Content Marketing Basics

  •    Jerry is an Online Marketing professional with fifteen years of experience in media development, education and writing.

Content marketing helps position your brand as a source of expertise and leadership in your industry. Successful content marketing programs leverage this positioning to increase traffic and sales with the right mixture of high-quality content and outreach.

Let’s take a look at the basic elements you need to get your content marketing program started.

Research

You know your customers better than anyone. Brainstorm a few topics or themes that will resonate with them. Search trending news articles, videos or anything you think will provide value to your customers. For example, if you sell shoes, creating an article on a design trends in athletic footwear would be a smart share. After you establish a few key topics, use tools like Google Alerts or BuzzSumo to send daily updates to your inbox so you can stay on top of news and new topics to cover.

Organize

Use Google Calendar to create a simple Editorial Calendar. The idea is to plan out future posts and keep things on topic. Copy/paste a headline and URL into an Event and share events (now scheduled posts) with other stakeholders for additional feedback and contributions. Edit events as you receive input, especially if there are major changes in content direction. Color code each event/post to a predetermined theme color. Scheduling helps keep your content strategy honest, organized and consistent.

Outreach

Get it seen! If you are organically marketing your products or services, then leverage your existing audience to help get the word out. Make posts actionable; tell readers to like, comment, or better yet, share the post. Those responses are also Social Signals that can aid site discovery and trust in other areas where new readers might discover your content. Share your content with related experts who might just share it themselves and give your content and brand even more exposure.

Test

Use social and site analytics to evaluate and identify content with the most traction. Google Analytics and other free services like StatCounter show you exactly who hit your website and why. You can determine how effective all of your marketing channels are, specifically content marketing. The data is important; it illustrates what themes, topics and individual posts are working. Just as important, you will know what isn’t working. Use the “Low Hanging Fruit” method of spending more time and energy on what wins, but don’t stop there, keep testing other themes and topics based on your initial results. Soon enough you'll have a good idea of what works through methodical testing and retesting of your content.

Photo Credit: Tammy Strobel/Creative Commons