Content Marketing: Where to Start and How to be Successful?
Welcome to our beginner’s guide to laying out a successful content marketing strategy. Here you will find all the basic steps you need to take as a newbie to develop a promising content marketing strategy.
As a customer, what do we seek from businesses? Of course, it’s the value. In terms of like, how can this improve the quality of my life? How can this bring ease to me? How can this make the process seamless for me? And so on.
And this is exactly where content marketing comes into play since it allows you to tell them your story, engage them with your content and gradually build that trustworthy relationship.
And once that trust is established, you start noticing its results in the form of increased conversions, higher traffic to your site, improved brand awareness, boosted revenue, and more credibility in the field. All in all, a total win-win situation!
So, let us familiarize you with all the basic steps you need to take as a newbie to develop a promising content marketing strategy.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic way to engage and retain your audience by sharing engrossing content that is relevant to their needs. That content can be shared via social media, email, blogs, podcasts, videos, and so on.
The main goal of developing a content marketing strategy is to connect with your audience at a deeper level, build brand awareness and create meaningful relationships.
The best thing about it is that you have complete ownership of all the content you produce and that allows you to distribute it to a wide range of audiences. Here at MKTG, we are a big fan of writing and sharing blogs, and we recommend our clients do the same because its distribution via email is so easy, and it delivers high value. And, speaking from an experience standpoint, we have noticed that people are more likely to engage with an email if it contains a piece of well-written content.
Moreover, blogs are an easy way to answer any questions your audience might have regarding your services or products, ultimately resulting in better trust-building since you’ll be making their decision-making process less daunting with all that guidance.
Where do I start with my content marketing strategy?
When talking about content marketing, the most common questions that we get asked from our clients are; where do I start from? How do I take the initiative? What are the steps involved?
Well, considering how intimidating that might appear at first, let me assure you that it’s no uphill task since you can use most of the content that is already uploaded on your social media and website. And with the liberty of repurposing and transforming into amazing blog posts, there won’t be a need for huge investments in terms of money, time and effort.
So, back to the main point; where should you start from? Well, that can be different for different businesses; therefore, ask yourself the following questions before you step into blogging.
· What is your content marketing mission?
Identifying and developing your content marketing mission is one of the most crucial steps to lying a promising content marketing strategy. I got this idea from a content marketing speaker, strategist, author, and content entrepreneur Joe Pulizzi. (If you are interested in learning more about content marketing and best practices, I would highly recommend his book “Epic Content Marketing.”)
So, once you’ve understood your business’s mission, you can clearly identify the pillars upon which you want to lay the building of your content. Doing so will also help you come up with creative ideas that revolve around your main mission, allowing you to be more intentional and strategic with the content you produce.
· What are you standing for?
If you think that what you sell is something your business stands for, you’re mistaken. For example, Bombas sells socks, but it’s not their “Mission” to sell socks. It’s way beyond and bigger than that. They aim to provide a sustainable solution to the most requested clothing item at shelters for the homeless, that is, socks. And that’s what they market and build the content around. Contrary to that, if they had their content marketing strategy built around merely selling socks, people would’ve found it less attractive and not something to be given importance.
So, before you start distributing your content via blogs, make sure you have a clear understanding of what you’re standing for. Because, in order to build long-lasting relationships with your audience, you must sound authentic and engaging.
· What are you an expert in?
You can’t yield desired results if you are working on something that you don’t even have expertise or interest in. So, finding a niche that aligns with your line of interest and knowledge is really important.
And that can be done by focusing on what are you best at? What separates you from others? What is something you think you do better than others that you can add more value to?
Remember, no topic is too small or irrelevant; you just need to find the right audience that is interested in it and sees value in it.
· What do you want to tell your audience?
People will trust you more if they find your story relatable and genuine. So tell them why are you in that business? Why you took the initiative? What are your intentions with it? What do you want to achieve with it? What are goals and expectations? In a nutshell, anything that can move them in a way to trust you, consequently resulting in an easier decision-making process.
But you have to be strategic and intentional here. You can’t just go about writing something that you find good. Having a clear understanding of what are your intentions for delivering a particular message to your audience is highly essential.
How do I create more content?
As I mentioned earlier, you don’t always have to spend heaps on content creation, be it in terms of money or time. You might be intrigued that how on earth can we do that?
Well, I have some amazing tips and tricks for you in that regard.
Take an inventory of what you have so far
First and foremost, as I mentioned earlier, repurposing your pre-uploaded content (on your social media handles or website) can be a great idea for blog creation at a minimal cost.
Going through your old content can also be a great way to come up with new ideas based on what your audience has most liked and interacted with in the past and what idea last worked to attract more traffic to social media. Then, you can either repurpose that very same piece of content for your blog or use it to come up with a similar but more engrossing idea.
