A Content Marketing Checklist for Beginners
Content Marketing... You've heard of it. At least, if you follow social media marketing at all, you should have. It's the hottest topic in the industry right now - and for good reason. Content Marketing is one of the pillars of the inbound marketing philosophy, pioneered by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah co-founders of Hubspot. (They co-wrote the book, literally, on inbound marketing - which in the simplest description is the philosophy of attracting potential customers with value and relevant content instead of interrupting them in their daily lives or what is the old way, outbound marketing.)
What's all the hype about? Honestly, the only thing I'm surprised by is how long it took to really become the focal point of the conversation in regards to social marketing... It makes sense though because we need to learn to walk before we run, right? 50+ years of outbound marketing gets a lot of people programmed to think and act a certain way towards marketing strategy. The hype is fully legitimate and possibly even under-stated. As most are aware, Google has recently undergone some algorithm updates which is to penalize those who have been employing certain types of questionable SEO tactics, also known as 'black hat' tactics. Why, you ask? Because Google's primary concern is providing the user with the best result per their search term... this means Google views content, original content, as highly valuable because it shows that the website it found is more relevant to the end user's purpose for searching that term.
What should I do about it? What you need to do, if you haven't already, is get your website a blog. (Such as this neat one right here!) Blogging is by far the number one way to do content marketing. Essentially you're providing free, valuable information to whoever will read it on the internet in the hopes that the search engines will direct users to your site due to the content on your site and its relevancy to the end user.
OK, now I have a blog... Where do I go from here? Great! I'm glad you took my advice! ;-) I'm going to lay out some simple bullet points as a checklist to help guide you where to go from here. What are the most important things to consider when talking about employing content marketing effectively? Here you are:
- It's NOT all about you! Make sure to keep your post on topic... it's easy to get into the old 'sales pitch' about why your company is the best in comparison to your competitors... we all fall prey to that - but it's not the time or the place for such discussions. Content Marketing is about attracting people to feel comfortable with and build trust in your brand, not drive them away.
- Stay focused - keep your focus and get to the point. Add in a little humor, if you want, but make sure to keep your blog posts concise and relevant. (Notice that word keep popping up... so odd! ;-) Relevancy is key to content marketing.)
- Engagement is key - not just in content marketing, but in marketing overall really... If your targeted consumer / potential customer doesn't feel compelled to engage in any way, ask yourself what you could have done better to get them to like, share, comment, etc. A lot of the time, asking simple questions and directing them where to answer those questions is a fantastic way to engage.
- Be Original! People can tell when content is re-hashed. It either appears lots of other places or it's stale because they already 'consumed' that content somewhere else. If all you do is re-post content from Mashable, you're probably in the right place - you need to read, re-read and then employ the basics you're learning here!
- Have a clear Call-To-Action for the consumer to follow. What's the point in putting all this effort into content marketing if you don't get any tangible results from it? Now, what works for you will depend on many things... especially what type of industry you're in, how you convert customers, what your sales process is like, what types of product or service you sell, etc. etc. - There's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all CTA (call-to-action).
That's all I've got for you in this article! This is a very basic overview of content marketing in order to get you on the right track. There's much more to it, including strategy, keywords, analytics and fine-tuning in order to hit that 'sweet spot' for your business type/model. I hope you learned something, and please let us know what you think, if there's something you'd add or anything else - just visit the community section.
About the Author: Tyler Crosson is the Community Manager / Marketing Manager for SocialMediopolis.com; He is also the CEO and Publisher of ClickVenture.com - for Online Entrepreneurs. He has a very successful background in Social Media Marketing / Management and starting / growing companies through executive strategy, social strategy and visionary strategy. You can connect with him here on LinkedIN.