Content marketing is just one of the few new types of marketing to emerge over the last few years. Despite some people’s thoughts, it’s not a fad and it has a place in marketing theory and practice. But what exactly is content marketing? Is it blogging, is it social media?
A nice, quick summary is that content marketing is the curation of relevant content that guides certain, profitable behaviours. A good example of this is creating a series of blogs to help people with their DIY problems, but ultimately leads them to call for a painter to help with a tricky problem they don’t have the skills to do. Content marketing also helps to create and validate your brand’s expertise and reputation.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Good planning is key to executing a lot in a business, especially your marketing activities. Content marketing requires planning and awareness of your industry and your target market. Failing to plan our your content marketing (as well as being flexible with this plan) could lead to poor results and frustration.
So, how do you plan your content marketing?
Content marketing isn’t a mythical art and does require a basic strategy for even small or one person run businesses. You don’t need to churning out hundreds of blogs a month or attempting a sporadic twitter scheduled. Consistency is key. It’s like watering and weeding your garden on a regular basis.
Planning your content strategy means you need to look the year ahead at your main marketing activities. If you’re new to this you could take a calendar (digital or physical) and mark out important dates and events. Start with the key dates if it seems overwhelming your’re not sure where to start.
If you’re a florist with an online shop for example, the important dates would be valentine’s day, mother’s day, father’s day etc. So right there you have scope to look at what content you can create and share. To break this down further you could think of writing up some blogs or create web pages on these topics, such as tips for picking flowers for your mother. This content can then funnel into newsletters and social media posts.
Once you’ve got some basic ideas for your events down it’s time to put it down into a spreadsheet with a breakdown on the different types of content. If you can’t plot out for the whole year aim to do at least 3-6 months ahead and review it regularly. Also remember that nothing is written in stone, you can always adjust it as time goes on.
Here are some links to useful content planning calendars that I’ve heard good things about. http://writtent.com/blog/15-life-changing-editorial-calendar-tools/
As with any kind of marketing, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Don’t rely on just your social media or your white papers to be driving traffic and engagement. In my experience it takes a balanced blend of social media, blogging, newsletter for results. It’s a slow moving creature to start off with but keep at it and keep your plan up to date.
If you’re ever stuck for ideas, a quick search on both social media and your favourite search engine should offer you loads of content ideas. Feel free to drop an email here if you want a fresh pair of eyes to look at your content calendar or need some ideas to get you started.