Guest Post by Charlotte Rivington
Need to be ‘doing’ content marketing, but don’t know where to start? Here’s our guide to building your first effective content marketing strategy
1. Know who you’re talking to
One of the biggest differences between on- and offline readers is that online, people are task-focused: they’re trying to solve a problem, get something done or answer a question. What are they going to be doing when they come to your site? Before you start planning content, get to know your audience and what they want.
2. Decide what you’re trying to achieve
Are you trying to improve sales? Get more sign-ups? Or are you looking to be a thought leader in your field? Set your own objectives. Not only will this help you generate content ideas, it’ll also give you something to measure your success by.
3. Pick your specialist subject
Especially the case for B2B marketers, understanding the niche expertise you have and developing a way to share that expertise is an essential step for your content marketing. Ask yourself: what do you know more about than anyone else? Then write about that.
4. Channel hop
Once you know who you’re talking to, what you’re talking about and why, choose your platforms. Are you going to be putting content up on your site? Will you be running a blog? Can you guest-post elsewhere? Do you have a social networking strategy you can capitalise on? Make sure you understand the channels your audience prefer, and use the COPE principle: create once, publish everywhere.
5. Bring your own discipline
Traditional publishing houses have a strict hierarchy to make sure quality content gets produced on time and to its brief. Learn from them: plan your content in advance. Keep an editorial calendar. Set deadlines and meet them. And do everything you can to make sure quality is high – proofread, fact-check and stay up to date.
6. Make things easy
Pick formats of content you can repeat on your website over and over. Things like top tips, buyers’ guides and case studies can follow a pattern every time, making it easier for your users to scan-read and making it easier for you to produce. And remember that content often begets content – planning a competition? Run a blog post announcing it, use the results as research findings and create a press release, create a follow-up interview with the winner…
7. Be realistic about your resources
Content production doesn’t just happen. It takes time to do it at all, and tremendous skill, expertise and more time to do it right. If you haven’t got the resources to do this in-house, you need to allocate your budget and outsource the work to a content marketing agency.
Author: Charlotte Rivington is a freelance writer on social media and marketing, actively blogging covering everything from marketing tips and intriguing fresh new content. When she is free she loves to travel whilst she writes.