Step-by-Step Guide to Content Marketing
What do this campaign and this article have in common? They’re both examples of great content marketing, a strategy that has gotten a lot of buzz in the marketing world over the past few years. So…what exactly is content marketing? Let’s dive in.
First things first:
What is content marketing?
Instead of the traditional “sell-sell-sell” marketing model, content marketing positions companies as industry experts who guide and educate potential customers, offering helpful and relevant information that they are already searching for (and typing into Google). Content marketing is a longer-term strategy, but the payoff is huge because it works by building trust, authentic relationships and rapport with your potential clients.
For example, if someone wants to build a pool in their backyard, chances are high that they’re going to peruse to internet for information, guides, reviews, experiences, etc. related to getting a pool in their backyard. So, if your pool company has content on your website that provides useful, relevant information about building a backyard pool, they will find it. And they will reward you for making their lives easier: your company will be a natural first thought when they decide to purchase the pool because you have set yourself up as an expert in their minds.
Sounds great, right? Now you’re probably wondering…how do I do this for my business?
Here’s a step-by-step guide to establishing your own content marketing strategy and creating the right content to support it:
Step 1: Update your current content
Start with content you’ve already created (no need to reinvent the wheel, right?). For example, maybe you’ve sporadically written blog posts over the past few years that still contain relevant information or maybe you recorded a few videos that could be updated with text and animation. Comb through any past content and update it to make sure it’s relevant, easy-to-read and easily found on your website.
Step 2: Brainstorm new content
Next, gather relevant members of your team to brainstorm fresh content. Content can take many forms – we’ve listed examples of a few of them below. While brainstorming, think about topics and resources that would be relevant and useful to both current and potential customers. A good place to start is by asking the question: “What questions do we often get from potential customers or new customers?” Then, create content that answers those questions.
- Case Studies
- Blog Posts
- Social media posts
- Featured Pages
- Surveys (and results)
Step 3: Develop a content calendar
Once you’ve got a long list of content ideas, select and prioritize them for each quarter of the year, and create a calendar to map out when to publish each piece of content and how to promote it. From that calendar, work backward to determine the timeline and ownership for creating and revising the content. The key here is quality over quantity – well-researched and well-executed content that is created with a specific purpose and target audience in mind will always perform better than content that is created just for the sake of creating content. (AKA more is not always better). Be realistic about what your team can accomplish and consider what types of content fit best with your brand.
Good news — we’ve created a template calendar for you! download & get started
Tips for using it: We built this calendar example in Excel, but we recommend copying and pasting it into Google Sheets or saving it in a DropBox folder where your team can easily access it from anywhere. You can copy this blank tab for each month of the year and fill it with all your glorious branded content!
Step 4: Create the content
Now for the fun part! Assign content creators based on your team’s strengths. For example, assign blog posts to the best writers on your team and social media posts to the best designers and photographers. For more robust pieces of content that might extend beyond your team’s skill-level, hire an outside partner (like us!) to help write, film, photograph or design your content.
Three key things to remember:
- make sure your content speaks to your target audience
- provide quality information (no junk!)
- spend time editing, getting feedback and PROOFREADING
Step 5: Promote the content
Content marketing doesn’t end after you hit “publish.” After putting all of that work into creating something great, you want to make sure you get your content in front of the right audiences through the right channels. For robust content, such as a whitepaper, guide or long video, you want to make sure that your promotion strategy matches the amount of time and resources you put into creating the content.
Here are a few examples of promotional methods that you can use to get the word out about your content and drive people to your website to learn more.
- Vimeo or YouTube
- Link development
- Internal staff promotion
- PPC on search engines
- Paid ads on social media platforms
- Traditional media
- Native advertising
- Influencer marketing
- Press releases
(Psssst…read more about our how to craft a winning social media strategy here.)
And there you have it – our five-step guide to putting content marketing to work for your company.
Want help putting this into practice? Give us a shout!