A ‘content marketing strategy’ is, according to the Content Marketing Institute, “…a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” The same organisation defines a ‘content strategy’ as the “creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.”
How’s your content marketing panning out for you?
Do you have a strategy in place, or are you just flinging your stuff into the ether and hoping it’ll make an impact?
Too many people think that a blog post here or there will cut it. Maybe they’ll lengthen their posts a little to stretch beyond the 500-word mark. Maybe they’ll start sharing to their Facebook page a little more often (let’s say twice a week instead of once in a Blue Moon)
Here’s what you should know:
Your content is probably fine. It’s your strategy that bites the big one.
If someone saw your content on a different channel, or without your logo attached, would they know that it came from your brand? Without careful planning, you could end up with content produced in a jumbled assortment of tones and voices which may not use language consistently or provide a clear and consistent image of your brand.
More common in larger organizations and often exacerbated by external entities like agencies and freelancers, an inconsistent brand experience can nevertheless be a problem for businesses of all size.
Though some might think a brand that sounds human is more important than one with a consistent tone, a brand voice isn’t necessarily about sounding non-human: it just means creating a voice that is consistent, and positioning your organization as an authoritative and easily recognizable source of information for your area of expertise.
So we’ve all heard of brand name strategies and we’ve all heard of content strategies. But despite what most may think they are not actually the same thing. It’s true that they fall under the same umbrella strategy yes, but in truth their differences are as great as the textures and uses of the shaft vs the canopy, they make up one very useful item but are used and understood differently while at the same time still connecting and supporting each other.
This is the very nature of business strategy when done right. Different components all working singularly in a greater master machine, all independent in their importance yet moving together like cogs in an engine.
So in our quest to oil up those gears, let’s start by examining how they fit together.
Is it possible to be everywhere at the same time?
For a regular person, no.
For a business’brand, yes.
Omnipresent marketing is a goal that all businesses should strive for.
You might think that creating killer content is all you need to do. The fact of the matter is that this is only half the battle.
A content distribution strategy is equally important. It’s what helps you ensure that all the right people see your brand in all the right places.
We’re well into the beginning of 2019. In terms of digital marketing, we’re heading further and further into a world where information is hurtling through the web at a crazy pace.
The concept of six degrees of separation has morphed into 6 seconds of separation. It’s no longer just about who you know but knowing where to look.
The world has never been more accessible.
Anyone almost anywhere is now tapped into the information highway, but as things usually go in the fast lane there, constant change is ever-present. Just when you’ve gotten use to one thing - BAM - it changes!
This begs the question, what will be changing in the months to come?
It’s time to shed some light.
Finding topics to blog about is a real struggle for so many people out there.
Even if you enjoy writing, generating ideas can be a bit of a pain in the ass.
After all, there’s really only so much to talk about, right?
I have a foolproof way of drumming up blog post topics that’ll see you through the rest of the year.
And I’m going to share it with you. Because that’s just how we roll at GPL HQ.
In the previous post, we touched on the the three big kahunas in the content kingdom:
If you can harness the power of all three of these, good for you.
If you can only manage 1 or two, and do them frequently, you’ll be a-okay.
That’s not all there is to it. There are some other fantastic content ideas you can focus on that’ll generate mega traffic. All you really need to do is make the right decisions.
Wrap Your Head Around Creating Some Books and eBooks
Now, we’re not suggesting that you release a new book every month.
In fact, we’re not even suggesting that you release a new book every quarter.
You might get away with one every couple of years.
Just consider getting one out there. Maybe two. For now.
Books and eBooks keep your current audience topped off with fresh content. They also leverage your lead generation power on startup-focused sites, like ProductHunt. Seriously, enough upvotes will keep you going for a long time.
Launch your books on external communities where your audiences spend their time online.
Use them for lead generation throughout your blog. Wherever you can, include regular calls-to-action, asking readers to go and download your book, especially in high-trafficked blog posts.
Finding the Time to Write a Book
When you reached this section in our blog post, your first instinct was probably to wave it away. After all, you don’t have the time for all that writing, anyway.
First, consider which blog posts have had the biggest impact on your audience. Or, consider which topic has the greatest demand.
Next, go through your existing blog posts on the topic and organize them into a simple Google Doc. Check to see if you have any information gaps. At the same time, check for redundancy issues and remove any duplicate content within this draft of your new book.
Once you’re sure that you’ve covered all the points you need to, do a thorough edit of your extremely long doc. Primp and fluff where necessary, make sure there are no grammar issues or typos, and slap in a table of content.
If your text passes the QC, design a simple (yet eye-catching cover) on a tool like Canva.
Boom, you’re done.
Templates are the Bomb Diggety
Don’t underestimate the power of a cut-and-paste template.
People generally don’t have the time to waffle on for hours, creating their own emails, worksheets, datasheets, questionnaires, social media posts, and so on.
Especially when it comes to learning a new business writing skill, people want as much guidance as possible. They want to know that they have a good starting point without having to worry about setting everything up themselves.
Our cold email templates, for example, have helped hundreds of customers set up successful email campaigns. Our customers love ‘em and we love handing them out.
It’s all about having the smarts to develop a useful document that is straightforward, easy to use, and involves nothing more than a quick copy-paste with adjusting of minimal content.
Start Curating a Few Online Courses
Online learning is booming right now.
People hanker after knowledge like never before. Everyone wants to develop new skillsets. Very few people want (or can afford) to pay for the extra tuition fees.
There’s a distinct need for quality instruction on a wide range of business and tech-related subjects.
Just take a quick look through any online learning portal and you’ll see topics that range from something like email writing all the way through to in-depth online marketing courses. You’ll even come across stuff like speech writing and delivery, impromptu speaking, how to run a successful webinar, and so much more.
You’re guaranteed to have at least one “marketable” skill that you could develop a course on. Take some time to mull it over and then get started.
You don’t even have to go through the schlep of designing the coursework. A ton of online teaching platforms are ready and waiting for you. With an easy setup and hosting process, and step-by-step course instruction forms, you’ll be ready to start spreading valuable knowledge in no time at all.
Most of these teaching platforms are completely template-based, making the setup process that much easier.
Coming to Terms with Topic Selection
You probably have a rough idea of what your audience might be looking for.
If this isn’t the case, you simply need to get to know your audience.
If you work in the digital marketing agency sphere, you probably want to look at subjects that your customers find particularly challenging. They could be tasks that are extremely easy for you, but that anyone without your expertise would struggle with. Consider things like:
How to create Facebook ad campaigns that really work.
How to promote blog content effectively.
How to become a contributor on reputable sites, like Forbes.
How to build relationships pitch content ideas to editors.
As long as you come up with ideas that will actively solve a problem your audience needs to solve, you’ll have enough ammunition for an extremely popular online course.
Make sure you give them enough of a foundation to get started with the work themselves but make it clear that you’ll be right there if they decide that the burden is too much to bear.
Your courses need to show that you’re the ultimate benevolent teacher. You should always be happy to share your valuable knowledge with no strings attached.
Often, you’ll find that people will give things a bash but end up discovering that they simply don’t have the time to add anything else to an already lengthy to-do list.
We’ve got one more blog post in this series coming up, so stick around for another set of fantastic content ideas for your lead generation tactics.
It’s getting close to the end of the year - you can literally see the New Year poking its head over the horizon.
Ten to one, it’s been a long year of running in the hamster wheel, racking your brain for more and more content ideas in the hopes of generating some viable leads.
At this point, you’re probably tired of trying to come up with ideas. It’s been 12 long months of this, so you need a break.
You might want to get a jump on this kind of thing in January though. Probably.
So, to give you a solid foundation when the new year rolls around, here are some fabulous content ideas for your upcoming lead generation efforts.
Get Your Blogs in Gear
Here’s a fun fact: your blog is the backbone of your content strategy.
That’s it. The ultimate truth.
You don’t need to be an absolute master of content to get your strategy in order. You just need to be dedicated.
