In the past, marketers relied heavily on advertising to get their message out.
Nowadays, content marketing is replacing traditional methods of advertising because it is more cost-effective and has a higher conversion rate. Small businesses have been using this strategy for years in order to compete with larger corporations that have more resources at their disposal. In order to succeed in your own content marketing campaign, you need a well-thought-out plan and a good understanding of what makes people tick. Here are some tips that will help you along the way:
1. Define your goals
Before you start your content marketing strategy, it’s important to take time and define what you’re trying to achieve. Are you looking to attract new customers? Do you want your content to help you generate leads? Or do you simply want to increase brand awareness and affinity amongst your existing customer base?
Once you know the answer, it will be much easier for us (and yourself) to determine which types of content we need, and how we can best distribute that content across different channels like social media, email newsletters or even in print (yep!).
2. Segment Your Content by Personas
This is one of the common mistakes we see our clients making when starting their strategy – trying to create the same content for all their personas.
But, if you’ve ever done any research into marketing or sales, you’ll know that what works for one person may not work well for another. Take emailing, for example. We found in a recent study that 40% of people say they would be happy to receive promotional emails from businesses – but only 10% said they’d actually open them!
So, let’s take an example – what are some types of content your different personas are likely to interact with? Well, 20-somethings might like infographics and short videos while empty nesters would prefer more detailed eBooks. How to create a Wikipedia page for yourself and while both might love easy recipes and DIY projects: boomers may want more traditional recipes while Gen X would be more likely to step outside their comfort zone and try something new.
3. Don’t Just Distribute Content – Engage!
Okay, so once we define our goals and know which types of content our personas most like to engage with – the next step is turning that into a working strategy. So how do we go about doing this? Well, there are a number of ways, but one thing you should always keep in mind is engaging your audience with each post or piece of content you create. You see, just because someone liked or shared it doesn’t mean they actually read it! Or even cared for that matter. So, taking the time to comment on posts your customers have made can be a great way to show you’re listening.
Asking questions is another good strategy that often gets overlooked. If someone’s made a comment or asked a question, take the time to respond in an intelligent manner. If they didn’t, move on. No one likes being nagged after all!
4. Mix It Up – Don’t Just Post Content
Right, so once you’ve figured out how your different content types are likely to be received by your audience, it’s also important to mix up how and when you distribute them – because just posting stuff isn’t really going to help get people re-interested in what you have to say very quickly if it’s always the same old same old…
So, let’s use social media again as an example. If you share the same link to your blog post on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ – which in this case straddles both personal users and business profiles in one fell swoop – then chances are you’re going to bore people pretty quickly. And while they might see it when checking their social media feeds, there’s no guarantee that they’ll stop what they’re doing long enough to read it let alone click on it.
Instead, try sharing links via different social sites at different times throughout the day or week. For example, if you share a new blog post on LinkedIn during weekday afternoon when more people are likely to be checking out their updates – but save your tweets for early morning before work and late evening when they’re back home – it won’t be long before you start noticing people are re-engaging with your posts.
5. Invest in your Content – but Don’t Overdo It
It’s no secret that content costs money to produce, so if you’re going to invest money into anything for your business then chances are good that you’ll want to get a decent return on investment (ROI), right? Well, there’s actually a couple of things we recommend here:
Asking yourself ‘will this look stupid online?’ is definitely one way of helping save some cash. Because while print is great and all, sometimes asking yourself the question “would I want my boss or potential future employer seeing this?” can often help you save yourself a lot of embarrassment!
The other thing we recommend is setting aside some money for paid ads. Now, not all social media networks allow you to target your advertisements via their content which means you’re going to have to get creative and look at what you can do on the networking sites that do allow this. And while it may cost a few bucks, the return on investment (ROI) will often be well worth it in the long run!
So, there we go – 5 tips for helping plan and implement your content marketing strategy like a pro.