Content marketing isn’t new. Since the dawn of the internet, marketers have been using content to drive traffic and generate leads. The only difference now is that people are finally seeing content as an integral part of their marketing strategy, whereas before it had been just something they did for the sake of doing it.
When it comes to content marketing, we are competing with everyone else for a moment of our target market’s attention. It’s a tough game, and getting your signal heard among the noise can be quite frustrating. Coming up with information that matters to your readers each and every time can be tough and at times seemingly impossible, but you have to play hard to stay in the game. Here are 8 steps that can help you generate the most interest from the content you have available.
Everything starts with an idea. The key to doing anything well is execution but without an intriguing concept, there’s nothing to execute. When it comes to content marketing, coming up with a topic that will resonate and provide value to your target market is essential.
You know your market more than anyone else does. When deciding what topic to cover, make sure you know what your market is looking for. What are the questions they ask most often? What are the most popular search terms and phrases? What are the problems your content, products, and/or services typically solve? Use these questions to help you brainstorm a list of concepts that provide the answers. Once you have come up with an initial idea/topic, move on to the second step.
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When you an find idea you really get excited about, it always seems like the most brilliant concept ever. It’s very rare, however, for the initial idea to be the best one. So don’t just jump on your initial topic and start cranking out content. Make sure to research the topic to see what else is already out there.
Unless you are reinventing the wheel, you will most likely find plenty of information on the subject you are trying to cover. Find a few articles that are relevant and have generated plenty of sharing and comments. The key is to always do in-depth research on what you are thinking about producing before you create it.
At this point, you are finally ready to move forward. You have come up with a concept and researched the topic as best as you can. Now it’s time to fine tune your initial idea. Among all the content you were able to find for your initial topic, I am sure there’s something that hasn’t been covered in the best possible way. You could most likely narrow your initial topic and focus on some aspect that hasn’t been covered yet. This is your opportunity to provide something that isn’t widely available for your readers. Capitalize on what everyone else has missed providing to your market.
Now that you have the exact topic you think is going to do well, it’s almost time to move forward with content creation, as soon as you know what form that content will take.
There are many types of content, and all of them are effective in their own ways. Before you move forward with putting the content together, make sure you know the best form of content to produce. It could be an article, a video, an infographic, a white paper or anything else.
What would be the best type of content for the subject matter you are covering? Is it an instructional piece? If so, maybe it will do well as a video. Is it something that has a lot of data that would be useful for your readers to compare? That sounds like it would be good as an infographic. So basically, don’t just jump into creating something without thinking about how the content would best serve your readers.
In some cases, a single concept can be spun into many different types of content. For example: A long form article can be turned into a presentation with key points. If it’s an infographic, it can be turned into an article as well with mini-graphics and detailed explanation of each section. The key is to get the most out of your content. If a concept can take different forms, you should definitely utilize it so you can maximize the ROI of your content and all the research and expertise you’ve used to compile it.
When you consider the best platforms, there are many that you can use. The first and one of the most critical ones is obviously your own blog, but, as mentioned above, each concept can take on different forms for each individual platform. So if you are turning an article into a presentation as well, the article can reside on your blog and the presentation can go on slideshare as well. The chances of your content doing well is much higher when you have wider exposure and reach.
When utilizing other platforms besides your own blog/site, make sure you take steps in designing each one to funnel back the traffic to your own site. Think of your site/blog as your home and every other platform as a rented space. At the end of the day, you want that traffic and exposure coming back to your site so you can build a consolidated audience.
Content may be the king but without proper distribution, no one will ever see that king rule. You have heard it said and most likely experienced it as well—you can produce the best content out there, but without proper distribution, it won’t have the effect you want.
You should carefully plan your distribution efforts. If you are using different platforms for your content, make sure each platform is given a fair amount of attention. If your content sits on your blog and another platform (slideshare, docstoc, Visual.ly, etc.), don’t focus on promoting that content just on your blog. Promote your content on all platforms. Each one has the potential to bring you new leads that may not even know about your blog.
If you don’t pay attention to results, you will never know what needs to be done. This is why it’s key to measure how your content is doing. The best way to measure the ROI of your content depends on you and your business. If you are a blog whose revenue depends on traffic, pageviews is probably your key metric. If you are a service or product business, leads are key to seeing positive ROI from your content.
Always make sure to measure your content on all platforms. We have the opportunity to measure every single one of our efforts when it comes to content marketing, so make sure to utilize the data to its full extent.
If we knew instinctively how to make each and every type of content we produce go viral, we would all be swimming in a pile of cash. As with any other type of marketing, content marketing isn’t a fool-proof solution when it comes to getting the word out. The idea you think will perform best sometimes winds up falling flat on its face. It happens. Sometimes what we expect doesn’t become reality.
If you follow these 8 steps, you are most likely already creating content that is much better than what most do. So what if one plan you produced didn’t do so well? It’s ok. You have measured your effort and you now have a better idea as to what works and what doesn’t. As a matter of fact, you now have improved knowledge of what works on each individual platform. So go ahead and learn from your mistakes and your strokes of genius. Content marketing is all about learning as you go and making the next creation better than the last one.