If generating quality leads through your website and social media channels seems like a pipe dream, then this is the article for you. Implementing a Content Marketing strategy is one of the most effective ways to create sales opportunities for your company. Here’s how to do it.
“Plans are nothing, planning is everything.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Content Marketing is as much an exercise in planning and strategy as it is in content. Make no mistake, you need great content (more on that later), but most companies find their difficulties come from a lack a planning. The truth is, if you or your team find themselves scrambling for content ideas at the last minute, you’ve already lost.
Whether you are looking to produce all your content in-house, or mix in outside vendors, the first step is to decide the cadence in which you create and share your content, and what type of content you wish to create.
When deciding on a schedule for your content calendar, a best bet is to be as aggressive as you can while also taking a serious look at your resources. Truthfully, it may be impossible for you to create content on weekly basis. If so, can you afford a vendor that specializes in the type of content you want? If so, great! if not, feel free to start small (1x/month) and ramp up from there.
Type of content
In addition to deciding the regularity of your content calendar, you will also need to make a decision on the type of content you wish to create. Blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics, etc. – the options are many, and can be a bit overwhelming. Ideally, you will have a mix of various content so you can reach all your potential consumers no matter how they consume content. One you put these two together, you may come up with something like this:
- Blogs: 24/year
- Videos: 12/year
- Infographics: 12/year
- White Paper: 4/year
Now that we know what pieces of content we need, let’s create our content calendar and start filling it in. We obviously want to mix it up a little bit, but we also want consistency so we can set audience expectations. Whiteboard Friday (a video series) by Moz is a great example of setting expectations. As you may have guessed by the title, a new video is released every Friday. This is great for fans of the series as we know when we can expect a new video! It’s also a win for them as they are creating routines in their audience, and now fans are coming back every week for new content.
Create Great Content
Now that you have a list of the type of content you need, reality sets in – someone has to create all of this! But, before you start writing and filming, do your homework (for example: keyword research) to see what type of topics people are searching for as it relates to your business. Don’t create content no one wants!
Looking at the plan above, it’s not suggested to create all 52 pieces of content in or a month. But it is a good idea to go ahead and bite off a big chunk and get it ready to go.
The other option is to hire a content marketing agency that specializes in creating content to take on this task for you. Make sure the agency you hire has experience creating content in your industry, and that an internal person at your company will perform QA on all the content. This point is especially important. Content Marketing only works if you are a resource to your potential customers. If your content comes off as amateurish, or worse, inaccurate, you can do more harm than good!
For example, Astute Communications creates a great deal of content for various healthcare companies. Our leadership team comes from a healthcare background, so leveraging our expertise in that field made perfect sense. And if you decide to bring in an outside agency, be sure you get samples of the type of work you want them to create.
The main takeaway here is that no matter who writes the blogs or shoots the videos, it has to be good. So be honest with yourself and your team and make sure that you are only pushing out top quality work. Hire outside help if needed and insist on only the best.
Give it (mostly) away
So, you have a plan for the type of content you want to create, and you have decided on who will create it and the topics you wish to cover. Now give it away. Give away the content. Give away your ideas. Be of service to your prospects and the will become your customers.
Let’s look at an example.
A staffing firm implements a content marketing strategy. They create various pieces of content that are aimed to educate hiring managers and HR managers (their ideal customer) on best hiring practices, best ways to keep employees from leaving, best-interviewing tips, how to spot a fluffed resume, etc. When you think about, they are giving away their secret sauce, right? Wrong!
The staffing agency is making a calculated bet (based on experience) that most Enterprise hiring managers and HR managers are far too busy to source candidates for every job opening. They are also making a bet that these hiring managers suffer from several of the pain points that their content addresses (like hiring based off of a fluffed resume). Now, when the staffing agency makes a sales call to the Hiring manager or to HR, they should have their trust and should have authority. They should easily be distinguished from the other staffing agencies that are simply cold calling managers (just looking to take, not give).
Simple? Yes. Easy? Far from it. In fact, it’s this type of hard work that separates the winners from the losers when it comes to effective, impactful content marketing.