Seductive thought isn’t it? Knock out a few blog posts, tweet a couple of times a day, garner as many LinkedIn connections as possible and, before you know it, you’re inundated with people wanting your services. Hopefully your approach to content marketing is a little more structured than this, otherwise your efforts really will be a waste of time.
Email was supposed to save us hours every week – before it became a monster that consumed vast chunks of our working, and personal, time. Social media could turn out to be even worse, which means that content marketing without planning, structure and great content could turn into the biggest waste of time ever.
Just be be clear, I love content marketing. It really does have the potential to transform the way you promote your business and build sustainable relationships with customers. The critical thing is not just to do it, but to do it well.
Now some good news
The good news for SMEs is that effective content marketing is achievable and doesn’t need a ‘big agency’ approach or budget.
Fundamentally you need the following:
- A strong set of brand values.
- An understanding of your customers’ needs, challenges and interests
- Knowledge of the channels and social media tools that your customers prefer
- The ability to produce interesting and useful content
- Somewhere to store your content and methods to get it to the right people
I put the bit about content in bold for a reason. The quality of the content is the cornerstone of everything that you do. Arguably, it is also the most challenging bit to get right and might be the area to focus your budget on.
Your Content Marketing Plan
The main elements of your plan will be the following:
Why do you customers buy from you? This is not always as obvious as you think. Sometimes customers’ purchasing motivations are quite different to what sellers imagine they are. Make sure the intelligence from sales staff and existing customers is fed into your content so that you are addressing the issues that make the most impact.
How will potential customers find it easiest to access your content? Are they on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, or do they prefer other tools? Will you need to email or post information directly? Probably you will need a mix of channels. You also need to think carefully about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to make sure potential customers can find you.
2. Media Selection
The media you use will be determined by what you need to say and how customers prefer to receive the information. You might need a brochure website (your existing one might not be appropriate), you will almost certainly need a blog. For some businesses or subjects videos and animations will be effective, for others it will be written content.
3. Establishing an on-line presence
Social media tools offer massive opportunities for organisations wishing to reach a wider audience and reinforce other relationship building activities such as networking. Your plan needs to be clear about the tools you will use and who in your organisation will be responsible for maintaining your presence on different platforms. Make it a priority to make it easy for people to share your content by including social sharing buttons.
The most important part. As more companies adopt a content marketing approach, it is the quality of the content that will determine who is successful. Content needs to be frequent, relevant and well produced. Excellent copywriting is critical. Have a look at my copywriting services if this is the area where you need most help. Effective copywriting is not necessarily about perfect grammar – it is about communicating a clear and relevant message.
5. Measurement and Feedback
Like any other effective marketing programme you need to measure what works best, experiment with different messages and continuously refine your approach to get the best possible return from your effort and budget. Your plan needs to include the use of on-line and off-line analysis. You might consider using specialist content marketing tools if you are managing a lot of content and a lot of channels.
Time is a vital commodity in any business. For smaller businesses it is probably the most critical commodity of all. If you’d like an informal discussion to see how I can help you use time efficiently and deliver results through a structured approach to content marketing, get in touch using the contact tab on this page.
More information from RSH Copywriting you might find helpful: