Developing a Content Marketing Strategy

While most small-business owners have read advice about the promotional benefits of blogging and social media, reaping the maximum benefit from these platforms involves more than setting up a blog or a Twitter account and hoping for the best.

Blogging software and social media make it very easy to share content and to develop a wide audience among your customers and prospects, but doing so effectively requires a consistent approach to publishing content that people will find interesting and, ideally, worth sharing with their professional networks.

Defining Your Message

A critical early step in starting any content marketing strategy is determining what business benefits you hope to gain. Blogging for the sake of blogging (or because your competitors are doing so) can be an enjoyable pastime, but if you’re getting involved with content marketing to provide tangible business benefits, it’s important to define what those benefits would be.

For instance, you may be interested in generating leads, increasing your professional credibility, promoting your business within a specific community (either industry-based or local) or other potential benefits. Any of these, or combination of these, can help your business, but it’s important to understand what you hope to gain from the effort before you start.

Once you’ve identified your goals, you can start thinking about the types of content you like to produce and share. For instance, you may provide information to help customers use your products or services more effectively, or you can share information related to your offerings.

Depending on your industry and target market, you may choose to provide your audience with a “behind the scenes” look at your company, its products, your team members, or other aspects that help personalize and distinguish your business from your competitors.

Mixing Media

While you’re thinking about the types of information you want to share, it’s also helpful to consider the different ways you can produce and share content. For example, you may be primarily interested in developing and updating a company blog that relies on text articles, but also producing short videos can help increase viewership and provide an interesting mix of content that will appeal to customers and prospects.

Effective videos could include team members talking about what they do to help customers or what they like about their work, product reviews, helpful information about using your products or services more effectively, or a tour of the facility, or other potential topics.

As with your text-based blog post, you’re trying to increase your credibility and the personal connection that customers feel with your company and your team.

Timing and Consistency

Another important factor to think about is how often you’re going to want (or be able) to produce content for your company blog.

It’s a good idea to try to schedule a number of topics in advance so you spend less time worrying about what to write (which helps free up time for writing and updating the blog).

Even if you only update the post once a week or twice a month, being consistent is more effective than producing lots of content in a week and then taking a month off.  More important than generating a lot of posts is producing information that readers find interesting and that helps solve business problems.

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