Social media sites, blogging, tweeting, YouTube – the internet is littered with a veritable treasure trove of usable content for savvy marketers. Yet for the uninitiated, understanding where to start can prove a daunting – if not near impossible – task.
Whilst it can be tempting to grab the nearest social media platform and launch a marketing assault, the absence of a measured, viable strategy will ultimately spell failure. Knowing what to put and where to put it is the key here, along with stringent content quality control.
A Steady Stream of Great Content
A targeted, concise approach will pay dividends in the long term. The first part of this article contains some essential steps towards building a long-term content strategy – look out for Part Two next month.
1. Understanding your audience
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Taking a little time out to assess your target audience will ultimately dictate the success of your long term goals. Different audiences have different needs, desires and expectations.
The internet is a great resource for researching tried and tested methods. Choosing topics and defining your message becomes simple when you know who you’re trying to reach.
2. Creating a message
The central focus of any successful marketing strategy should extend beyond simply pushing a product or service. An aggressive strategy is likely to fail more often than it succeeds and can easily damage your brand image long term.
Understanding what your audience wants and why they want it is the key to successfully engaging them.
Larger businesses for example will need to consider the bigger picture, perhaps interweaving content with related current affairs stories and think pieces to pull readers in. Small, local businesses might consider quirky anecdotes or local links to build an audience relationship. Tailor your content and the rest will follow.
3. Pace yourself
Whether you’re blogging, tweeting, YouTubing or updating your website – consistency is critical to success. Many would-be marketers start out with good intentions, falling at the first hurdle as they either lose interest or their marketing efforts take a back seat to the demands of work.
If daily updates aren’t viable, consider that monthly may not be enough to keep the content fresh and engaging. Create a realistic schedule that suits you and plan your content for the coming month in advance, or even a week at a time. This way you’re less likely to fall off the wagon straight away.
4. Plan a content calendar
In much the same way as your favourite magazine features monthly columns or weekly articles dedicated to a particular subject, linking relevant content to your schedule will help to pull your audience in. If a subject yields a particularly positive response from your readership, consider making it a regular feature.
Pose questions or ask for suggestions in relation to future content. Try it – you might be surprised at the response.
5. It’s good to talk
Short of ideas? A great way of finding fresh and engaging content ideas is to speak with fellow professionals in your field. Not only does this help to both build relationships and garner fresh ideas, but can also serve as useful content itself as a ‘spotlight’ style feature.
Don’t be afraid to bounce ideas off one another – the most enduring business relationships involve a mutual exchange of experience and knowledge. So, make a list of individuals you might like to interview and if it works for you, make it a regular feature in your content calendar. A little variety is more likely to keep your audience engaged and demonstrates.
Keep an eye out for 10 Steps Towards Building a Better Content Strategy – Part Two, coming next month. If you would like assistance with creating fresh content for your web presence, call 01454 261111.