10 things you should know about Content Marketing + 5 tools that can help you succeed
Well, hello there. (I figured it was fitting to say hello since we are all pretty new here, ya know?) Anyways, let’s get down to business today we are going to be chatting about something near and dear to my heart: content marketing.
What even is content marketing you ask? Well, it really couldn’t be any simpler + complicated—and yes, that is my best answer. So easily grasped when you know exactly what you're doing, but so difficult to figure out without a game plan.
That, my friends, is content marketing.
So, to illuminate the seemingly transparent, here are ten things you should know about content marketing + five tools that can help you knock your strategies out of the park.
1. Having Content and Putting it Online Does Not Count
I may have to go ahead and say that one again. Having. Content. And. Putting. It. Online. Does. Not. Count. This is probably the most common misconception that I hear about content marketing. “Oh ya, we do a ton of content marketing. Just last week I posted my blog on Facebook.” Ok, well, that’s awesome. I’m glad you are beginning to integrate your online platforms! But, no. Unfortunately that is not content marketing.
Yes, having stellar content is a huge part of the content + marketing marriage, but there is a whole other half that we must not neglect— which leads me to me next point:
2. To Succeed at Content Marketing, You Will Need To Understand Marketing
This may sound intimidating (and sometimes it is!), but you can do it. I am not saying that you need to go get your Master's degree in marketing, but I am saying that you need to understand the fundamental basics of marketing. Once you have a grasp on marketing as a whole, understanding the value of great content and the impact of successful content marketing strategies will be a breeze. And guess what? I have an awesome freebie to help you out!
I want the Marketing Basics eBook!
3. Content Marketing is More About Your Target Than Your Content
Your content is important, but content marketing is more about marketing content to your target than it is about simply creating stellar content. You can write the greatest eBook on blog design, but if you are a landscaper, that content is not going to be an effective part of your content marketing strategy.
Content marketing is about meeting your target where they are while giving them something tangible that they can use now.
4. Content Marketing is About Value, Not Volume
Churn and burn content is dangerous. Not only will you run out of ideas (pretty darn quick if you're anything like me) but you will also overwhelm your audience and eventually spiral into a counterproductive pattern of low-quality information and a lack of strategic communication.
I never recommend a certain number of posts, or limit a client to a word count. This is because every business (or individual) will have a different standard of value, based on their customer base. Successful content marketing is about understanding who your customers are and offering them something of value.
5. Reusing Content is Ok, In Fact—Do It
If you wrote an awesome blog post about photography lighting and your customers loved it (shared on social media, commented, ultimately drove more people to your site) then why would you let it just fade away?! Would you buy a new lawn mower, use it once (love how it cut your grass) and then put it in the basement to gather dust and never be used again? No! You would use that sucker every week!
That is what content marketing is. It is about strategically re-purposing your content to make it work for you, rather than spinning your wheels trying to, well—reinvent the wheel.
6. Content Marketing Involves Requires Strategy
Now, this one might seem a bit redundant, but I think it is worth stating on its own. Strategy is the number one key to launching a successful content marketing campaign. If you simply begin churning out content and sharing it haphazardly, then you are likely to miss all of the awesome benefits that content marketing can deliver! In order to get the most out of your content marketing, you need to preface your campaign with a strategy. I have included an awesomely free worksheet (adult homework anyone?!) to help you determine your strategy.
Ya I want a free worksheet!
7. Content Marketing Should Serve ONE Main Objective
This is probably the point I see most misinterpreted. It is natural to think about marketing and want to funnel your efforts into multiple segments to serve numerous objectives. Cool, right? Wrong. Content marketing is an abstract, complex organism. At any given time, all of your moving pieces should be working together—even if they seem to be completely separate, you with me? From blog posts to eBooks, your content marketing pieces should compliment each other, and ultimately drive your consumer to your main objective.
Want more on this topic? Let me know in the comments and I'll add a post about choosing the right objective!
8. Your Content Should Tell a Story
No one wants to read a bland eBook simply stating facts about a topic, likewise, no one want's to finish reading a blog and wonder, "Why did I just waste 5 minutes of my life?" Therefore, it is important to remember that you are not just a business owner, blogger or designer, but you are a story teller.
When you are crafting your content, make sure that all of the pieces of your story fit together. For instance, with most of my clients, I develop a strategy based on their main objective, and then create evergreen pieces of content that will work together to tell a story that will compel their consumer to fulfill their objective. Still tracking?
9. Great Content Marketing Brings Action
Whether your main objective is to have people sign up for your newsletter (shameless plug?) or convert and buy your product/service, your content shuold be formulated in such a way as to allow this to occur.
What I mean, is that beyond having your main objective in mind when creating content, you also need to allow that objective to shine through clearly. Make it easy for me to do what you want!
10. Mapping Out Your Strategy Matters
The easiest way to succeed in content marketing is to map it out. Start with your objective and work outwards until you have placed all of your wonderful content elements. This map should ultimately be a reflection of your consumers path (or funnel) on their way to fulfilling your objective.
This will also allow you to analyze any holes or gaps in your strategy, ultimately allowing you to fill them and better serve your consumer!
Still with me? Good, cause now I have my top 5 favorite tools to help you succeed!
Buffer allows users to schedule Twitter posts DAYS AT A TIME. It is awesome. There are a number of tools that serve a similar purpose, but Buffer has stolen my heart. I use Buffer in order to schedule out tweets that play into my current comtent marketing strategy. For instance, if I am focusing on content marketing, I will schedule tweets that compliment that topic, while tying in the pieces of my puzzle (like this blog post) along the way.
As I write, I am currently using this tool. Evernote is awesome because it allows you to segment your ideas (or campaigns) by topic, meaning you can do all of that great strategizing/mapping we talked about digitally! Better yet? Evernote is cloud-based, so you can access all of your notes and content in one place from any device.
Canva is a lifesaver. I don't know how many of you are semi-designers like me (meaning I can rock Photoshop + In Design, but I would rather spend my time in a simpler atmosphere), but I love Canva. Canva is a simplified design platform that allows you to create awesome designs in a quick and effortless manner. Now, with the new Canva for Work (post coming soon!) you can do even more, saving brand templates, etc. Uh, YES!
BuzzSumo allows content marketers (because we are all content marketers, right?) to find influencers in nearly every field, by allowing you to search based on topic. For instance, when I search "content marketing" I get a list of the top influencers who engage/talk about that topic. Pretty awesome, right?!
Once you have found the top influencers, you can review their content strategies, follower base and topic approach to determine where you and your content will fit into the story. Remember, content marketing is about developing a story that your consumers can follow, enjoy and engage with. Often this will include other influencers, so how do you capitalize on their traffic with complimentary topics?
SumoMe is an awesome tool if you are looking to reach out and grab the people who are actively perosing your site and reading your content (you may have noticed my pop-up from SumoMe asking you to join my email list!). That is a great example of how using SumoMe can compliment your content marketing strategy.
So, with all of that being said, content marketing is hard. But you really can do it—even if you have tried before and failed (been there, done that!).
So, your turn! How are you planning on using (or already using) content marketing in your business?