Content MarketingContent is the fuel that powers all of your marketing efforts. Without the right fuel, your engine won't run at all.
What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing is an approach to creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain the audience which makes up your customers and potential customers.
More simply, it is the stuff you write and record that gets to the people who are most interested in what you have to offer.
Content is a pretty big “catch-all” that can mean anything. It’s blog posts, website copy, video, audio, printed brochures, flyers, emails, landing pages, ad copy, and any messages that a prospect or customer will see.
Some things like “micro copy” – how you deal with error messages on your website for example are easy to miss, yet really important to a good experience with your brand.
Content Marketing Provides Long Term Gain
It takes on average 6 months for your content marketing efforts to really pay off, but this is a long term investment. You are creating equity in your brand, and providing value which can be repurposed for sales material, offline collateral, and even incorporated into pitches. Content marketing is the voice of your business, so it’s important that you have something to say.
Hubs and Spokes
Content Marketing via a “Hub and Spoke” model, with the website acting as the hub, where substantial content live, and where gated (gated content being content that requires giving information in order to download) and ungated content act as lead magnets for conversions.
The “Spokes” are achieved through social media posts, which all push back to the central hub, with clear calls to action for engagement.
A secondary spoke model through an email list with regular contact points, and which redirects back to the hub for targeted calls to action.
Each one of these strategies helps to drive not only overall leads, but help to self-select the opportunities from average leads as they are be given plenty of chances to “raise their hand”.
Example Content Marketing Plan
- Four content articles monthly, between 600-1000 words with a feature image.
- Content would be based around the subjects that drive the highest conversions – looking at what has driven conversions in the past we can figure this out quickly.
- Accompanying social media posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, and Twitter, all with clear calls to action back to the blog post on the website.
- Monthly email update that has a featured main post, and summaries of the other posts from the month.
- Quarterly download with high quality content which takes a deeper dive (1000-2000 word) in one specific piece of the content calendar.
What it Costs
The content calendar contains the list of content titles, the full content articles, as well as the sharable links and sharable text for all social media posts.
- 2 x 600 word posts = $350
- 2 x 1000 word posts = $650
- 1 x newsletter = $250
- Social Media support for all pieces = $400
- Monthly Total: $1650 (CAD + HST)
- 1 x 2000 word content piece = $850
- 2 x newsletter updates with links to the content piece = $300
- Quarterly Addition: $1150 (CAD + HST)
What you get:
- Content written on requested topics
- Full approval process for each piece
- Unlimited Revisions to content
- A newsletter with a main post CTA, and links to other posts
- Back-end SEO optimization
- Double Proofreading; CMS formatting and publishing
- Image selection and optimization
- PDF formatting for 2000 word content piece
How to Define Your Content Project
1: Define the basics
Your content marketing plan needs to be clear and concise in order to be successful. You need to know who you are writing for, what you are writing for, and why you are creating this specific content.
- Who is your audience? What are their pain points? What keeps them up at night?
- How do you want to write this? Technical, conversational, business professional, formal, informal, or funny?
- What do you like? Are there blogs or videos that you admire? Including those helps to define your voice.
- What kinds of Calls To Action do you want to have on your blog posts? What should someone do next?
- What are your existing metrics? Determining a baseline will help you know whether you are achieving success.
2: Build your plan
- Choose the word length for your posts, vary them up between shorter and longer pieces.
- Create a topic list with 15-20 topics and revisit these monthly. You should look at the calendar to make sure that you’re ahead of writing appropriate content for the time of the year. If your big sales period is in the fall, have content written in the summer to prepare people for the fall sales period. If you have a new product coming out, mark that time and create appropriate teases for the content.
- Build a large backlog with pieces in all five stages of publishing. Ideas, Researching, Writing, Editing and Graphics, Scheduled. The final stage is Published.
- Revisit your content calendar regularly to ensure that you are meeting the needs of your audience.
3: Get to writing
You have defined your audience and what you’ll talk about, you’ve build a list of what you need to write, now it’s the easy part…put fingers to keyboard and get to typing!
4: Post, Review, Repeat
Once you have posted your content, you need to watch what happens with your traffic. Is it generating clicks, is it becoming searched? Take your most popular content and review what worked about it and what didn’t.
Long tail search terms are important as well, you may see an initial “spike of hope”, but what’s just as important is how that content performs over the long term. Is it generating the right audience for you? What can you do to encourage that audience to dive deeper?
Your Business Information
To figure out what kind of content you need written, you need a clear vision about who you are, and how your business wants to present itself.
