LinkedIn and Twitter and blogs, oh my!
If this is a familiar refrain, then you’ve likely found yourself perched at the edge of the content marketing pool, all suited up with floaties firmly in place, but petrified to jump in.
We understand. It can be overwhelming. The basic conceptual framework for content marketing isn’t particularly complicated, but translating that into an actionable strategy can be challenging.
If you’re reading this, you probably already know that content marketing leverages valuable, relevant, and freely distributed information about topics related to your product or service to build awareness of your brand and to establish you as a topic expert. If you didn’t, now you do.
With content marketing, you’re publishing content that your target audience is likely interested in to pull their eyes and eventually, their wallet hands in your direction.
But letting yourself get overwhelmed by where you should publish your content is premature. It’s a bit like worrying about who’s going to pilot your rainbow-powered hovercar before working out how to build a rainbow-powered hovercar. First, you need to decide who you’re publishing for, why, and what they want to see.
Let Your Goals and Your Audience Be Your Guide
The goal of content marketing is to publish content that engages the sorts of people that are most likely to be interested in your product or service. So figure out who those people are.
An excellent first step is to develop personas that represent the types of consumers that will find content in your market category interesting. Then, when you’re creating a piece of content, you can write it or design it with one of those personas in mind. This helps you focus your message.
Your content shouldn’t exist for its own sake. It should be created to further a specific objective. So consider all of your marketing and business goals when creating a plan for the sort of content you want to create. A piece of content intended to build awareness would be crafted differently than one designed to drive email list growth.
Once you know who you’re creating content for, and why, make sure that you’re generating value for those people. No one is going to engage with your content if it doesn’t answer a question, fill a need, or provide relevant entertainment.
Okay. You’re generating content. NOW you can start worrying about where to publish it. And thankfully the starting point is also the destination…your website.
Your Blog is Your Content Marketing Base of Operations
Every bit of content you publish should start on your blog, or in the blog section of your company’s website. Your website is the ultimate destination for all the traffic you’re hoping to drive with your content marketing strategies, so it’s appropriate that all of your content should originate from there.
Your blog is the master repository for everything you create. When you post a promotional link on social media, you’ll point people back to the content on your blog. If someone on another website references your content, they’ll provide a link back to your blog. When you begin to syndicate to other sites around the globe, their republished versions of your content will always point their readers to the source of the original article — your blog.
So you can start publishing your content immediately by posting it on your website. But of course, leaving your thoughtfully-crafted articles, infographics, videos, and memes to languish unpromoted on your blog is as much a content strategy as writing your novel on toilet paper and flushing it is a self-publishing strategy. Both will get your content out there, but neither will get it seen.
Expand Your Reach With Social Media
It’s time to create some buzz! Social media platforms are a great way to connect with your target audience and get your content in front of them.
Eventually, you’ll want to establish a presence for your content on all of the major (and minor) social platforms, but to start with, select those that are most commonly frequented by the people you’re trying to reach.
If you’re targeting Facebook, post a snippet of your content along with a hero image, and point people back to your original blog post.
If you choose to promote on Twitter, remember that tweets have a much shorter shelf life than posts on other social platforms, so tweet fairly frequently, each time promoting a different facet of your content. You want to keep the tweets fresh, and you want to keep them in people’s faces.
Depending on your content and your target market, there are many other platforms you could consider, including LinkedIn, SlideShare, YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo, Medium, Tumblr, WhatsApp, Tik Tok, Viber, Reddit, Snapchat, and many, many more.
Do the content marketing waters feel like they’re threatening to pull you under again? Don’t let the number of options overwhelm you. You can add new platforms at whatever pace you like. As long as you’re covering the major sites initially, you’re doing well.
Syndicate to Penetrate
You’re beginning to stockpile content. People are paying attention, and your content marketing strategy is driving steady traffic to your site. What’s left to do? Syndicate all that lovely content so that other people can republish it, greatly expanding your reach.
If you’ve ever watched reruns of Seinfeld on a network that didn’t originally air the show, you’ve encountered syndication. Syndication was also commonly used by newspapers. Content that’s syndicated gets a second lease on life, and it’s a win/win for you and the secondary publisher.
The person republishing your material gets free content for their website, content that’s already known to drive reader interest. And you get a fresh batch of eyes and a new source of traffic for your website.
So How Do You Get Started? Just Start!
Put together a basic content strategy so that you know who you’re targeting and why, and then start churning out the content. You can, and should, refine your strategy as you go, but don’t let its formulation stop you from putting key to keyboard.
As Kevin Costner said in some movie about something, “If you write it, they will come.” This isn’t actually what he said, and it also isn’t true, but if believing it gets you off the couch, then embrace it. He didn’t dance with wolves fer nuthin’. He knew what he was doing.
If you’re still nervous about dipping your toe in the pool, we can help. We also dance with wolves, though our wolves are voracious content strategists that howl for the chance to create and promote compelling content for brands. We can develop a strategy for you that will generate such a torrent of traffic to your website; it will be like a world covered in water. A Waterworld, if you will. A Waterworld of dreams.