There are certain tasks that are considered the norm for running a business, the tasks that you just do as part of an everyday routine… processing orders, balancing the books, tracking inventory, etc. Then there are the tasks that have become the norm, like creating content for your website and your social networks.
The idea of content creation and storytelling is in no way a new idea. Back in the 1890’s, John Deere launched a magazine for farmers called Furrow, sharing stories and helpful tips on modern agriculture. In 1955, Guinness published The Guinness Book of World Records, which to this day is one of the most frequently stolen books from the library (now that’s desirable content).
The internet informs our purchases and content is a driving factor in that decision making process. The reason I say content creation has become the norm is because if you are not writing content for your customers, whether on your own website, others websites or on your social networks, you may as well be living in a cave.
Something Nice to Nibble On
While you are hanging out in the cave, here are some tidbits of information that might help encourage you to take a walk in the content marketing sun (it really is warm and inviting).
Stats to digest:
- In 2012 there were 27 million pieces of content shared on the web each day
- Chances are your competitors are part of that mass of content generation that is happening in the digital world
- 1 in 5 social media messages include links to content
- If that content doesn’t come from you, it will come from someone else… sending users to their site, not yours
- Over 50% of consumers state that reading blogs has an influence on whether they make a purchase or not
- Your blog is content that you have complete control over and that can help drive sales
- 61% of consumers say that they are more likely to buy from a company that provide custom content
- Not only does quality content affect purchases, the trust you build with those individuals can help to grow your customer base
- Interesting content is one of the top 3 reasons why people will follow a brand on social
- Who doesn’t want to build a loyal fan base
Don’t Be a Marketing Caveman: Put a Digital Content Marketing Plan in Place
Just like any other component of an online marketing strategy, having a content plan in place is critical for the success of your content marketing activities. The goal is to establish yourself as an authority in your field, attract and influence your audience to help build awareness, interest, create loyalty and make advocates for your brand… all of which can result in transactions.
But wait, you don’t want to leap out of the cave without knowing what is outside, so think about this before you take those first steps…
- First, take a peek at what your competitors are doing – don’t steal, instead use it to get inspired and do a better job than they are
- Think of your content as an asset and a long term investment – this is a representation of your brand and it will be out there for a very, very long time
- Decide who you are writing for and what audience you are targeting
- Determine what emotions your content will fill – is it helpful content that informs the consumer on how to use your products or is it fun content that takes a spin on a trending topic
- Allocate time and budget for research – this is a crucial component to content creation
- Decide who will be writing and how often – be realistic about your internal bandwidth and decide if you need external help
- Find a way to repurpose content – this is often a good starting point and helps you to feel less overwhelmed by the process
- Tap into your audience for ideas – what are the frequently asked questions your customers have and can you make them into useful resources
- Mash it up – don’t just focus on one type of content, think about your content holistically, that includes blog, social media and website content
Once you have planned and created great content, it doesn’t stop there. The next step is to go out into the world and connect and engage with people. Social networks are a great starting point for getting your content out to your fans. After that, you want to find influencers who will be interested in your content and willing to share it with their audience. Keep track of who is taking action on your content and why. Remember that it is okay to reuse your content, you may be introducing it to people that did not see it previously.
Business owners rarely question the idea of adding an online component to their business, but many still argue the importance of growing their digital footprint and building brand awareness through a content marketing strategy. Bottom line is if you add value with your content creation, you will be successful. Creating high quality content is a long term investment that will not only build your brand and take your relationship with your customers to the next level, but can also help to withstand updates and changes to the Search Engine algorithm. When you diversify your digital footprint, you are no longer fully dependent on the Search Engines for being found online. Besides, cave dwelling was so 2012.