What vision do you have for your content?
- Topical vs Promotional
- Light-hearted vs Corporate
- Bullet points vs Narrative
- Newsy vs Evergreen
- B2B/Niche vs General Audience
- Primary Industry
- Secondary Industries
What kind of audience are you speaking to? Are you speaking to older, traditional business people or young? Tech-savvy moms?
Voice and Personality
Who’s the “author” or “voice” for your content? Should it be written in the voice of the CEO/owner? A helpful customer service person?
Find a link to a piece of content you think is outstanding. This could be from your own business, a competitor, or an unrelated industry. Why do you think is great? How should writers apply to this to what they’re writing for you?
General business information
Communicate anything else our writers need to know when writing for your business or client. Anything specific to a single piece of content should be put in your topic description, so use this section for universal truths.
Generating ideas is the hardest part of coming up with content, but we find a quick brainstorming session will help you to come up with more ideas than you could write in a lifetime. Looking at your previous statistics will also show you good things that you can create.
Here are some quick examples using Content Marketing and Business Owners as our subject and audience
- 11 Great content marketing tips for business owners
- What are 3 advanced content marketing tips business owners need to know?
- What are 5 content marketing tips an experienced business owner can use immediately?
- The #1 time-saving tip for content marketing business owners can use immediately?
- The most common content marketing problems business owners face
- 5 credibility issues business owner will face with content marketing
- What’s the #1 content marketing TIME WASTER business owners need to avoid?
- What’s the #1 DANGER sign that business owner are doing content marketing wrong?
- 3 Questions every business owner should ask about content marketing
- What is the #1 content marketing question you wish you could have asked someone when you started?
- 3 mistakes business owners make with content marketing
- What is the biggest content marketing mistake you ever made and what can business owners learn from it?
- What are 2 content marketing trends you see coming in the near future?
Onsite content is the content that is shown on your website. This is in the form of pages, blog posts, and landing pages.
Tone. Brand, voice, and style guidelines need to be established and enforced. Our recommendation is that the brand should always highlight benefits over features. The tone we portray should always reflect your key brand traits.
Imagery. As part of the brand guidelines, we should come up with a cohesive story that we want our images to tell as well as image treatments so that when you look at an image it delivers the “Doholis-Lambert” look and feel. An example of a brand that does this really well is Skype, who uses close cropped images of people’s faces to deliver their one-to-one brand.
Error messages. Error pages like the 404 “page not found” page, provide opportunity to deliver “delight”, by doing something unexpected. We can also make this page useful so that it provides some essential navigation.
Contact page. The current contact page can be improved with a clear call to action to book an introductory meeting.
FAQs. Start to develop a list of “frequently asked questions”, these often serve as good jump on points for new users to see what questions others have asked. The SEO on a FAQ page is very high as we can have specific keywords inside it.
Blog or Updates areas. We will need to create a blog section to keep content created in our content marketing strategy. We’ll also add a “Resources” section, which we will use to keep white papers and other marketing collateral.
More clear calls to action. On-Site links will help to surface content, adding between 2-3 links on key pages like “About Us” will create cross traffic between pages. Creating more clear calls to action like “Schedule an Introductory Call” creates actionable calls to action that users can engage with.
Lead warming opportunities. For people earlier in the sales cycle, clear calls to action to join the mailing list, social media groups and get more information will help us to put people into drip campaigns.
Video. Video is one of the most compelling mediums on the internet, we can set up webinars and some concise content that will help establish you as leaders.
Each blog post will be approximately 500-1000 words. A blog post will have branded imagery associated with it. A post should start with a summary, will have a 3-5 paragraph body, and end with an actionable insight where possible.
Your blog posts should be attributed to the writer of the post, and should include a byline of the author including their picture, biography, and any appropriate social links.
The blog uses the same tone of voice and persona that you use for the rest of our digital content. All blog posts should reflect the key brand traits of your brand.
Blog posts should be published on a consistent schedule – at the same time on the same day every week, we recommend having several blog posts in the queue to reduce delays.
Drip campaigns. We nurture visitors who are new to our sales funnel by setting up a series of educational drip campaigns. These are a series of stories about the benefits of your product or service, and the benefits of your specific solution. These stories focus on the key messaging that we want to communicate to early stage funnel prospects.
Content Marketing. Showcasing the content that we create, and encouraging return visits to the website will continue to nurture relationships with your mailing list. This not only allows us you showcase our expertise, but also lets us build a deeper connection with the members of your mailing list.
