Creating a content marketing strategy. Sounds daunting. Creating a strategy of any kind can be overwhelming especially if it’s around a new topic. Most online marketers will suggest that you create a content marketing strategy but many small businesses and organizations never get started because marketers want to go big right out of the gate. A good content marketing strategy is reasonable to get started and scaleable.
With that said, you will get different answers from just about everybody on what constitutes a good content marketing strategy. However, many put the cart before the horse and focus too much on making it perfect which leads to never getting started. Over the years I have given advice to busy small businesses on how they can get started producing quality content for their website and social channels that won’t take up the little spare time they have. Since most people do not understand what a content marketing strategy really is, it is hard for them to allocate time to put it into practice in their business or organization.
There are five tips that I often give to business owners and smaller organizations on how they can get started and maintain a content marketing strategy. Let’s jump into it!
1. Choose a Medium and Just Get Started
There are endless choices when it comes to content platforms. You first have to start with the medium. Is it more likely that you will stick to this if you simply have to write once or twice each week, or is it easier for you to get out your phone and record a short video? Maybe you prefer talking and don’t like the camera, perhaps an audio podcast would work best.
I recommend that you determine what it is that you enjoy doing most when it comes to producing content. Is it writing, talking, or making videos?
Focus more on the quality of the content not the quality of the production. If you don’t have the budget for it, make videos with your phone. The content is what matters. As your content helps you grow, you can invest more in production value. As long as your message is clear, you will win! If you are writing, invest in a plugin such as Grammarly to help improve your writing. Grammarly checks your document as you write and provides everything from spellcheck to help with phrasing your sentences.
Do me a favor. In the comment section below, tell me your favorite method of sharing your thoughts.
2. Choose a Platform and Go Deep
Once you determine your medium, you need to choose a platform. I am a huge advocate for publishing your content to your website. There are many great platforms out there but you don’t control them. Should one of them get acquired or close down, your content could be gone and so will your traffic. It is best to use these platforms to drive traffic to your website.
If you are writing, I suggest publishing that content to your website in the form of a blog or news section. Link to other areas within your website that make sense based on what you are writing. Cite your sources as you reference things in your content. Include graphics, images, and video embeds when it ads to the context of your post. When you publish your post, make sure to share it on the various social networks you have a presence on. We create a main image for our posts and alternative versions of that image that fit and connect with our audiences on the different social platforms we have a presence on. You can also take portions of your post and convert that into a variety of tweets for Twitter and text images for Instagram. Don’t assume that your content is only good for one platform. Figure out how you can use that content across all of them.
If you are making videos, it might be more challenging to publish that content to your website due to the large file sizes. We utilize WordPress for our website and develop WordPress websites for our clients. WordPress offers Jetpack which has an option that includes video hosting. That makes it affordable to upload video content to your website. In the past we have used YouTube, Wistia, and Vimeo for video hosting. WordPress Jetpack does have its limitations, but its easy to use and does not recommend videos from alternative sources like YouTube does. Take your longer form videos and edit snippets out that you can post to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
What is your favorite platform for consuming content. Do you read more often, listen to audio, or watch videos?
3. Determine a Realistic Publishing Frequency
How often should you publish new content? That depends on what you determine is a realistic publishing frequency. I would rather get one article a week from a source I trust than bursts of content with long breaks in between. It is easy to overcommit at the beginning and set a frequency standard that you can not commit to in the long run. Start slow and ramp up as you can.
Make your frequency part of the strategy. If you are an attorney and want to start blogging weekly on the topic of business law, choose a day of the week and use some kind of wordplay to make it fun such as “Bob Lob’s Weekly Business Law Blog” or “Case Studies with Casey, each Wednesday.” I like the idea of including the day of the week because it gives people something to look forward to. We know which day of the week our shows debut on TV and look forward to that.
Ok, so maybe weekly even sounds a little too often to make happen. Could you dedicate one day per month to create 4-5 pieces of content you could schedule out to publish once each week? All of these platforms allow for the scheduling of content to be published at a specific date and time. This makes it even easier.
All of this might sound a little weird considering our own site does not have very consistent content publication but we all have our own struggles am I right? We prioritize our clients content first and focus on our own when we can but we are changing that now. So what are you waiting for?
4. Give People Something to Signup For
Content is just content without a call to action. When I read something that is very informational I expect some sort of call to action at the end. I need to know what the next step will be. Why did you just give me that fantastic information, is there something more you can do for me? That is what goes through our minds when we are taught something. We want more and are willing to give our email addresses to get it.
Your content should have a call to action and a next step. I fail at this because I struggle at Tip #3 so I don’t want to promise to anyone that there is some sort of frequency in which I will be sending them content and I also don’t want them to signup for something unless I know I can send them something of value in return. Don’t let this become your problem.
You need to have two options for your viewer. One of the options helps them stay informed when you put out new content. This is the low barrier to entry and it assures they won’t forget about you because you will have the opportunity to send them updates by email when you publish new content. Make sure that this communication is just that, notifications of new content or the sharing of other content you think they may find useful. Do not make this a selling vehicle, though it is ok for you to occasionally insert a mention of a product or service if it is contextual to the rest of the content in that email.
The second option is for people who are ready to jump in and hire you for your services or buy your products. This is a contact us or a let’s talk kind of call to action where they are committing to take the next step to do business. You want to make this as easy as possible for them and make sure to be responsive when they reach out. I recently had an embarrassing issue with our own website where it was not sending email from contact forms to us. We test this often on our clients websites but we fell short in making sure that functionality was working on our own website. Make sure there are no loose ends so your potential customer or client does not get lost. They will remember you as the company or organization that did not respond to their requests and you don’t want that frustration floating around out there.
Have you ever signed up for an email newsletter after reading something interesting?
5. Invite Them Into The Conversation
Marketing used to be companies telling us what they want to hear. The consumer now has so many tools at their disposal that it is forcing companies and organizations to listen just as much as they talk. This is a good thing because customers will literally tell you what they want and then you can create products and services to sell to them.
It is ok to ask questions because people genuinely want to be helpful, especially if they are in the middle of reading something that is informing them. Notice how I have asked a few questions to engage with you throughout this article. You can find information like this all over the web if you look for it, so what will make my telling of the information different? I will include my own experience and expertise in the article, which is good, but there are many others out there with similar expertise and maybe even more experience than I. What will set my article apart from others? I try my best to make my content a conversation.
Talking to your reader, listener, or viewer will look different for each of us. You want to make sure to talk to people like they are your equal and in the context of the industry you serve. You want to maintain that you are the authority but not in a way that makes them small. I love engaging with others online. We all grow when we are sharing and learning from each other.
Get Started Content Marketing Today!
So what are you waiting for? You can start now. Open up your notes app and start coming up with ideas. What are some of the questions you get asked most frequently? Those are your starting topics. Don’t put these questions in a short form Q&A section where they will go to die, turn them into something engaging that will draw people in.
Time is still time and if you don’t have any of it available, you may need to hire someone to produce content for you. There are copywriters out there who can blog for you if you give them a list of topics. We produce content for many of our clients as we offer that service.
If you are not engaging with those interested in your industry, someone else will. You can put yourself out there, or you can sit and watch others take over marketshare. It’s time to start working on your content marketing strategy and it’s a lot easier than you think.
If we can be of any assistance, please reach out and make sure to share this article with someone you know would be great at blogging, podcasting, or making videos.