Content marketing is a big buzz word in the marketing industry right now. It simply describes a marketing tactic that uses blog posts, website content, social media posts, videos, photos, and other content to gain and retain a certain audience. It is based on a strategy and works much like a newspaper or magazine.
Why Should I Care About Content Marketing?
When I was a young publicist, I spent my days spreading the news about my artists and begging writers and editors to write about them. While this still has its place, some of that audience control has been given back to us. Through the rise of websites, blogs, social media, videos, and more, we can connect directly with our audience instead of relying on someone else to share our stories. Content marketing puts strategy around that opportunity and defines who we will reach, how we will reach them, what we will say, and how we will say it. It takes us from shooting arrows in the dark to shooting with night vision goggles and the best aiming equipment available. With that kind of power available, you are missing out by not caring about content marketing.
How Do I Figure Out My Content Marketing Strategy?
When done right, content marketing is based on a solid strategy. It is more than writing 100 sales-heavy Facebook posts, creating an Instagram account and posting a few pictures here and there, or retweeting everything you see on Twitter. You must first examine your company and audience to determine who you want to reach, what you want to say, what they want to hear, and how best to reach them. All of your content comes back to the strategy. Here are a few methods you can use to develop that strategy:
1. SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats): I recommend every company do a SWOT Analysis once a year whether you are doing a content marketing strategy or not. This will help you understand who you are as a business, what areas you need to talk about most, and what areas you need to work on.
2. Audience Personas and Customer Surveys: An audience persona is simply a way to define each member in your audience. For example, your personas may include a receptionist (the gatekeeper), CEO (decision maker), and CFO (influencer). For each of these, you determine the common questions they have about your company, barriers that keep them from becoming a customer, things they love about your company. You can find some answers to your audience personas by getting feedback from the staff that deals directly with your customers. You can also ask your current customers questions that can help you understand their needs and why they chose you. If you have more resources, you can do focus groups or formal surveys.
3. Competitor/Industry Research: What is already being done by your competitors and others in your industry? Also, what are your prospects talking about in forums, social media posts, blogs, and more? Often, you can find opportunities that are missed by your competitors and questions from prospects that you can answer through content.
Can Any Size Business Do Content Marketing?
Just like any marketing strategy, content marketing will be harder for smaller businesses to tackle, but it is certainly doable. Plus, the rewards can be great for smaller businesses who invest the time into doing it right and being consistent with it. The key to making content marketing work for any size business is to treat it just like a magazine’s editorial staff runs their magazine:
1. Editorial Calendar: Use an editorial calendar to keep up with the topics, schedule things in advance, and keep everyone on track.
2. Create in Advance: Some magazines work on special issues as much as six months in advance of that issue hitting the stands. By working on content in advance, you can take advantage of slower times in your business and be certain that your content machine is always stocked.
3. Use Scheduling Tools: There are many great social media scheduling tools (Buffer, HootSuite, CoSchedule, etc.), and many CMS (content management system) websites also allow you to schedule blog posts and website content in advance. This allows you to set aside a time to schedule out a bulk of your content in advance and frees up the rest of your time to look for and respond to new opportunities.
4. Constantly Look for New Opportunities and Evaluate the Past: The world changes fast, especially the technology that we use. You must always be evaluating your strategy to be certain that it still is meeting the right goals. You must also make it a priority to look for new opportunities.
Can You Help Me Get Started?
We certainly can. If you are interested in learning more about content marketing and would like help getting started, give us a call at 256-560-0098 or send us an email at email@example.com.