Now, you could spend hundreds of hours pouring your heart and soul into 5000-word how-to guides, detailed studies, and lengthy pieces of hyper-researched content. You could join the 9% of B2B marketers who claim to have had success with novel-length blog posts.
Or, you could smarten things up a bit.
Frankly, your major success with written content lies more in your promotion of it than the actual writing process. If none of your content is seen by prospects, how can you expect to achieve anything?
Iron Out the Primary Goal of Your Content
Your content marketing strategy should revolve around building relationships. Furthermore, you need to forge those relationships with the right kind of people. If you’re trying to sell software solutions, you shouldn’t be hooking the local ice cream truck. That goes without saying.
The best advice we can give you, is to take a rather long pause before sitting down to write anything. Determine what your motivations are before your fingers hit the keyboard.
Too many people assume that they can start writing and adjust their content afterwards. That’s simply not how it works.
Answer important questions like:
Which problems can we solve for potential customers through free content?
How can we out-teach our competitors?
Where do our target consume most of their information online? Blogs? LinkedIn groups? Quora?
Would we rather have 50 readers that are all in our target market, or 500 total readers and only a few true customers in the audience?
Do we have the core competencies to produce high-quality content? If not, how can we attract and leverage the right people?
Bottom line: if you don’t actually care about helping your customers solve a problem in their business, your content is going to be crap.
Transactional content WILL NOT SELL. Don’t use your blog as a platform to beg for purchases. It’s beneath you.
Be a teacher.
Promoting Your Content
Your content needs to be discoverable in order for it to make an impact. That much is obvious.
You need to be sure that you create content that is intentionally designed to rank well on search engines; the kind of stuff your clients will actually be looking for.
Here’s a word of warning:
Climbing to the top of the rankings takes time. It’s a rocky journey that not everyone is willing to undertake. But if you decide to take this path, you’ll reap the rewards. Evergreen content rakes in traffic for years to come.
To get your content to climb to the top of search rankings you need to focus on a combination of factors:
An accumulation of backlinks from high domain-authority websites
Guest posting slots
Social shares on all the major networks
While you wait for you footprint to grow organically, you should also consider:
Engaging in online communities where your target customers spend time
Recording simple videos to post on YouTube
Leveraging your connections to amplify social sharing
You need to hustle to get your content noticed. It takes time, it takes effort but it’s definitely worth your while.
Work on Some Audio Content
The popularity of audio content is on the rise. Podcasts are a great favourite among business people the world over. Any people, really.
It’s not particularly difficult to begin releasing a few episodes of your own show. Just focus on the type of content you already have on your blog. Focus on building an audience and helping that audience solve their problems.
Here’s the thing: people aren’t going to have the time to read your blog as and when a new post comes out. They might pop in occasionally, but they’re not going to have the time or focus to do so religiously.
Podcasts allow you to connect with your audience on a deeper level. You’ll be in their ears (and mind) while they’re at the gym, taking a lunch break, or commuting to and from work. It’s a clever way to forge a much stronger connection than through simply reading some carefully curated instructions on your blog.
Audio closes the communication gap more than you could possibly imagine.
Make Some Useful Videos
A large chunk of the population is more visual when it comes to communication.
Video, if you have the time to invest in it, is a great way to improve your outreach.
Educational or instructional videos are a fantastic way to hook an audience, and can be used to bolster existing written content (or to build a whole new selection of blogs, if need be).
You’ll probably find that the writers on your marketing team are incredibly grateful when a video heads their way. They can easily transcribe the core principles a takeaways in your video into a comprehensive written post that can be published in tandem with the video wherever you choose.
Another benefit you’ll get from creating videos, is the traffic you’ll generate from uploading them to YouTube. If you upload new videos frequently enough (and ensure that the content is actually helpful) you could get thousands of views without a single paid ad.
Again, it’s all about consistency and sticking to your guns.
These three types of content should be the foundation of your marketing and lead generation strategies. If you can only manage 1 or 2 of them, don’t fret. As long as you do SOMETHING consistently and frequently, you have a fantastic starting point.
Stick around for our next installment of this series, where we mention a few of the lesser-known content types that will help set your marketing team up for success.