How’s that content strategy coming along? If you feel like you are doing it all wrong, you’re not alone. It’s still uncharted territory for most people.
Here’s the first thing you need to know. Content marketing is similar to, but done right, quite different from company blog posts. Businesses have been using blogs to promote what’s going on internally. You don’t have to look far to find a blog littered with announcements about new hires or pictures from office parties. This may be, in the strictest definition, content, but it’s not content that markets your business by generating leads. No one is going to be drawn to your website because you bought some new furniture.
Instead of taking up valuable space with self-referential junk, begin with an editorial strategy. Your first job is to figure out who your readers might be. They are your potential clients. The most basic task of content marketing is to build trust around your brand.
Once you have a sense of the people you want visiting, it’s a quick step to get together a list of topics they might want to read. Some of it is easily generated by considering what questions come up frequently from current clients or prospects. You can also do Google searches using relevant keywords to figure out what questions people are asking around your business. An IT firm might look up “problems with data recovery,” for example and formulate a blog post offering solutions for data recovery.
Which leads me to the next thing you are doing wrong. You are selling. Content is not a place to promote your business. It is not advertising. It is more like publishing, sort of. Avoid at all costs pimping your brand, your products and your services on your blog post. Instead, think of yourself as a thought leader with wisdom to share.
Regarding the publishing model, don’t go there either. If you are stuck on creating a static amount of long form content, and you have rules about just how long your posts should be, you are stuck in the land of column inches. In content marketing, inches don’t matter (don’t get me started). Compelling infographics add literal color to your posts and can explain in images better than the proverbial thousand words.
Finally, if you are not doggedly promoting your content on social media, you might as well forget the whole thing. Getting people to share your content is another story altogether, but if you’ve done your homework and are offering smart content that answers people’s’ burning questions, the sharing will happen naturally. Oh, and a sizzling headline doesn’t hurt either.