Content Marketing: It’s Not as Hard as You Think
December 23, 2019
Is one of your goals for 2020 to beef up your marketing content? You know that in order to be effective you need a content strategy and a content calendar, but maybe you’re not sure exactly where to begin. When you’re juggling several competing priorities, it’s easy to let the long-term planning slide to the backburner. But what if you set aside thirty minutes to one hour sometime this week to schedule out all of your marketing content for the year? Imagine the feeling of relief that comes with beginning the year with a content plan set and ready to implement!
Well-written, intentionally-curated content can make a big impact on your 2020 marketing strategy but it can take a herculean effort to get started. Many of our clients come to us with questions about marketing content and we want to get you started in the right direction. The truth is, you can’t just write on a whim and expect to see results. However, with the right plan in place, you can steadily grow your audience, your influence, and your bottom line.
To that end, here is our Christmas gift to you: how to plan marketing content for Q1 and beyond.
Plan content around company goals, milestones, and seasonal events. Planning marketing content isn’t as difficult as you think. There are a number of resources online to help you create a marketing calendar and brainstorm topics. While we don’t feel compelled to reinvent the wheel here, we do want to point out that often the hardest part is just getting started.
Think about your metrics and goals for the year, the big initiatives you hope to accomplish and create content around those milestones. If you run a service-based company, think through the seasons and anticipate the questions and needs your customers may have throughout the year. Grab a calendar and proactively address those questions through blog and social media content.
For example, we helped Sunnyway Foods create content that showcases how their products help round out the experiences of the seasons. Using this seasonal approach, we were able to plan out four months worth of social media and website content that raised awareness and delivered more foot traffic into their stores. Additionally, we work behind the scenes to ensure that this client’s online presence is optimized for search (SEO).
Create content that answers your customers’ questions. If you do nothing else, sit down this week and think through your customer personas. In order for your content to make a connection, it helps to have a specific persona in mind and write to that person. This improves the results of search engine optimization and brings the best-qualified leads to your content.
Think about your ideal customer and sketch out a profile that fits their description. For example, the way you create content that appeals to the financial services industry will be different than the content you create to reach the shipping and receiving industry. What kinds of questions are your customers asking? How can you make their lives easier or better? The goal is to know your customers so well that you can anticipate their questions and needs, then create content that addresses the things they’re searching for online.
Once you have two or three customer personas defined, make a list of their frequently asked questions and then brainstorm blog and social media content that would help them on their journey. If you run a plumbing company, consider helpful how-to articles that teach customers how to conduct preventative maintenance and fix minor problems—e.g. how to prepare your pipes for the first big freeze. Creating useful content that teaches and informs will build your authority and position your brand as a trusted industry leader.
Source content that entertains and inspires your customer base. Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Think about how people open Facebook or Instagram and mindlessly scroll through content. One of your goals in content planning is finding ways to stop the scroll. If it’s boring and too uniform, your customers will likely pass over your content. This is where video content becomes increasingly critical to effective marketing strategies. The social media video statistics are compelling and yet it’s staggering how many businesses have yet to incorporate video into their strategies.
And remember that you don’t have to create all the content. It’s totally appropriate to share a relevant video or inspiring quote from another source as long as you give proper credit. Consider sourcing content from news sites, trade journals, or relevant umbrella groups or associations. Just don’t share content from your competitor’s sites 😉
Coordinate your content with your overall marketing strategy. When it comes to content marketing, well-written words alone are not enough to produce ROI. There must be an overarching framework within which all of your marketing efforts sing together in harmony. Blog and social media content typically fall under the “content marketing” umbrella but as important as these are, please resist the temptation to tackle this kind of content in a vacuum. Digital marketing is one piece of a strategy that should include a compelling brand, website design, video content, and search engine optimization.
On top of strategy, there are technical factors to take into consideration that are often unfamiliar—such as online listings and search engine optimization—and you don’t have time to spend researching terms. This is where we come in. We can work with you to examine your audience, evaluate your current online presence, and create an all-encompassing digital marketing strategy that will get your customer’s attention. We would love to work together in the new year. Schedule a call and let’s get started asap!