No matter what your business is—and who your target audience is—you need content. Your content is how you continue to educate and engage buyers. How do they know what your business is all about, unless they can read your website, study your blogs, watch your videos, and engage with you on social media? Maybe you’ve gotten to this point with your business and haven’t really considered the importance of your content and its role in your overall marketing strategy. After all, you made it this far, right? Well, whether you’re just now discovering the importance of a marketing strategy or you’ve had one in place for years, it’s never a bad idea to learn new and better ways to reach your audience. Before you can get started, it’s important to really understand what a content marketing strategy is, because it’s so much more than just starting a blog.
Content Strategy: DefinedFirst, let’s define content. Many businesses have spent far too long considering their blog their “content.” In reality, your content is every piece of media that you create for your business—from your website pages to your blog, from your social media posts to your newsletters, and even direct mail pieces. It also includes your images, videos, infographics, press releases, articles in professional publications, podcasts, radio spots, commercials… Whew! That’s a lot of content you may not be considering. Now that we know what your content is, let’s talk about a strategy. Your strategy is when you create content with a well-planned purpose in mind in order to attain a particular goal. Your strategy could cover the course of a single day, a month, or an entire year. Now, how do we go about creating a content marketing strategy?
Creating a Content StrategyThere are several questions you need to answer. With those answers you’ll have the first steps of your content strategy created. Let’s focus on the easy stuff first:
Who Is My Target Audience?Do you know your buyer personas inside and out? Without a full understanding of who you’re trying to reach, you won’t know how to reach them.
What Problem Am I Solving?Knowing your buyers means knowing their pain points. Your content should be created with the sole purpose of solving those pain points.
How Am I Unique?Your Unique Selling Proposition is what sets you apart from your competitors. Your content is how you convey that USP to your buyers.
Where Will I Post?Now that you know your buyers, their pain points, and how you plan to stand out from the crowd, it’s time to start reaching them. Do you know where your buyers live online? Start finding out if they’re Facebookers or LinkedIn fans. Do they use Twitter? Would they prefer to get information from Snapchat or Instagram?
What Will I Post?The type of content you post can vary according to your platform. Short and snappy for Twitter, with images designed to stop someone in their tracks and click through to your site. Facebook likes to see longer posts and, in particular, video. On your own website, you can mix things up between blogs, lists, videos, and infographics to keep things lively.
How Will I Manage This?You have a lot on your plate now, so it’s important to determine how you can manage the content for the best results. Scheduling tools help, but it’s important to always have an eye on your content so you can see opportunities for engagement.
The Unanswered Question: Do I Need a Content StrategyThe simplest answer to this question is yes. Your buyers deserve to have access to all the information they can get their hands on before they make purchasing decisions. The only way that can happen is if you have a defined content strategy that focuses on providing that information any time a buyer needs it. Are you ready to create your content strategy? We’re always here to help, so just give us a call.
Your brand credibility is more perilous than you might think. It takes years to craft a solid reputation, and only a split second to destroy it all. With the enormous reach of social media, one gaffe could reach millions of people in minutes. That’s why it’s so important to constantly monitor your reputation and work hard to continuously build brand credibility. These steps are so easy that many tend to set them and forget them. If you’re working now to build your brand’s reputation or clamoring to recover from a PR disaster, start work right away. If you’re coasting along on a great reputation, don’t leave these tasks until it’s too late.
Examine Your BrandYou should always keep your brand in mind, every second of every day. Training for staff should include your brand’s mission, vision, voice, and message. If you’re still not sure what your brand’s purpose is, then you haven’t yet spent enough time building your brand. The message you send to your customers solidifies this brand. If your words, actions, and images don’t fit the brand you’re crafting, then you’ll lose credibility. All it takes is one slip on social media to but your brand in peril. Bigger faux pas, such as the ones plaguing United Airlines in the news lately, could knock you all the way back to the beginning.
Exercise Your VoiceWhen a vocalist doesn’t use her instrument, it gets rusty from disuse. The next time she sings, she may sound different—and that can be confusing to listeners. Always pay attention to your brand voice. Learn what you sound like to your buyers and work hard to maintain that voice. It’s important to constantly analyze your buyer personas, too. Maybe you’re using the wrong voice to reach them. A hip, trendy brand voice might get attention, but it won’t impress your buyers if it doesn’t match the services or products that you offer.
