There’s a popular saying in the online marketing world:
Content is king.
Personally, I don’t believe that to be true.
A king can be idle. Or a figurehead. Or an ineffective force in an otherwise well-enough nation.
In my experience with content marketing, a more accurate description is:
Content is currency.
Currency can be traded. Can be coveted. Can be stolen. Can lose value. Can gain value.
The market can be flooded with currency. And currency can be scarce.
Content as currency is a measure of exchange in this digital world and the value of it means different things to different people.
The value means infinitely more to the right people than it does to people who aren’t in your particular tribe. People who don’t need what you have to offer.
If you’re looking to create a content marketing strategy, here are a few basics I’ve learned for you to consider before you start. I’ve also included below how I would approach the basics of creating a profitable content marketing strategy.
Why Use Content Marketing for Your Business?
First off, I think it’s important to clarify one thing. Content can be extremely subjective, but for the sake of this article we’ll clarify that it is: written information that is shared online.
That said, content marketing is good for two reasons:
1. Content marketing optimizes your site for search engines. Well-done content features topics and keywords that tell search engines what your site is about, so that people searching for what you have to offer can find you online. You build it and they will come, folks!
2. Content marketing also optimizes your brand for actual readers. It’s not just search engines “reading” your site — there are real people out there who will come to know your brand based on the content you put out. Just like how keywords optimize your site for search engines, well-crafted content optimizes your brand in the minds of consumers. It’s their hearts and minds you want to ensnare with your content.
How To Use Content Marketing for Your Business
A lot of people think content marketing is a complex thing — and it can be — but the basics are extremely simple and most likely things you’re already doing. The rules of content marketing:
Be of value and measure your results.
Simple and easy, but there can be a lot of additional pieces to this.
How Can You Be of Value?
You could start by figuring out what content your audience needs. Some people might publish surveys or polls to get feedback, but I say start with your product. What are you selling? What makes your product more badass than others. Your product is the seed of your business and your content should grow out of that. Meaning, it should always link back to your product — not in a sleazy way, but in a way that makes sense and, again, provides value.
But being of value also means communicating with your audience in a way that is easy for them to understand — which could take into account the mediums you use to share your content, down to the vocabulary and writing style you use.
This is a bit deeper into the strategic side of your content marketing, but it’s very important to think about this in the initial planning stages of your content.
How Do You Measure Your Results?
This could be qualitative or quantitative results — quality vs numbers — which means there are many, many options for measuring your results.
For measuring results qualitatively: you could consider using surveying programs like Survey Monkey, Qualtrics or Qualroo. The key is to get specific feedback from your audience that you can then act on.
For measuring quantitative results — things like website traffic, demand generation and goal conversion — consider using a program like Google Analytics.
When thinking about how you want to measure your results, the solutions you use to measure your results depend greatly on your business type, goals, audience and also the tools you use to disseminate your content.
How To Create A Content Marketing Strategy
Once you’ve taken the basics into account, you can start developing your content marketing strategy.
Here are the steps I would take.
1. Think Like a Publisher
2. Support Your Other Efforts
3. Extend Your Reach
4. Enlist Your Minions
5. Measure Your Results
What exactly does each of these mean?
Think Like a Publisher
Thinking like a publisher means looking at content as a product.
When you think about content as a product, you give it the same level of importance as your other products. You think things like:
-How can my audience use this information?
-How does this serve my audience?
-What problems does this solve for them?
Your content is infused with value for your readers without even trying.
Thinking like a publisher means you start to operate like someone reporting the news, in that you position yourself as an expert in your field. You come up with the things people should know and you share them in a way that is easy to consume. You become the go-to authority in your field.
How could being seen as an authority in your niche help your brand and your sales?
Also, thinking like a publisher means you start figuring out ways to better communicate with your audience — and clear communication is everything in marketing.
A few other things to note about thinking like a publisher:
- Editorial calendars — publishers keep editorial calendars to track content production and release.
- Relationships with other brands – publishers are basically content experts in a particular niche, so they are often sought after by companies that want to reach their audiences. How could you leverage this authority to create additional revenue-generating opportunities for your business?
- Content as product — some of that content is given away for free, while other content comes at a premium. What could this mean for your business?
Support Your Other Efforts
It’s advantageous for you to align your content marketing with your other efforts.
For example, if you’re a fiction author and you have a new Harry Potter-esque book coming out in two months, why not have every blog post you write for the next two months link back to that book somehow?
-How I create fantastic animals from scratch
-How I come up with unique character names
-How to keep track of an epic story line + excerpt from my new book
-Crafting redeemable villains + sneaky double-crossers
You’re still providing value, but you’re doing it in a way that always relates back to your bottom line, because that’s most important, right? Dah moolah.
Extend Your Reach
Figure out multiple ways to leverage the same content.
For example, if you’re a wellness guru and you just posted a killer blog post about the five keys to successful meditation, don’t just put that on your blog.
Find ways to share the content on all different platforms, and I don’t mean share as in disseminate links to your blog on different platforms.
I mean, take that content and break it into valuable pieces that are appropriate for the platforms people want to consume it on.
The same blog post can be turned into an infographic for Pinterest, a meme for Twitter, an email newsletter, a video for YouTube and a podcast.
Because different people consume information in different ways, you’ll be extending your reach by giving new people on different platforms access to your information and brand.
Now, obviously, time, technology and branding may be an issue with this. Repurposing content for different mediums may not work for you — it doesn’t always work for me — but it’s something to consider.
The point is to think outside your blog pages with your content.
Enlist Your Minions
Your direct access to people online is finite, but if you can enlist a community to start talking about your content online, you’ll have an infinite army.
Sometimes this can be as easy as asking your social media followers to share your content and it can be as complex as developing an affiliate program.
Remember, people are less likely to trust content that ONLY comes from a company.
Why? — Because in the “social” world, people automatically think:
Lack of social proof = lack of quality.
The online community wants to know that you have some street cred. That you’ve been tried and tested and that other folks like themselves are picking up what you’re putting down.
Measure Your Results
This deserves mentioning again, because it’s so essential.
Please, please, please measure your results. It’s a must.
You’ll never know what’s actually working until you start measuring and comparing campaigns.
In summary, when developing a content marketing strategy, ask yourself:
1. What information would be useful for my audience to know?
2. How does/can this content relate back to a sale, promotion or campaign I’m currently running or working on?
3. How can I make this content easy-to-digest on multiple platforms?
4. Who can I share this with? What advocates would want to share this information with their networks?
5. What results do I want from this and how can I measure those results?
And voila! Now go out there and rock the content marketing world!
See you on the interwebs!