This past week I have been listening to Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi and it has me thinking differently about my content. Joe shares several stories about how content marketing has been responsible for turning businesses large and small around.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.What is Content Marketing?
I understand how important it is to be consistently creating quality content for your readers. I preach to clients all the time and I make certain they follow through. However, for my own business it is more of a challenge. When things are flowing nicely it is not a problem but when I am onboarding new clients or have several website projects at one time, my business is the one that goes on the back burner. Just like the cobblers kids. So I get it, it is difficult to do it all and that is the exact reason my coaching practice evolved into a full service digital marketing agency, to assist clients with staying consistent. And even though intellectually I understand the importance of content, Joe’s book drove home just how critical it is in today’s business climate.
Statistics tell us that 40% of all B2B companies now invest marketing dollars into content and it is estimated to double by 2017. Huge companies like Coca Cola have made big commitments to content that began in 2011. In this video Jonathan Mildenhall, Vice-President, Global Advertising Strategy and Creative Excellence explains how Coke will leverage the opportunities in the new media landscape and transform one-way storytelling into dynamic storytelling hoping to add value and significance to peoples lives.78% of CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing. (Source: Hanley-Wood Business Media) B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads than those that do not. (Source: InsideView) Once you write 21-54 blog posts, blog traffic generation increases by up to 30%. (Source: TrafficGenerationCafe) Small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that do not blog. (Source: ThinkCreative)
Izea contracted Halverson Group to conduct an independent analysis to explore the long-term value of a blog post.
Total blog post impressions reach 99% only after 2 years
Your content has a much longer life than you may have considered. Compare that to an ad whose life dies when the ad stops running. Add to that…Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links. (Source: Hubspot)
We all know that inbound links help to improve our search engine rankings. What Hubspot found in the same study as above is businesses that blog have 434% more indexed pages than businesses that don’t. Why are indexed pages important? The more pages you have on your site, the better your chances of getting found in search engines.
More leads, better search engine results, long life, all of these sound like valid reasons to create great content in various formats. And this begins with a great plan. When I work with a client we talk about strategy and the plan that brings it to life. It is time I devote the time to really create the Content Marketing Strategy for my own business.
First step is to determine what business goals do I want my content to help me achieve? What is the biggest challenge?
- Build awareness
- Improve search engine rankings
- Distinguish my business from the competition
- Generate more leads
- Converting more leads
For my business I will focus on the last two. What is the biggest challenge your business is facing?
Step two what is the purpose of my content. Develop a Content Marketing Mission Statement. What is the reason I will continue to create content and the priorities in pursuit of the mission.
Who is my audience: Mine is Solopreneurs and micro business owners. This is a critical step to ensuring your success with content marketing.
What will I deliver for my audience: The types of information I will provide through my content. I will focus on information relevant to new startups as well as; sales and marketing information for existing businesses.
The desired outcome for my audience: They will have the information needed to achieve their goals themselves or enough information to ask great questions and hire someone to help support their sales and marketing efforts.
To hone in on the process I will answer these questions:
1. What is my goal?
2. What target audience can help me satisfy that goal?
3. What valuable experience — aside from my services — can I deliver at a key stage of their journey?
4. What makes MY approach to delivering this value different? What is the DIFFERENT story that I am telling?
Now based on goals what are the content ideas? To increase leads by 25% within 6 months. What will your goals achieve?
If you have not done so yet build the Personas for your Target Market. Who will my content reach? How will it provide value beyond my products and services? How can I use content to support them on their buyer’s journey?
With the goals in mind and your personas developed will you content ideas that is intended to meet your business goals also meet your persona’s needs?
Here is the hard part. What is my unique story that will have an emotional connection with my audience. Content Marketing Institute has a free workbook with a great exercise for developing your story.
What topics will I cover? How often will I publish, and on which channels? This has been in place for some time. Although I recently added Instagram so I can promote my new upcoming iPad magazine. And I am going to blend Periscope into the mix and possibly Blab.
What editorial guidelines and quality standards will I set? Must be consistent with my brand (solutions for solopreneurs); my tone will be educational and inspirational; I will publish a mix of original content and curated content.
Now here is the big question, how often will I publish. I am going to commit to twice a week and once I have that habit established I will add one more.
What about you what will you commit to?
Blogs that post every day generate 4 times more leads than those that posts weekly or less. Encourage people to guest post on your blog to increase frequency.Companies that publish new blog posts 15+ times per month (3-4 posts per week) generate five times more traffic than companies that don’t blog at all. (NewsCred)
How will I track and measure my progress? I have a very detailed tracking sheet that I complete each month. Simply installing Google Analytics can make the tracking easier.
Who is on my team and what are their goals? Yes even solopreneurs need a team. I have an excellent editor (I don’t always have her edit my posts, but I am usually sorry when I don’t). And my VA will help with research when needed.
These decisions should all factor into your tactical plan. Are you ready to join me in making a stronger commitment to your content creation plan?