Kickstart Your Content Marketing by following a few simple starter steps. The overall principle in doing Content Marketing is to flesh out your Content Marketing Strategy and bring it all to life. If you’ve planned your strategy right, it should have given you a feel of your own strengths and ideal brand positioning; your product and service offerings; your likely target audiences and their segments, personas, buying behaviors and journeys; and your competition and its strengths and weaknesses. You should therefore have good clarity on what type of content formats you’d like to create, and which channels of content distribution you’d like to deploy.
Now that you have the “what and why” in place, you have to focus on the “how”. The Content Creation Process, for any small or big online business always starts with these few basics we are going to detail below. So just follow the instructions, and your foundations will be well set.
How and where do you begin your Content Marketing?
The diagram below shows a Progressive Content Expansion Plan which underlies the content creation process. At the hub of it all is the core set of Content Marketing components to start off with … which can then expand to include more components of Content Marketing, and even later any offline marketing as support.
Let’s look at the online Core Content Marketing Model in greater detail. It is visualized below. It has principally four components:
Your Business Website and your Business Blog
A business website and its accompanying blog need to be viewed as a “brochure-cum-magazine” combination. The predominant difference between a brochure and a magazine is that a brochure never changes its content unless we go for fresh updates and reprints. A magazine is fresh from issue to issue.
While our website should generally include our predominantly static or slow-changing content (e.g. About Us Page, Our Products and Services Pages, Contact Page etc.)., the blog has to be viewed more like a magazine full of category-segregated articles. New articles need to be regularly written and published complementary to our chosen marketing niche and target audiences.
The idea here is that potential customers, or even other stakeholders, would become easily bored and not be interested in frequent visits to our website, if the company information does not change often (as it won’t). On the other hand, the ever-fresh magazine style blog provides reason for people to return frequently to the website.
What you should blog about depends on your audiences buying cycles: Business blogging should be done to match content with what target audiences are looking for.
Now, this is where we have to factor in the buying journey that target audiences use. The buying journey is a diagram of the stages people typically go through, as they explore information before buying. To be able to sell products and services to people, we need to put out information on our niche topics that matches each stage of the buying journey.
This helps audiences to get enough information to progress to the next stage of their buying journey (hopefully getting readier and readier as they progress, to buy goods and services from us).
Here is a visual of the 8-step buying journey that audiences invariably go through before buying:
They first get triggered to become aware of something that interests them. They look for deeper information. They then do some comparison shopping of different sellers, and decide to give a chosen seller a try.
If happy, they buy – and experience the service the get with the purchase. If they’re happy again, they buy even more products from the same seller, and start recommending the seller to friends.
The diagram below also shows the kind of content they need at each stage to progress to the next stage.
Tying in with Social Media and Email Marketing
The social media – such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube – are to be viewed as traffic generators for our website and blog. When a blog post is written, we should simultaneously post short excepts of the post to the social media, with hyperlinks leading back to our blog … so that the social traffic is led back to where we can present ourselves as we want to.
Email marketing is another inseparable part of blogging and content marketing. Why is it important to the whole scheme of things? Here’s why.
Think what a waste of effort it would be if you posted on social media and brought lots of people to your blog and website, but had no way of then staying in touch with them to bring back, again and again, to your site? This is where email marketing becomes an invaluable add-on …
To be able to create a mailing list of people who have been visitors of your site is the whole purpose behind the email marketing game. On the website, and working along with the blog, we need to include an “optin form” with an enticing free downloadable “lead magnet” (perhaps an ebook, or an email course), that asks people to supply their email addresses if they wish to get regular updates from your site and blog.
Once people are on our mailing list, we have to keep an email campaign going (at an optimum frequency) so that they are reminded of us and our site, but don’t feel badgered to buy our services straightaway.
3 special concepts you can’t begin without
There are 3 special factors – or concepts, rather – that are critical to know before you begin your content creation. So get these into your mind!
1. Brand Storytelling
Brand storytelling is actually a technique of making your Content Marketing ultra-compelling. Experts commonly say that people don’t want to know what you do, they want to know why you do it.
William Craig in article in Forbes.com beautifully articulates the compelling power of brands that make storytelling part of their most powerful Content Marketing tactics.
He writes: “Your brand lives and influences customers as a part of an intrinsic relationship that shapes the social story of the world. That’s why powerful storytelling matters to the success of a brand in a highly competitive market. Adding storytelling to your marketing helps humanize your brand. After all, you’re not selling to goats — are you?”
“Connect authentically with your customers by utilizing these five essential elements of brand storytelling. Brand value is linked with its story. The benefits a company provides to its customers are communicated in the who, what, why and how of brand storytelling. Who are you? What are your values? What makes you unique? What’s your origin story that makes you a superhero among brands?”
“Think of a brand narrative as your company’s strategic statement that you pull from to create conversation and community with your audience. Find your uniqueness, and create a narrative of up to 500 words. Touch on the brand’s history and its evolution. Discuss future goals, giving back, essential products and services and beliefs.”
“Pull quotes and relevant details from this narrative to integrate into interviews, guest posts, campaigns and the company website. Use the power of the brand narrative wisely.”
Clearly it is not enough to merely create content – if you don’t actively promote it, the content will not be found by people who need to see it. Among the many ways there are for promoting content are the big three:
- Social media promotions: As mentioned above, you can use social media to announce every blog post you write – or even otherwise, post regular social updates that keep your brand top of mind with social audiences.
- Influencer/blogger outreach: One of the most hardworking methods of content promotion is influencer or blogger outreach. Tell people who are your peers in the market to help promote your content to their wide circles of influence. And then do the same for them.
Some will oblige. Some will oblige more than you expected. It all depends on building great relationships with those in your field, who matter most online.
- Guest blogging: Another way to promote your content would be by guest-blogging. Countless websites need content that they themselves are unable to create and produce at spate. So long as you can write for their sites, to their brand guidelines, they will offer to publish your guest posts, and give you a link or two back to your own site, to increase your site’s network of connections.
You will also become known as a great author, in many more places across the market, rather than just on your own site.
3. Repurposing content for amplification:
After the core components of your Content Marketing are stabilized, and producing some results, you can venture into repurposing your core content into other formats.
To repurpose is to convert the core content into other forms of content – such as converting your blog posts into Powerpoint slidedecks or videos or podcasts. You’ll be able to reach new audiences who prefer their content in such formats, rather than as readable text. This amplifies your content visibility and reach and gets you newer audience segments.
In summary … here’s your content creation workflow
When your content creation and content marketing process is set in motion, the cycle of progress should look like this:
- We have a site about our company and blog regularly about our niche topic.
- Our content answers audience queries at all points of their buying journeys.
- We post excerpts of our blog posts on social media and attract people to our blog.
- We have a lead-magnet and an optin form to capture email addresses of visitors.
- We then regularly email our mailing list to keep touching (but not pushing) them to do business with us.
- Parallelly, we continue to do a lot of content promotion to proliferate our visibility and reach across the Net.
- After our core campaign has acquired some traction, we begin to repurpose our core content (into slidedecks, videos or podcasts).
- We continue to look for newer ways to amplify access to newer audience sets.
So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of content-marketer solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
Other articles in our series “Content Creation Process”:
- How To Use Visual Content To Create More Appeal In Your Blog Posts!
- The Best Strategy You Can Use To Do Outstanding Content Curation!