Are you still not convinced that having a clearly defined and executed content marketing strategy is a must in today’s online world? I suggest you think again.
In fact eMarketer recently published a new report that showed the changes content marketing is having online. The report from IMN noted that “the number of US companies with formal content marketing strategies in place jumped from 28% in 2012 to 49% in 2013.” As if these numbers are not enough, another 1/3 reported to be working on a formal content strategy.
Way back in February of 2012, I wrote a piece called “The Second Content Revolution – How Social Media Is Changing Again” where I noted the coming change and requirement that was ahead. The fact that a well thought out content marketing strategy is what enables your online marketing to achieve results, can’t be ignored. It’s no longer a “someday” option that brands large and small contemplate doing, it is a requirement if you intend on competing.
What are SOME components of a formal content marketing strategy every small to medium-sized business (SMB) needs to employ?1) Content Creation (Blog) – For most SMB’s having an active Blog that regularly publishes content relevant to your audience is crucial. This includes consistently writing content designed to deliver value to your target audience, as well as a small percentage of content that highlights what you do. Create a plan that starts with at least 1-3 new blog posts every week. The traffic, SEO and marketable social media content that results will be invaluable to your online efforts.
2) Content Creation (Video) – Nowadays, a smart phone is as common as tennis shoes and most smartphones are capable of pretty good HD video. There is no longer any excuse to not capture video that can provide a ton of value to your audience. Incorporate video similar to your blog within the overall content strategy by publishing 1-3 relevant short videos on topics your brand is an expert. Feel free to have some of those videos also focus on your products and services, but be careful not to overdue the quantity of promotional videos.
3) Content Creation (Graphics/Photos) – There is no other content type in social media that has more legs than graphics/photos. Funny Meme’s, excellent photos and infographics are some of the most viewed, shared and engaging content online. If you know your audience and what they are into, it is not difficult to figure out the types of graphics to create and photos to take that will get them to respond.
Not good with graphics software? Time to either change that, or hire someone to help you. Graphical and photo content is no longer an option, but a requirement in your content strategy. Simply sharing other people’s work won’t build the following and leadership in your market that is needed.
4) Content Curation – Included in any effective SMB formal content strategy must be content curation. This content should by far be the largest percentage of content you are posting within the social media aspect of your strategy. You should be finding and posting relevant, valuable content that your audience will find interesting. Set your focus on delivering selfless value to your audience on the 3-5 topics they are most interested in, and do it often and consistently, every single day.
Mistakes many SMB’s make related to a content strategy:
1) Not understanding the intended audience – Before any formal content strategy is developed, you have to know every detail about your target audience. Miss on this point and all of your content efforts will not resonate and get little results. Know your audience and your content topics will become obvious and easy to determine.
2) Not providing value – Think of your content marketing as providing selfless value to your audience, rather than a marketing message. Failure to hit the value mark is failure to thrive in content marketing.
3) Lack of consistency – Be consistent, every day, every week, every month. In all content channels you are participating in, ensure your content strategy clearly defines frequency and quantity and then stick to it.
4) Lack of management – You must have the proper tools to manage your content. Your content management and social media management tools need to be able to efficiently and effectively enable you to track, schedule and share the content you have available.
Goals For Content Marketing:
You absolutely need to define your goal and objective for the content strategy you are developing. Be realistic, track and measure, then make adjustments as you learn.
Here are some top content marketing goals:
Beyond the massive jump in formal content marketing strategies, brands are changing the focus of their content marketing with lead generation way out in front. What are you doing to develop a formal content marketing strategy and how do you plan to execute it?