Often when I meet with clients who want to use social networks and content marketing to expand their business, there’s a point where the penny drops and they say: “Wait a minute. We’re not a publisher. We’re a consulting firm” or “We’re recruiters” or “We’re technical experts in XYZ.”
That’s when I must gently break the news: If you want to do content marketing, you must be a publisher. And this means figuring out:
- who you want to reach (your audience)
- what you want to share with them (your message)
- what you want them to do (your call to action)
- how you’ll know when you’ve succeeded (measurement)
To accomplish all of this, you have to have content. If you’ve been in business a while you do have content. Trust me. It may not be in great shape, but it’s a starting point. Comb through your physical and electronic files and look for:
- reports and studies
- website content
- white papers
Organize these into categories. What’s up to date, what’s ancient, and what’s relevant to your clients’ needs today? Can you update the old stuff or should you toss it? Do you have the bench strength to edit and rewrite this material or should you outsource?
Next make a list of the new content required to fill the gaps. This content can be originated by you, or by others (curated content; more on this soon).
Remember to focus on the customers’ needs, not yours. In the end, you’ll fulfill your own goals if you start with those of the customer.
To give some structure to this effort, you can build an editorial calendar, which lists the material you’re going to publish, the format in which it will appear (text, audio, video, etc.), and who is responsible for creating it.
Be sure you’re publishing material that matters. Please don’t push out self-serving stuff. Your clients already know where to find sales materials on your website. With content marketing, you want to be helpful. You want to share materials that will enable them to solve their problems.
Once you have your editorial calendar in hand, plus a revived “back catalogue” of material, along with fresh content in the pipeline, you’ll feel more comfortable in the role of publisher. You can then start publishing, and using your social networking channels to amplify your content.
And, yes, you may have to start a blog. If you don’t want to call it a blog (and some people don’t), that’s OK. But you need a space online to publish content longer than a 140-character tweet.