A comprehensive marketing strategy is super important for any business.
- You need to attract new prospects by performing well in online search
- You need to communicate what you do both online and offline
- You need to promote yourself on social channels
- You need to run digital ads to reach new people
Why Does Content Matter Really?
Content is how you communicate with your audience, tell your story. It’s also how you build a connection and grow the relationship so they will start to know like and trust you. This will give you an advantage over your competitors and make you stand out. In many cases, it’s not the best companies that get ahead, but rather the companies that do the best job at telling their story. It could be with a very straightforward message or memorable visuals
And guess what- you can’t just throw some words on a page and toss it out there. I mean you can- and many other companies do- but crap content will give you the same kind of results- crap.
And then there’s Google. Yes, you are writing for your audience, but you need to also keep in mind that Google determines if you will appear when people search your relevant keywords. How does Google decide? IT’S BASED ON YOUR WEBSITE CONTENT! Not only the copy on your pages but also in your blog posts. So taking the time and money to produce strategic content does more than communicate- it can influence your online visibility.
What Exactly Falls Under “Content”?
Content can mean many things:
- blog copy
- social media posts
- case studies
Content can take many forms, which ones you choose depend on who you’re talking to and what you want to say. You need to make sure you’re choosing the right format for the job. All of these things can communicate your message, just in different ways.
Sometimes you choose the format based on the person or persona you are most likely talking to. For example, some people love to read written articles while other people would rather watch a video. Other times you choose the format because it’s easier to accomplish your goal. For example an infographic with stats instead of a spreadsheet.
The great news is all of these things don’t operate in a bubble. They not only assist each other, but they can also lead your prospect through the buyer’s journey and hopefully resulting in more closed business for you.
Take a Look Around
Let’s think about recent marketing we’ve seen. Can you recall some piece of content you thought was amazing? Maybe it was interesting or unique or helpful or beautiful? When you find something try to understand why it stood out to you.
Was it hard to find something that seemed remarkable? In a sea of so much junk- the quality stuff is few and far between. The good news for you. however, is that also means that the bar is quite low. So if you make an effort and invest in your content, it will pay off.
So Where to Start?
Creating content can be overwhelming. Which type should you start with? How do you know if it’s the right topic? Or format? Or if you’re promoting it on the right channel?
This is why the best first step is to back up and look bigger picture. Don’t just start by posting random things on Instagram. Once you have done all the foundational work it will make the rest of the process much more successful.
What Does the Perfect Content Plan Look Like?
The perfect content plan has two parts- a strategy document and a calendar.
The strategy is where you think through your content from a high level, where you will promote it, what you will offer, and how you look/sound. This is something you do one time and it will be your guide moving forward. You will do research and planning in what others are doing and what your target audience wants and need to hear.
A complete strategy includes:
- audience (personas)
- SEO research
- buyer’s journey
- visual guide
- blog topic list
- organic social channel plan
- paid social plan
The calendar is where you actually plan out pieces of content monthly with topics and channels. You can take your pillar topics and distribute them throughout the month, so then all you have to do is fill in each spot. Plan for the whole month at one time, adding your post copy, links, images, etc. When you are working a month ahead you can be thoughtful about what you are posting- taking your time, and being more creative since you aren’t in a rush.
Scheduling Content is Magic
Now that you have a whole month of well-planned content with great visuals, you need to get it scheduled on your social platforms. Instead of going into each one- it makes more sense to find a tool that can help you do it quicker and easier.
There are many choices at lots of different price ranges. These tools can include features like planning, scheduling, collaborating and reporting. You just need to think about the things that are most important to you and try a few out.
Some good ones to start with are Buffer, Hootsuite, ContentCal, Social Pilot, Content Studio and Sprout Social. Take a test drive on a few of these platforms and you’ll quickly see how they are such a time-saver. You’ll discover pretty quickly what you like. Then you can hook up all of your profiles and get started scheduling things ahead.
Oh My God, What Do I Post?
Now you’ve come to the big step- what on earth to post? Well, you should have an idea from your research earlier about what kind of content is crappy, overdone. Think bigger, further ahead. What types of posts would your target audience find valuable?
Your content bubble has to be bigger than just your brand or your product. Would you go to a party and just talk about you, you, you? Well, you shouldn’t. You should engage in polite conversation that includes a wide variety of topics and keeps your listener’s interests in mind. This is where you think of 5 or 6 general subjects that are related to your brand and use those to create your content around.
Bring It All Together
Now you should be able to fill up your calendar with posts that are based around a strategy, around content that matters to your target audience and is actually helpful and interesting. Then sure, you can absolutely ask for the sale or make an offer from time to time. You will likely be more successful because you’ve done more education and given them more information with which to make a decision.
And if you should need more help- I’d be happy to have a free strategy call with you to talk through some ideas.
Here’s to the end of crappy content!
We love a marketing challenge and are happy to discuss the specifics of your business and weigh in on marketing.