Do you struggle with content marketing? Are you frustrated about getting started or expanding your content marketing library? People often ask me why content marketing is so important in digital marketing and my answer is simple: ‘stories rule the social web’. From SEO to inbound traffic, authority, online reputation and lead generation, content marketing is vital for every organization.
I’m very passionate about content creation, delivery and promotion. I consider myself a professional storyteller – with a career spanning journalism, public relations, corporate communications and as a CEO. Today I tell stories using social media and digital marketing tactics.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. – Content Marketing Institute
I recently attended Content Mastery Summit hosted by Ian Cleary, founder of RazorSocial and Mark Schaefer author of Content Code. In this blog post I have turned my key takeaways from this event into 10 useful content marketing strategy steps.
Given that the Internet and content is growing at lightning speed it’s crucial we overcome what Mark describes as content shock – too much low value information that blasts our newsfeeds. Here’s a stat from Mark that will undoubtedly make us focus better on our content strategies.
[tweetthis]By 2020 online data will have increased by 500%! That’s like 5 Internets.[/tweetthis]
Step #1 Produce the right content with keyword research
While we may know our industry and our customer, we need to know the exact keywords that are most searched in Google.
By researching your market’s keyword demand, you can not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole.
- top keywords for your industry
- volume of monthly keywords searched
- top performing websites for those keywords
- CPC (cost per click) of specific keywords
Use this invaluable information to influence your content strategy.
Step #2 Be human and be yourself
In order to produce authentic, shareable and engaging content, simply be yourself. Personalize your company or brand by putting staff front of screen. Keep your language personable and show behind the scenes of what you do. This is giving access to your customers which was previously not available. We love this type of content and you hold the power to give us your backstage pass.
[tweetthis]”Personalization in social media is key. Users want to see people behind the content. – Mark Schaefer”[/tweetthis]
Step #3 Be consistent
Just like a TV channel or a radio station has a schedule of programming, as marketers we must have a schedule of content in our marketing toolbox. At Digital Training Institute we have our monthly content calendar which keeps us on our content marketing toes. Having a plan keeps us focused, motivated and more likely to deliver on our content outputs.
Step #4 Understand who’s sharing your content and why
It’s one thing to get your content shared and build a community of brand advocates. But according to Mark Schaefer you need to figure out who’s sharing your content and why. To do this you must create alerts for own name or brand, review your social media insights and audit backlinks to your website.
Step #5 Build your own website
Social media has taken the digital age by storm but we are only renting space on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat etc. To really get return from our content marketing efforts we should host that content on our own website. Ian Cleary is always pushing this mantra and he is of the opinion that if a marketing tactic doesn’t drive traffic back to our websites, we should consider the value of such efforts.
Here’s how to create content for your own audience according to Mark Schaefer:
- Create meaningful content – what do your customers need to know?
- Build targeted connections – relationships are the foundation of business.
- Provide authentic helpfulness – be true to your community and be helpful for the right reasons.
Step #6 Expand the reach of your content with social media
Social media can really ignite content shares and views so it’s a good idea to share your content across all your social networks. Why not consider social advertising to leverage extra social miles and by adding targeting you ensure the right people are consuming your content. While Mark advised us to keep up with social media changes he warns not to get distracted by the latest “shiny new ball” on the Internet. If required, change your strategy, you have greater maneuverability to achieve this, he says.
Step #7 Use content to convert prospects into customers
Ian Cleary has mastered the art of making money from social media and his PRISM model is one way to to convert prospects into customers. Ian says:
The PRISM funnel is a structure to follow to build your influence online and then build sales.
Step #8 Produce H-content
Mark Schaefer talked about the 3 types of H-content, which he was quoting from a YouTube white paper. I thought it was a really practical way to think about your content.
- Hygiene content – how to do, answer questions – SEO is very important.
- Hub content – storytelling that just doesn’t solve a problem, it creates an emotional connection with your customers.
- Hero content – content that has the opportunity for vast exposure – create a story that is beyond your product/service.
Step #9 Real-time marketing is essential
Being active and relevant in the now is so important as live-streaming apps and platforms generate higher consumer usage. We crave real-time content and so you need to add real-time marketing into your content plan. Will you undertake a Facebook Live, Blab or Periscope stream once monthly or even more frequently? This will help increase your brand profile and extend the reach of your content.
Step #10 Position yourself as an authority figure in your industry
Are you an authority in your industry? Do you write for media outlets, publications, blogs or websites? Carving out credibility, trust and being known for your know-how is vital in an age where everyone is a publisher. Work on earning that authority status by consistently producing high-value, high-end content and collaborating with others to extend the reach of your knowledge, brand and voice.
Did you know?
The most reliable content delivery methods to your website are:
- Podcast subscribers
- Print subscribers
- LinkedIn connections
- Streaming video
- Facebook (organic reach)
Content Marketing Bonus Tips
Mark Schaefer talks about the 6 Elements of the Content Code in his new book. Here’s what the book covers:
- Brand development: build a heroic brand that transcends SEO and social media – how to achieve it? Build trust for emotional connection. Trust is becoming a point of differentiation.
- Audience and influencers: the alpha audience, a passionate group of people (2% of your audience responsible for 20% of direct sales; drive 80% of total volume via recommendations, 150% of profitability, buying products without a discount. – Your alpha audience – trust not traffic.
- Distribution, advertising, promotion and SEO – in order to leverage the power of the social web you must ensure mass distribution of your content. This can be achieved by perfecting your SEO efforts, investing in social advertising and cross promoting on third party and media sites.
- Authority – how you are positioned in your industry and how does Google rank your website domain’s authority?
- Social proof and social signals – when you achieve high sharing rates on your content you are providing not only Google but your prospects and customers with tangible social proof that you are a leader in your industry.
- Shareability of the content – creating engaging content that ignites emotion and has the share-factor such as video, live streaming, graphics and highly visual content such as infographics and gifs.
If you need help to create or expand your content marketing strategy then get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.