The velocity of communications have become faster with the emergence of real-time news feeds in social media. It has become the norm for brands to regularly produce fresh content and interact with customers online. Whether it’s blogging, video, podcasts or whitepapers, content marketing is what is now. Here are ten things you can do to bring your marketing up to speed.
1. Get Tips From The Pros
Learn about content marketing from others doing well. They are typically people who have learned to share generously online so you’ll find the secret sauce in free blogs, books, webinars and whitepapers. And, giving information away for free is one of the pillars of good content marketing. A few of my favorite resources in the marketing space are:
- Social Media Examiner blog
- Copy Blogger blog
- Top Rank blog
- Content Rules, by Ann Handley, C.C. Chapman and David Meerman Scott
2. Create A Content Strategy
Creating content that is relevant to your audience and aligns with the brand is important to the success of a program. Be sure your chosen topics answer this simple question “What [free] value does it provide value to my audience?” Once you have a handle on what topics you need to cover, establish where the content will live and how often it is published. Defining a process and editorial or community management responsibilities will ensure everyone on the team
3. Make a distribution plan
Map out how your content will be distributed across your other websites, email and social networks. Then, identify the right tools to do it efficiently. A couple from my favorite tools are Feedly, Feedburner and Dlvr.it. Do not make the mistake of shooting out the same post everywhere. The conversation you are putting out should be appropriate for each of your audience segments and formatted using each social network’s features. For example, it’s not very useful to syndicate tweets to LinkedIn containing a bunch of hashtags, because LinkedIn does not have hashtag functionality.
4. Invest ongoing education
Get serious about content marketing and make an investment to do it well. Make education part of in your annual marketing budget and look for the top conferences nationwide that cover the type of content marketing you want to do as well as local events. There are many great resources for online learning that provide free webinars and downloadable papers. Have you visited Fandom Marketing’s learning center yet? Organizations specializing in content marketing or “inbound marketing” such as Hubspot have many great resources.
5. Be curator friendly
Feature content from others and make it easy for others to tag, save and bookmark your blogs, images, and videos. Simply adding sharing buttons to your blog post pages makes it easy for readers to share the story with others.
6. Define your brand voice
Consider your content more than words on a page, it’s a conversation. How does your brand show up and sound in a conversation with another human being? That’s your brand voice. Developing a brand voice is a branding exercise that will pay off big time to stand out in the noise and not bore your audience to death. An easy way to test something you’re writing is to say it out loud. If it’s not something you’d say to a person standing in front of you, it is probably not a tone that would work well in social media. Consider how your brand would sound as a person having a conversation.
7. Tie it back to your business
The worst content strategy is to talk about your product or brand non-stop. However, what you do talk about must tie back into your brand position and business goals. Consider where this content fits into the sales funnel, buying decision process and customer lifecycle. Then, create value driven content that is relevant to your audience and aligns with your brand across the appropriate touch points.
8. Kick ass at email marketing
It’s the oldest digital tactic in the playbook. It is proven, it has a set of standard best practices and it works. Since social media has taken the spotlight, email marketing has gone by the wayside for some. Email is still the number one way most human beings communicate online, a high converter, inexpensive and an appropriate place to ask for a sale. Integrate your content marketing program to email as a top distribution channel.
9. Identify your hidden resources
Partners, employees, people who love your brand or who are experts at your topics…these are all potential content contributors. Content creation is a time suck and having the resources to develop it is often the biggest hindrance to good content marketing. Prioritize budget to make an investment in producing great content on a consistent schedule and mine your hidden resources.
10. Integrate content marketing to advertising
Flat, direct response advertising is becoming a thing of the past. As Facebook innovates the way we approaches advertising we are learning that people expect and want more out of a brand interaction. People trust what friends say about a product and are watching friend’s interactions with brands. Advertising social media content is an excellent way to integrate content with conversations that generate earned and paid reach.