In our last content marketing post, we started with a definition of content marketing and then talked quite broadly about why it works for businesses.
In this second post, we’ll give you some steps to get get started.
If you take time to work through these steps, you will set yourself up for longer term success with content marketing.
1. Describe your audience – write it down
Think about your specific audience. Remember the Content Marketing Institute’s quote? To write helpful, useful, even entertaining content, you have to know your audience. If you have more than one audience, segment them. Describe them using some of these demographics.
- Interests: What are some of their main focuses?
- Where do you find them? Where are they on the web?
- What problems do they have? For example, if you’re a mortgage broker your clients might have problems like a lack of cash, lack of time, little or no family support, lack of credit history
2. Define your content marketing goals
What do you want to accomplish with content marketing? What are your goals? Often in content marketing businesses will
- Generate more leads
- Build their reputation/authority
- Keep or nurture existing customers
- Attract new customers
3. Consider your branding as you share or create content
Before you begin to be active online, think about your branding: your personal image online.
What do you want people to remember about you? However you want to be remembered needs to be reflected in your shared and created content. Your online brand therefore is:
Your content platform’s output of original posts, curated content, graphics, tweets and comments all flow together into what the public sees and judges you on.
Peg Fitzpatrick – The Art of Social Media
4. Determine your content focus
Peg Fitzpatrick recommends staying with 3 areas of expertise – she calls them ‘brand seeds.’ Name yours and stick with those content areas at first to keep your writing focused, build your library of posts and your authority in specific content areas.
5. Set up a content schedule
Determine how often you will blog, post to social media or create a newsletter
Use an editorial calendar. There are editorial calendar plugins for WordPress or you can get some downloadable editorial calendars from HubSpot. There just isn’t enough space here to discuss calendars. That’s another post. But make sure you investigate them.
6. Spend time daydreaming and brainstorming content
And dismiss the thought that you are wasting time.
Make space for daydreaming. Create brainstorming-dedicated time. Turn all distractions off. Now imagine yourself in your customers’ shoes. Ask yourself some of these questions. Linger over them and as thoughts come, write them down.
- If I was ________________, what are top three most important problems that I need help with.
- Ask yourself: What is the most helpful advice I can give?
- Do I have an inspiration to share? Even a quote for the day? A success, a failure?
7. Set aside dedicated writing time
Separate brainstorming from writing. Don’t complete these tasks together
You are doing yourself a huge favour by brainstorming and writing separately. The task of creating content can become overwhelming if you insist on coming up with content ideas and then writing the post.
- In the same way that you brainstorm and write separately, you should also write and edit at separate times. The next day is for the polish. In this way you are breaking content creation into manageable tasks that don’t overwhelm you.
- Finally, one last piece of advice, carry a little notebook with you or start a post in your blog every time you come up with an idea. Some of them will turn into great posts, others will go the way of all flesh.
Do you have additional steps that you could add to this post? We’d love to know some of your tactics for effective content marketing.