Business Owners and Content Marketing
Most online gurus rave about all of the values of content marketing; refer to it as ‘King’ – whatever that means. They tell you content needs to ‘epic’ and ‘engaging’ and you need a lot of it.
Many of these same gurus do create solid content day in and day out – because that’s their business.
Your business, on the other hand, is all about the time consuming process of selling products or providing services, managing staff, your outlet or office and servicing clients.
You want to communicate with your prospects and customers, but don’t have a lot of time to devote to blog posts, YouTube videos and social media content because that’s not your business.
In this post, I’m going to present you, the busy business owner, with some simple content marketing guidelines to make the process easier.
What is Content Marketing?
First, let’s be clear about what content marketing is. According to Content Management Institute:
Content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior. It is an ongoing process that is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy and focuses on owning media, not renting it.
Want a simplified version?
At its core, content is the online stuff you give, share and communicate to your customers and prospects without selling. Basically, you’re trying to craft content that answers your prospects and customers questions or objections before they ask so you can move them through the purchasing process.
The premise is the more you educate, deliver ongoing value and information to buyers, they will reward you with their purchase and loyalty. Do this right and content marketing will deliver.
The question on the table is how to create it if you don’t have the time to devote to content marketing.
5 Step Content Marketing Plan
You’ve heard the saying:
Plan the Work. Work the Plan.
I’ve outlined a 5 step Content Marketing Plan below. Creating your Content Plan should take you about 40-60 minutes. Of course, that assumes you already have an idea of the audiences you want to reach and the messages you want to send about your company.
If you don’t have this information, it will take longer, but it is still worth your effort as it is small investment for gaining control over your content marketing.
Armed with your plan and assuming you will be creating some fresh content once a week, it should take you about an hour a week to craft a post as I’m suggesting and to distribute through your channels.
In the end, having a plan will save you gobs of time as well as giving your content a focus and a better opportunity of generating the leads and customers you desire.
- Know your objectives and what specific messages you want to communicate about you / your company.
- Know exactly what you want to accomplish – generate leads, get prospects into email database, get them to sign-up for a trial, etc. Have a clear goal in mind.
- Know what makes your company, product or service different from your competitors – your secret sauce.
This step is about knowing your audience AND, most importantly the specific messages you need to send to them based upon where they might be in the purchase decision process.
- Know WHO you are talking to and what matters to them
- What messages and pieces of information help them move forward?
- Aware but not yet ready to buy
- What messages / information help them move forward?
- Considering buying but not yet committed to you
- What messages / information help them move forward?
- Current customers
- What messages / information help them to continue to be our customers and promoters?
3. Content Resources
- Identify 4-8 content resources that will help you to generate content. Keep newsletters and updates from these resources in a separate folder or send to a separate email. These may include:
- Industry trade publications
- Industry associations
- Industry related blogs
- Industry Experts
- LinkedIn Groups that share relevant information
- Industry related YouTube Channels or podcasts
- Whatever resources that fit your topic(s) and your audience
Use these resources to generate timely topics, trends and to create your content. You don’t have to create your content from scratch. Share the information these resources are already discussing, add your thoughts and tailor the content to your various audiences.
Make certain to provide attribution to the resource.
A great time saver.
If you want articles that represent your original thoughts, then you can trade time for money with the resources above or others you can find online. These firms have writers who will create your articles for you. You have the added advantage of customizing the content to fit your audience.
A big, big time saver.
Another big content marketing time saver is to re-purpose your content so it does double, triple or quadruple duty. As an example:
- one blog post can turn into a PowerPoint presentation
- used as content for an infographic
- be broken down into parts for multiple Facebook or LinkedIn updates,
- used as content for a single or multiple videos
- the video audio can be turned into MP3
- take a series of related articles or blog posts and turn them into an ebook
This is an immense time saver because you don’t have to recreate the content. Simple reformat it. Plus it increases the chances of you creating content in a form that is most desired by segments of your audience.
Note: When you are crafting your content, don’t forget that the more emotion you can instill into the piece, the more attention your content will attract.
To get your content to do its job you need to get it where most of your audience will see it. So think of multiple locations, but don’t go crazy by trying to post to all of the social networks and bookmarking sites. That will be a time sink.
Cherry pick the best 2-3 channels and encourage your audiences to share.
- Which channels are you going to use to distribute your content marketing?
- Email database
- Social Media
- Industry blog or websites
- News media websites
- Determine your timing and frequency
- When is the best time to reach your audiences on Facebook, on LinkedIn, through email, etc.?
- When is the best time for you to select your content and distribute it? Make a commitment to this time and stick to it. After 30 days, it will become a good habit.
- How frequently does your audience want or need information from you?
5. Content Calendar
- Using the calendar in WordPress, an online calendar, an excel calendar and outline your plan. You’ll find several examples of various content calendars here.
There you have it. An easy 5 step Content Marketing Plan that will have you creating content like crazy.
Who knows? With practice you may learn to love the process of creating content.
Are you currently creating online content for your business?
If not, why not? What seems to be stopping you?