So you want to leverage the power of content marketing to position your company as an authority in your market? Smart move. Properly done, there is hardly any better method we know for attracting and retaining high-quality clients.
Over time, a well-managed content marketing strategy will start to build a steady stream of pre-qualified clients that come to the table already educated on your philosophies and processes.
Have you ever wondered how some companies seem to be so much more effective at content marketing than others? The reason is simple. Every piece of content that they create is constructed with a very deliberate strategy that is substantially different to the way most people go about this.
Now, for the first time, we are publicly sharing with you the very same step-by-step strategy that we have been using successfully to create powerful content marketing pieces that continue to yield results for our clients every day.
We’ve even put it in the form of a useful infographic you can download and save, or print off, for quick reference when you need a refresher.
Our treat…really! (Please be free to share this with your contacts, they’ll thank you for it!)
[Tweet “Check out this Killer #Content #Marketing #Infographic”]
So, without further ado, let’s dive deeply into the specifics of what makes a piece of Killer Content Marketing. Strap on your scuba mask and hold on tight, here we go…
Step One: Identify Your Audience
This step is absolutely fundamental, essential to success, yet amazingly, almost no one starts here. Instead, most begin by picking a subject and a title. Wrong, wrong, wrong! First, identify your target audience. Use these questions to help:
- Who is your dream client?
- What sort of age is he or she?
- What sort of language do they use?
- Where would they shop for their groceries?
- What magazine or newspaper title are they likely to read?
- Where are they likely to go to socialize?
Stay with us here – this is so important. Content marketing offers your company a golden opportunity to attract the kind of client that you actually want to work with. The sort of client that recognizes and appreciates the unique value delivered by your organization and is willing to pay for it without complaint.
Write out a description of your ideal client. Give him or her a name, if it helps. Building up a human picture of your dream client (and it is always a person, even if that person works at a huge corporation) will ensure that your content marketing piece really hits the spot.
It’s like the difference between a focused, powerful laser and a weak, spluttering candle that scatters light beams in all directions.
Step Two: Pick a Problem
Now’s the time for you to strap on your superhero cape. (Not literally, unless you happen to have one hanging by your front door…!)
What problem afflicts your target market? What things do they lie awake at night worrying about?
Do you have a superpower (knowledge/experience/tip/tutorial) that can help solve one of these problems for them? Yes?
Now you have a topic. One that will grab the attention of your audience. One that will ensure your content marketing piece genuinely adds value to their lives.
Hopefully, by now, you’re starting to see how powerful this strategy is. But we’ve hardly started yet, so let’s hurry on to….
Step Three: Solve The Problem
Yes, really. Solve it. Hold nothing back. Trust us on this. Go all out on this problem for your reader. Share the strategies, tools, tricks, resources, everything. Hardly anyone is doing this. In this world of typically weak content, your company will stand out, generating credibility and authority as you freely share your best solutions.
You won’t lose out by sharing your secrets. Quite the opposite, in fact; you’ll position your company as the go-to experts – the ones with the answers. This is emphatically not the time to plug your product or service. Focus instead on adding value for your reader, richly rewarding them for their time studying your content marketing piece.
Step Four: Choose Your Tone and Angle
Think back to Step One and the target audience. What kind of language will they respond best to? Is there a story you can tie in that illustrates your point? (Everyone loves a good story, look how this thought leader wove a story about Coors Brewing Company into this article.)
Are you going to weave in some humor, or start right out by shattering a myth about your subject? Are you going to challenge, or are you going to cajole, persuade? Are you going to be the sage or the warrior? Identify an appropriate tone and approach and make sure you stick to it through your piece.
Step Five: Choose Your D.A.T. – Digital Asset Type
It doesn’t have to be a plain-vanilla article or a blog post, you know. Infographics are very popular right now and tend to be more likely to be shared on social media.
Or maybe you should make it a slide deck, or an interactive spreadsheet, or present it as a whitepaper. You could even consider enriching your content marketing piece with video or audio. What format would your target most prefer to digest it in? Perhaps it could be given in two formats, like this one is?
Step Six: Keyword Research and Title
Now’s the time to research keywords, so you can make sure your marketing piece will rank for the appropriate search terms.[info]You didn’t think we’d leave this out, did you? Of course not….but notice where in the process this step is. If you started here, you’d be scrambling to create content for all the wrong reasons. Now, you’re simply taking a great, strategic idea and giving it some SEO power.[/info]
Establish a working title and try to incorporate your keywords, but be prepared to re-visit this again later in the process. You may want to experiment with different titles, or you may find the piece takes a slightly different direction to that which you originally expected once you get further into the creation of it.
Step Seven: Establish Publishing and Promotional Sources
You’ve created your content marketing piece, and you’re ready to go live. That’s awesome, but there’s more to do before you publish it. You need a plan to ensure it gets picked up and seen by as many people in your target market as possible.
First, your company email list – all your current and prospective customers. Depending on the D.A.T. you may choose to send your content marketing directly in the body of the email, or direct them to your website to view or download it. Pro tip: one to two weeks after you first send this out, re-send the same email with a different subject line to all those that didn’t open your first one. You spent a lot of time creating this mini masterpiece of content. To get maximum return on that investment, you need to get it seen by as many people as possible!
