Do you have a new online business and want to know how to create a content marketing strategy in order to grow your business? You’ve come to the right place!
In this post, we will discuss when it’s time to start creating a content marketing strategy, what a content marketing strategy looks like for your business and how you can create a content marketing plan to support your strategy from scratch. Ready? Let’s go!
What is Content Marketing?
As a new entrepreneur, you are likely looking for the best ways to build your business. Content marketing is one way to do this.
The core idea of content marketing is people get to know, like and trust you through the valuable and engaging content you produce. They will get to know more about your business and start to trust it because they have come to know and like it through its helpful content over time.
There are different types of content that you can use including blog posts, social media posts with quotes or memes, videos or podcasts.
It’s important to create valuable content, not just fluff. This means that it is important to know your audience.
It’s also important to keep a regular schedule for posting or creating new content so people can get used to looking in the places where you show up most frequently for the information you produce.
Once they begin trusting you as a source for helpful information, they’ll be more likely to listen when you promote a product or service.
Why does content marketing work?
The truth is, it isn’t just one thing. There is a number of reasons for this but we’ll discuss the most common ones here:
It builds trust and authority
Consumers turn to their peers as information resources when making major purchases. Part of that research often takes place online, on social media and through review sites.
Content marketing builds trust with your customers by demonstrating you’re an expert in your industry and that you can solve their problems. It helps people make decisions – As consumers become more discerning about the products they buy, it becomes harder to sell them something they don’t want.
Instead of simply trying to sell, companies need to focus on building relationships with their customers. Content marketing puts you in the position of being a trusted advisor and it’s often more straightforward to build that relationship through content than using traditional sales techniques.
It increases your traffic
We’re all looking for ways to increase our website traffic. You just can’t buy it through paid advertising or promotion. You need to be creating content that people want and then you’ll start to see exponential growth in your traffic.
It helps with lead generation
Lead generation is big business these days as more businesses are looking for ways to generate leads without having to pay tons of money for it. Content marketing helps tremendously here because if you’re creating relevant, interesting content then your audience will want to share it with their friends.
It’s low cost
You’d be surprised how much money is spent on advertising each year. With content marketing, you can create a ton of engaging and valuable content cheaply. Not only that, but you’ll be able to track the effectiveness of your efforts and improve over time.
If done correctly, content marketing can adapt to fit any kind of situation or marketing need. In some situations, you may want to create a microsite that addresses a particular question or topic. In others, it might be a blog post, infographic or a video. Content marketing will grow as your needs do!
What does a content marketing strategy look like?
You might be wondering how you can take all of the above and make it work for your business? Well, here’s where it gets interesting. There isn’t one set way to create a content marketing strategy that will work across the board for everyone. In fact, what works for one business might not work at all for another.
So what does your content marketing look like and how do you create a content marketing plan?
One of the biggest mistakes in my opinion is to just start throwing things against the wall and hoping something sticks. You need a plan to guide your efforts and you should start by assessing what works best for your business and your audience.
There are three key areas you need to consider when it comes to content marketing:
- What kind of content do you want to create?
- Who is your target audience?
- Where will you share it?
Here’s how to answer these questions in more detail:
1) What kind of content do you want to create?
This one seems pretty straight forward and there are actually a number of different things that you should consider here.
Do you have someone on staff who can create the content internally? Do you need to hire someone, outsource the work or will you be doing it all yourself?
Would it make more sense for you to create a series of video training programs? How about an online course that helps answer common questions your audience might have? Is there a relevant event coming up that you can speak at where people will want to hear what you have to say?
If you’re just starting out with content marketing, I usually recommend that you create a blog that you post to, on a weekly basis. All businesses can benefit from creating an engaging blog that serves their audience. In fact, your site is often the biggest opportunity to create more value for your target customer than any other medium.
2) Who is your target audience?
I think one of the biggest mistakes that businesses make when it comes to content marketing is not really knowing who their target audience is. If you don’t know who they are and what they want, then how can you create valuable content for them?
