Content Marketing Resolutions for 2018
So it’s 2018, you have your business and marketing goals set for the new year, and now it’s time to take action! If you’re a mid-sized to large business, hopefully one of your goals this year is to implement a content marketing strategy in conjunction with your overall marketing plan. If you’re sitting there scratching your head as to what content marketing is, or how it can be utilized for your business, read on.
Content marketing is a blanket term that applies to a wide range of marketing tactics--focused on content and storytelling. If you think about it, in 2018 most of your marketing tactics should be in part or as a whole focused on your target audience, what they care about, why they should care about your brand, and how your product or service will benefit them. These are the bones of your ‘brand story’ and each articulation of your story can be a content marketing tactic.
Many large brands already employ a content strategist, or even a whole department focused on content and storytelling. But, in the small market of Central Oregon, where Summary is headquartered, we still find that many business owners and leaders are just beginning to understand what content marketing is and why they should care. So, if you are just getting started on your first content strategy, or if you want to know where to start, we have six simple tips to get you moving--but know this list just scratches the surface. Stay tuned throughout the year as we share more of our content tips and experiences.
Define your content marketing goals
Just as you have laid out your SWOT analysis in your brand’s overall marketing strategy, establishing the foundational buckets and bumpers of your brand story and supporting content marketing efforts is the first step.
A few questions you might answer as part of this exercise include:
If your brand was an animal or celebrity, who would you be? Why?
Who are your target audiences?
What are your customer pain points?
Where do you find your customers?
What do your customers care about? Why?
How can you help solve a problem for your customers?
Each of the answers to the above questions will help to establish a starting point for a storyline that can be told on your website, on social media and across all marketing platforms.
Brand personas are necessary
Developing out brand personas for your product or service may seem silly, unnecessary, too time-consuming or too expensive. However, if you don’t take the time to make sure your brand has current and clear personas for your target audiences, it is more likely that the writers and marketers, vendors and employees working on promotional pieces for your company will miss the mark on the voice, tone and overall goal of your content marketing efforts. If you are concerned about cost and ROI--and we know you are--then spending the time and or budget up front to create some kick-ass personas for your brand that are spot-on and truly represent your audience(s) is a crucial first step in making sure your content is received well, is effective and produces ROI. If you have outdated personas, now is the time to update them!
If you need to know where to start, check out this blog by Inc.
Launch a blog + build a blog strategy
Your website and your blog is the one storytelling platform you own. If you don’t already have a blog for your brand, launch one--yesterday! 🙏 Your brand’s blog should be the centerpiece for most of your marketing efforts and be the hub from which your brand’s message can ripple out onto other online platforms, like social media and Google. The benefits of blogging are still being uncovered, but without question, a well executed and well-maintained blog is the most effective tool your company has to own and deliver the story you want to tell. Your blog strategy is the starting place for creating a successful blog, and the roadmap that helps guide your brand.
If you need more information on creating a solid blogging strategy, read this Blog Tyrant article.
Invest in content quality, not quantity
Creating a blog post, e-book, infographics or social media post ‘just to do it’ and check off the box isn’t going to increase ROI for your brand. Once you have established your content goals for the year, it’s time to consciously and sensitively create projects around your content that are a) achievable, and b) see the project to its full fruition, without cutting corners or skimping on quality. The worst thing you can do is churn out 10 blogs per month (for example), but refuse to focus on the audience who will be reading those pieces, whether the content will resonate with them, why you are writing the post, and how you will maximize your blog post’s exposure. If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, will it make a sound? The same is true for your marketing content: If you create a beautiful piece and no one is there to read it, or the project misses the mark, was it worth it?
Take risks with your content
There are times when you need to wait and watch in business, and there are times when you can’t get the reward without taking the risk. We’re not talking about taking unnecessary or un-calculated risks, but digital marketing is one part strategic thinking and one part testing to see what works. If you don’t jump on an idea or make your brain-child happen with swift precision, you will often miss out on key opportunities to show your worth, play with the big-dogs and reap the rewards. Take a stand for something, make a statement, try a new tactic--we dare you. 😉
Don’t ignore a key platform
Your website, your blog, your social media profiles, they all are important pieces and should have key roles in your overall content strategy. If you focus on your blog, but ignore your social media channels, or create a superb website, but ignore an opportunity to grow credibility through your blog, over time the gap in focus will be noticeable and you will fall behind your competitors and peers.
Please note: We are not suggesting that you should be everything to everyone, or be EVERYWHERE without purpose. This is where creating a content marketing strategy becomes especially useful, as well as those customer personas we mentioned earlier. 👆
What you want to do, is figure out where your content will perform the best, then lean into those efforts and promotional platforms.
Example: If you are a microbrewery in Bend, Oregon--and yes, we have plenty of those here, you will want to spend time creating personas for a male and female customer who loves your beer. You’ll also want to think about what those people do outside of drinking your lovely brew, including, hobbies, jobs, income, etc. Then you will want to meet those customers online where they live. Likely, they are young, outdoorsy, make a median income level, etc. You’ll want to focus on social platforms and blogging styles that appeal to that group. Then put your content where your customer is--period! 💡 🙌
For more on how to build a content strategy, etc., read our blog on creating a social media content strategy, or this Content Marketing Institute blog on creating an overall strategy for your content.