Getting Started with Content Marketing
Most small businesses start executing on content marketing by accident. In their fledgling moments, they may post and update, try to educate customers or simply look to entertain 'for a bit of fun'.
But as your business develops and your time is stretched further, you need to get a better grip on where you are focusing your effort, not just when it comes to content marketing, but when it comes to pretty much any aspect of your business.
We aren't here to tell you how to run your business. Although we do know a thing or two about content marketing...so here are a few tips on getting the most of your content.
To make it SUPER easy, we have also put together a FREE content marketing worksheet to get you started. You can download it here.
Before you start throwing your all into content marketing, you need to take a step back and ask yourself exactly what it is you are trying to achieve. Even the very best content without direction and purpose is worth very little to your business.
The starting point to creating a great content marketing strategy is realising your business vision and how content will help you achieve that.
It might sound pretty fluffy. But all businesses have a vision. This is simply your purpose, what you are working towards. These span from the inspiring:
"Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis" - Patagonia
...to the self-serving and down-right dull...
"To make lots of money"
Of course, no one publishes their vision statement as "to make lots of money", but if your main concern is simply to make cash at the expense of everything else...they this is yours.
Having a vision statement which clear and well communicated helps you focus effort and motivates your team (as long as they buy into it). This is why it is so important in content marketing, your vision will drive your content. After all, you may get more views, likes and share if you post cat videos...but that isn't going to help you sell luxury sports cars.
Your company vision will also help you easily define key elements of your content strategy such as who you need to reach, what you need to communicate and what you need them to do in order to achieve your vision.
So, a vision may seem 'fluffy' but it is going to save you wasting some serious time, energy and cash in driving your content (and all other marketing) in the wrong direction.
Once you have your vision in place you start to set goals for your content marketing. These goals need to serve a purpose in pursuit of your ultimate vision.
For example, if we focused on the "use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis" part of Patagonia's vision, our content marketing goals may be around educating people about the environmental crisis, inspiring people to take action and promote our innovative solutions to eco-challenges.
When you set your goals, they need to follow the SMART format. This will allow you to more accurately measure your progress and make changes based on areas in which you are falling short. So Patagonia's content goal may be:
"To reach 50,000 people with key messaging around sustainable fishing by the end of 2020"
Once these sorts of goals are in place you can take a realistic approach to how you may go around achieving them.
Create a Plan
Creating a clear content marketing plan is a driving force behind content marketing success. The more detailed and specific this plan is, the easier it will be to follow, which ultimately means you are more likely to complete it...more likely to achieve your goals...and more likely to realise your vision.
Using your goals, your content plan will note down key areas including:
What content you are going to create
What process needs to be followed to create that content
Who is involved in that process (who is creating the content, who is checking the content, who is approving the content, who is publishing the content, who is promoting the content)
Which channels it will be hosted/promoted on
Key deadlines and milestones which must be achieved
Which key metrics will you need to track to monitor success and how you will gather them
Execute Your Plan
Welcome to the world's shortest (but very important) blog section...
Once you have created a detailed content marketing plan...you need to follow it.
Refine and Tweak
As your plan comes into reality, you need to ensure that you regularly monitor your progress. If you have set up goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), this will be much easier to do.
Measuring your success against your goals will highlight any areas that may need attention. It is important to take the time to refine and tweak your plan to constantly improve its performance as well as allowing you to adapt to rapid changes in the market, in your audience and in your own business.
You may have heard the phrase 'content is king' when it comes to marketing. But without a solid content marketing plan, content can be a pretty epic waste of time and resources. Following the process, we have highlighted above (and using our FREE content marketing worksheet) will ensure that you get the most from your content with the minimum effort required.
If you find yourself needing a little help with your content marketing. Whether realizing your company vision, creating a content plan or executing on the various elements such a copywriting, we are here to help - so, get in touch for a no-obligation chat on how we could support you.