As a business owner, content marketing may be something you already do in some capacity. But if you’re not yet all in, it’s time to get on the content strategy bandwagon. Potential customers eat up content like it’s candy on Halloween. They can’t get enough. Make sure you’re giving them Reeses’ quality content.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is creating and sharing great content that will attract potential customers and lead them to take action with your business. It’s crucial for your business because it helps build trust between you and your customers. And it does this because it’s not about your business or what you do, it’s about how you can bring value to the customer. Content marketing isn’t about the sale; it’s about the relationship.
Today, 78% of consumers prefer articles over ads as a way to get to know a company. That’s just one example of content. To do it right, you need to:
- Create relevant, valuable content
- Get it in front of the right audience
- In a consistent, actionable way
American Girl is one example of successful content marketing. While it seems like selling a doll would be as easy as putting it on the shelves of a big box store, American Girl takes it a step further by focusing on the relationship. They offer in-person events, apps, videos, games, quizzes, movies, and even books, some that have nothing to do with dolls. Instead, it’s about the experience surrounding the things the doll owners enjoy. People buy the dolls because of the relationship the company built around the dolls.
What is Content Strategy?
It seems like a high number, but 63% of businesses don’t have a documented content marketing strategy. You may have the desire to put great stuff out there, but the strategy is important because it’s the plan for it all. A strategy helps you make it relevant, valuable, consistent, actionable, and targeted versus just pushing content out randomly.
Looking back on the example of American Girl, do you think they just decided willy nilly to do all those things? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Having a solid plan helped them create an empire.
Why Content Strategy Gets Put Off
Many businesses avoid creating a content strategy because they don’t have the experience or know-how, so they put it at the bottom of the list. But marketing doesn’t stop. We market ourselves every day, and the same goes for our businesses. And content marketing helps you set yourself apart from the competition, so having a plan is crucial. Here are a few common reasons people give for hesitating to jump on the content strategy bandwagon:
- I’ll start a blog someday.
- When I have X amount of customers, I’ll start an email list.
- I can’t do XYZ like my competition, so I shouldn’t try that approach.
- When I have more money, then I’ll plan my marketing strategy.
- I don’t really like social media, so I’ll skip it.
Getting on the Content Strategy Bandwagon
The great news is that there are support systems out there that can help you achieve your content marketing goals and even help you master your content strategy. There are small steps you can take to get your content strategy underway, and many platforms help you dig deeper. You’ll want to do that eventually, but you have to start somewhere.
- Research: Analyze your competition. Find out what kind of content is wanted by your customers. And learn about the best ways to deliver that content. BuzzSumo is a great website for this step.
- Organize: Take the info you found in step one and make notes. Have a place you can keep ideas to share with your team. You can use a platform like EverNote or Trello for this.
- Plan: This is the calendar aspect of preparation. Decide what kind of content, when, how, and where. Put it down and make a plan to carry it out, even if that means hiring others to help.
- Create: At this stage, you develop the images with Canva, write the blogs or hire someone to write them for you, and produce anything related to the content.
- Share: Focus on getting your content out to your consumers. Think in terms of meeting them on their playground. Make sure you’re on social media. It doesn’t have to be all channels, just the ones your customers frequent the most (you learned which ones in the research stage).
- Repeat: continue with these steps and remember to dig deeper eventually.
Someday is Now
Content marketing is the way the world is moving, and having a content strategy will help your business grow. There are marketing tools that make it easier. There are also places like WriterAccess that offer content writers to make your content shine. Are you ready?
After receiving her Bachelor’s of Education from Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, Angela B. taught 2nd graders for eight years. In 2008, she then pursued her dream of writing and began working as the editor of Cy-Fair Magazine. She has since helped Cy-Fair Hospital as its marketing assistant, American Artists & Writers Inc as a virtual assistant, and managed the social media and blog of Hand to Hold, a non-profit helping preemie parents. Angela now freelances entirely from home in Houston and has added graphic design to her list of talents.