So you’ve decided your business needs a content marketing program. (And with good reason… Your competitors are pumping out more content than ever.)
Awesomesauce. Content marketing is more cost-effective than traditional marketing, less likely to alienate your potential buyers, and more conducive to building loyal commercial relationships.
But it’s not enough to just decide “Hey, we need some content!” and then immediately start producing or outsourcing it.
If you want your content marketing program to succeed, you need to know what to do — and, more importantly, what not to do.
1. Don’t skip your research
You may have a great idea for a blog post. But before you get started, ask yourself some fundamental questions. Who is your reader? Where are they in the buying process? How do you want them to behave — what do you want them to do after they read your post? What sorts of content has worked in the past with this group?
Research before you write. Otherwise, you’ll be throwing darts in the dark — in a room that may not even have a dartboard.
2. Keep your wallet in your pocket
There are a ton of premium services, workshops, eBooks and coaches, faithful reader, if you want to start a content marketing program. Hell, you could even sign your Q3 profits over to me and have me run things.
But do yourself a favour… Decide what you need before you start throwing money around. Post-scheduling software is a poor investment if you never use it. Don’t buy ten domains if you can only manage three. Likewise, a fancy website design won’t mean squadoosh if it’s not going to support the content you ultimately end up creating.
3. Don’t ditch your editorial calendar
Think content is something you can do here and there when you have time? Then your content marketing program will be constantly starved. Weak and emaciated, even.
At the beginning of each quarter, each month and each week, make a plan for the content that needs to be created and distributed. Know where these pieces fit into your overall campaign, and how you’re going to follow them up. By maintaining an editorial calendar, you’ll avoid an ineffective, scattershot approach.
4. Don’t commit to doing every possible thing you can
Between Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn and the umpteen other social media platforms out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. While you may feel it’s good to get as much exposure as possible, trying to keep up can be exhausting — not to mention, if you’re paying for help, expensive.
Only commit to distributing content on as many platforms as you can handle without neglecting your community or making your account look abandoned.
To take me as an example, LinkedIn is my primary social outpost. Twitter runs a distant second — although I have a lot of guilt about that — and I only just recently launched a Facebook page. As for Who?ogle Plus, don’t get me started. I’m not above telling you I have no idea what to do with it.
Content marketing is smart business, but only when you go about it in a smart way.
By knowing what you want from your content and planning a path to get there, you can ensure that your content marketing program will do what it’s supposed to — increase your revenue and help you grow your business.