Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or an independent author, somewhere between your third cup of coffee and second energy bar, you’re trying to build a brand. The most important asset in marketing is strengthening your content marketing strategy, and chances are you’re missing some of the most overlooked content marketing strategies.
Content marketing isn’t something that someone just pulled out of the sky. It has been around for quite a while and in order to apply it, you first have to understand it. Content marketing is creating blogs, e-books, articles, white papers, videos, commercials, flyers, or having people dancing in the hot sun with a hot dog for the sole purpose of being uploaded to social media. All of these things are done to draw attention to the products or services you are trying to promote.
Although you understand the basic definition of content marketing, you most likely have been going about it all wrong. You cannot just stop at uploading a video or hitting the ‘post’ button on Facebook with a link to where people can order your self-published book, service, or product. Instead, you need these ten pointers to help give you the best strategies possible:
#1: Plan Ahead
Think of content marketing as a summer vacation. You don’t walk into a vacation blindly; you choose where to go, what hotel to stay in, and which attractions to see. Content marketing is your destination, and you have to be clear and concise in its planning and execution.
#2: Who is Your Audience?
Have you ever taken a kid to a movie? You sit in the theater snoring, texting behind your stale bucket of $200 popcorn, rolling your eyes all the way to the back of your head. Then it happens, a hilariously inappropriate joke filled with just enough satire that you get it and the kids, rightfully so, do not.
This encounter did not happen on purpose. The creators, directors, writers, and producers knew that they needed you to enjoy the movie too because, unless your kid were a millionaire at age three, you are the person who’s buying the merchandise.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, figuring out your target audience should be your top priority and sometimes the savviest of people miss this opportunity. Don’t try to sell a book about cats to a dog lover, you will be broke.
#3: Figuring Out What Works
Finding the type of content that works for you is important. Whether it be a blog, a YouTube video, or a blurb on Facebook, you have to figure out not only who your target audience is but also where you will find them and how you will get their attention.
#4: The Copywriting Guru
The creative person can’t be creative all the time, and the savvy business person doesn’t always have the aesthetic to help draw attention to their business. Having an independent copywriter is beneficial.
If you are an independent author, and you are determined to write your own copy, be sure to research how to be a stronger writer. Although you may captivate your present audience with that terrific book you wrote, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can convince others that it is worth the read. Find your inner copywriter and be compelling and convincing or outsource.
According to Neil Patel, whether you have a website or a brochure, the way it looks is just as important as what you are selling. We can call it marketing vanity or content fashion, whatever you want. The point is if it sounds good and looks good, chances are you will see a boost in your target audience.
#6: The Internet is Your Greatest Ally
If you care about your content, you want it to be successful, and you want people to invest in what you have to offer. You want them to share your content and use the Internet to do it.
Once you have created your content, share it with the world via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and the list continues, seemingly endless. Create a powerful presence online and surely you will begin to see the fruits of your labor. If people can be famous for a 30-second video, then you can attract an audience. Patience coupled with persistence is key.
#7: Search Engine Optimization
If you just opened a business or wrote a book, don’t expect it to pop in a Google search. Having a strong online presence goes hand in hand with SEO. Understanding how SEO functions, its purpose, and how to utilize SEO is key to content marketing. Using the search engine to your advantage and doing it the right way will make your job easier and increase your target audience.
You can’t just stop at creating content, marketing, and increasing your audience. According to Barry Feldman, you have to be willing to dig deeper into those who are making an investment in you and listen to what they have to say. What would they like to see done bigger, better, or more efficiently? Be ready to take constructive criticism and make changes to your strategy if necessary.
#9: There is No Stupid Question
Technology is ever-changing and with it is the way in which you market yourself or your business. As it progresses, be sure to ask questions, research, and find the best result that will be beneficial and unique to what you want to accomplish.
#10: Be Proactive
It is crucial that you not only listen to your audience but after careful consideration you react. Do not be stagnant in keeping your customers, readers, or potential investors happy. Remember, you can’t please everyone. If the general consensus of the audience is persistent on your changing an element of what you worked so hard to get them to believe in, then you should do more than consider it. Do not abandon them!
Content Marketing is Not Simple
Content marketing is not easy. However, it does not have to be a complicated algebra problem either. If you consistently follow these steps, you will be on your way to becoming a self-marketing pro.