Content marketing has the power to bolster your firm’s profile and help position you as an expert in your field. Having a strategy is crucial in content marketing, but this strategy doesn’t have to be exhaustive to get started. With that said, I’ve come up with a list of 10 simple steps that will help you get started with your content marketing program.
1. Have a long-term mindset
Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t need to write 20 blog posts this week to “catch up” with everyone else. It is also important to understand that there will most likely be no instant gratification or results with your efforts. Building thought leadership is going to take time, but over time you will start to reap the benefits and rewards of your efforts. Remember, with content marketing you are building something. No house or skyscraper is created in an instant. It takes time, planning, hard work and patience. A successful content marketing program is going to require all of those qualities.
2. Solve problems and answer questions with your content
To be successful in content marketing, you are going to have to develop fresh, relevant and valuable content on an ongoing basis. The best way to determine what topics your content should be covering is by thinking about the problems or questions your prospects might have and answer those questions through content.
Developing buyer personas can be helpful in the process. Ask yourself these questions:
- Who are your prospects and customers?
- What gaps in information are they lacking that your content can fill?
- What problems, perhaps somewhat unrelated to your product or service, can you help solve for them through content?
It is also important to make sure that you have content that addresses your prospects’ needs at every stage of the buying cycle, as well as content geared for your existing customers.
It is critical to create a content calendar or road map to help you plan your content marketing program and keep you on track. Use the road map or calendar as a guide to what topics you are going to cover, what channels you will be using to promote your content and who will responsible for writing, editing and publishing your content. Don’t get too detailed or granular in your planning, but rather use your road map as a guide and leave room for adjusting along the way.
4. Use a variety of content types
Content can include email newsletters, presentations, webinars, social media posts, blog articles, whitepapers, webinars, guides, podcasts, videos and many others. The key is to use variety in your content marketing, but make sure you always focus on quality. If you don’t have the time or resources to produce a quality webinar or ebook, then hold off until you can produce something that you can be proud of. Focus your efforts where you can make the most impact. If your content doesn’t provide value to your prospects or customers, it’s just noise and it will be discarded.
5. Develop premium content
Premium content can be a great lead generation tool. This premium content should be gated behind a form on your website or landing page and require some very basic prospect information in exchange for the whitepaper, ebook, guide or other content. All of your content should be valuable, but you should spend some time and resources developing at least one new piece of premium content every one to two months. This content should be highly valuable to your prospects, so remember that quality is always more important than quantity. If a prospect is going to give you their contact information, they are going to expect to get something of value in return!
6. Repurpose content when possible
Why let all your hard work go to waste when quality content can be reused! Turn your webinar into a series of blog posts or your eBook into a presentation. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel if you don’t need to. However, always look for opportunities to improve upon or update previous content when you are repurposing. Content that is heavy with statistics and research can get old fairly quickly.
7. Start a company blog
Start a new blog or revamp your old blog and write about information your prospects and customers will find relevant and helpful. Post a new blog article at least once a week to start, and promote your blog posts through your social media accounts and website. Make sure your employees are doing the same on their personal accounts.
8. Follow the leaders on social media
Follow influential leaders, companies and media outlets in your industry on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Share industry-related articles, best practices and reports via social media at least tow or three times per day. Your prospects and customers should view you as a valuable resource on social media. Not only will this help you with building thought leadership, but it will also give you ideas and inspiration for your own content creation.
9. Be a guest blogger
Editors are always looking for additional content to add to their sites, so let it be yours! Look for opportunities to be a guest blogger or get your article published on an industry website. This will not only help your content marketing efforts, but also help with SEO, providing backlinks from credible and influential websites and increasing traffic to your website.
10. Demonstrate by doing
Remember, content marketing is an opportunity to show your prospects and customers that you’re a subject matter expert. So be authentic and cover topics that you are knowledgeable about and your audience is interested in. Creating intriguing, valuable content will help you strengthen your company brand. It might be one of the most important areas you can put your marketing time and energy into.
Tim Asimos is Director of Digital Innovation at circle S studio, an APEX Agency Partner and award-winning strategic marketing and design firm, specializing in results-driven strategy, branding, design and digital marketing services. Founded in 1999, the firm focuses on doing what matters to help middle market companies grow in today’s increasingly chaotic digital landscape. Follow Tim on Twitter.