7 steps to compelling content marketing
Creating original, online content is a great way to engage your target audience once you have a digital strategy in place. As Smart Insights says, “Content marketing is central to success online.” But with the amount of blogs, social media posts, memes and videos that are already available, it might seem impossible to get your audience’s attention – not to mention maintain it. However, there are many ways to share your work without resorting to spam. Here are seven steps to get you there:
- Content brainstorm. “Keeping the audience in mind at all times is the only way to make sure your content succeeds,” says Communicatto’s managing editor, Kelly Ferrier. While tools such as Google Analytics can help generate topics, it’s crucial that you understand your audience when brainstorming ideas. “You’re really just asking ‘Will my intended audience enjoy this?’” says Communicatto’s president and founder, Doug Lacombe.
- Keyword research. “The interesting thing about content marketing is how it is part art, part science,” says Lacombe. Keywords need to both catch your viewers’ interest and get you on Google’s radar. What are people searching for online and how do these topics relate to your business? The combination of creativity and logic involved is certainly a balancing act, but having a great team in place will help you stay on your feet.
- Editorial calendar creation. Creating content is an investment; a good investment requires planning. Start by establishing a regular publishing schedule (weekly is a great place to start) and then get to work on an editorial calendar with the storylines you want to cover. “Random acts of blogging”, as Lacombe calls it, should be avoided. “A weekly publishing schedule requires a lot of work,” says Ferrier. “With all that’s going on, imagine the chaos of not knowing what you’re going to write about.” By preparing weekly, monthly and quarterly themes in advance, you can ensure that your whole team is on the same page.
- Interviewing and writing. Interviews supply heart and substance to any blog post. “Humans prefer to hear from and about humans,” says Lacombe. During the writing process, including quotes that speak to your audience, not at them, is the goal. “Content on your blog will be shared to social media. So it had better be social,” says Ferrier.
- Proof and publish. There’s no sense in going through all these steps if the content you’re publishing contains errors, factual or otherwise. Polishing your work is a no-brainer if you want to share your stories while keeping your online dignity intact. Just avoid having too many editors – otherwise, you may risk losing your voice.
- Syndicate and share. While maintaining a regular, weekly publishing schedule is ideal, there’s a big difference between sharing your content and spamming. Knowing what social media platforms your followers actually use is very helpful here. “The breadcrumbs of content only work if you spread them where the birdies are,” says Lacombe.
- Measure and refine. There are basic measurements such as “likes”, “retweets” and “followers”, and then there’s conversion rate optimization. This really just means getting your audience to actually do something with your content, such as share and subscribe. That way, you know that your posts are truly making an impact.
As Ferrier aptly says, “Social media has fundamentally changed traditional media and how people create and consume content – we’re all journalists now.” After all, storytelling is an art as old as time; compelling content marketing simply brings storytelling into the 21st century.