Content marketing is an important part of how you grow your audience and sell your business online. It helps you build and define your online presence and develop long-lasting relationships with your customers.
Content marketing involves the creation and sharing of a variety of high-quality content like blogs, social media posts, and newsletters. The aim is to attract and retain a clearly defined, growing audience.
If you want to look at content marketing for your business, it may seem tricky to know where to start. If content marketing involves the blogs, social media posts, and emails you send to your customers, how do you know where to begin?
Effective content marketing is not just about marketing your business. It is also about building interest in your brand and creating a defined and engaged audience.
The Content Strategy is the framework that helps you develop an effective content marketing plan. However, strategy does not have to be a scary thing, or a long formal document. Creating a strategy is simply an exercise to get you to think about your business goals from the long-term perspective.
A content strategy will help you create a powerful and sustainable content plan that is true to your brand. It helps you build a plan that will help you grow and retain your online audience.
To help you start with content marketing, I have broken down the content planning process into six steps. These are the steps that I have learned from other marketing professionals, and the way that I develop the content plans for my own projects. I hope you find this a useful starting point to developing your own content marketing plans.
Step 1: Set S M A R T goals
Regular followers of this blog have heard me go on about SMART goals before.
Before you start creating content and posting it on your channels, it is important to think about the purpose of that content. Are you trying to grow a specific segment of your audience? Is it important to reach a certain milestone by a specific date? Are you trying to get more returning traffic to your website?
Effective goal setting will ensure that your content marketing is successful, sustainable, and it supports your business goals.
To start, think about the three most important goals for your content plan. While you are planning your content, return to those essential business goals. Then, make sure that your resources are carefully utilised to achieve those goals.
Step 2: Define your audience
Your customers, existing and new, are all part of your audience. They are the users who will buy into the content you post on social media, or the people who take interest in one of your services by seeing a flyer.
Knowing your audience will help you create the right content marketing plan and post the content that your growing audience will find valuable and engaging. Content that will give them reasons to stick around and come back for more.
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When you dive a little deeper into your audience, you will look at audience segmentation. Creating segments in your audience will help you create campaigns that are more targeted and effective. If you would like to find out more about audience segmentation, see this blog by Mailchimp: Audience segmentation definition.
Step 3: Take a good look at your existing content
If you have been running your business for a while, it is possible that you have already create a ton of content. This could be the text on your website, the posts on your Instagram account, even the emails you have exchanged with your customers.
Everything you have is a useful source of information about how your audience interacts with you. If you have social media posts, what sort of engagement do they get? Do you know which content performs better? Do you know what type of blogs get the best traffic on your website?
Spending some time to audit your existing content will tell you things about your audience. Things such as what they engage with, and where they spend their time online.
That is how you develop a strong content marketing plan and deliver the content that will grow your audience.
Step 4: Create consistent, valuable, and engaging content to grow your audience
At this point you know more about your goals, your audience, and what content works well with your customers. Now you are ready to start creating the content that will become part of your content marketing plan.
When you create your plan, you should think about the following aspects:
- The types of content that you will post. For example, will you be posting photography and video, as well as blogs? What resources do you have available to support that?)
- The frequency of your posts. Consistency is key if you want to engage a clearly defined, growing audience online. It is important to commit to working within deadlines and ensure that you deliver a consistent stream of content for your followers.
- The main themes of your content. For example, if you have an e-commerce business, seasonal posts are going to be important for your sales. Or, if you provide a wellbeing service, you may want to maintain a regular blog about supporting a well-balanced lifestyle.
Step 5: Distribute your content on the platforms where your growing audience lives.
Knowing who and where your customers are is essential when it comes to distributing your content.
Small businesses have limited resources. You may have to focus your efforts on developing one or two social media platforms for your business. Those platforms should be the ones where most of your customers are.
If you have a storefront, where should you display your business cards or flyers? How will new customers know that you have a new customer offer? These are questions that you have already come across if you took the time to set some SMART goals.
A good place to start would be to look at where most of your existing customers go to buy products or services like the ones you provide. If your business caters to a specific demographic, where do people of that demographic usually go to buy these products? Do they use Facebook? Do they go to a specialty store? Questions like these will help you identify where your growing audience goes to shop for your products.
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If you want to go deeper into this, check out the global statistics on StatCounter.com. This handy graph shows you the age demographics of the biggest social media platforms in the UK: Social Media Stats United Kingdom
Spending time to work on your content marketing will help you find the best places to distribute your content and continue growing your audience.
At the same time, you will be using your website and your newsletter to keep your audience engaged and the customers returning to your business.
Step 6: Test and learn
Content marketing is an iterative process. This means that you move in cycles, try new things, and keep learning.
Track and analyse your content reach monthly. This gives you a picture of how your reach is changing and how your audience is growing. Make tweaks and adjustments to see how your posts perform, and do not be afraid to try new things.
These are my six steps to help you get started with content marketing to grow your audience. I hope that you found this article useful.
What do you think? Do you know of other ways that you can use inclusive language in your business?
There is not a single way to develop your content marketing. If you want to find out more, there is a lot of high-quality content online. Google Digital Garage has many ongoing live training sessions that will help you learn more about marketing and start building your content marketing strategy.
Would you like some support with your content marketing?
A new pair of eyes can give you a fresh perspective on your business. There are many ways that I could support you to develop your content marketing plans, either by doing the work for you or helping you do it on your own. If that sounds good, let’s have a quick, free, no-obligation call to see how I can help.