Design a Process
Once you’ve put together your ideas, this step is the most important one to be taken. Putting all about who will be who’ll be preparing outlines for the blogs, who’ll write them down, who’ll edit and upload them onto the site, and what other resources will be needed to make the process seamless in one place is what I’d recommend you should do to stay organized.
The same goes with planning the frequency of publishing those blogs and reverse engineering it to understand how much time you require to create one from start to finish.
By having it all pre-planned, you would know exactly how much of the budget and time you need to allocate. Moreover, it would also help maintain the consistency of posting and sending them to the relevant audience.
Create the content yourself
Even if you feel like your writing isn’t perfect, I’d recommend you still try because no one else can tell your story the way you can. So, create your blog post yourself and leave the job of perfecting it to the editor. This way, you’ll still be able to reflect your thoughts, personality, and your business motive in a genuine manner and save time simultaneously. All you have to do is pen down your thoughts and ideas without pushing yourself to make it the perfect piece of writing and hire an editor to take care of the rest.
Include your employees in this process
Look for at least three thought leaders in your organization and add them to your content marketing team. However, remember that no matter how many people you add to the team, the main role will be yours – coming up with ideas to create content. It’s because, being the owner of that business, you’re the only one with the knowledge of your audience’s pain points and how you can provide them with more value via your content or product/service you’re offering.
While not everyone is fond of writing, they all have expertise in at least one thing or another. For instance, Amanda, who works in product development, has a way better knowledge of a product’s features than Peter, who works in packaging. But Peter’s an expert in his field and knows which packaging works the best. So, including your employees in your marketing team can result in more diverse content ideas that your audience would find valuable.
Hire a Content Manager
You don’t need to hire a full-time employee to manage your marketing team right away but putting someone in charge is crucial to making the team goal-oriented, organized, and accountable for their responsibilities.
Once you have created enough content yourself and have gained some credibility, it makes the high time you should be interested in partnering up with other websites. Then, by working collaboratively on new ideas, you and your partner can increase the prospects of higher traffic to your respective sites.
What kind of content works best?
Wish there was a precise answer to this. But since there’s none, I’ll share some simple practices that can help you produce the best content.
· Have a Purpose
Make sure you’re creating purposeful content that is relevant to your niche and your audience’s interests. You should also have a clear understanding of what you’re working on and what you want your audience to perceive from your content. For instance, Is it to inform them about a product or share market insights?
· Add value to your customers
As customers, we all seek value from businesses. And, considering that, as a business owner, you should share your expertise with your audience so that they feel confident about what they are investing in.
Therefore, educate them, and explain to them why your product/service is better than others, what makes you stand out, and why they should trust you. In short, anything that adds value to them.
· Help them make a better decision
Do not assume that people already know what you know. They might lack knowledge about using a product they just bought from you, so educate them on how to get the most out of it, walk them through the process and earn their trust.
· Make your customer feel confident in their purchasing decisions
As I mentioned earlier, educating your customers is really important. They want to feel confident about buying from you, and rightly so. Therefore, it’s your job to make sure their purchasing journey is as smooth and as seamless as possible through your content.
Why do content marketing initiatives fall?
Below I have discussed the three main reasons why most content marketing initiatives fall and what you can do to keep that from happening:
- You must not stop producing content because you did not see quick ROI – this has to be the number one mistake most businesses make because they do not realize that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. It takes time to create engaging content, build trust, and nourish that relationship. So it’s highly unlikely that you’ll notice any significant changes within a month or two. Therefore, wait at least six months before considering quitting or pausing your efforts.
- There is no one right way to do content marketing; you should be willing to experiment – as I mentioned above, this is a time taking process and not something that would go viral overnight. Therefore, in order to make it work, you will be required to keep going through what you’ve already done, see what worked before and what didn’t, dig deep into the underlying reasons, and take your time to make the amendments.
- Understand your audience and adapt to its needs and wants – a piece of content that is not optimized to your audience’s needs will be of no use to them. So listen to what they want, what their preferences are, and deliver accordingly. Your goal should be to build a relationship that is valuable to both you and your customer.
You don’t have to seek perfection in your content, especially when you’re just starting out. All you have to do is take the initiative without worrying if it will 100% work or not because you own it, and you can always go back and edit it – you’re in control!
And if you ask me, I’d say content marketing through email using blogs is one of the best methods you can reach out to your audience and connect to them at a personal level. To do so, you can always have your organization’s other employees help, ask them what questions the customers most frequently ask, and make a list of 20-40 of those questions and turn them into blogs.
Most importantly, do not forget to make your content accessible through various electronic devices since 50% of emails are opened on mobiles and the rest 50% on other devices. And you’d ideally want 100% of your audience to engage with your content; therefore, optimization is necessary.
Lastly, be yourself while you communicate with your audience, tell your own story and not someone else’s. That’s the base for building a strong and trustworthy relationship with them.