Imagine as a brand, you have a story to tell, but you’re unsure how to get it out. Do you record a video? Do you write a blog post? Do you share on social media? Do you post on your site, then share on social media? The options available to you can weave a very intricate and confusing web, leaving you unable to take that first step in the right direction. The paralysis you experience is not uncommon, but that’s why it’s so important to have a strategy in place. With a marketing strategy, you can build out tactics on how you will achieve that strategy, better shaping your idea. The pieces that support that overall message is what we call content.
Content comes in all forms, and new platforms have expanded the use of this content to further complicate matters for brands looking to start their journey. Content marketing is a key piece to what you are trying to do because how that content is shared, how far it gets, and more importantly, how it’s created, defines how effective it will be.
Basics of Content Marketing
How Will You Share Your Message?
Understanding what your audience prefers, and how they like to receive their content is important to know. What standard have you already established? Does your audience prefer blog posts? Podcasts? Or do they prefer video (which are more favorable on Facebook and other social networks)? There is no single answer, and in most cases brands will use a content mix of multiple formats, but depending on what you’re sharing, one format may make more sense over another. So create, test, and see how your audience responds.
Think Long Term
It’s a mistake to think of your content as a singular piece that will live and then die. Remember all those one-hit wonders from the 80’s and the 90’s? You know the ones that you hum all the time, but have not heard from since their one big hit. Yea, you don’t want to be that. Instead, focus on the longevity of the content you’re creating. We call this “evergreen” content, and this type of content has a longer reach over a longer period of time. It’s a piece that, once paired with strong SEO, will keep people coming back over and over again. This approach is most relevant with content on your own website, like blog posts.
Multi-Purpose Content Works Too!
You know that blog post that you’re really proud of, and that attracted a ton of attention? How about turning that into a presentation for Slideshare? Or maybe an infographic on Visual.ly that can easily be shared on social? You could turn that into a podcast discussion and bring on guests for their input and perspective. Once you’re done with one format for your content, think about how it can be transformed in new and interesting ways. It can be surprising to see how differently people will respond to different formats.
Consistency Is Key
Once you put a plan together to create great content, be sure you stick with it. Editorial calendars are useful, and accountability mechanisms work as well if you are part of a team. Don’t get stalled in your efforts once you’ve begun. Consistency, just like with anything else in life, produces results. So if you plan on hosting a Twitterchat, or create weekly videos, or even if you plan on blogging regularly throughout the month, keep those habits going and be sure that your efforts are producing results.
And finally, here are the two most important pieces to make your entire content marketing efforts worth it.
Be A Storyteller
Look for the stories your brand can share. Do you have statistics and information that can shape the way your customers can and should be doing things? Do your current customers have things to say that can help others that are looking for your product or service? Look for these key opportunities to share worthwhile information, even if it’s just about how your company does things, because the one thing people don’t want is to be hit over the head with marketing and advertising for the sake of marketing and advertising. That’s the quickest way to be ignored. So focus on what others can learn from what you’re doing and be sure that the value is easily discerned.
All of your efforts will be wasted if you’re not tracking what’s working and what’s not. What good is it to create amazing content if no one sees it? Is your audience even reacting to it? Have you been able to track what types of content are doing better than others? These are all necessary questions with content marketing because this will effectively determine what to keep doing, what to stop, and what to support with an ad buy. In order to track, you need goals, so make sure that what you set out to do is worth everyone’s time.
More Content, More Content, More Content
As you review what you’ve done up to this point, and what you can do now with this information, do you know what content to capture? A common question we get is “what does my company do that can be considered content?” The answer is simple…EVERYTHING. Did your company win an award? That’s content! Did you just launch your product/service in a new area? That’s content! Don’t let press releases and one-day news articles be the only places that highlight what you do. Here are some other ways you can find content opportunities:
- every department has a story to tell
- seek out customer stories
- use your frequently asked questions as a catalyst for content ideas
- if you travel to conferences or trade shows, that’s ripe for content
- new studies and research
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Look into your brand a bit more and seek out these gems and opportunities to tell your story, either through your team, or the eyes of your customers.
Need some help with your own content marketing strategy? Send us an email or give us a call at 210-617-7260.