Looking to start a content marketing program but not quite sure how to make it work? Wondering what content marketing tactics you’re missing in order to make your program successful? You’re not alone.
Content marketing can be a very compelling way to capture mindshare and close business. However, simply creating content without any overarching plan and then sharing it once via social media isn’t enough.
Don’t worry! There is a solution. Here are ten content marketing tactics you need to follow in order to make your business successful.
1. Connect Content Marketing Tactics With Business Goals
Developing and promoting content is very time-consuming and your time is limited. In order to be most effective at your job, every piece of content should have a purpose.
That’s why the first step in the content marketing planning process is to make sure you understand overarching business goals. Take into account both the short term (for example, the goals for that quarter) and the longer term (goals for the year and the next few years).
Once you understand your business goals, you need to think about how you will use content marketing for support. For example, if securing more speaking opportunities is a goal, should you create content offers as follow-up promotions after the speaking gigs? If winning against a competitor is a goal, should your content marketing efforts be directed to countering your competitors’ arguments?
2. Make Brand Guidelines Part of Your Content Marketing Tactics
A key content marketing tactic is to follow your brand guidelines. As you build your content development and marketing process, keep in mind brand guidelines questions like the following:
- Tone: How does your company want to sound? Are you thought leaders? Friendly jokers? Warm family members?
- Words: Are there particular words that are important for people to associate with your business? Note that these may not be searchable keywords. They may instead be more general descriptors (like “nimble” or “powerful”) that are an important part of your business story.
- Graphical elements: Are there graphical elements that should be used frequently in your content? Remember, you want to look like all content marketing efforts stem from a single, unified source and voice.
3. Include Content Marketing In Your Budget
Once you understand what you need to do to support the business plan, you also need to understand how to stay within budget. After all, having the funds to do what you need to is a critical content marketing tactic! That means you need to map out the marketing budget and where content marketing fits within that.
Some questions you can ask yourself as you map out your goals and budget include:
Tools: What tools (software, apps, etc.) will you need to be effective? Will you need mostly single-purpose tools (like Hemmingway, that can help you edit your content)? Or can your tools be multi-purpose (like HubSpot, where you can compose, promote, and track content within the same interface)?
Cost: If you have a small budget, does it make more sense to use multiple free or cheap tools? Some free tools (like Google Analytics for small businesses) might be enough to meet your needs. However, you may find it works better for you to invest in something more comprehensive – but then you may have to skimp in other areas.
Be sure to weigh the pros and cons. Some free tools may be less effective or powerful as broader-functionality or paid tools, but the price is right. On the other hand, perhaps the amount of time saved in using a tool you pay for justifies its purchase. This may especially be true if you have a small team and need to make every minute count.
Not sure which tool to use for what? Read about some of your options here: 25 Free Content Marketing Tools to Radically Boost Your Results.
4. Practice The Right Content Marketing Tactics For Your Audience
One content marketing tactic you can’t forget is to understand the audience you want to capture. For example, a content marketing plan that is aimed at getting media attention should not look the same as one used to solidify partner relationships. Even the channels you use for your content marketing efforts might be different, depending on who you are trying to reach.
In addition, different audiences need different pieces to cover the stages of their lifecycles. For instance, you may be working to capture a B2B audience that will be spending millions of dollars. In that case, your content will have to be more in-depth, likely including thought leadership pieces as well as lighter content (like infographics). On the other hand, if you are trying to capture the attention of customers who are spending $10 on a sweater, you might want to share classy Instagram images and or entertaining YouTube videos.
5. Involve Multiple Teams Throughout The Process
As you develop the pieces you want to include in your content marketing efforts, remember to include your customer service and sales teams in the effort. After all, they both have direct contact with your customers.
Your sales team can give you good ideas about what helps them close a sale, as well as what they hear from competitors in a live setting. Your customer service team can provide insight into what questions customers have and what content will allow you to provide guidance and ease of use. Use their input to develop keywords, content topics, and campaigns.
6. Be Realistic About Content Marketing
The content marketing process, end-to-end, is very effective but also extremely time-consuming. Therefore, you need to use your time wisely. That’s why a very important content marketing tactic is to ask yourself, what do you truly need to do in order to be successful?
