So, you want to be a marketing superstar, launching your business into the stratosphere (whether that’s as tops in your hometown market or you have plans to take over the world)… it’s time to get serious about content.
If you’ve been even peripherally involved in marketing in the past few years, you’ve heard all about the importance of content.
But it’s more than just high-quality content. It’s about the right high-quality content in front of the right people, consistently and frequently. It’s about building relationships and making connections.
If you’re focusing only on the content itself and its quality, as crucial as those things are, you’re probably doing nowhere near as well as you could be.
The trick is to get every aspect, from content subject matter to venue to audience and demographic just right. Only there’s no trick — it takes a lot of trial and error to get it right.
That said, it’s not as if there’s nothing you can do to put yourself on the path of content marketing success. Ask virtually any successful content marketer, and they’ll tell you they use some or all of these ten strategies:
#1 Research Your Demographic
You have a product or service. People want or need that product or service. Your first step in reaching those people is to figure out who they are.
Early on in the process, before you have a lot of data to go by, start by thinking about what problems your business solves, and who, in particular, needs those problems solved.
It doesn’t have to be a single profile — the more you can diversify your target demographic the better — but it should be as specific as possible.
Where does your demographic live? What do they do for a living? What’s their income, age bracket, and level of education?
Once you build your main demographics, you can zero in on their habits and preferred platforms.
After a while, when you have data to analyze, use it to tweak your target demo as needed.
#2 Set Goals
Content marketing is like any other area of business — it’s always helpful to set goals.
For content marketing, your goals should involve reach and engagement. A successful piece of content is one that is shared over and over and brings people to your website.
It generates leads when visitors sign up for your email list, and it boosts sales when they make purchases based on the content.
The size of your goal will depend on factors such as the size of your market and number of followers, and should be a good, but realistic, number.
As you meet your goal in time, set a new one, so you’re always looking ahead toward the next level.
#3 Create a Schedule
Because consistency and frequency are such an important part of content marketing, it’s vital that you set a schedule and keep to it.
One way to set a schedule that’s easy to remember is to designate certain days for certain things. For example, new blog posts are posted on Tuesdays and Thursdays, a video tutorial on Wednesdays, and a podcast every other Friday.
Make it so that you have the time and resources to do it all, but do try and release new longform content at least a couple of times a week. It will make a difference.
#4 Get to Know the Strengths of Each Social Network
All social media networks are not the same, and knowing the strengths of each will help you to target your demographics more efficiently.
Is a large segment of your demo women? You’d be sleeping on the job is you didn’t utilize Pinterest. LinkedIn is great for networking, and Facebook can attract new clients.
Want to build yourself up as an authority? Twitter is a must (actually, Twitter is pretty much always a must).
Youtube, Instagram, Google Plus — you don’t have to utilize all of them, but you should select two or three that you think are the best fit for your business and demo.
#5 Create Clean Content
Sloppy content will not make you come off as an authority on anything. All content should be clear, spellchecked, and checked for grammar errors.
If at all possible, have a second set of eyes look at your content before posting. Spell check is a life-saver, but it doesn’t catch everything.
#6 Be a Storyteller
Good stories create a connection between consumers and creators, whether it’s a novel or blog content.
That connection creates positive impressions, loyalty, and trust. It also helps shape your brand and its sparkling personality.
Storytelling often involves an interesting anecdote that connects to your topic. The more “personal” it feels, the better (though you don’t want to get overly personal).
For example, you might tell a story about fishing with your grandfather as a child and turn it into a marketing analogy, or talk about an embarrassing moment in your professional life and tie it into a how-to post.
People relate to people, not companies. The more human you make your brand and your content, the more people will respond.
Organization will go a long way in creating success in content marketing. Spreadsheets, calendars, and file systems can help you to keep everything on track.
Google offers all of these tools for free — and as a bonus, they can sync up on all of your devices. Plus, all of your Google documents are sharable, allowing your team to edit and comment on content as it’s being created.
Remember the part about people relating to people, not companies? Part of that is engagement. When you respond to a comment on your content, even have conversations with people who interact with your content, you become accessible and, yes, more relatable.
There are several ways you can engage regularly: First, speak directly to your audience and encourage them to join the conversation, whether it’s in the blog comment section or on social media.
Always respond to comments and interactions (at least until you get more comments than you can respond to individually), even if they’re negative. In fact, negative comments are an opportunity to show your professionalism — never respond in anger or call commenters names.
Finally, you can create interactive live content. Periscope, for example, allows you to create live videos where viewers can ask you questions in real time. You can market these as seminars, workshops, or simple Q&A sessions.
It’s not enough to create high quality content that people can connect with, you have to promote it to make it a success.
The first line of content promotion is usually social media. All of your content should be shared on multiple networks with tags that make them searchable and an eye-catching image (Twitter and Facebook will automatically generate an image from the URL, so be sure to attach a graphic to each and every blog post).
But don’t stop there. Use “bookmarking” sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Digg to spread your content.
Make it easy for you and your audience to share your content on social media and bookmarking sites by adding share buttons to each blog post using a WordPress plugin.
#10 Keep it Flowing
Once you gain your footing in content marketing, keep the content flowing by strictly sticking to your schedule.
In many (but not all) cases, this means forming a team of your employees or contractors to produce fresh, relevant content. If you don’t have the means to hire content creators, it’s a task you’ll have to budget your time for.
And, while you can and should take breaks in your life, avoid putting your content on hold while you kick back on the beach by queuing content to post on your regular schedule (at the very least, queue up old but still relevant content with a note that you’ll be back with new content soon).
By releasing a consistent flow of content, you’re staying on your customers’ radar and building their trust, increasing the chances that they’ll come to you when they need one of your products or services.
Content marketing takes commitment to get it right, but the payoff is worth it. There may be no magic recipe for easy success, but if you stick to the tried-and-true basics, you’ll be on the right track.
Do you use content marketing for your business? What works for you — and what doesn’t?
Are You Ready To Start Doubling Your Business With Half The Effort?
If you have a business, whether it’s established or brand new, wouldn’t it be great to know how to use free and low priced modern marketing methods to boost the number of customers banging on your door and dramatically increase your profits? And with no technical degree, no sales staff and just a few minutes a day.
As a member of The Owners Club, you’ll get free access to the methods I used to bootstrap my company from zero to a million dollars in its first 12 months with no sales staff (it was actually $1,002,000). And the methods I’m using today to keep growing it beyond 97,000 customers with very little effort. Best of all, it’s absolutely free.
Go here to get started