How to Make Content Matter (Part Two: Content Marketing)
In Part One: Content Strategy, we talked in detail about what a content strategy is, and how to create one. Now that you’ve decided what you want to do, you can make a plan to execute that strategy with a content marketing plan.
Content marketing is a program for creating, publishing and distributing content to attract customers. It is the link between brand awareness and lead generation. The content marketing program provides a strong foundation of content throughout the buying process which nurtures ongoing interest and builds trust.
Common components of content marketing include social media, blogs, visual content and premium content such as downloads and webinars.
Other parts of your marketing plan may include pay per click, which offers instant gratification through constant investment.
Content marketing keeps working after the initial investment. Published content will continue to convert even after you delete the content.
Both components work well together and complement one another, especially when baked into your well-balanced marketing plan diet. It is a long-term commitment that requires engagement and collaboration to see it through and succeed.
Step 1: Content marketing leadership
The budget and business structure determine the leading personnel, and you may have already identified them in the comprehensive content strategy. Executing the content marketing plan is at the top-of-the-funnel, where the conversion and closing funnel activities occur in email marketing or conversion optimization.
Most small businesses will have all marketing content and conversion funnel activities delegated to a single person. Ensure they are the right people to share your vision, create content, design images, follow best practices and perform optimization and audits. Make sure they know what you expect as the small business owner. The details of the content strategy keep you on track towards your goals.
Step 2: Hiring a content marketer
Your specialist depends on your business needs. Some options include a blogger, a content creator to create and fulfill projects, an SEO specialist to identify opportunities or a creative social media manager.
Master Web Creations offers content development for small businesses and social media management following SEO best practices on WordPress websites.
If you have not reviewed your business plan and the content strategy, do it now, again. Verify your user personas align with your target audience demographics, and that the content types are on point. Review your content gap analysis and make sure your content is customer focused and that it maps to a point in the buying process. Follow your content strategy consistently! Provide genuine, unique and useful content.
Step 3: Content Marketing Tools & Technology
- A content management system (CMS), such as WordPress, removes the cost of an in-house or outsourced engineer for content marketing and website management.
- Analytics measure your content performance against goals. Most people use Google Analytics because it easily integrates with other Google properties, such as AdWords and Google My Business (GMB), though there are other website traffic monitoring services available.
- Project management software, such as Trello and many other options, help organize content, set deadlines and attach files. The following project management SAAS offerings have been reviewed for content marketers (as of 10/2017):
- Trello: free (upgrade with Mailchimp integration for $9.99/mo)
- teamwork.com: $69/mo.
- zoho.com: $25/mo.
- freedcamp.com: free
- avaza.com: $9.95/mo
- producteev.com: free
- kanbanflow.com: $5/user
- meistertask.com: $8.49/user (has limited use free version)
- Design software for presentations, cover photos, social images, infographics. If you don’t have a budget for Adobe Creative Suite, you can try Canva. There are also templates and guides for using PowerPoint to create infographics.
Step 4: Create Content
With multiple types of content assets to create, multiple people may be involved. Your strategy will become more refined as team members work toward a common goal over time.
- Blog posts: writer(s) collaborate with premium asset creators to write blog posts about those assets, and work with the SEO specialist to optimize conversions. Content types include how-to’s, lists, industry change discussion, timely news content related to business themes, infographics and slideshows.
- Premium assets: creators generate long-form content such as research reports, webinars, templates and tools to generate leads and build brand identity.
- Visual content: a designer can create templates for premium assets, but social media managers or bloggers can create complementary visuals such as infographics, slide decks or videos.
Remember to follow best practices: create content that helps solve problems, covers multiple formats and is deployed across multiple channels and devices.
Step 5: Distribute Content
The SEO Specialist should be involved in the content strategy to determine long tail keyword phrases based on domain authority, as well as set up, train or audit CMS end users to follow SEO best practices. Ensure your Google Search Console is configured to monitor your website search status.
Social signals can contribute to your search engine ranking, though it is not as important to Google as other engagement factors. Remember that the small business owner is not only the leader of their own content marketing, but also an influencer in their industry.
Some other content promotion platforms, tools and ideas include Buffer, Workado, CoSchedule (wp plugin), Udemy and Visual.ly
You can also share relevant content from other thought leaders to maintain your social connection.
Your email marketing list is a valuable asset. Remember to always treat your customers with respect towards their privacy. This is your end-of-the-sales-funnel opportunity to nudge them towards their purchase. Offer premium assets and discounts and continually grow your subscriber list.
Here, you can target your customers and draw those leads in by promoting your content with effective landing pages.
Step 6: Measure
The content strategy identified the goal metrics and responses. Report on those metrics monthly; continue doing what works and stop doing things that don’t.
Be consistent and patient – it takes time for you content to gain momentum. Promoting socially, it will have a limited life span on those platforms, but organically, the more you promote your content, earn links and improve engagement, the better the piece will perform.