Hello! What brings you here?
Search is the number one activity on the Internet. It all starts with a need to find information. The keywords you used to launch a query will open a results page with a list of URLs. Every URL you click onto will have content that could provide the answers to your query.
Content can be anything. It can be a tweet. A blog. An article. An email. An image or video. In short, it is a message that communicates directly with the targeted audience.
It’s how you got here.
You wanted to know more about content marketing. And we have the content to show you how to get started.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the process of using information that is usable and relevant to the needs, concerns, or interests of the target audience. It is a form of communication whereby the message resonates with the recipient and compels him/her to take action.
Communication is very important in marketing. The message must be focused and clearly articulated so that content will resonate and be accepted openly by the recipient.
Content marketing is targeted marketing. You create content that appeals to a specific audience. It is optimized; you don’t have to find them because they will find you.
Compare that to a marketing approach that distributes flyers inside a mall or inserts them between the pages of the Sunday paper.
If you distribute 1,000 flyers, how many will be compelled to take your desired action? Some will just ignore the flyer. A good number will find their way into a garbage can.
Thus, for marketers, content marketing offers an effective and efficient way of communicating with their audience.
How Will Content Marketing Help Your Business?
If you can find a way to increase your visibility or enhance your online presence on the Internet, you will be able to achieve your online marketing goals.
With content marketing, people follow you willingly. You build an audience composed of people who enjoy your content. They see value in it and consider you a valuable resource. Over time and with consistency, great content will develop your credibility and reputation.
A successful content marketing campaign can reap the following benefits for your business:
- Drives higher inbound traffic to your website.
- Builds strong brand awareness.
- Encourages brand loyalty.
- Improves your search ranking.
- Improves your sales conversion rate.
- Enhances your reputation as an expert.
- Establishes stronger relationships with your audience.
Content marketing is also a sustainable business development strategy. Great content is evergreen; it will stand the test of time. A blog that you published today can be re-published in six months.
You can even re-publish it three years later. All you have to do is update information such as statistics, new developments, outcomes, and other key data. It will cater to a whole new audience; perhaps bring in people who have not heard of your business.
Finally, content marketing will not sink your bank account. Yes, there is a cost to producing great content. However, the cost of publication is much more affordable compared to traditional marketing.
There is no cost to posting content on your social media pages or those in your network. Paid ads have a cost but you only pay every time someone clicks on your content. Now compare that with the cost of publishing content in a newspaper or glossy.
Not only will content marketing save you money, but your content will be visible to more people. Most importantly, it will be seen by the people who matter the most: Your audience.
How To Start Content Marketing
If you’re still here, that means we’ve convinced you to push through with content marketing.
Before you sit down and start creating content, please understand that content marketing is a process. There are steps that you need to follow to ensure the success of your campaign.
1. Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy
Think of the different types of content – blogs, articles, web copy, product reviews, videos, images, and tweets – as tools of the trade. Every business that decides on running a content marketing campaign has access to the same tools as you.
However, not everyone will succeed. Some will fail. Others will fall short of their goals.
Therefore, content marketing will only be as effective as the strategy behind it.
Content strategy also identifies the “why”; the purpose of each piece of content you create as well as the “when” which refers to the distribution and publication schedule.
Without strategy, your content marketing plan will be treading blindly into unchartered waters. There will be no rhyme or reason to the types of content you put out. Your message will get lost. Your audience will have no idea of what you are trying to communicate.
A content strategy establishes structure to your content marketing plan. It lays out the path of the journey you want to put your audience on.
2. Assemble Your Content Marketing Team
Can you create and publish your own content? Sure! The more important question is, “Should you?”
Creating content takes time. A 1,500- word blog post can take anywhere from two to four hours to complete.
Thus, even if you have the talent to create content – don’t! Instead, you should assemble a content marketing team. A rundown of the skills you need for your team would include the following:
- Content Writer
- Keyword Researcher
- SEO Specialist
Collaborate on the content strategy with your content marketing team. Make sure all topics, titles, and posting schedules are presented to you for approval before implementation.
3. Build On Ideas For Content
For a few days, you could find yourself knocking out one amazing content piece after another. Then without warning, you find yourself staring at a blank computer screen. The creativity well has run dry. What will you do next?
First of all, don’t panic. It happens even to the best content writers. Creativity comes from ideas. And ideas are initiated by inspiration. Sometimes you just need to find good sources of inspiration to pour in new ideas into the creativity well.
