THIS MONTH SHOW YOUR LOVE BY OFFERING YOUR CLIENTS VALUABLE CONTENT
RECAP FROM PRIOR WEEK
Last month I talked about how to optimize your LinkedIn Summary through a few tips and 3 structured steps. I spent plenty of time talking about telling a story, showing some personality and providing value before showcasing you or risk sounding like a resume (the number one mistake I see on LinkedIn)!
This entire month I’ve chosen to celebrate love, kindness and giving back through your online positioning. Bet you’re not sure how exactly this is going to play into your online visibility, authority building and lead generation! Well, I’m not either, and I can’t wait to hear what I have to say…Well, alright, I have something to say about loving your clients through valuable content. I attempt to do this myself every week right here – and through my podcast,
However, here’s where we all get wrapped up – myself included – into a machine, and strategies that tie our goals too closely to our path. Meaning, enjoy the journey along the way to your desired business relationship..
So, let’s dive into how we can enjoy that journey, by providing content to our ideal audience with targeted, well planned messaging that provides value – now there’s some love…
WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action after building the know, like and trust.
In short, your content strategy is the piece of your marketing plan and development that refers to the management of pretty much any tangible media that you create and own — written, visual, downloadable — you get the picture.
You may have heard how important content creation is, but as we’ll get into throughout this episode, it needs to have a well-planned purpose. When you develop a content strategy, there are some key things to consider:
- Who you’re creating it for
- The problem it’s going to solve for that audience
- How it will be unique
- The formats you’ll focus on
- The channels where it will be published
- How you will schedule and manage creation and publication
WHY CONTENT MARKETING
Attract more clients
Increase your email list size
Generate more valuable comments
Encourage repeat visitors to your blog
Build your personal brand online
WHY SHOULD YOU CREATE A CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY
Content marketing helps businesses prepare and plan for reliable and cost-effective sources of website traffic and new leads. Think about it — if you can create just one blog post that gets a consistent amount of organic traffic, an embedded link to an ebook or free tool will continue generating leads for you as time goes on.
The reliable source of traffic and leads from your evergreen content will give you the flexibility to experiment with other marketing tactics to generate revenue, such as sponsored content, social media advertising, and distributed content. Also, your content will not only help attract leads — it will also help educate your target prospects and generate awareness and authority positioning for your brand.
HOW TO CREATE A CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY THAT RESONATES WITH YOUR IDEAL CLIENTS
Now, let’s dive in to learn the specifics of how to create a content marketing plan. Here are my 6 top STEPS for creating your strategy:
1)What’s your goal for developing a content marketing plan? Why do you want to produce content and create a content marketing plan? Know your goals before you begin planning, and you’ll have an easier time determining what’s best for your strategy.
2) Conduct persona research.
To develop a successful plan, you need to clearly define your content’s target audience — also known as your “buyer persona.”
This is especially important for those who are starting out or are new to marketing. By knowing your target audience, you can produce more relevant and valuable content that they’ll want to read and convert on.
If you’re an experienced marketer, your target may have changed. Do you want to target a new group of people or expand your current target market? Do you want to keep the same target audience? Revisiting your audience parameters by conducting market research each year is crucial to growing your audience.
3) Run a content audit.
Most people start out with blog posts, but if you want to venture out and try producing other content pieces, consider which ones you want to make. For instance, if you’ve been doing weekly blog posts for the past year, creating an ebook that distills all your blog posts into one ultimate guide would be a one way to offer information in a different format. We’ll go over several different types of content you can use further down on the list.
If you’ve been in business for a while, review your content marketing efforts and the results from it in the last year. Figure out what you can do differently in the upcoming year and set new goals to reach. (Pro tip: Now is a great time to align your team’s goals with the rest of your organization’s goals.)
4) Determine a content management system.
Have a system in place where you can manage your content. A few vital parts of content management include content creation, content publication, and content analytics.
5) Brainstorm content ideas.
Now, it’s time to start coming up with ideas for your next content project. Here are some tools to get the wheels turning:
HubSpot’s Website Grader: HubSpot’s Website Grader is a great tool to use when you want to see where you’re at with your marketing. From your blogging efforts to your social media marketing, Website Grader grades vital areas of your marketing and sends you a detailed report to help you optimize and improve each area. With this tool, you can figure out how to make your website more SEO-friendly and discover new content ideas.
What To Write: Get your mind gears going with What To Write’s unique content idea generator. This tool asks you questions that will help jumpstart your brainstorming. It also generates several blog post ideas for you after you’ve completed the questions, so you can use those ideas in your content marketing plan.
HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator: Get blog post ideas for an entire year with HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator. All you need to do is enter general topics or terms you’d like to write about, and this content idea generator does all the work for you.
Feedly: This popular RSS feed is a wonderful way to keep track of trendy topics in your industry and find content ideas at the same time.
BuzzSumo: Discover popular content and content ideas at BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo uses social media shares to determine if a piece of content is popular and well-liked, so this information will help you see which content ideas will do well.
Content Forest: Content Forest offers free tools, which include KeywordKiwi and ContentIdeator. These tools will help you find popular content from your competitors, effective keywords to use in your content, and great content ideas all in one spot.
Blog Post Headline Analyzer: CoSchedule’s tool analyzes headlines and titles and provides feedback on length, word choice, grammar, and keyword search volume. If you have an idea in mind, run a few title options through the Headline Analyzer to see how you could make it stronger, and to move your idea further along in the brainstorming process.
6) Determine which types of content you want to create.
There are a variety of options out there for content you can create.
Here are some of the most popular content formats marketers are creating and tools and templates to get you started.
Blog posts live on a website and should be published regularly in order to attract new visitors. Posts should provide valuable content for your audience that makes them inclined to share posts on social media and across other websites. I recommend that blog posts be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length, but experiment to see if your audience prefers longer or shorter reads.
Ebooks are lead generation tools that potential customers can download after submitting a lead form with their contact information. They’re typically longer, more in-depth, and published less frequently than blog posts, which are written to attract visitors to a website. Ebooks are the next step in the inbound marketing process: After reading a blog post (such as this one), visitors might want more content from an ebook and submit their contact information to learn more valuable information for themselves or their business. In turn, the business producing the ebook has a new qualified lead to contact.
Templates are a handy content format to try because they generate leads for you while providing tremendous value to your audience. When you provide your audience with template tools to save them time and help them succeed, they’re more likely to keep engaging with your content in the future.
Videos are a highly engaging content medium that are shareable across social media platforms and websites alike. Videos require a bigger investment of time and resources than written content, but as visual marketing increases in popularity — after all, it’s 40x more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content — it’s a medium worth experimenting with.
Starting a podcast will help audiences find your brand if they don’t have time or interest in reading content every day. The number of podcast listeners is growing — in 2016, an estimated 57 million people listened to podcasts each month. If you have interesting people to interview or conversations to host, consider podcasting as another content format to experiment with.
Once you’ve been regularly publishing content on your own site for a while, it might be time to start thinking about distributing your content on other sites. This could entail a few things:
Publishing website content on social media sites, such as LinkedIn
Repurposing content into new formats and publishing them on your blog or social media sites
Creating original content specifically for external sites
This is a lot of information, but the work has just begun. It takes time, organization, and creativity to grow a successful content marketing strategy. From building the foundation of your content marketing plan to adding tools to better manage your content, setting up and thinking through your your strategy up front will streamline your business.
Strategizing and brainstorming our way through a 12 month plan for content generation, distribution and execution is something I do often with clients – and is the most exhilirating part of my own business. If you’re interested in talking more about our “Online Marketing Plan Generator Session” – reach out! We can work together through a “Done with you” plan or if you don’t have the time – as is often the case with my clients – I can take it on entirely through a “Done For you” plan.
WEEKLY TIP, TOOL, EASY TO IMPLEMENT STRATEGY
And, here is your weekly tip, tool, easy to implement strategy…
To find viral content in your industry, follow these two steps:
Step #1: Go to Buzzsumo. Type in your keyword (e.g., “on-page SEO”) and click “Go.”
Step #2: Check your results to find the headlines that got the most social shares.
Buzzsumo shows us that in the past year, the topic “on-page SEO” was extremely popular. Over 10,000 people shared articles about it on Twitter.
Remember that most topics that went viral didn’t explode overnight. The vast majority of them take time to gain traction, which is often sustainable in the long run. The same rule applies to videos and other kinds of content creation. Sustainability is far better than a viral surge that disappears overnight.
IN MY NEXT EPISODE
We’ll talk about even more love and kindness – that’s right we’re not quite done with this topic of the month, and this time I’m going to show you how be kind to YOURSELF! What does this mean? How about I show you how to implement 3 top strategies that automate a few aspects of your business outreach so you can schedule in more down time to decompress and catch your breath…Now, there’s some self-love!
Next week I’ll share with you a very exciting development reflecting a new service format I’m assembling that I think is going to be very productive and efficient for, especially busy time-strapped attorneys or other business owners that are looking to grow their practice with highly qualified clients. So, tune in to find out more about this new program! (Spoiler alert: I’m starting to look for a few select beta-testers)…