Content marketing is one of the most effective ways of establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry and driving traffic back to your site. However when it comes to creating and syndicating content a lot of businesses don’t know where to start. The common problems we hear are:
1) “I have content but I don’t know what to do with it.”
2) “I don’t know what to write about.”
Essentially a lot of businesses have content sitting on their blogs however they have no strategy around how to use this in their marketing campaigns so they don’t see any tangible results.
This five step process will enable you to create an effective content strategy for your business:
Step One: Focus on quality over quantity
A lot of the stress associated with creating content stems from the idea that in order to be successful we need to be content machines, cranking out fresh content on a daily basis. Realistically, for businesses just starting out or with small teams, this isn’t possible. Instead we need to shift the focus from quantity to quality. Rather than posting on your blog on a daily basis, focus on putting one piece of quality content together per week that you can share across various channels throughout the week. You want to share content that genuinely helps your audience and positions you as a thought leader in your industry. One piece of well thought out content will ultimately be more effective than 5 pieces of mediocre content.
Step Two: Decide what to write about
The most effective content identifies and solves a problem its target audience is experiencing. Think about how we have framed this blog post – we started off by recognising a problem we know our audience is having. Now we’re providing a way to overcome this problem. This is a formula that can be repeated for any business. All you need to do is identify your audience’s main pain points and frustrations.
How? To get your head in to the right frame of mind draw up a simple table. On the left hand side write a list of problems you know your audience is experiencing. Be as specific as possible in this list. On the right hand side write down your solution in a few bullet points. Each of the issues you wrote down can now form the basis of a blog post. You now have your content plan mapped out for the next 2 months! (Depending on how many problems you wrote down and how often you post).
Step Three: Become a master of leverage – repurpose your content
When creating content you should be repurposing it so that it can be shared across a range of platforms.
Here are some examples of how one written post can be repurposed:
A) Audio: Recreate a blog post in the form of a podcast. If you interviewed someone to produce the blog post it could be the recording of that interview.
B) Video: Repurpose a written blog post into a short tutorial to post on YouTube. Creating a video tutorial is just as easy as creating a written post now, it can be done simply by recording yourself from your computer.
C) Infographic: Take the 5 key points from a blog post and create an eye-catching infographic sized to fit Instagram and Twitter. When posting these images, you can link back to the original blog post or video for anyone that wants more information.
Going through this process of repurposing content provides us with a way to reach new audiences on different platforms. This process is also ideal for anyone that struggles to think of ideas for content as one idea can be used to create 4 or 5 different pieces.
Step Four: Share
The ultimate goal when creating content is to drive new traffic back to your site. Once you have created a piece of content you can’t rely on people stumbling across it, instead you need to actively share it across different platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linked In or emails.
When sharing you don’t need to give away the whole post on that channel, instead give the audience a teaser that will draw them to your site. If your site is designed effectively then you should be able to capture new visitors email addresses. Click here for tips that will help you convert visitors to leads.
Step Five: Identify Where Your Audience Is
Before posting your content across every channel think about where your audience is spending their time. If you’re a beauty brand targeting women in their mid teens to early twenties, then Instagram is the ideal platform for you to share content. Whereas if you’re a B2B service then a post on LinkedIn would probably be more effective. Always ask yourself before posting – is my audience on this channel or not?
Step Six: Measure
Online marketing is about testing and measuring. We can make educated assumptions about where our audience is spending their time and what we think they want to read, but testing these assumptions allows us to iterate and improve our marketing efforts. The simplest way to do this is to create a shortened bitly link for each piece of content that can be used when sharing. These links only take 30 seconds to create, and then show us how many people are clicking on the link and where those clicks are coming from. This allows us to track two things:
A) The kinds of content that get the most traction: There might be a particular type of content that people connect with. Once you have posted a variety of pieces you’ll be able to establish patterns – your audience might like Q&A style pieces, How Tos or lists.
B) The platform that gets the most reach: If you find you’re getting a lot of click throughs on Facebook you might then make the decision to spend some of your marketing budget on this channel to enhance the impact of your content.
I’m a big believer in getting as much out of what you already have. If you already have a blog with pieces of content think about how you can repurpose and share this if it’s still relevant to your audience. If you don’t have any old content to share then start with the exercise in Step Two – once you have a list of problems you’ll be able to quickly create content that helps your audience and establishes you as a thought leader in your industry.
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