Most all of us have by now heard the phrase “content is king.” But did you know only 39 percent of marketers have a documented content marketing strategy? Meanwhile, 26 percent of U.S. adults are almost always online, and 77 percent of U.S. adults go online daily. All of which is to say, if you’re not yet meeting your potential audience where they now spend a huge amount of time, you’re missing out on opportunities to connect with them.
Digital marketing content comes in many forms, whether a video, a press release, or a succinct social media post. Which types you choose to represent your business, how frequently you create and post your content, and where you expand is all part of your content marketing strategy.
Your business is calling for content marketing strategy – are you listening?
If so, let’s kickstart that strategy and start (or reinvigorate) your content marketing.
The following steps are by no means the full extent of what you should do, but they will get you started creating content that’s engaging, unique to you and your business, and something that will stand out amid all the other noise online.
1. Conduct an audit of the assets you have.
This step should happen at the very start of the content strategy process; it will be your guide for the rest of the way. Audits tell you what’s there in terms of existing content (you’ll be surprised in some cases at how much you already have) and what opportunities you have to create more.
To get the most value out of this process, I advise bringing in an expert to help you. Objective content marketing experts who are trained to spot things those closer to the business might miss. WMT has a five-factor audit process – we love the ah-ha’s we help our clients take advantage of!
I recall sitting in a client’s waiting room before a meeting years ago and finding a book of customer testimonials on display. After flipping through it, I realized this client had about five years’ worth of blog posts in those pages. When I brought the book to his attention, he was amazed—he was well aware of the book’s existence before and that he had that many testimonials at his fingertips, but never looked at that printed book as an arsenal of content marketing awesomeness.
Expert content marketers know how to look for content under every possible metaphorical stone. For example, many companies use PR companies. A good audit team will ask for past press releases, so they can go through them and pull out information that’s still relevant. Even if you’ve written press releases in-house, it’s a good idea to go back through them; they may contain post-worthy nuggets of content. But first you have to know they exist.
2. Have a team that knows what to do with your assets.
Recognizing you can create content from a past press release is different than actually making said content and posting it.
To do that, you need to make sure you have the right team in place. This might be an in-house social media person or a freelance writer, or maybe a combination of the two. The point is, once you’ve done an audit (or hired someone to do an audit) and outlined the procedure for getting content online, you need to have someone there to catch all those pieces and put them together in the correct way.
For example, if you hand someone a book of customer testimonials, they should be the kind of person who understands why the testimonials need to become content and how to follow your procedures to make that happen. And you need to be able to trust them to get the content out there in a way that will make it impactful. They should know which social networks your audience lives on, what kind of voice and style resonates with those people, which formats make your content stand out the most.
3. Continually invest in new ideas and formats.
I say this all the time: Content is an ongoing investment for your business. However, different types and formats work for different companies and individuals. In other words, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to digital content strategy.
Your audit and the team you hire will be able to help you identify what content is currently effective for your business, and what you will want to “invest” in for the future.
Take video. I know a woman who’s a wealth of expertise on wellness. Previously, she had been exploring topics through podcasting—an audio-only medium. But while the format allowed her to share facts and insights, it couldn’t transmit her genuine enthusiasm for the topic because you couldn’t see her facial expressions.
When she turned to video, her number of followers suddenly skyrocketed, and she learned the following lesson: if you invest in one unique value proposition video and let people hear and see you, and capture a piece of your personality, the real engagement can start to happen. Video gets you one step closer to your audience, and could potentially double or triple your lead intake.
Video is hardly the only medium out there, though, and having a very diverse portfolio is critical. Just be sure to choose carefully what goes into that portfolio.
One other critical piece of the content marketing strategy to remember—it’s ongoing.
Marketing has no on or off switch, and it takes constant reassessing and refining your assets and audience to make a long-term impact. It’s time-consuming, for sure, but the payoff is worth the investment in the end.