Content creation is the one component of online business that you cannot afford to outsource. I show you in this article how to create and promote your own unique content.
Content is what the internet thrives on. Nothing would remain if we took out all the texts, audio, visuals and videos from the internet; absolutely nothing. This makes content arguably the most important thing to have as an internet business owner. Content marketing, as it is known, is the best way to get attention for your products, services and brand. In fact, content makes it possible to grow a community.
But as a new content marketer, it may seem difficult to push your own unique content strategy. The truth is, content marketing may seem overwhelming when looking at competitors who constantly upload lengthy posts, podcasts and tutorial videos. The enormity of the whole thing may pressure you into giving up before you even get your content marketing strategy underway.
Don’t get demotivated though; content marketing is still the easiest form of marketing—it literally costs nothing to launch. In fact, you can start your journey to a successful content marketing campaign by following my guidelines.
Creating a Successful Content Marketing Strategy
The perfect content marketing strategy is a plan which itemises creation and distribution of content; to the engagement of viewers; down to the conversion of readers into customers. The ultimate aim of content marketing is to create a loyal following of internet users. You can achieve this—anyone can—you just need a strategy. I break down the whole process of content marketing in this brief outline as follows:
Before you go ahead and publish the first thing on your mind, you should take some time to create a plan. In other words, you must understand what type of content you want to create and why you’re creating it.
Content marketing revolves around a goal. Should you launch a campaign now, what would you call a success? Is it traffic you want or new subscribers, social shares, conversions or sales? If you don’t have an answer yet, you need to lock in and brainstorm.
Making a content marketing plan is necessary. The best time to make one is at the beginning when you don’t already have committed followers who demand a required standard of content. Regardless, it’s important you don’t get caught up in too much dilly-dally. Tactics are dope but if you don’t have specific goals in sight, your campaign may (will) fail.
When people come to me for a content marketing strategy assessment, I break down the whole plan into achievable milestones. If your content does enough to convince readers to sign up for a newsletter, then you can groom them for life. For grooming, your content will need promotion. (I address that in latter parts of this article).
Now that you’ve defined a content marketing plan, it’s time to identify what set of people will be interested in your content. In other words, your audience needs to be as targeted as possible. Because, at the end of the day, what matters isn’t what you personally want to talk about, but ‘who needs to listen’.
The best content marketing strategies are driven by the potential of viewer involvement, reader feedback and audience interest. As a result, your content should provide answers to relevant questions that your target audience are befuddled by.
This leads us to Audience Persona. Before you create any content, ask yourself the following questions:
Yes, you can have more than one target audience. But be careful not to make them so broad and diverse, especially in the early stages of your business. Knowing your audience in and out propels great and relevant content.
Now that you’ve nailed down the specifics of your tactical plan, it’s time to get technical. You need a blog; there is no way around this. If you don’t have a blog yet, make one, this instant, now. I mean, why have all that content and nowhere to put it?
Don’t know how to start a blog? Lucky for us, there are a myriad of ways you can start a blog. From free customisable templates to premium ready-to-use platforms, you can own a unique blog in no time. Before you go ahead and make a blog, you need to decide where you want to host it: on your domain or someone else’s? You can either run a blog through free platforms like WordPress or choose to host your content on external platforms like Medium or Youtube. Can you choose either one: well, the answer is little complex. Both decisions have their pros and cons.
Self-hosted Blogs: Running a blog on your website does give you freedom to design it however you want. You can add affiliate links to content however you like and add banner ads if you so wish. The downside, you’ll start with no audience and have to build your following from scratch.
External Platforms: Platforms like Medium, Youtube and even Apple Podcasts let you publish your content to an existing audience. This gives you access to an online audience who are actively searching for content like yours, all for a low startup cost. The downside of publishing content elsewhere: less customisation. Also, you have no control over external platforms—they could fold up without warning. (Goodbye beloved content).