Here are five good sources of ideas for content creation:
- Customers – Reach out to your audience. Find out what issues and concerns are of interest to them. Conduct surveys in your social media pages or through email marketing.
- Competitors – Visit your competitors’ websites and social media pages. What are they writing about? Which types of content are generating the highest levels of engagement?
- Influencers – Influencers are movers and shakers in the industry. They know the pulse of the market. Subscribe to their content so you can get daily updates.
- Sales People – If you’re in retail, your sales people directly engage with your customers. Invite them to a brainstorming session and find out which topics would be of interest to your audience. You might even want to consider asking a few of them to contribute content for your website.
- Social Media – With more than 3 Billion sharing content every day, you’ll never run out of ideas in social media. Join interest groups and take note of topics that trigger active discussion among members.
4. Create Your Content
What processes are involved in creating content?
- Topic research
- Title research
- Keyword research
- Fact checking on sources
- Hyperlinks/ citing of references
- Submission and review of drafts
- Draft finalization
- Spelling and grammar check
- Plagiarism check
- Optimization of content
All told, there are at least 10 steps required in content creation. The process can be longer if multiple drafts were needed before the finalizing the draft.
As we mentioned in step #2, content creation takes time. If you are planning to publish multiple content pieces every week, you could have a log jam in your schedule.
This is the value of having content strategy in place. Before creating content, establish a content writing calendar.
For example, a blogging calendar for a real estate company can include the following types of content:
- How-To articles
- List-Type articles
- Informative articles
- Opinion pieces
- Management practices
- Leadership and entrepreneurship
In order to maximize the effectiveness of the calendar, it should have a publication schedule in place.
Let’s say you planned to publish 16 blogs every month. A good strategy would be to create informative content for the first four topics. This could be How-To and List-Type articles. The purpose is to highlight the expertise of the real estate agency and how its services can be of value to potential clients.
The fifth article could be an Opinion piece on a topic related to the most recent List-Type article. For example, if you published an article entitled, “How To Get Approved For A Home Loan”, you could write an Opinion piece on why lending rates should be lowered.
The purpose is to provide the readers a break from assimilating highly-informative content to one that encourages greater engagement and discussion.
By having a content creation calendar in place, you can manage your time better. You will be able to produce high-quality, unique blogs that are well-written, thoroughly-researched, informative, engaging, and optimized.
Best of all, you will stay on schedule.
5. Promote Your Content
You’ve invested time and effort on your content. As an asset, you want it to reap dividends. Where you promote your content will determine if your content can give you solid returns.
An effective content promotion strategy should involve multiple distribution channels. This way, your content will be assured to reaching a wider audience.
Here are five of the best distribution channels you could use to promote your content:
- Social Media – Choose no more than 3 networks for easy monitoring. Come up with a posting schedule for each network. If you have a content marketing team, they will probably share your content to their community.
- Paid Advertising – PPC brings your content directly in front of potential end users. It is highly-effective and cost- efficient as you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
- Email – Once you’ve built a good-sized email list, send them short but informative and useful content pieces every month.
- Blogging Communities – Guest blogging is another effective distribution strategy. Your content will be discovered by a new audience and it may trigger faster growth.
- Comment Sections – Don’t just post links to your content in the comments section. Build relationships first through regular engagement. When you’ve built credibility and trust with the site, you can post links that are relevant to the conversation. This means, don’t just post your links but include other sites as well.
There are other channels and techniques that you can use to promote your content. These include Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Display Ads, and Content Syndication.
You don’t have to use all of these channels to distribute your content. Determine which ones are more aligned with the types of content you are promoting. Initially, select 3 to 4 channels and assess its performance.
If the numbers fall below your target ROI, then you should consider changing tactics by choosing another distribution channel.
As you’ve just read, writing online content is a whole new ballgame. It’s not enough to be a good writer. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done because you want your content to stand out from the rest. You need to combine creative writing with the precision of optimization techniques.
A properly planned and executed content marketing strategy will bring your company closer to achieving its targeted goals. This is the reason we offer content marketing services to our clients at Mountaintop.
By outsourcing content writing to us, we eliminate the guesswork for you. We develop the ideas, come up with the topics, titles, and make sure these are supported by well-researched and fully- optimized content.
If you’re interested in starting a content marketing campaign, reach out to us. We will take you through the process and show you how our content has helped clients achieve their business objectives.