One way to figure this out is by conducting some market research. This can take many forms but one of the best things you can do is speak with some actual customers and find out what they are looking for or struggling with.
Don’t forget to think about the tools that your target audience might use to search online as well, like Google or social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc…)
3) Where will you share it?
This is another area that can often be overlooked when creating a content marketing strategy. Where are your customers or prospects most likely to see your content?
Will they find it through social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc…)? Maybe they visit industry blogs on a regular basis? No matter how you plan to bring in traffic to your site, make sure you know where it’s going to come from and use that information when creating content.
It’s a mistake to try to be everywhere when you’re first starting out as it will lead to burnout. By figuring out where your audience is and focusing on 1-2 platforms at first will get you more success.
What is a Content Marketing Plan?
A content marketing plan is where you list out your strategy for developing and distributing your content. The work in this document will serve as the roadmap for putting your content marketing strategy into action.
What should be in a content marketing plan?
Here are 8 things every entrepreneur needs to include:
1) The name and purpose of your blog or website as well as what you hope to accomplish with this platform (i.e., create awareness).
2) When do you want this blog or website updated (i.e., weekly)?
3) Who will be publishing this content (i.e., me)?
4) How often that person should create new posts on a weekly basis, for example?
5) What type of content you will produce and who in the business is going to create it (i.e., quotes, infographics)?
6) How will you measure success for each piece of content? Is it based on shares, traffic or conversions? If conversion is your aim, will you track form submissions, downloads or actual sales?
7) What kind of social media channels should be used to promote the content (i.e., LinkedIn)?
8) Are there certain segments of the market that you’re targeting (i.e., nonprofits who want to learn how to use digital marketing)?
Content marketing plans should be revisited at least twice a year to re-evaluate strategies that aren’t working and add in new tactics.
When should you create a content marketing strategy?
As a new entrepreneur, you want to create your content marketing strategy before you start your business. And put together your content marketing plan as soon as possible.
You should start generating content to populate your blog and website with while you prepare for launch, so when you launch and people land on your website you have content that lets them know about you. And you have content to start attracting clients to your site and offers.
You should have specific launch content to promote your new business on social platforms.
What tools do you need to Implement a Content Strategy?
It is important to invest in the right content strategy tools especially if you’re a solopreneur. These tools will save you time and create higher-quality content with greater consistency.
There are lots of tools out there for creating online content that will help you do this at no cost or very little cost.
Here are some I recommend:
- A website or blog space where you can post articles and other resources (here’s my step-by-step guide to building your website quickly)
- An email list so you can stay in touch with your readers (I recommend either Convertkit or Aweber)
- Software to help you create graphics and videos for social media (tools like Canva)
- A Facebook page or Instagram account if you want to share content on these platforms. Or any social platform your ideal client hangs out on.
- Social Media automation tools to schedule your social media content. (Planoly, Tailwind, Buffer or Smarterqueue)
Create a Content Marketing Strategy That Works
We’ve established that it’s important to have a strategy and a plan for the type of content you should create. It’s also important to know when you will make it, and who in your business should be doing the work (even if right now it’s only you).
You should start by establishing your content strategy early on. Preferably well before you launch.
The easiest way to create a marketing strategy is to start making these decisions:
- What are your overall business goals and marketing goals?
- How will your content marketing strategy support you in reaching those goals?
- What will be your primary type of content (written blog articles or video)?
- Where will you share that content? (On your own blog, on YouTube etc.)
- How often will you publish your primary piece of content?
- What social platforms will you share your content on?
- Which platform will be the primary traffic source?
- Will you need to create an editorial calendar?
Once you’ve developed a strategy, determine which tools will help implement it. Tools like Canva can be helpful for creating graphics, and tools like Tailwind, Later, Planoly and Buffer are great resources for sharing content across social media platforms.
Once you have a strategy laid out in your plan, the next step is to create an editorial calendar to implement it.
This blog post has been written to help you learn how to create a content marketing strategy that works for you. Whether your business is just getting started with this type of plan or if it wants to improve the effectiveness of its current strategies, I hope my tips are helpful!
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