Bill Gates was right when he said, “content is king.” In 1996, in the Internet’s infancy, Gates recognized an early shift in how we would communicate, and went even further to ask, what is content and how do we use it? The definition of ‘content’ varies depending on who you ask and what it means to different providers. For a writer, content means copy but for a salesman, content could mean collateral or marketing materials for selling points. For everyone–no matter the industry or use–content must be meaningful and provide information (ie: solve a problem/need) for the intended audience.
The point is, defining what content means to your business and implementing a strategy around it is crucial. Here are 5 tricks to help build your content marketing strategy:
1) Create a consistent content calendar
The only way to successfully generate enticing content, is to plan ahead. Create a content calendar to include blog post ideas, social media topics, FAQs, or big industry news. Assign staff members to research and write about various ideas and post. Be sure to allow for enough time to review the content and ensure it is appropriate for your audience. The best rule of thumb is to create a three month calendar ahead of time, but assign work 1 month prior to publishing. This way, it allows both you and your staff time to research, write, edit, and publish in a timely manner.
2) Repurpose content across all media
I follow businesses and organizations on multiple social media and content platforms. Why? Because I’m interested in reading different types of content, learning and understanding how content can be used across various mediums. You can use this strategy for your business. Just published a white paper that’s receiving a lot of attention? Create a mini-webinar series and post your sessions on YouTube. However, be sure to think about the platform and its audience when publishing content. Facebook followers don’t want to see hashtags in your posts or to be asked to retweet your information (though there has been rumors that hashtags will soon come to Facebook).
3) Ask your followers for input
Contrary to popular belief, asking for help isn’t a bad thing. In fact, asking your followers for their input or ideas is actually great for engagement and interaction. How else will you know exactly what to give your audience if you don’t ask them first? Followers like to know their opinions are valued and considered by businesses they follow. One example: authors are starting to schedule live Twitter chats and Facebook parties, where followers can finally ask their burning questions about endings and even score free stuff!
4) Provide succinct and shareable information
Again, keeping your medium and audience in mind is crucial when developing your content. Twitter only has 140 characters and links are included in the final character count. Luckily, there are URL shorteners, but if you’re able to get your point across in 120 characters, all the better. You want to make it as easy as possible for your followers to see your post, but more importantly, pass it along to their network and connections. Also consider using SEO friendly keywords when creating posts, making your information all the more searchable in Google.
5) Always close with a call to action
Yes, your content should be beneficial to your audience, but it should also have an overall goal or call to action that serves your business strategy as well. With so many connections and networks at your disposal it would be a missed opportunity not to ask or prompt them to engage, just be sure to make it worth their while!
Content marketing is a powerful tool in your overall marketing strategy. Start out small by creating a content calendar for a few mediums, until you get the hang of generating and scheduling fresh content. Don’t be shy about asking your followers for advice or help in generating your content, but be sure to return the favor by delivering short and sharable posts.