Better yet, did you know you can leverage the power of marketing automation to do this for you automatically? Get in touch and we’ll show you how.
Next, social media. You need to plan to place links to your content on your main social media channels, not forgetting LinkedIn. Remember to also leverage the power of LinkedIn Groups to get your message out further. For example, if your content marketing piece references a well-known book like “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, there is a LinkedIn Group dedicated to enthusiasts of this book that you can choose to share a link to your piece with. If they are likely to form part of your target audience – why not do them a favor by directing them to your content?
Think about the message that goes with the link before you share it online. You didn’t do all this work just to release it with a lame message like “Check out our new blog post”! You already know your target market and the problems & needs they have. Be creative with your messaging. Ask questions. If posting to Facebook, include an excerpt of the article and ask for people’s opinion. Just please remember, don’t treat all social media the same!
Next – sharing. The beauty of content marketing is the way it can carry your message far beyond your immediate audience. But sharing won’t happen if you don’t create the right conditions.[Tweet “Two words that ensure your content has the best chance of being shared – Ask and Enable.”]
Ask your readers, fans & followers to share your content. And then enable them to easily do this – make sure you have working social media and comment plugins so your visitors can share your content at the click of a button. They won’t do it if it’s hard, even if they want to. So test your share buttons and make sure they are all working properly!
Spread the social media promotion out over at least a few weeks. Many times we’ll include a great piece of content in our social media editorial calendar for months, or even years if it’s still relevant!
If you have comments enabled on your website, encourage feedback and engage in dialogue through the comments with your readers. Not only does this further assist with positioning your company as experts in your field, it gives you opportunities to interact with your target market on a public forum, in a non-sales orientated environment where they will be more comfortable and likely to open up to you about where they need help.
Step Eight: Update Your Content Calendar
The “secret sauce” in this Killer Content Marketing strategy is in implementing all of the steps, in the right order, with nothing missed out. This is a project that deserves a dedicated timeline. Map it out, order the steps, and tick off each milestone as it is achieved.
Not only will you ensure that nothing gets missed, this will make it far easier to coordinate the project with your external and internal team members, so everyone knows who is responsible for which duties. By carefully delegating and outsourcing sections of the work, you can ensure that your company reaps the benefits without leaving you personally burned out or over-burdened with smaller details.[plain]Some of our favorite content calendar tools:
Getting the steps documented into a Content Calendar frees your mind to focus on the overall goals and targets. Which leads us neatly to…..
Step Nine: Establish Tracking and Goals
What do you want to result from this content marketing campaign?
Obviously you’re hoping for more sales leads and more opportunities to increase your sales, but there are other benefits that can result from a well-targeted and created piece of content.
For example, you might want to make sure that your content educates potential customers to help them self-diagnose what kind of service or product group is the one that most closely matches their requirements. This saves you time further down the line, and allows the prospect to research their subject free from any sales pressure.
Or you might want to reduce customer service calls and issues with some post-order education including real FAQs and information on the order and fulfilment process.
Whatever it is you are wanting to achieve, establish it in writing now, set targets, decide on the tools you will need and measure the KPIs.
About four weeks after the launch, you will want to be able to put together a report showing the results of this content marketing project. In order to do that, you will need to put in place everything needed to measure deliverables now.
Step Ten: Consolidate and Execute
Enough planning and preparation! You’re ready to roll. You have all the ingredients to create something amazing. Something worthy of your prospects time and not just another uninspired piece of junk.
Re-visit and update your content marketing as appropriate. Keep it current and useful. Make sure it is indexed for web search and keep a regular eye on the analytics for your web page. Sometimes, a piece of content marketing like this can be launched, rock around the cybersphere for a while, and then go quiet. Then, all of a sudden, it takes off and goes viral. This could be months after the launch, and could be as a result of a related news story or someone with a big following sharing a link to your site.
If it does go viral, quickly hop back into it and make sure it is as current as possible. Consider sending fresh press releases out. The media like to hear about anything that is getting shared a lot, and they might choose to pour gasoline on the fire by featuring an article on it![warning]Note: make sure that at the end of your content marketing piece there is a section about the author(s) and your company, the products and/or services you provide, and the type of people that you help. That way, if someone arrives at your site on this page, having never heard of your company before, they can quickly take in who you are any why you might be useful to them.[/warning]
Bringing It All Together
A content marketing strategy is more like a marathon than a sprint. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted, but here you have the steps for a repeatable and worthwhile process that generates ideas of real substance adds power to your brand, just like the service LeapGo provides to many of our clients.
If you hold your content marketing to a high standard and fully implement this process, your company will rise above your competitors who are cranking out tired, weak and endlessly recycled content “just because it’s what everyone is supposed to do.”
That’s not for you! Set the bar high – don’t settle for content that is less than stellar. If you can work with your team to put in place the steps to consistently get great content out there, maybe having a marketing meeting once a week to track and discuss progress, you’ll be sure that your sales and profit charts will show the results over time.
That concludes our article on how to create a killer content marketing strategy. We hope you found it useful – and if so, please be kind enough to share it with at least one other person that it might help!