to see as a consumer of content is that businesses and bloggers often fail to pace themselves with blog creation. They post several topics all at once in the first few days, and then forget to post for days and weeks on end.
This doesn't work for multiple reasons. First, to keep your readers coming back, you need to be continuously creating new and useful content. Regular refreshment tells your site visitors that your website is up to date, which helps the page to climb the rankings. Second, your customers need reminders to come back and find your fresh content. The proliferation of social media has pushed the now into our minds; we are less concerned with what happened yesterday, and what to know what's going on right now. You need fresh links to draw in fresh audiences to share on fresh timelines. To get that, you need to create regular content.
Before you start blogging, decide how often you want to post - once a week is a bare minimum, but more than once a day is usually overkill - and make sure you have a month worth of topics ready to go. Keep yourself several days ahead with blogs scheduled to post to your site and share themselves to social media at appropriate times. By automating everything, you maximize exposure.
When you're tired and not sure what to say, have a stable of ideas to go back to; it helps you keep your content flowing.
DOWNLOAD Our Free Content Marketing Planner (In Google Sheets, click FILE > make copy). It has a daily, monthly and archive view as well as a brainstorming tab.
Getting Exposure for Your Content using Social Media
Naturally you you want to make sure people see all this great content you have put all this effort into creating it. There are many ways to promote your content. We won't cover the topic of promotion in depth here but we will talk about social media. It's a big one.
After each piece of content you create, you should immediately share it on all your chosen Social Media platforms. Most companies use at least Facebook, Twitter and Google My Business. Others like Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat are chosen depending on the industry you are in as some are more visual than others. For example, Fashion and Beauty type businesses will definitely want to be on Instagram and Pinterest while an accounting firm probably won't.
If you really want to benefit from Social Media you need to post a lot. Like several times a day. You may be thinking, how are we ever going to produce enough content?
This is where content curation comes in. You don't need to be the author of everything you share on Social Media. In fact it's a good idea to share other people's content as long as it's relevant and useful to your audience.
When it comes to social sharing you need to get the balance right, A common strategy is the 5:3:2 rule.
So for every ten posts:
5 should be content from other sources that are relevant to your audience, (curated content). Keep in mind what your reader would be interested in and it will keep them more engaged. There’s a ton of these types of posts that can curated and shared. Sign up with a service like Feedly, choose relevant topics and you will see then in you account every day. Then simply choose the ones you want to share by copying the URL and pasting into the scheduling app of your chosen sharing app (see below) .
3 should be original content such as blog posts or videos, that would be interesting to your audience. It can also be about Product promotions, Product information etc.
2 could be about your staff so your audience gets to know your company which helps build a relationship and builds trust. These post could also be Customer stories or case study in nature.
Also at any time you could announce special offers, trade show events or any other special announcements.
Schedule your social posts with an app.
Your social posts could be planned in a Google Sheet like the one above but in reality we find it more practical to use a web application like Buffer, Later, or Hootsuite. Lately we have been liking Later. These apps save a few steps in the workflow and it's much easier for everyone to contribute. These all have a free tier entry level.
Accept Feedback from Your Clients
When you create a blog, make sure you have a way for your clients and customers to reach out to you with questions. They might be simple - how do I use this product to accomplish this task - or more complex - what position does your company take on this situation? Some of the best articles are those where a company responds to customer questions and concerns. They show that you're listening and you respond to your audience, which does more to further your brand than almost anything else can.
When you create content, you're furthering your company's brand, building your sales funnel, and developing tools that increase your company's position and discoverability. Treat your content marketing just like any other aspect of your business; proceed with a plan, create regular and meetable deadlines, and take it seriously. By doing these things, you'll make sure that your content drives your business forward and creates a responsible relationship with your customers.