I make no secret of the fact that I LOVE creating content. Honestly, I could quite happily spend all of my time creating content for my business and for clients, but I completely understand that not everyone feels the same.
Usually when I bring up the concept of creating content, people typically respond with things like
“I just don’t have time for that”
“I post but nothing happens”
Or the most common response …
“I don’t know where to start”
If you feel the same then don’t despair! I’ve written this blog just for you. Now let’s get started.
So what actually is content marketing and why is it so important?
This is probably where we should begin as I don’t think you can really get started with your content marketing until you fully understand exactly what it is and how it can benefit your audiences and your business.
Content marketing can be described in one word – education. It’s when a business, like yours, creates and shares online material that demonstrates your knowledge and expertise in your field. This is done in a way that solves a problem for your stakeholders.
Think about it this way. If you’re struggling to put up a shelf and you want to learn how, what do you do? You ask Google for help. All of the content that comes back in the search – the ‘how to’ articles, YouTube tutorials and visual guides will help you put the shelf up (well hopefully it will!). That is content marketing.
Imagine that you have recurring issues that you need help with and there’s a business out there that creates online content to help you solve them. You consume this content regularly and learn how to overcome the issues.
Would you eventually buy from this business? I know I would. Why? Because the business is consistently sharing valuable, relevant and timely content, specifically for you and those like you. That is content marketing and it’s important because if it’s done right it will result in sales.
Examples of content marketing include:
- Social media posts or stories
- Slide decks
How to cut through the noise and get started.
Getting started with your content marketing is the hardest part of the process. Where should you begin? What type of content should you create – videos, a podcast or maybe a blog? With so many choices available to you when it comes to content marketing, it’s easy to understand why getting started is often the thing that takes the longest and puts people off doing it all together.
If this sounds like you and you’re currently reading this thinking “I need to share content but I don’t know where to start or what do” then here are a few tips to help you.
#1: Do your research
This is so important! You need to understand what content is currently out there for your industry, what types of content your target audiences like to consume, how often they want to hear from you and what issues they have that you can solve.
It will be useful to research your competition – what are they saying? How are people responding to their content? I’m not saying you should do this to copy them in any way, I think you need to know what your competitors are up to so you can be different.
You should also consider content marketing in general and what companies are being really clever with theirs. I’m suggesting you look into this so you can get inspired to create your own. Trust me – this works! Just type “Good examples of Content Marketing” into Google and see what comes back.
Your research should help you get a good picture of what is happening right now so you can understand how you can create good quality content that helps you stand out.
#2: Set your goals
I’m a stickler for setting goals because in my mind, you can’t possibly embark on something or measure it if you don’t know what you actually want to achieve. Consider what it is you want content marketing to do for you. Maybe you want to use it to promote certain products or services, maybe you want to raise awareness of your brand in certain sectors or maybe you want to increase sales by 25%. Whatever your goal, write it down and consider how creating content can help you achieve it.
#3: Brainstorm ideas
This is the creative part of the process where you and your team can:
- Discuss the types of content you’d be comfortable creating that will appeal to your audience.
- Pinpoint the issues people face and how your products and services can ease their pain.
- List ideas of topics you can share.
- Think about how you can drive traffic to your website.
This will help you collate all of your thoughts so you can decide a way forward that will benefit your business.
#4: Have a plan
I know, I know – I always bang on about having a plan and I’m no different when it comes to content marketing. When making your plan, consider:
- Your activity – how often will you publish content? What type of content will you create? Pull together a calendar.
- Sketch out working titles of content from your brainstorming session.
- Any guest appearances where you’d like to be featured on other people’s content.
- Resources – how will you fit this into your existing workload so you can make sure you’re consistent in delivering content on a regular basis.
- What channels you’ll use to promote your content- my advice would be to be active where your audience is, focusing on one platform.
The only thing I would say with making a plan is that because you’re so new to content marketing, you need to create a plan that you can easily change if and when you need to. In other words, be flexible. This is something that leads me onto point 5 quite well …
Now it’s time to get to work! To begin begin creating your content – whatever that may be – this is the time to test the waters by publishing it on your website and promoting it via social media.
My suggestion is that you take the time to draft your content in the right way for you. This will be difficult at first because you’ll need to figure out what process works for you, your style of delivery, your tone of voice and how to engage with your audiences in the right way. Once you work all of this out it will start to flow naturally.
At this stage, many businesses start to feel the pressure and this is usually the point when they decide to give up because of lack of engagement, disinterest or problems with consistency. Please don’t do that. Keep experimenting until you find what works for your audiences.
#6: Focus focus focus
To be successful in content marketing you need to focus on one type of content and one social media channel to help you promote it. If you can’t do that because of you have wide and varied audiences then repurposing is the way forward.
Never heard of repurposing? It’s basically when you look at a piece of content you’ve already published (blog, vlog, podcast, infographic, series of tweets etc) and you re-package it into a new piece of content in a different format.
Repurposing blog content allows you to:
- Reach new audiences
- Drive more traffic to your website
- Encourage online engagement through different channels
- Drive sales through content
It’s a great way to recycle your good quality content into a different format and will limit your stress levels trying to think about what you’re going to create next!
For me, I focus on blogging as my priority content then then I repurpose it for other channels.
#7: Make content marketing a non-negotiable
Tuesday is my content day. That’s my time to plan, draft and publish content, create my PR burst email for subscribers and design social media graphics for my channels. It is non-non-negotiable. That has to be done on a Tuesday without fail. This consistency and routine helps me deliver content on a weekly basis, build credibility in my brand and has increased my sales.
If you prioritise your content into your workload like this then you’ll get into a routine that will help you do the same.
I’ve been told a number of times by businesses that they’re creating content because “they were told they should” – there’s no research, no goals, no plan and no focus. Don’t get me wrong, the people telling them they should be creating content are right, but because they’re not getting started in the right way, they’re really struggling to get any traction with content and cut through the noise online.
You don’t just need to create content because I’m telling you to, you need to create the right type of content for your business because it’s the right thing to do for your stakeholders. Ask them what they want from you, listen to their answers and start from there. That’s how you’ll succeed in content marketing.
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Do you need help creating content? Get in touch with me. Call 0191 236 1010, 07941694702 or email firstname.lastname@example.org