Last week we went and bought a whole load of cheeses, olives, snacks, and drinks.
Why? For our Content Marketing Strategy workshop – we know how hard it is to learn new things when you’re hungry!
The workshop was designed to help marketers and business owners develop a Content Marketing Strategy. We went through all the essential steps and components, then had an interactive question and answer session to provide specific, actionable steps for the individuals in attendance.
Here’s some of what we went through.
What is content marketing and why should I care?
Content marketing, (an essential component of inbound marketing) is the process of developing rapport and trust with your target audience by creating and distributing engaging useful content. Through the process, your audience gets to know and trust you, increasing your credibility and bringing in new leads and sales. Content marketing can also be used to nurture prospects, keep existing customers engaged, improve your SEO, and differentiate you from your competitors by positioning you as a subject matter expert.
There’s no one size fits all strategy that will work for every business. After all, strategies help you achieve your goals, and every business has different aims and objectives. The best place to start creating your strategy is by figuring out your desired outcomes.
Define your SMART business goals and objectives.
Ask yourself why you’re doing this and what you hope to get out of it. If you’re not exactly sure what you want, ask yourself what your business needs and in which areas it’s facing challenges.
Once you’ve settled on your business goal, make them SMART.
Be as Specific as possible, why is it important, who’s part of the process, what are your strengths and weaknesses.
Your goal should be Measurable – set criteria for measuring whether you’re making progress or not.
It’s good to go after BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals), but they should also be Attainable – timelines and numbers should be realistic for your team to achieve.
Relevancy is key here, your goal should address the core strategy and initiatives.
And of course, Timely – a well planned timeline for reaching your goal.
Suppose your objective was to increase awareness in the market. Currently your MoM (month on month) organic search traffic is practically zero and you want to increase it. Your SMART goal might be something like “Increase organic search traffic by 60% within the next 6 months.”
Define your Tone of Voice
Tone of Voice (TOV) is what you get when you sit down and decide on how your brand will use language. It includes your choice of words, grammar, jargon, slang, idioms, etc.
It’s more than just what you say though. It’s how you say it and how it makes people feel. It’s the verbal expression of your company’s values.
Having a clearly defined tone of voice document will make the content creation process quicker and easier, especially if you’re outsourcing anything.
Map out your Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are semi fictional avatars that personify your ideal customer. While you might have a pretty good idea of who you’re targeting, writing it down in detail helps you develop a deeper understanding. It also gives you a good guide for creating and distributing your content.
Remember you’re creating your content for them. It has to speak their language and exist on their preferred platforms.
Knowing what your audience wants to know will also help inform your topics – you should create content that both addresses your audience’s wants and needs, helps move you towards achieving your business goals, and aligns with your mission statement. Think about what problems you solve for your clients and which words and phrases they might use when they need services like yours. Use an SEO tool to inform your keyword choices. Regular brainstorming sessions with your team and industry news and reports are also great sources for relevant ideas!
What and Where: Content Types and Distribution Channels
There are so many different types of content, how do you know which one is right for your business? In a study of 431 B2B marketers and 290 B2C marketers, blog and video content are still the most popular types of content.
While most people hear ‘content’ and automatically think ‘blogs’, there are many forms of content you can make, each with their relative pros and cons.
Blogs can target a variety of SEO keywords, reach people who usually reject ads, and are great for brand awareness, storytelling, and authority building. They do however require planning, organisation, and editorial control, and they still have to be promoted.
One of the other challenges of content marketing is deciding where to distribute your content. Even the best content won’t convert if the right people aren’t seeing it. When it comes to distribution, your options are paid, owned, and earned channels.
Paid channels refer to any time your company pays to distribute your content. Owned channels are the owned by your company, and earned channels (previously known as shared channels) are third party shares. Third party shares can include shares from customers, journalists, and bloggers. See the diagram below for some examples of each type.
Over to You
The biggest question after the Content Marketing workshop was “how to get started?”
Once you’ve done your research, figured out who you’re talking to and how to reach them, it’s time to document it all. Plot it out on a calendar then create, create and create with consistency.
To give you a helping hand we created a workbook which takes you through the process step by step. It also includes a handy content template calendar so you can start to map out your 12 month content marketing plan.
Oh wait. It’s already February.
Don’t waste any more time!