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5 Easy Ways to Get Started with Content Marketing

 

Just do it! This well-known Nike tag line has been used countless times as a call to take content marketingaction – anywhere, anyhow. It’s particularly relevant to content marketing, which so many marketers avoid simply because they don’t know where to start. With all the “advice” available about what/when/why/how and where your content should be, it’s no wonder people are stuck on the launch pad. If this is your problem, here are 5 steps to help you break the chains holding you back - without breaking the bank.

Make a List

One of the biggest challenges in content marketing is finding material to post. It’s practically impossible to just “come up with something” on the fly – even seasoned, professional marketers don’t try that. Start by making a list of the issues facing your industry. Each issue can provide subject matter for a series of articles. Break each one down into cause and effect, considerations, benefits and disadvantages – whatever constitutes bullet points relevant to the topic. Each bullet point represents the title of a different post.

Compile an Editorial Calendar

Decide how often you want to post and create a calendar highlighting the dates. Start with once a month if that’s all you can handle, but build in a planned escalation to bi-monthly or weekly during the year ahead. Insert holidays and dates important to your industry, such as an annual convention or a seasonal shift.

Next, allocate topics pertinent to the important dates. For example, if your business is retail then the holidays are probably a busy time. One issue facing your industry could be inventory management, so this could be relevant a month ahead of the silly season.

Determine when you want to post:
  • If you target consumers, posting on a weekend is okay. In the B2B space, however, posting Monday to Thursdays before 3 pm is generally the best time to reach users. 
  • If you want to publish the post on Thursday, insert it in the calendar to begin working on it on Monday to give yourself enough time. 

Plan at least your first three months ahead, and you’ll feel confident that you have content way ahead of time.

Create a Blog

It’s not as difficult as it sounds, nor does it have to cost you anything. The ideal is a blog on your company website that conforms to the design of the site, which your website designer can probably create easily. Alternatively, register for a free blog with Wordpress or Blogger, upload your company logo and a relevant header image, and link to it from your website.

Try to include frequently-used key terms in your posts, but the main thing is to post information of interest to your customers. Write for the reader, not the search engines, and forget about so-called keyword optimization which is rapidly becoming defunct. And above all, don’t use marketing-speak in your posts. You’re writing an article, not a sales brochure!

Develop Other Content Channels

Content comes in a variety of formats, and you can use many of them simply by curating material published by others. As long as you get the appropriate permissions, give credit to the originators and link their sites so you aren’t “stealing” their traffic, then all the following will benefit your content strategy:

  • News articles

  • White papers

  • Video

  • Podcasts

  • eBooks

  • Case studies

The best way to publish material that isn’t your own is to rewrite it, citing the original as the source of the information. Alternatively, you can re-post the heading, byline and synopsis, with a link to the original for users to read the rest.

Distribute on Social Media Profiles

So it’s great to publish all this content, but how do you get people to read it? Social media profiles are an excellent way to spread news about your material. Create a branded Facebook page and Twitter account, and LinkedIn is also useful in B2B. For businesses that produce great imagery, Pinterest could work well too. If you have some budget, build up your followers with paid social media ads. Each time you upload fresh content, post on your profiles with a link to the information. That keeps your followers informed about the content you post and makes it simple for them to access it to read.

Content marketing isn’t complicated; it doesn’t have to be expensive and you don’t have to be a writer or website buff to get started. Just follow these easy steps and you’ll be producing quality content in no time at all. 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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