As social media grows, the use of content marketing both as a social selling tool and as an audience engagement tool to acquire and retain customers has now taken centre stage within the marketing strategy. The great news is apart from time to preparing the content, content marketing is mostly free but there are some lessons to be heeded. Free publishing platforms like WordPress or Medium, and free content and link promotion on Scoop.it, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook amongst others make content marketing a go to tactic for any business.
Also listed below is some helpful resource lists covering “content marketing guide” “content marketing tips” “content marketing promotion” and “content marketing publishing platforms”.
Content Marketing is not Blogging
To ensure content market delivers, a business has to start out with the end in mind, what keywords are you targeting, is your content for industry education or brand promotion. Content articles need to be one thousand plus words and the content needs to be relevant and well written.
The use of content Marketing requires creating and sharing meaningful content (white papers, market research, industry insights, market articles) to attract and convert traffic into prospects, prospects into customers, and customers into repeat purchasers. The content a business needs to share should be closely related to what it sells; or more pointedly, words that will educate an audience, market segment or industry so they get to know, like, and be influenced enough to do business with your company.
Content marketing is not a one off event, it is an ongoing marketing and sales process that is scheduled, resourced and integrated into the company’s marketing strategy. A company’s content marketing goals should be to own the media space coverage for the topics selected or target keywords chosen.
A critical point to note is that content marketing is the art of reaching out to communicate with your customers and prospects without the heavy sales pitch. This has become known as non-interruption marketing. Instead of pushing out products or services sales messaging, using social selling techniques the business delivers information that makes the buyer more informed. The underpinning fundamentals of a content marketing strategy is that if a business delivers relevant, timely, valuable information to prospects and customers, they will ultimately reward the business with purchases and loyalty.
Content Marketing “Creating a Deep Connection with Prospects and Customers”
Effective content Marketing is not possible without well thought out and well written content. Quality content is important as it links and impacts nearly all aspects of the marketing strategy.
- Content marketing strategy powers social media exposure.
- SEO: Quality content with relevant keywords will impact on SEO and SERP.
- PR: Content marketing drives successful PR as it shows readers the business cares about them not just their business self-interest.
- SEM: For paid advertising to work, great content will deliver more traffic/leads.
- Inbound marketing: Content is key to driving inbound traffic, sign-ups and leads.
Content marketing is about telling a different story; breaking through the clutter, winning more customers by marketing more intelligently.
The days when a business bombarded a prospect will sales calls and interrupted potential customers with mediocre content (brochures) that customers do not care about are over. Intelligent marketing uses content marketing to draw prospects and customers towards the business by creating information and content they actually find engaging and useful.
Content Marketing Guide
1. Choosing Content Topics
Start by selecting what industry, keywords, target audience and information you believe they would be interested in. Write about topics the business is knowledgeable on and has expertise in. A company selling interior design could write a fun article about “interior design from the 70’s you want to avoid”. It is not a sales pitch or net, content topics are fishing lines that attract people towards the brand. Engage the customer, give before you ask.
2. Planning the Articles
This takes time and patience. Writing quality content of 1000 plus words could take 1 or 2 days. Over time, experience will shorten the thinking time but planning and writing takes time. Planning out your content topics a month in advance can make the writing easier and the final content of higher quality. Before writing anything, devote time to keyword selection, topic title, brainstorming the content messaging, finding sources for images and sound bites. So when the actually writing process starts is should be about crafting words.
3. Write Quality Content
Once the target audience, topic title and keywords have been decided upon, the process of crafting the words into an article can begin. Plan out how many quotes, sound bites you want to include. Always think quality, quality means grammar, sentence structure but more importantly is research based information like the information below on social media.
To put the potential impact of social media into perspective, here is some insightful statistics’ on buyer decisions.
“57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier.”
“67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally.”
4. Build SEO into content marketing
When writing articles (title and first paragraph) think SEO. Google and SERP now rewards higher word count articles and article topics that match the content along with visually focused (video, images). Think like Google does, does this content do a good job at connecting search users to quality, relevant information. Do a keyword search for the planned article title; strive to make it unique while still using the target keywords, example “Easy Content Marketing Tips”. The core SEO is content marketing but by including tips and easy it broadens the article appeal and reach.
5. Promoting the Content
Before you hit the publish button, check spelling and depending on your content platform make sure to tag it for search terms within the site. Now start promoting the article (posting on to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc.). Use a social bookmarking tool like AddThis to link your article to social bookmarking sites like Tumblr, Digg, Reddit, and Evernote. This takes time, do not publish and promote the published articles the same time every day or week. Publish the article, and then maybe give it a day or two before linking and promoting it.
6. Pause, Rest, Repeat
The old 80/20 rules applies to content marketing, it is 20 percent inspiration and 80 percentage work (research, thinking, planning and doing). There is no magic wand or short cuts, DO NOT outsource your content creation except to a trusted party who understands your business and marketing strategy. Do not copy and paste existing articles, use them for ideas and suggested wording.
Content marketing tips.
1. When posting a link on Twitter and Facebook also include an image
2. Share articles more than once over 2 or 3 weeks but change image/wording (not the article itself)
3. Try different times when posting on social networks
4. Adjust the content (posting title or wording) to suit the audience
5. Post the article links to multiple social bookmarks
Content Marketing – Promoting your articles and links.
This is a list (not exhaustive) of where to post the article links. Using a social bookmarking tool like AddThis is free and will speed up the process. I find doing it from Firefox is quicker. Also try not to be logged into Google when posting.
LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Scoop.it, Nowvia, Evernote, Storify, Paper.li, Reddit, Stumbleupon, Silk.co, Soup.io, App.net, Pearltrees, We heart it, Buffer, Quora, Klout, Google+, Digg, Bizsugar,Disqus, Tumblr, Pinterest, Plurk, Diigo, List.ly, Shareslide, Visual.ly, Bundlr, Soundcloud, Crunchbase, Sproutr.co, selfgrowth.com, prunderground (for PR and SEO), bitly, Owler, Imgur, LiveJournal.
Content marketing publishing platforms.
Some companies choose to have more than one content marketing platform. Most will use WordPress built into the site and also use a platform like Medium for other articles.
WordPress – Blogger – Medium – Glipho – LinkedIn Pulse – Lifehack – About.me – Google Groups – Typepad – Svbtle – Buzzfeed.