As any lover of 19th century agriculture will know, content marketing is nothing new. But as interest grows among businesses in this part of the world, you might be wondering where to start.
As with any marketing campaign, a lot will depend on your particular circumstances. A major brand with budget to build its own dedicated content marketing department is going to be in a different weight class to your small not-for-profit or super lean start-up.
But here are 10 ideas (some obvious, some less so) that you might like to experiment with…
1. Define your audience
The first step for any marketing campaign is deciding who you’re trying to reach. The same is true with content marketing. Before you start getting creative, establishing a clear idea of your demographic sets your direction of travel. A really useful exercise is to look at who has that audience right now. Blogs, magazines, newspapers and even TV shows that are hitting your demographic are excellent markers for deciding the tone, style and topics for your content marketing campaign.
2. Prioritise your keywords
Creating decent content on your own website has always been a good way to get more traffic from search, but as Google wages war on dodgy link building and other short cuts, it’s quickly becoming the only sustainable search strategy. Refining a shortlist of high value keywords, even if you’re never going to be number one for them, will help focus your content marketing activity on your bottom line.
3. Be helpful and useful
Whatever business you’re in, chances are your customers spend a lot of time on the web doing research before you get to meet them. With so much information at our fingertips, we can all be more informed than ever before about anything we buy. One of the strongest arguments for content marketing is this: your potential customers are reading blogs, browsing reviews and watching videos about what you do right now, so it can’t hurt to get involved.
4. Report the news
The sort of helpful, useful evergreen content that gets you access to an earlier point in the decision making process is just one of the content types you can play with. One of the really fun parts of running content marketing campaigns is the huge range of ideas at your disposal. It’s always a good idea to find room in your schedule for some news-driven content. However niche your industry is, there is always news. Talking about stuff that’s happening right now is great for keeping your output fresh and lets you pick up on trending topics.
5. Make the most of your investment
Content is like any other investment. Once you’ve spent the money, you should extract maximum value from it. That doesn’t mean you use the same article over and over again. Google has a raging Panda that will swat your website like a fly if you try that. But, you can use editorial links to point readers to related content you’ve produced in the past; you can use categories or tags to display links around your site; and you can promote your content on your social media profiles.
6. Pick a social platform
However deep your pockets are, there are always restrictions when it comes to running content marketing campaigns. Whether it’s time, money, access or compliance, nobody has a free hand to do everything they want. This is especially true of the social element, where there are so many platforms demanding your attention. Even if you want a presence on all of them, picking one to really focus your attention and resources on can help you properly explore the potential and show value to your skeptical bosses.
7. Find your social employees
Once you have that social media game-changer in your sights, have a look at your organisation and see if there are social-savvy employees who can help you out. Helping staff members who are keen on social to build up their own personal brand will have a halo effect for your business and can act as a useful retention tool for top people.
8. Pick your brains
As well as using your colleagues as social mavens, you can also tap their specialist knowledge for other elements of your content marketing campaigns. Every business has its experts and its experienced employees with great stories to tell. Not many of them are sharing this gold and your content marketing campaign can change that.
9. Show me the money
Anchoring your content marketing campaign to the bottom line is always a challenge. You can create a wonderful blog and build a huge following on Facebook, but at some point, you’re going to have to show a return on investment. Creating customised calls-to-action that directly relate to the content you’re putting out will help keep that link to how your business makes money.
10. See you next time
Getting your primary calls-to-action right should always be your priority, but also think about what secondary actions you might want your audience to take. If you can’t get them to buy or book right now, what would you settle for as a consolation? Offering some high-value content in exchange for some very basic contact information can be an important first step toward a future sale.
By Kate Davidson