Local Small Businesses or Fortune 500 firms alike, that plan on using Content Marketing as part of their overall Online Strategy must challenge themselves in developing a campaign that underlines the outreach of useful information through accessible channels for maximum conversion.
Before any Content is created there are 4 influential steps in developing your Content Marketing Strategy.
- Editorial Calendar
- Content Creation
As with any strategy, the most important course of action is research. A lot of research is the best way to grasp a hold of who your readers are and will be. You need to think in terms of who your audience and what websites do they visit and often engage with.When you are thinking of your audience it is important to note the target demographic and their particular behaviors.
One of the best tools in performing content marketing research is Google's Keyword Tool. Using this tool will allow you to learn about what keywords drive your industry nationally as well as locally. Most Small Business Owners do not know even this even exists but with a little elbow grease you can achieve 1st Page Rankings. You want to think of Keywords as your way of maximizing your contents:
"Search Engine Visibility".
Social Media Marketing is playing a major force in how Content Marketing is being shaped. Being able to listen in on conversations is a great way to stay ahead of the curve. Social Listening is just that, it allows you to see fill in the, "Content Gaps".
It is important to create a content marketing editorial calendar to plan your communications to current and prospective customers.
The 2nd step in your Content Marketing Strategy includes laying out what your message will be based on the day, the month and your mood.
1. Remember The Past
First thing first, you are going to need to do a little research and see what has worked before and what has not worked before, for your company and in your industry. Before you start piecing your content calendar together, you need to ask these questions:
What type of content did you deliver this year?
What method of content distribution did you use?
Next ask yourself in a quiet room, What Worked…and What Truly Failed ?
The Future is always Tomorrow but the seeds are to be planted today.
By thinking about where you've been the next logical step is to think about where you will go next. Deciding the next 12 months content road map is a difficult process. As you envision where your company will be in the next year, you can think of the content marketing calendar as your guide - a month to month breakdown of what your online marketing and offline collateral efforts will consist of.
So here you are, asking yourself a few more questions in a quiet room,
- Where do you see your business in the the future?
- Where do you see your business in a year?
- What type of clients do you want to service and help?
- Are there new services that you can offer for more sales?
- Are you doing everything you can to build your database?
- Is your staff properly trained in conveying your brands' message?
- Can you see new opportunities that you may have overlooked?
2. Tag Team, You Are It - Idea Brainstorm
Gather a group of your employees in a meeting room and meet with for a purpose. Depending on how big your company is you will have different teammates from different sectors. For our purpose we will talk about a small business - owner, manager, creative, etc. - anyone you think of value who would add insight into how you could best build content for your business. Maybe your accountant or your janitor. You never know who might be creative. The Idea Brainstorm, is a perspective that will not only create a spark but will give you the opportunity to see it from their view, from their - "Panoramic Point of View" - you not only see it from their shoes, but also see through their eyes. This Idea Brainstorm not only gives you ideas from which to pull content from but but also an opportunity to hear what your employees are saying. There are times when a group gets together and becomes energetic. This energy sometimes produces ideas that generate millions of dollars.
Always be listening.
Remember, this is a session where ideas can be different and formless, go with the flow and allow different people to communicate. Whoever is in charge, ultimately guides the Idea Brainstormand directs it to stay on course for time restraints. This person will ideally be in charge of gathering all the raw ideas after the session, and creating a structure within the calendar template.
Questions for yourIdea Brainstorm
What content would I like to see if I was a customer? What are we missing that we can improve on? What content will be created (i.e.pr, social media, graphics, video, local seo marketing, interviews, etc.) Any old content you can re-hash for the upcoming year? What new methods of distribution can be more effective? Is there a way to integrate offline marketing in to online traffic? Who is going to write the content?
3. The Editorial Calendar Plan
So you have met with your teammates and gathered intelligence on how to effectively build the proper content that markets to the correct demographic. So now is the time to start working on the calendar. You can start with a simple piece of paper and jot down the day.
If any holidays are in that month make sure to note that and also note it three weeks ahead. In fact, lets go ahead and mark holidays with the colour blue or any colour you desire.
Some people recommend using a monthly calendar, but to be honest the best possible and effective way to to use content marketing is to look as far ahead as up to 12 months. This will give you a specific plan for the year you can relate to whenever.
Add the info to the Content Marketing Calendar Take your monthly sheet of paper from step 3 and start with the first day. Plot your information on the calendar as well as online for maximum usage. You want to be consistent as well as keep the info simple and direct. Remember to add Conferences, Bills, Holidays, Birthdays and any other information that may provide content. Repeat this for Each Month (12x)
Now that you content scheduled for each month, this will allow you to automate some of your online marketing using a service like Sendible or Aweber. This will save you future time but also give you more time to do more social engagement online. What's great about your Automated Social Marketing, is that you can schedule what information you want posted on what day and on what page.
It also can determine the frequency as well as where the information gets distributed to.
As long as you are prepared with a constant stream of content built up, this will help you on the Search Engines. You will be providing your customers and potential clients, a formal introduction as to who you are and the type of information that can formulated from strategy base on your business.