Content Marketing – Whats that then?
Don’t you just love it when the goal posts change!
To start of you panic and then if your smart you start to think how can I make what I do better to reach these new goals.
The good news if you look at it that way is Google has changed the goal posts on us and to be honest its quite a dramatic change. But lets look at it with a positive mind and think about how we can make our companies better using this.
So What Has Changed?
Google used to be all about Keywords they loved the things and so long as we created good content that used the keywords we had a winner and our site would start moving up those magical Google listings. Well not any more all those old SEO tricks and Keyword fun has gone. Google now love Social more than anything else. This means every piece of content on your website is ranked by how many times it is shared on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google + and all those other fun places we love so much.
So what does this mean for Your Company, Your Website and Your Marketing Strategies:
In shore it means back to the drawing board. You have to start thinking about your company as a publishing and media company. This means creating content that is Informational and Entertaining first and promoting your products and services in the sidelines. This might sound backwards to you however there is method to the madness.
If you create content that is relevant to your audience you will create an audience that looks to you as a Problem Solver, Authority Figure and Trusted Brand. This means that when you do tell them about how your product or service can solve there problem they will be more receptive to the message because of all the Free Information they have already consumed from you backing up your product or service.
This all sounds like a lot of work, expensive and not worth the time.
Ok so this all sounds scary and you want to run into the hills screaming and give up on the internet completely. Take a deep breath and stop to read just one more thing before you run. Here is an example of one company that started using this system of Content Marketing. There normal buying cycle before implementing Content Marketing was between 12-18 months. Once there Content Marketing strategy was up and running well this dropped to 3-6 months. I am sure you will agree this is a amazing result.
As the question Why?
I will tell you why this happened. The company had built up emotional connection with there audience. They had proved there knowledge in there industry and given there audience all the key information they needed for all there meetings and discussions that have to be made. This means your content gives your audience the tools to sell your products and services for you. This cuts down on the Buying Cycle dramatically.
Now if you still want to run please send me a postcard.
I’m not running but this is big where do I start?
Ok so with all things that look to big to deal with lets brake it down into easy to handle chunks.
First ask some important questions!
No matter what type or size of company you have you have to ask the same questions.
- Who is are target audience – remember we talking Social Media here we are looking at the individual not the company
- What does he / she do when she is not on our website. Be it online or off line. Activities, blogs, forums etc
- What Social networks do they use. Rank them in order of importance to your target audience. Look at all Social Networks not just Facebook and Twitter you might be missing a big market.
- What are your target audiences worries and pain points?
- How can you solve these worries and pain points?
Once you have this information you can work out your Content Marketing Mission Statement. This is made up of the Worries and Pain Points and your Solutions. For example if your company sells House Hold Products your statement could be “To create content to help women have more time with there families”
Once you have your Content Marketing Mission Statement you can then start working out what type of content to create.
Creating Content – Thinking Differently
Creating content is where we have to start changing the way we think. Yes the keywords are still important however if we don’t get those shares there is no point. So what do we have to do?
Think about your own social world. What do you share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. This is the type of content we need to be creating. It needs to be Informative, Educational and Entertaining. Your company has become a Publisher and Media company over night and no one told you.
I can hear you screaming again and saying this sounds like I need a massive budget and I don’t have it what can I do.
Again don’t panic! There are lots of content creators out there. Think about connecting with companies and bloggers that have the same target audience as you but are not competitors to yourself. Talk to them and see if they will contribute to your content. Once you have published it send them a link and ask them to share it with there network. Oh yah Baby I can see those social shares going up just thinking about it.
Another good strategy is to create a Story this story is then recreated for each social media stream you have. These can take the form of Blog Posts, Emails, FaceBook posts, Tweets, Infographics, White Papers, Case Studies, ebooks and much more.
Think of the content creation as creating Assets for your company that can be used in other areas of the business as well. All this information should be given away for FREE. However I am most definitely not saying do all of this for nothing. You need to add a very big and prominent Call to Action on your website and all your social media streams. This call to action is to collect email addresses so that you can build your database. This is key.
Holding the Key:
Building your list is the key to all of this Content Marketing. You may have a large amount of Likes on Facebook or Follows on Twitter but you don’t own those lists. What if tomorrow Facebook decides your industry can’t use Facebook any more and bans you. Your list is gone and there is nothing you can do about it.
However if you have them on email as well then you don’t care what they do.
Your list is also a massive asset. With the world moving in this direction my prediction is that email lists and content will soon become more valuable than the companies that created them. For example say your company creates a site for the Farming industry and your list grows to half a million. You now have a very strong audience that is hanging on your every word. This means the list is valuable to advertisers and other larger companies than yourself. Just think of the prospects I know I can hear pennies dropping from the sky.
Time for a little reality check.
Ok so I don’t want you to think that you can write one or two blog posts get your friends to share them and your done. Content Marketing is a long term system. You need to think about what your doing for the next 18 months and once you have started you need to review this plan after every piece of content has been published and then tweak and change your plan. You should be fluid with your content and not set your plans in stone.
Keep in mind two things. 1 we are now publishers and media companies as well as our normal jobs. 2 Stick to your Content Marketing Mission Statement. Every time you create a new peace of content ask the question Why? If the answer is I don’t no then start again.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.