Content Marketing 101: How to start from the ground up
Content marketing is the most effective way to attract people to your brand. If you’re just starting out, you’re in for a lot of fun. At first, it may seem insurmountable, but before you know it, you’ll achieve the glory of successful content marketing.
Marketing techniques, such as content marketing, can take time and dedication to be successful. It’s a long-term strategy! To add content marketing as a strategy for your business, you’ll want to start with some basic steps, and then scale them as you get more comfortable and advanced.
You’ll Need to Come up With Goals and a Mission Statement
The Content Marketing Institute reports that the two most essential parts of getting started with this form of advertising is to:
- Identify your goals
- Come up with a mission statement
Be as specific as possible. Your goals and mission statement should be measurable, so you can know when your content marketing is working for you. Think about how much of an increase in traffic you want, how much more revenue, etc. You won’t know you’ve succeeded if you don’t know where success is.
Tip: This is the fun part, because you are defining your vision! The goals are simply what you want to achieve for your business and the mission statement should be a compilation of what you want and what you want to give your customers.
Plan the Content for a Week, Month or Longer
Once you’ve got your ideas down, it’s time to take action. An editorial calendar can help you plan for holidays, connect topics and organize. While you may find this to be time consuming at first, you’ll be in love with it after a couple of months because you’ll find that it keeps you moving forward without wasting time trying to think what you’re going to write about next.
You can create a simple editorial calendar on Word or Excel. For a more advanced option, you might consider downloading one of the many templates available online.
Tip: Set aside time at the beginning of each month to organize your content. If you’re setting up an editorial calendar for the year, you may want to devote an entire afternoon to it. A year-long calendar will be good for bigger items, but give yourself some flexibility, as the industry and your ideas may change over time.
Learn How to Write an Effective Article
You may have your goals and editorial calendar, but they won’t matter if your content isn’t effective.
There are six types of blog posts you should learn how to write:
- How-To posts. Can be incredibly helpful to readers, especially if you are providing troubleshooting for issues they may be having with your products.
- List-Based Posts. Give readers several options they can consider when trying to make a decision.
- Curated Posts. Taking ideas from several different websites, which can be highly valuable to readers since they don’t have to visit many sites to find what they need.
- SlideShare Presentations. For the visual learners out there.
- Newsjacking Posts. Write about search trends. People are searching for topics, and you’re giving them the information they need.
- Longform Posts. These posts are much longer and more informational than other types. They can be as long as 1,500 words, or even over 2,000 words, depending on your topic.
As you can see in this long-form example, the format includes subheadings, bullets, short paragraphs and related images. This helps readers scan the information and then focus in on what’s important. Not only do search engines love this type of content because it has a lot of information for their Internet users, readers love it because they get valuable information in one place.
Tip: Writing high quality content takes time. Shorter articles may take you 60 minutes, while longer ones can take as long as two hours or more, including research. As you get better at writing, you’ll get faster, but never sacrifice quality for quantity.
Share the Gift of Content
Treat your content like a gift to be shared and do so on all your social networks. It’s also important to make sharing easy for your readers. Many of them will likely want to put it on their feeds, and you can make it easier for them by having social media sharing icons next to your posts.
This has such a wide range of skill level because sharing a link is easy, but knowing what to do on social media to improve your brand can be more challenging. Just start with posting the links and trying to engage with your audience. Through experience, you’ll learn what you need to do to get noticed.
Tip: The more time you put in, the more results you’ll see.
Repeat for as Long as You’re in Business
According to SocialTimes, “Unique content is essential for a site’s natural Google ranking. Ninety-four percent of search engine users click on organic results compared to six percent on PPC.”
It’s essential to continue publishing high quality content on your website and sharing it on social media. The more unique the content, the more traffic and brand awareness you’ll receive. Each month, you’ll have to create an editorial calendar, continue to write effective articles, and give the gift of content.
Tip: At least an hour a day should be devoted to writing and marketing your content on social media.
Remember, content marketing is anything but soft. You need to work hard. The harder you work, the better the rewards. You may not see results in the beginning, but if you keep going, your small business will see the fruits of your labor.