5 easy steps for strategic content marketing success
As an entrepreneur or small business owner, one of your primary goals is to find prospective clients and customers, and get them to know you, like you, and trust you. And until you satisfy these three basic qualifiers, it’s unlikely they’ll be coming to you with any business.
So what can you do to get prospective clients to know you, like you, and trust you?
We recently chatted with Vancouver copywriter and content marketing expert Ashley “WriterGal” Doan of WriterGal Marketing to better acquaint us with the world of content marketing. You likely aren’t the only one in the world who does what you do, but content marketing is one way to show your audience what sets you apart from others.
Read on to learn more about why a content marketing strategy is crucial for your business, and 5 easy steps to get started.
Why content marketing?
Whether it’s through Google search, social media, or video, no one wants to be constantly advertised or pitched to. Enter content marketing. Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to show off your unique expertise through valuable, relevant, and insightful content that keeps your audience engaged, and ultimately, drives customer action.
In fact, quality content is an important part of many areas of marketing. Before you start building out your social media or newsletter calendar, you want to make sure you have a detailed content marketing strategy in place that ties all your communication channels together.
In short, focus on creating and sharing value-based or educational content that is relevant and leaves your audience wanting more. Before you know it, your customers will start looking forward to receiving your content and you’ll be top-of-mind when they’re ready to buy.
5 Steps to creating your content marketing strategy
If you are ready to learn how to get started building your content marketing strategy, follow the five easy steps below.
#1: Build a brand foundation.
Before you can start creating content, make sure your foundational branding is in place. A brand guide goes beyond your logo and brand colours. You need to ensure you have a detailed visual and editorial style guide for your business so everything you create and publish stays on-brand.
If you haven’t already, start a new document and note down all your visual brand guidelines. This may include rules for logo use, fonts, colours, brand elements, and design rules. Then, include any text-based rules and guidelines so you can be sure your use of language is consistent. Think of things like tone, formality, and spelling for industry or company-specific words.
“When you're creating a style guide ... start with the basics, start with things you know, write down any words you have trademarked, write down anything that's really specific to your niche.”
Ashley Doan, Tactical Titans, S2 E31
#2: Decide on your content types and channels.
The next step is to decide what content formats you want to create. That said, remember that you don’t need to be everywhere, all the time. Pick a few channels or formats to start with, like blogging, Facebook and LinkedIn. Focus on a core few channels, do them well, then expand into others as you get comfortable with the process and grow.
Be sure to research the types of content your followers want and where they spend their time online, too. You may find that your target customer spends more time on TikTok than Facebook, so spending all your efforts making Facebook posts isn’t going to get you any business. If your audience is primarily visual learners, consider YouTube and creating video demonstrations to help them more easily digest information.
Pick a few channels and formats that make sense for your type of business and, most notably, where your audience is and what their needs are.
#3: Brainstorm content ideas.
The next step is where many people get stuck. Before you can create any content, you need to know what to write about. The key is to write what your audience needs and wants to know.
Start a word document or get a notebook and start brainstorming every topic and niche you’re an expert in as it relates to your business. Get as granular and specific as possible. If you get stuck, you can:
- Visit your competitor’s websites to see what they are talking about.
- Type a keyword for your niche into Google and see what the auto-suggest suggests for you. These are based on what people actually search for in Google.
- Use an idea generator like AnswerThePublic.
Remember: Focus on creating educational and relevant content topics that provide value to your audience and leave them wanting more.
"Open up that document and just start brainstorming everything that you know ... start writing down topics, themes, issues in your industry, or frequently asked questions you get..."
Ashley Doan, Tactical Titans, S2 E31
#4: Create an execution plan and process.
Once you have a big list of ideas, it’s time to start planning:
- Decide how frequently you want to publish content. How many blogs can you publish per month? How many daily posts are you sharing on each channel? How often will you send a newsletter?
- Put placeholders in your calendar for these dates.
- Build out your process to write, design, publish each piece of content you create
- Don’t forget to plan how you will promote your content after it’s published on your website or social media.
Write down your process and get help from a copywriter, designer, or content marketing expert to execute your strategy.
For ease and brand consistency, start creating templates for all the content types you will be creating. You may want a few graphic templates to use for social media, or a standard “plug and play” newsletter template to quickly create content quickly for each issue. You may also want to create a template structure for how your blog posts should flow, so you don’t forget anything – like the very important call-to-action at the end!
#5: Execute your plan and stick with it.
For this final step, remember that content marketing is a long-term marketing strategy. Creating content for your business is something you need to do as long as you are in business. It contributes to being more visible to your prospects and showing off your expertise.
Use the processes you developed in Step 4, and don’t be afraid to get outside help to do it. Many businesses hire agencies or local copywriters and designers to help. They are experts in their fields and can help ensure you stay consistent in your content production and produce high-quality content.
Ultimately, consistency is more important than creating lots of content. Make sure every piece of content produced by your business is on brand and something you would be proud to have representing your business out in the world.
Tune into TACTICAL TITANS, presented by Justin Lam
Of course, developing a content strategy goes much deeper, and this article only summarizes enough to get you started on the right foot. To go deeper into the benefits of content marketing and how to use it in your business, catch our latest episode of TACTICAL TITANS with special guest Ashley Doan. Available now on all streaming platforms. Listen now
Are you looking for more hands-on coaching and business advice to help you gain clarity and confidence in your decision-making? Our TACTICAL coaching program is specially designed to support small business owners and entrepreneurs through the detours and get you back on track to your destination. Learn more