Content marketing can be time-consuming, there’s no doubt about it. But, you also know it’s also crucial for your firm’s marketing practice. So how do you rev up your company’s content marketing engine?
No other marketing strategy offers you the opportunity to engage with your consumers, capture leads and sales, build brand loyalty and establish yourself as a knowledge leader.
Here are five relatively painless ways to get your content marketing humming along…
#1 Set Expectations
Ask: What is the purpose of content marketing for your business and what results should you expect?
Everything you do to market your business with content must have a purpose — whether it’s driving awareness or generating leads.
Maybe you’ve struggled to launch or maintain your content marketing plan because you’re unsure of the value it brings to your business. If that’s the case, take some time and go through your website analytics. Focus on the Organic Search Traffic over the last 3-12 months. Are you getting significant traffic to your website from organic searches? What pages are driving that traffic? This will give you an idea whether your existing content is doing the job.
Content creation and distribution provides an opportunity to build a brand voice, interact with your consumers and “show ’em what ya got.” Ultimately, those efforts should translate into new website traffic and new business.
#2 Tackle Topics First, Write Second
Content marketing requires analysis and planning to succeed.
Rather than putting all your energy into formulating one-off topics and then producing content piece-by-piece, take some time to develop a topical map for your business.
Sketch out the topics and ideas you feel your business should rank for. Use tools like Google Trends, AnswerThePublic, Keywords Everywhere or Keyword Chef to create a topical map and understand the search volume of keyword phrases relevant to your business. Download your Google Analytics and Google Search Console data to identify topics where you’re already getting traffic to build more content around.
Then brainstorm new content ideas — these will be unique topics that keyword tools don’t know about yet. If you met your ideal customer today, what would you be excited to tell them about your products or services, or the problems you solve? Jot down these topics and add them to your topic map.
Next, take a look at the calendar. What time periods, occasions and holidays are important for your business? What product or service launches are upcoming? When are the relevant conferences for your industry? What can you share with your customers that will help them during these occasions? When are the best moments to discuss those key ideas you formulated above?
Now associate your content topics with the times and places you want your content to go out — creating a content marketing editorial calendar for the year. That’s your plan to execute.
#3 Swipe, Swipe, Swipe
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery.
Pay attention to other content you read on the Internet and social media, then bookmark or save it for later use in a swipe file. The real purpose of a swipe file is to act as a launch pad for your content marketing. By collecting content that resonates with you or your colleagues, you’ll be building a pool of inspiration when your own creative well has run dry.
Here are some questions to ask for your content idea swipe file:
- What have your industry peers written on the future trends in the industry?
- What do you think they missed or got plain wrong?
- What do the most-shared articles on the topic have in common?
- What new perspective can you provide?
- What writing tone and graphics best fit the topic?
- X for Y for Z (e.g. heated hats for hikers climbing the Himalayas)
- Pros and Cons
- Slide Decks (Slideshare is great for this)
Once you have your swipe file, you’ll be armed with the information you need to make your content compelling and on-point.
#4 Old Content Is New Again
Old content can keep the content marketing engine alive!
Have you checked your analytics on your past content lately? If not, you might be surprised to learn that a big chunk of your new visitors are coming to your site to read “old” content.
In fact, content marketing adheres to the “80/20 Rule” — 20% of your content will usually generate around 80% of the engagement results. Old content is part of your marketing portfolio, so why shouldn’t it continue to generate results if it’s good?
While that may surprise you, it’s logical — older content has had time to be read and shared more often, expanding its footprint and punching up its search ranking. Don’t think of old content as garbage, think of it as gold waiting to be mined — again.
Once or twice a year go back and update old content and its associated offers and landing pages. This will give it new life on Google, and ensure all your content is optimized to drive new business leads. Plus, updating and republishing your major “flagship” work saves time by avoiding the need to create more and more content that essentially says the same thing.
#5 Get Content Marketing Help
Some of the best decisions you make as a business owner involve prioritization and getting lower value tasks off your plate. At some point, you’ll realize you can’t do it all (nor should you).
If writing ad copy and landing pages isn’t your forte, farm out your content marketing. If you find the idea of creating an e-book tedious, outsource it. If you have no interest in creating a webinar, don’t. Do what you do best and outsource the rest.
Following these 5 steps will get your content marketing engine back on track and humming along.