Just when you thought your “to do” list couldn’t get any longer! Think again…You’ve done your research and have decided that content marketing is the way to go to reach your audience. Great! Now what?
Deciding to pursue content marketing is just part of the battle. The larger war you’ll encounter is where to start and more importantly, how to keep the flow of content coming.
Luckily, you have a seasoned content marketing general on your side! I’ll give you some simple strategies you can use to implement a content marketing program and give you practical insight into how to know what to write and how to distribute your content.
- Do your research. Ask yourself these questions: What are your prospects interested in reading about? What are their pain points? Determine what online channels they frequently visit so you can position your content on these sites to rack up views. Tip: You may have unearthed some of this information during your customer research phase. Revisit your notes and leave no stone unturned.
- Create a simple schedule. Now you’ve figured out what topics and content formats your audience prefers. Next up…craft a content schedule. This can be done using Excel or similar spreadsheet software. Divide the spreadsheet into content entries. For each entry list:
- Content subject
- Format (blog post, infographic, interview, etc)
- Date to be published
- Channels to be published on
Invest the time now to flush out your entire content schedule for the upcoming quarter. This way you’ll have a clear plan of action with deadlines to keep you honest.
- Assign content to a content producer. You’ve got your calendar, list of entries and publishing dates. This is a great start, but there’s still no content to send out. Identify content producers in your team and allocate each piece of content to a team member. Be sure to spread the responsibility throughout your team to avoid overworking one team member which could lead to a block in your content production flow. Tip: Keep in mind that content comes in different forms. If you have team members who are not the strongest writers allow them to be creative in how they structure and present the content they produce. They may even have great brainstorming ideas to shape the content. The key is: 10 page white papers are not for everyone – and this is okay – find what they can contribute and embrace it.
- Distribute the calendar to your team. Nothing is worse than a due date that you didn’t know existed. Give your content producers a significant lead time so they can produce the best content possible. Tip: You may need to still manage the content production even if they already have their marching orders – ever heard of procrastination? If graphics have to be found or research done waiting to the last minute and doing a rush job is sure to ruin the quality.
- Do a brain dump. Take the content topic and put some ideas down on paper. Create a rough frame and don’t worry about making it look pretty or sound good. Sleep on it and then go back and start refining the words and the flow until you’re happy with it to hand over for a final proof-read and review. Tip: If you have a copywriter on deck, hand over your frame to them and let them work their magic. This may cost a few dollars, but it can save you tons of time, especially if writing is “not your thing” or if your to-do list is already maxed out.
- Work ahead. If you can, it is always a great strategic move to develop a month of content at a time. This way you’ll have content pieces in the works well before you need them.
The content is written, signed, sealed and ready to be delivered. But, how are you going to distribute it?
- Invest in a scheduling tool. Online distribution systems like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social allow you to schedule your content across the channels your customers use. Upload the content, set the distribution date and you’re job is done! Well…almost. Once the content is scheduled, you’ll need to allocate time to monitor the response(s) to your content and handle them accordingly. Tip: Ensure you have a lead generation process set up so you can capture potential leads that may want more information about your business after reading your amazing content.
Content marketing doesn’t have to be rocket science
It just requires discipline, thought, and a team motivated to produce quality content that your audience will want to read and appreciate. You’re not alone in this battle. There are great copywriters out here that can work wonders on your content if you feel you may be struggling creating content that converts.
As always please share your thoughts: the good, the bad and the ugly regarding content marketing. What strategies have you used to keep producing content and engage your audience?
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