It’s the thing on most web marketers’ minds: how to influence consumers and potential customers.
More consumers are turning to blogs when trying to make a purchase, according to Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influence Report. In fact, blogs connect well with consumers when it comes to popularity, trust and influence. When making overall purchase decisions, consumers turn to blogs, which rank just behind retail sites and brand sites.
In the list of overall most trustworthy online sources of information, blogs belong at the top.
What the Stats Say
Research shows that:
- 90% of consumers find original content useful
- 20% of Internet users’ time on the Internet is spent on content
- 80% of Internet users appreciate learning about a company through original content
- 60% of consumers are inspired to search about a product after reading content about it
- 70% of consumers prefer learning about a company through articles over advertisements
- 82% of consumers feel more positive towards a company after reading original content
These are compelling figures about content marketing. Content should undoubtedly be an integral part in online branding strategy.
Steps to Streamline Content Creation and Marketing
Step 1: Identify the kind of content you’re best at
Are you good at writing, making videos or taking pictures? Identify what creative areas you’re skilled at. These are the types of content you should create because you’re good at them.
If, for instance, Photoshop isn’t your friend, don’t waste time trying to make graphics because: 1) your edited photos might come out bland and 2) you’ll spend too much time and end up frustrated.
A good approach is to focus on your key competencies and outsource what you’re not good at.
Step 2: Generate content ideas about your field of expertise
Brainstorming ideas always works to generate original content topics. Write down a list of at least 50 ideas, even vague and broad ones. Then go back to each item on the list to edit them.
Remember that content doesn’t only mean written articles. They can also be in the form of infographics, Vine videos, Instagram photos, press releases, YouTube videos, PowerPoint presentations, and more.
Step 3: Perform a content audit
An audit helps you understand the kinds of content you already have and how it maps to buyers and the sales cycle. It can also help you identify gaps and if pieces can be repurposed.
By performing an audit, you may find that an ebook you wrote can be repurposed into a blog post or a PowerPoint presentation. If you made video tutorials or a video series, maybe it can be delivered as a podcast or transcriptions.
There are several ways to present content just as there are many ways to skin a cat. Use your imagination and creativity to leverage already-published materials.
Step 4: Determine where to distribute content
Social networks and blogs are some of the top ways to distribute content.
Technically, blogs aren’t used for content distribution because they are a form of content and a content management system (CMS). Blogs naturally distribute and share content. They’re also usually integrated into a brand’s website to help increase search engine rankings.
Each social network is different. Here’s a list of what social media sites are best for various types of content.
- Links to images, videos, audio, presentations, PDFs, graphics, and blog posts
- Blog posts
- Links to blog posts and articles
Step 5: Manage distribution with a content marketing calendar
Having a content marketing calendar lets you stay ahead of your content needs. No more stressing on deadlines and hastily churning out articles. With an organized calendar, you’ll know what to produce next, have content ready, and identify where to publish content.
First, use an online calendar of make a spreadsheet to outline content marketing plans. Factor in article topics, your target audience and content channels. Plan at least three months in advance or six months to one year if you can manage it. Be careful about topics that may go stale or become irrelevant over time, such as industry trends.
Fill in the dates of the calendar with topics and kinds of content to be produced. Consider creating a balance among the types of content. For instance, you can post video tutorials once a week, maintain your blog twice a week, update social profiles daily, and so on.
Don’t forget to add the SEO keywords and calls-to-action you want to include in your content.
Step 6: Link to additional content
Don’t forget about SEO. On-page and off-page optimization can help improve your website’s traffic, search engine ranking, and lead generation goals.
Include links to other content you’ve published, within and outside your website and online profiles. Examples of content you can link to are product information and even relevant resources from third-party websites.
Associate these links with relevant and specific keywords and anchor text in your content.
Step 7: Don’t forget the sales team
Your sales team can also use the valuable, useful content. Make it easy for them so they won’t have a hard time using the content.
Consider making a single portal where the sales people can go to access the most current content. Let the sales team browse through the most powerful content for the sales cycle.
Don’t forget to use analytics tools for the online marketing efforts. Keep track of which content the sales staff uses least and most.
These steps will improve the efficiency of the whole content creation and marketing process. At the same time, you will no longer feel like content marketing is a chore and you will most definitely take the full advantage of content for growing your business.