For example, think about:
- Team size: Are you a team of one? Of five? More? How is each person’s time best used? Is content marketing part of a person’s job or is it their sole duty? Should some of the content marketing duties be split up amongst several team members?
- Cadence: Do you need to publish two blog posts every week? Or is it enough to publish once a week and promote some of your older content as well throughout the week?
- Content reuse: Can some pieces be reconfigured to freshen them up? For example, can you repurpose your blog posts? Can you take the content from an article and turn it into an infographic? Can you take a longer video and split it into three shorter videos or several teaser videos?
7. Set Content Marketing Metrics For Success
You will never know if your content marketing efforts are successful if you don’t set up any metrics for success. The hardest part is at the beginning of the process when you don’t have any baseline metrics. However, once you’ve taken a few months to understand how your content marketing process is working, you can then begin to make tweaks to improve your metrics.
Some things that you need to take into account when developing the appropriate metrics for your content marketing program are:
- Tracking: What KPIs and metrics are important to track? Do you care about social media follower count? Link click-through? Social sharing? How many sign-ups or purchases result from your content? Or something else entirely? For further ideas on which metrics to track, read about these 6 Content Marketing Metrics You Can’t Afford To Ignore.
- Responsibility: Who is responsible for tracking metrics? Do you have a data analyst on your team? Is it the person who runs your website? Is it there a person who has end-to-end content marketing responsibility? Are you hiring a consultant outside of your team to manage your metrics?
- Reporting: Are you going to funnel a variety of metrics from different tools into a single spreadsheet? Are you using a single tool that pulls together all metrics from every channel? Are you creating separate reports for the internal marketing team vs the management team? How often do you need to share reports in order to measure and improve progress?
- Training: Do you need to take training classes to understand how to use the tools you selected? Will there be a cost or major time component involved?
8. Make A Content Marketing Plan
An obvious yet oft-forgotten content marketing tactic is to develop a written plan. Often plans will change over time. However, if you don’t map them out, you will end up wasting time every week trying to figure out what you should be creating and sharing. Content marketing plans don’t have to be elaborate but you will be much more efficient and targeted with your efforts if you create them.
Using a spreadsheet is fine for tracking a high-level content marketing plan. You may also want to take advantage of tools like Asana or Basecamp to provide insight into how people are working against the plan.
Be sure that you are tracking all the types of content you are creating and all the channels on which you will be sharing them. If you need ideas about interesting content formats you can use to catch your audience’s attention, read this article: 5 Insanely Sharable Formats to Improve Your Content Marketing Efforts Right Now.
9. Broaden Your Content Marketing Team
Just as employees can help you understand what your customers are interested in consuming, they also can help you develop and share content. Employees have deep knowledge, which is worth tapping. Promote the opportunity to create content as a benefit to them. After all, it’s a chance for them to share their knowledge while also benefiting the company.
You can also involve partners and customers in your content marketing plan. Remember, each person has their own audience. Working with customers and partners outside of your business allows you to tap into their audiences while being assured that the new people you reach are relevant to your business. It is also a great way to solidify relationships and provide your partners and customers with promotional opportunities that will benefit them, too.
9. Find Time-Sensitive Opportunities
Content marketing is only effective if your audience is consuming and sharing your content. Therefore, you can’t take a “set it and forget it” attitude towards sharing and promoting your content via social media.
Remember that social media is “social” and the live aspect can open new opportunities. Actively reach out to key audience members to ensure they see what you are sharing. Tag appropriate people and get them involved in conversations about your content.
In addition, be on the lookout for additional pieces that you can add into the mix like time-sensitive subjects, newsworthy items, relevant trends, etc. You can also develop a ton of timely content when you attend an event. “In the moment” topics and content can sometimes hold the biggest draw, making them an important part of your content marketing process.
Close More Business With Actionable Content Marketing Tactics
By following these ten content marketing tactics, you should be able to bring more traffic to your site, increase interest in your offerings, and ultimately close more business. Do you have any content marketing tactics to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me up at @HollyChessman.