In my opinion, I would say run both options, but put more effort into your own personal blog. If you can pull in enough traffic through advertising, then you can build your own unique audience.
Okay so, you’ve managed to set up your own blog. The next thing is to build an audience that constantly gets access to your content. To achieve this, you’ll need an email list. I have to say, having an email list is the key component of any content marketing strategy. You see, focusing on email marketing allows you to constantly communicate with subscribers directly via their inbox.
The merits of an email system cannot be underestimated. It is the life-blood of every digital marketing strategy. How so? You see, when someone signs up for a newsletter, they are literally giving you the right to send them emails at any time you so please. It’s difficult to ignore mails as they nudge themselves right in your device’s notification panel. To not invest in email marketing would be a mistake.
To start your list-building, you’ll need a couple tools. Some tools to consider are:
My advice, choose an email platform that you can afford.
The goal of your email marketing strategy will be to create awareness about the services and products you offer. This is why content marketing works hand in hand with email marketing. If you post nice-enough content, people will hand over their email addresses for more of the same. The more interested they get, the more they’ll patronise what you offer.
Here’s how I conquer email marketing, read my free ebook (10 min read)
The first mistake many new entrepreneurs make is that they Google the best content on a particular subject and copy it. If your idea of content marketing is to replicate your competitors’ content, then you’re going to have a hard time attracting visitors. Replicating content is like thinking your audience are Harry Potter fanatics who would better enjoy reading Harry Potter fan-fiction—no, they won’t.
If you’re going to create content, then you have to be creative about the whole thing. You need to brainstorm content ideas that are unique in a sense, no matter how little. The best marketers have an editorial calendar which they follow to the latter. Newbies are often fond of being reactionary i.e. creating content based on what their competitors are doing as opposed to what their audience really need to hear. It’s the reason why many new entrepreneurs quit at the early stages. This is a loop you do not want to get involved in.
At the same time, you need keyword research. Why is this important? Tools like Google Keyword Planner show you the actual volume of searches per a particular term (they even suggest keywords). This helps you answer the question of ‘what are my audience searching for?” Here’s how you plan innovative and creative content:
What form of content are you comfortable posting on a regular basis? Some people are gifted with written words, others with speech and some with visual displays. While you may be good at making one particular form of content, it’s important that you utilise other forms of content too. The major formats of content are blog posts, podcasts, infographics and videos.
You’re probably wondering, “hey, I’m a writer, I can’t fish out podcasts and videos on a reg.” Well, you should, especially when your audience have a particular form of content that attracts them. Having blogpost content without videos could be boring for your target audience. This is where you need to outsource. The best digital marketers work with professional editors, graphic designers, photographers and videographers who improve content—you should too.
Here are some tips on how to maximise your content potential:
b. Video: is super hot right now.
c. Podcasts: these are trendy right now
To be honest, you’ve got to merge your content marketing strategy with your social media strategy. Don’t underestimate the power of social media: it’s the world’s biggest marketplace and you need to put content on there. But you’ll need more than a couple salient posts on Twitter or Facebook.
Your social media strategy hinges strongly on content. So, before you promote, you must ensure that your content is good enough to get seen or heard. Quality content compels people to buy what you’re offering. To achieve this, you must be an educational resource that people can call on to for support. If you can get people to reach out to you for help, you can definitely ask them to patronise a service or product you offer.
This, my friends, is the ultimate content marketing strategy. And here is how to succeed:
Most newcomers make the mistake of advertising their services or products without getting some awareness first. Your very first ads as a new business owner should be to get your brand seen and heard. People have to interact with your brand a couple times before they eventually buy what you sell.
Billions of dollars are spent on social media advertisement every year. That number could rise to hundreds of billions of dollars by 2020. You need to get on the trend. It doesn’t take much more than $5 to start advertising with platforms like Facebook Ads. You just need to:
You now have enough to start your own content marketing strategy. With a solid plan, you can navigate the world of marketing unaided and make your business successful. Should you need further guidance, you know how to reach me.