New Feature Marketing Campaigns. As you continue to revise your product or service, you can let your mailing list know about any new developments, and how the product or service is evolving.
Off Site Content
Making sure that everything matches up is one of the biggest challenges, and often falls to the governance team to make sure that it’s all unified. Some examples of off-site content that you need to keep in mind include:
Sales Materials. Ensure that you align any off site sales materials with the voice, brand, and tone that we have developed through the content and branding strategies will ensure that we have a cohesive overall presentation.
Videos. While formal videos can be expensive, time consuming, and difficult to create, informal “Webcam style” Q&A sessions are seen as highly engaging to some individuals.
Driving to a “video webinar” lets you engage visitors in a different way, and can be done with no cost. Using your other marketing channels to drive viewers to the Q&A will increase your audience, and you can use this time to make a clear and concise call to action.
You need to ensure you have a good framework around which you can measure any content which you put on the site. The idea behind governance is to ensure that you are constantly speaking with the correct tone, voice, and getting your core values across.
By having clear guidelines, multiple people can write for the blog and still ensure a consistent tone and that your messaging stays “on brand”.
Brand guidelines. A brand guideline tells not only what font we use, proper usage of the your Logo, but also how to treat images, and what appropriate sizes and resolutions are for any assets you include in content.
This document should start small, and be a living document that you will continue to build on over time. Assign one person to act as the owner of the brand guidelines, and any additions to the brand guideline will need to be formalized by them.
Style and voice guide. You will want to ensure that the style and voice play pivotal roles in reinforcing the key brand attributes.
A voice takes time to establish, and like the brand guidelines, the Style and Voice guide will be a living document which will be used as a baseline to ensure consistent communication.
As a starting point, we suggest that we begin with the Associated Press Style Guide, as it covers grammatical rules and serves as a good jumping off point. You will want to establish guidelines on how to use jargon, acronyms, or other wellness specific points.
Writing for the web. As part of your tone guidelines, it’s important that content is easy to read online. You will want to employ tactics like making content easily scannable, proper use of paragraphs, bullets, illustrations and quotes.
SEO Considerations. Part of governance is ensuring that content is easily searchable. Ensuring that metadata, categories, tags, and keywords are well used will help to surface our content in search engines.
Editorial calendar. You should start prioritizing content tasks immediately, and building a backlog to get into a regular publishing schedule.
Content will fail without proper promotion, choosing the right channels, and right time to promote content is the difference between success and failure.
Internal Email Marketing List. The primary way that you should promote your content is through targeted emails delivered to your own cultivated email mailing list. A large percentage of your marketing efforts on site will be getting people to join this email list where you can send them highly targeted emails, as well as your content marketing emails.
Social Media. This can be a major target for you to create a community around. Specifically your LinkedIN group can be used to generate conversations with others, and you may want to create daily content for LinkedIN, as well as weekly promotional updates of your blog content This can be scheduled in an automatic manner so that it will not get missed, and you should leverage best practices around posting time to ensure we get good traction. Social will also give you a lift from the inbound relevancy of the inbound links as they are generated.
PR. With an excellent foothold in the local community, putting out targeted press releases around specific achievements will be effective in getting attention in your surrounding area. Reaching out to local news organizations, as well as local magazines and other publications will get you good press release opportunities. PR is also important for building inbound links to the website.
Outreach. Reaching out to influencers (business leaders, current clients, and future prospects) with good, curated content will generate more inbound links, and increase the reputation score of your website, which will in turn increase the page rank of the website.
Syndication. You should look at taking more popular posts and re-posting them on highly trafficked websites like The Huffington Post, Medium, and other high traffic, relevant sites to generate high quality backlinks.
Paid Social. From time to time if you have important messaging, you may want to look at boosting the social reach of a post. This isn’t a regular tactic you should take, but for timely content, it might get us more eyeballs.
Paid Search Engine Marketing. SEM can be effective on some static on-site content to generate leads. Take this on a case-by-case basis, but it shouldn’t be part of your long term strategy for traffic generation on blog posts.
Review, Revise, Repeat
Once you have a decent cadence going with monthly updates, cross posted to social media, and a steadily growing newsletter you will want to review your statistics every month and draw conclusions to what content creates more interest, and what content does not perform as well over time.
Stats are tricky though, you may see a spike of traffic from one piece, yet find another piece has generated comparable interest over a longer period of time. Make sure you understand which traffic is converting, and what keywords are beginning to take over for you.
As you see what works and what doesn’t adjust your content strategy to reflect what you’ve learned, do more of it, and watch the magic happen!
Read all of our posts about Content Marketing
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