No matter what your business is about, developing an online presence is a must. By creating and distributing content online you help your business stay relevant today while building a foundation for the future.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is an inbound marketing channel that helps create the right brand image for the right audience through the production and distribution of valuable and relevant content.
Advantages of Content Marketing
- Potential clients choose you even before they meet you for a ‘pitch’.
- Grow an audience around what is it you are trying to sell.
- Ranks your website in search engines.
- Boosts lead generation.
- Enhances affinity between your business and customers.
In this post we’ll have a look at the 5 steps for creating a content marketing strategy: research, plan, publish, measure, and adjust.
What do you know about your audience? What content type are they reacting to more often? Videos, images, text? What format – memes, infographics, short-form video, long articles?
Before planning your content you have to know who you are talking to.
Conducting audience research will help you outline the demographics and psychographic of your audience, the type of content and formats they engage with, and the platforms they spend time on.
Based on the findings from your first step, it is time to plan your content. Here are some guiding points to help you structure the content planning.
Where to get content ideas
There are many ways to generate ideas. Competitors, keyword research, your life, or daily experiences are a good starting point. But if you want to get more practical and efficient, read chapter 1 of this killer post from backlinko.
What marketing channel you will use
Depending on where your audience is spending their time, you want to focus on those platforms. But as a general rule, it’s recommended to create a presence on all platforms if you can afford it. You don’t want to be at the mercy of just one platform.
What content formats
Audience research is again necessary here. If you have an audience of females aged 25-34 that are single moms, you format your content for them. Just as you want to be present on all platforms, similarly you want to try different types of content formats as well.
What language style
The language style can take many shapes and forms too. Depeding on your audience you can develop different language styles: formal, informal, descriptive, narrative, expository, etc.
What pain points to touch
If you have a photography business you try to understand what your audience really wants to happen in their life. Is it finding cheaper camera gear? Maybe photography tutorials on portraits and landscapes. Or maybe they like watch and read photography content as entertainment.
One content marketing tip is taking advantage of the curated content to help raise awareness and build authority in your industry. The idea is to repurpose what other influencers in your industry are saying through your own point of view.
After the planning is done it’s time to publish. Not just on your blog and social profiles. You can go more tactical to spread the word by joining Facebook groups, forums, and collaborate with influences in your industry to share your content.
The idea is to raise awareness outside of your own small circle.
Measuring the performance of your content efforts is highly important.
Let’s say you published 30 pieces of content in the past month. After a period of time of let’s say three months, it’s time to check their performance. You learn that articles about mobile photography got a lot more engagement than camera photography.
Having that data your you adjust your next content marketing campaign accordingly.
5. Adjust & Adapt
Based on your insights from the previous step you will rewrite your Planning step.
For example, maybe you plan to have 20% more content about mobile photography.
But you can also try something new that you haven’t tried before. An example would be something like creating 20% of content around unboxing camera gear.
After the second campaign, you do that again. Rinse and repeat and progressively whittle down on what works best against your goals and objectives.
CONTENT & CUSTOMER’S JOURNEY
One way to think about content creation is through the lens of the 5 stages the customer’s journey. The idea is to create content relevant for each stage from the awareness and consideration stage to conversion and retention.
I have a post entirely dedicated to creating content specifically for each step of the customer’s journey. If you want to have a look at that check it out here.
Two Types of Content
The content you produce can be split into two types: evergreen content and topical content.
Evergreen content will cover most of the content in your strategy. These are tutorials, how-to articles, beginner’s guides, case studies, checklists.
If you are a photographer your evergreen content would be something like “mistakes to avoid when you start photography” or “beginner’s guide to buying your first camera“.
As I said before use tools and methods such as keyword research, competition analysis, or social listening. And again, read this post to get real practical in finding the right content ideas.
EVERGREEN CONTENT EXAMPLE
Imagine you are selling your services as a photographer. How would you attract customers? Create a page writing about how good you are as a photographer? Rely on your shiny portfolio and acquaintances to get clients?
How about talking online about your experiences and top lessons you learned along the way? About the challenges, you faced at the beginning of your journey as a photographer.
Or speak about how hard it is to be successful. Or maybe even create behind the scenes videos showing how you conduct your photo sessions.
In other words, even if it’s about you, the content needs to add value to them. In the photographer’s case, he or she can create content unique to his experience from which the clients might learn something new.
That will generate content that’s authentic, unique, and educational. Valuable content builds trust, visibility, reputation, and authority in the industry.
One real-life example is Taylor Jackson who films and shares his wedding photography sessions from a first-person perspective.
Topical content is content that is relevant for a specific moment in time. Because of its newsworthy characteristics, this can be of little value compared to the evergreen content. Done consistently, however, boosts and maintains your brand image in the audience’s mind.
One such example is Coca-Cola donating money for victims of the Harvey Hurricane and writing about the strategy on how they did it.
Another example is the one below from Specsavers. They took advantage of a trending topic to create a funny ad.
Not just funny for the audience but they also made it relevant to their business goals.
Today a business cannot survive merely through advertising and promotion.
If you want to thrive you need to stand out. You need to show that you care more about them than you care about making a profit.
Producing and distributing valuable content is how you make your business resonate with your potential clients.
Valuable content does not mean high production value videos. It means content that is authentic, that has its own voice, that tells a story.