I keep hearing about content marketing…
It’s been a buzz word for some time, but just what is “content marketing” – and should you be using it?
The quick answer is yes!
The longer explanation defines what content marketing is and why you should use it as part of your overall marketing strategy.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a way to introduce prospects to your brand or company and build an audience via creating organic (non-paid) traffic to your company website, YouTube channel, Google My Business page, podcast channel, or other platform, by answering a question, meeting a need, or solving a problem.
For example, when someone uses Google to search “how to build a house with an architect,” they receive a list of results. If your content is among the top few results, you get a prospect who wasn’t necessarily looking for you specifically – but was looking for the help you can provide. The job of the content itself is to win them over and move them further along toward selecting your company as the one they will do business with, or to begin the process of developing a relationship via your expertise on a topic they are interested in learning.
Sounds great? Ready to get started?
The first step is to decide your format (or formats). Many people think of blogging when they hear the term “content marketing” – and a blog is one form. Others include:
- Video (YouTube; Facebook video and Facebook Live; Instagram video/IGTV)
- White papers
- Infographics or other highly shareable, brandable images
- “Free” download of information of value, such as a checklist or infographic, that allows you to capture email addresses in exchange for the information.
You can also repurpose content from one format to another. For example, perhaps you have 3 very popular blogs that generated a lot of traffic to your website. Now, video is growing in popularity. Can you take those blogs and turn them into several short YouTube or Facebook Live segments? Could you build a podcast around those topics that resonated so well with your audience? Can you turn them into a series of colorful infographics?
Choose the platform and format that best fits your business and audience. Chances are, not all of the options listed above are a fit for you. Once you know which platforms you want to use, create a content marketing strategy, keeping in mind the following questions.
- Who is your audience?
- What are they looking for?
- Where is their pain point?
- What questions are they asking about the services you provide?
- What problems are they trying to solve?
Write your content to address this, while realizing you are building a relationship with a prospect who may not have specifically been looking for your business when they found you in a search (through your well-planned, keyword-specific, well-written content.)
Regardless of the format or formats you choose:
- Have a goal so that you can measure your successes and adjust your strategy as needed.
- Are you trying to drive leads to your website, or are you developing more in-depth relationships with your current clients?
- Are you trying to add subscribers to your content, or are you gathering names for your sales team to follow up on?
- Create a content calendar so that you know what you’re going to talk about and when.
- Make a plan before you start writing so that everything appears to naturally flow.
- Be flexible and adjust content accordingly.
- If after the first few posts on a topic, you receive only a lukewarm response, it’s okay to move on to something else.
- Find what resonates with your target audiences. And if current events dictate a change, be ready to make that shift.
- Set and stick to a schedule.
- For example, post new content every Tuesday.
- Be sure to give reader/viewer/listener a call to action.
- Remember, if you want your audience to take a specific action, such as signing up for an email list, you need to ask them to do so – and make it easy for them.
- Be prepared and willing to interact with your audience after the initial post.
- Respond to questions, provide more information, and in general keep in mind that you are developing a relationship with potential clients/customers.
Do you need help getting started, refining your plans, or writing and editing content itself? Reach out to us! We are happy to discuss partnering to help you plan and keep you on track.