We may all know the importance of consistent content marketing, but it’s often difficult finding the time outside of the day-to-day pressures of business to do it properly. It’s also such an expansive topic, which can make it a headache to pinpoint what exactly to do and when – never mind the potential costs involved in creating types of content. Then there are often reservations about ‘putting-us-out-there’ often combined with some trepidation about potential repercussions from content somehow reflecting badly upon the business in the future. Factors like this mean the creation of content often just gets shelved as a ‘to-do’ for later, which is simply not an acceptable state of affairs.
As with most things in life, the only way to get somewhere worthwhile is to make a start – and the best beginning for your business’ content marketing is to look for inspiration, make a plan and create the first piece of content. Who knows where it will lead to once you get going and the creative juices begin to flow. The content creation journey will often end up in places far removed from where you started, which is exactly how it should be, as you discover what works and doesn’t work for your business and your target audience. Finding your sweet-spots in terms of content is a process and truly effective creativity shouldn’t be expected to come easy – but the quicker you start, the faster you’ll get there.
It may seem a bit of a cheat, but I often recommend a good way to escape a content mental block is to spend a little time researching what competitors are doing. Everyone has other businesses and leaders they look up to and wish to emulate in some way or another, so it makes sense to draw inspiration from them. Creative benchmarking like this is simple to do – it’s generally just a case of searching for recent online activity using Google, browsing social media channels and having a look through their web pages. If you really want to perform a thorough analysis of what’s working for other similar companies, you can invest in software like SEMrush as a tool that will give you much more insight into specific sources of the content success of your competitors.
Also, try and mix up the type of content you are putting out there. Whether it’s a news article, infographic, blog, webinar, podcast, live chat, or video clip, some variety can keep it fresh and fun to create different types of content that would be interesting for your target audience and appeal to them in different ways.
When putting together your content plans, don’t be afraid to look back to things that have worked before and re-share or refresh and then push out again. Many who you are targeting may not have seen some of the older content and it is possibly still relevant or can even be improved with a new angle or current news-peg. If something worked well before then it could do so again and – on the flip side – if some content didn’t do well before, which you believe should have, then it could have been down to bad timing or just a simple tweak required. No harm in trusting your instincts and giving it another try.
Piggybacking on hot topics can be another highly effective form of content, where you can add your opinions on articles, research or a current common talking point and push you (or your company’s) stance or perspective.
Trawl back – we generate huge amounts of PR for clients, which is high quality editorialised content, but it is often a case of everyone moving onto the next story when the new month comes around. However, spend some time going back and searching keywords, as some media outlets may have just delayed online publishing or waited to use your valuable PR article or comments as part of a wider story.
Consider whether your content is relevant, informative and entertaining – if it ticks these boxes, then you are usually on to a winner.
And, while never trying to directly sell through your content, there should be a simple call to action and easy way to collect any interest, such as contact form or call button, or both.
In most cases your content hub should be hosted by a property you own, such as your website, rather than a third party application. While social media is a great way for you to push out your content, it is nearly always better to send the traffic to your own website rather than somewhere else.
Your content marketing is usually the beginning of building a customer relationship where some confidence and familiarity is built with your business, which is a crucial early step to success. It is very rarely a route direct to sale, as the customer journey is increasingly deep and multi-layered, so approach it with enthusiasm and an open mind, but maintain patience as you gather momentum.
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