Build a Better BlogBuyers want to learn about your services or products before buying. By creating content that establishes you, the company owner, as a thought leader, you build enormous credibility for your brand. Share tips, tricks, and tutorials. Spread good news about your company with press posts. Dig into deeper thoughts and share your opinions about your industry. Every word will work to boost your brand credibility.
Check Your WebsiteIs your website up to date? An old, clunky, slow website speaks volumes to new visitors. Your brand screams, “We don’t know what we’re doing!” so loudly that nothing you say can drown it out. Make sure your pages load quickly and that the site functions as it should. And, of course, you must be mobile responsive now. Not only will a non-mobile site turn off your buyers, but it also will perform poorly in search engine results.
Pay Attention to ReviewsNow, how will you know that your brand resonates with your buyers? How do you know you’ve built credibility you can count on? By listening to your customers. Read reviews. Take them to heart. Sure, some can be ignored—specifically those left by users hoping to stir controversy. The real reviews, however, should be used to help you build your brand credibility. When reviews are bad, examine the claim, determine where you went wrong, and address the problem immediately. When reviews are good, use the feedback to bolster the credibility you’re building. And remember: these reviews aren’t always a formal affair, left on third-party sites or your own website. Monitor social media to keep an ear tuned to what buyers are saying about you. As you can see, these tasks must be performed over and over and over again. It’s important to always have your brand credibility in mind. If you’re working to build your brand or to recover from an incident that has put your brand in jeopardy, give us a call. Building solid brands is what we do.
Starting—and maintaining—a business blog is hard. We know. Creating a content calendar, conducting research, and setting aside the time to write and publish can take a huge chunk out of your time. That’s why so many companies end up forgoing a blog altogether or only contribute a few times per year. Sure, anything you add to your website can help, but a back-burner blog means you’re missing out on one of the most powerful marketing tools available. There are probably dozens, if not hundreds, of reasons to blog for your business, but we think these six are the most important. Let’s take a look.
It’s Actually Pretty EasySure, the thought of researching and writing can be overwhelming, but when compared to many of the other marketing activities you do for your company every day, it’s actually pretty easy to get a blog going. Most website themes include a blogging portal, so you don’t even have to have someone redesign your site or add new pages. All you have to do is click “add post,” and you’re off and running.
Share Your Expert StatusDid you know that 96% of B2B buyers want content from industry thought leaders? That could be you, building credibility for your products, your services, and your expertise. Think for a second: What makes you trust one company more than another when you’re making the decision to buy? Don’t you want to know that you’re putting your own company in good hands? The same is true for consumers, too. Before they buy your products, they want to be sure they can trust you. Show them with your blog.
Increase Your Qualified LeadsMore than 74% of companies say that regular blogging increased the quantity and the quality of their sales leads. The reason for this is increased traffic, because B2B companies that blog sixteen or more times per month see up to 3.5 times more traffic than those that blog zero to four times per month. If you’re a B2C company, statistics show that eleven or more blogs each month can bring up to four times as many leads as a business that blogs fewer than four times per month. It just makes sense that more traffic would result in more leads, right?
Get and Keep More CustomersThose leads are more likely to turn into customers, too. In fact, 92% of businesses that blog more than once per week say they’ve gained at least one customer through their content. So, it’s easy to see how more leads could lead to more customers. How can your blog help you keep those customers? Well, many readers will happily offer up comments when they’re done reading. This gives you better insight into your idea customers’ needs. Learn what you can from their input, tweak your buyer personas, and provide a better service or product for your target audience. That’s what keeps them coming back.
Make More SalesBuyers who read your blog do so because they trust you. That means they’ll give preference to any suggestions you might make. That trust leads to purchases that can soothe their pain points. It’s true; 61% of buyers say they’ve made a purchase based on something they read in the company’s blog.
SEOYou might think we’d lead off with this one, especially since SEO is on the lips and fingertips of every speaker and blogger. The truth is, however, that quality information that inspires trust in your buyers is much more important to Google than your keywords. Still, you can use your blog to drive traffic according to specific search terms. Just be sure to think through the things your buyers are most likely to search for, create the content that will answer their questions, and the SEO will take care of itself. Have more questions about how a blog for your business could boost your marketing efforts? Want to talk to us about how we can help you get your blog moving? We’re here for you, so just give us a call.
Regardless of how large or small your company may be, the idea of competing with a company like Walmart or Amazon probably has you feeling a little incredulous. It’s not possible, is it? Of course it is. You can compete with big brands with the right marketing tactics. Remember, the big guys were all once small brands, too. So, how can you go about beating bigger competitors at their own game? Let’s take a look.