Content marketing is the new SEO and the new SOCIAL. It is everywhere. Everyone is talking and writing about it. Including me. 🙂
To succeed online today you must produce consistent, valuable, entertaining and informative content.
Content Marketing according to Content Marketing Institute 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.
Sounds good. Makes sense. But, if we have never done this before where do we start?
Hopefully, the 9 questions in this article will help you to create your own effective content marketing strategy.
When you first begin generating content for your website, your blog or your YouTube channel it can be overwhelming and daunting to say the very least. And for me when something appears overwhelming I find it impossible to tackle unless I divide it down into smaller bite size chunks that will lead me to the end result I need.
And in order to break something down into smaller, easier to digest, pieces I find that asking myself some simple, but very important questions leads me to the solution. And content marketing is no different.
You have limited resources…..time….money….staff….whatever the size of your organization you will have some limit to those resources. So here is a list of questions you need to ask yourself that will help you to make the very best of whatever resources you have when it comes to your content marketing strategy.
- Who is your target audience?
Before you begin thinking about what form your content should take or where best to find it you really need to ask yourself who is your target market. Who is your ideal client? Who can you serve the best and most profitably? This may very well be the most important question you ask yourself. Get as specific as possible. Male or Female? Age? Income Level? Interests? Job Title? Where do they live? Where do they work? It is a fact that the better you know and understand your target audience the more effectively you can market to them.
- What are their pain points?
Just as important as knowing who they are is knowing and understanding their pain points. Do they have more than one pain point? What are the challenges they have that you can alleviate with the product or service you provide. Do they need more sales? More leads? Better cash flow?
- What topics and sources of information are most important to them?
This may be closely related to the previous question, but not always. Sometimes not only want to solve a pain point but they want information about areas in which they are already doing well. Perhaps there are common lifestyle areas that interest your audience….caribbean vacations for example. If you know this you can create content for them about how to relax and recharge on your next caribbean vacation. Or, if you are a landscaping company perhaps your content could talk about how to turn your backyard into a tropical oasis and save thousands of dollars on vacations every year!
- Which social channels do they use?
This one is big! We have already discussed our limited resources. Very few of us have the time to pay attention to all of the social media channels. But you do need to be paying attention to the social channel where your audience lives. Are they found on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or do they spend time watching videos on YouTube? Make sure you know where they are so you can not only spend time with them, but you can avoid wasting precious resources marketing to where they are not.
- Which social channel best supports your content marketing mission?
It is also important to know which of the social channels that your audience uses works best to support your content marketing purpose. You may discover that your audience is on Facebook and YouTube, but that producing video content for YouTube gives you much better engagement and ROI than posting on Facebook. Don’t go with your gut on this one. Make sure you test and measure so you know the answer to this question.
- What is your brand’s overall purpose?
Seems obvious, but not always. Make sure you clearly understand what you are trying to accomplish with your content. Is it brand awareness? Is it customer service? Is it education and information? Everyone on your team should be very clear about your purpose and especially your brand’s voice. You must be consistent with what you say and how you say it.
- Who in your organization is responsible for content marketing strategy?
It is OK to have a team working on your content marketing but there should always be one person that has the overall responsibility for your content and the marketing of that content. This is the only surefire way to have a consistent voice throughout your content. It will also greatly increase your chance of success.
- What tools do you need and what is the workflow from content creation to publication?
Today, there are so many tools available it can make your head explode just trying to figure out where to begin. If you are trying to manage a number of social channels for content distribution then a social dashboard is a must. And although there are many good options the king of the hill is still HootSuite. Content discovery and curation, again many options, but my personal favourite is Feedly. It is easy to use and very visual and I like visual. My favourite tool for content scheduling and distribution is Buffer. I repeat….I am not saying these are the best and only options…I am just saying they work for me. I am also a huge fan of Evernote for many reasons but particularly for storing content ideas that I may use at a later date.
- What is working with your content marketing efforts?
In order to do your Content marketing it will take some of your resources. So, it is critically important that you are measuring the results of your marketing efforts so that you know what is working well and what is not. Google analytics is a great tool that will certainly help you to discover which social channels and content is driving traffic to your website. Also, your email marketing software like MailChimp will also provide you with analytics as to which articles are of most interest to your email list by showing you how many clicks each link in an email or e-newsletter received. This is all extremely valuable information. Use it so you can make the best use of those resources.
And that’s it.
This is certainly not meant to serve as a definitive list of questions you need to ask yourself but, ask just these nine and you will give yourself a great start with your content marketing.
Until next time. Good luck and great marketing.
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