Content marketing has become a go-to marketing strategy for both B2B and B2C companies over the past decade. In fact, over 93% of B2B organizations now use some form of content marketing to attract and engage with their target audience.
For small businesses and startups, however, it can often be hard to know where to start. It takes time, and results aren’t always immediate.
But when you compare content marketing to Pay-Per-Click advertising there are a number of benefits in its favor, including:
- Once you have created the content it can continue to attract traffic and drive leads for your business indefinitely.
- Even if a consumer doesn’t buy based on a single interaction with your content you still have the opportunity to ask for their email address via a Call to Action button or link. This provides a second chance to market to them over time.
- If you use remarketing pixels (i.e. the Facebook Pixel) you can leverage your content marketing with paid campaigns and move buyers through your sales funnel more effectively.
- Content marketing helps build your brand's authority in the marketplace. If your content is seen as trustworthy and informative, then so too will the product or service that you are selling.
In order to realize the benefits of content marketing, it's important to have a strategy around content creation, content promotion and how you will support the efforts of you and your team.
Here’s how I do it…
****Staying on Top of Trends
Content marketing is a game of cat and mouse. There are always new trends and strategies that appear, not to mention the fact that news cycles are incredibly short. What was important in your industry yesterday, could easily be old news by tomorrow.
To stay on top of what is happening in your industry (and the content marketing space) my go-to tools are:
Feedly is an RSS reader that allows you to easily follow and categorize multiple content sources. Use it to:
- Stay on top of your competition
- Follow other blogs or startups you find inspiring
- Hear from content marketing experts to continually improve your game
Medium is a blogging platform that has gained a strong following amongst startups and the tech community. If RSS readers like Feedly aren’t your style, then Medium is a great place to find, and follow thought leaders.
Once you find great content or some insightful tips to take your blogging to the next level it’s often hard to remember everything you need to read (or even just save the links for a later time). This is where Pocket comes in. If you install the browser plugins you can save articles with a single click!
Managing Your Content Pipeline
To see results from your content marketing strategy you need to be consistent. I have found that the best way to do this is to create a content pipeline, and manage each piece of content as it moves through this funnel.
I user the tool of my own startup, Task Pigeon, where I have set up a number of categories that allow me to categorize blog posts as:
- Articles I am writing
- Drafts waiting to be pushed; and
- Articles I am actively promoting
Using a task management tool like Task Pigeon gives me a global view of everything I currently have in my content pipeline.
In situations where you have a team of writers or other employees to engage (i.e. graphic designers), you can also schedule and collaborate on tasks with ease.
With this strategy I can “dump” my ideas down, moving them to the active section when I am currently writing or preparing the document, and have a bank of articles in draft format which I can then post out at a time that suits me.
Creating Graphics to Support Your Blog Posts
Written content is one thing. But adding images and graphics greatly increases the chance the someone is going to read and engage with your content.
Creating or resizing images can, however, be another time-consuming process. Luckily, there is a great tool called Canva that allows you to quickly and easily create images for your blog posts and social media campaigns.
In addition to using images it's also a good idea to “chunk” your content by using bullet points and subheadings to make your content easy to read and digestible.
Promoting Your Content
Finding the time to write your content is only half the battle. You then need to promote it. Your content will go to complete utter waste if your not sharing it with people would benefit from the knowledge you are dropping on them.
A trap people often fall into however is posting out a single link on their social media accounts and thinking it is done!
Sadly, this is likely to bring rather lackluster results. Your audience may not be online at the time; social media algorithms could limit its reach or perhaps it just gets buried in the feed. Savvy marketers know to re-post their content time and time again!
Until recently this used to be a manual process. With my startup Task Pigeon, I literally set up recurring reminders each few weeks to post my content again, and again. My go to tool now is MissingLettr.
With MissingLettr you have a tool that automates your content market strategy across numerous social networks in just a few clicks. In particular, Missinglettr:
- Automatically pulls in your latest blog post, so there is no manual submission.
- Takes your blog post and creates a series of images and text based quotes optimized for social media.
- Populates a year-long campaign to ensure that your blog post gets coverage on a regular basis.
Missinglettr literally saves me hours a week, and not only that the images and quotes are often better than what I would use myself!
In addition to MissingLettr I would recommend Buffer for ad-hoc posts or sharing content from third party sites, and Jooicer as an effective way to grow your following on Twitter.