by Kristi Brown | Featured Contributor
Those are all terms we, as business owners, hear all the time, right? But making them happen… well, that is a whole other thing, isn’t it?
If you are one of those business owners who pushes this to the back burner, or who downloads every list of blog post ideas that you see but are still stuck, let me help you.
The best way to gain real traction in content marketing is to develop a system that works for you. A system for generating ideas, for planning out your topics, for coming up with titles, and then actually creating the content.
Let’s get started.
Step 1: Determine Your Purpose
Just like anything else in your business, you have to start with your purpose.
To do that, answer these questions:
- What is your goal?
- Get more traffic to your website or blog.
- Get more qualified leads for your business.
- Gain visibility in your industry.
- Build rapport and credibility with potential clients.
- Who are you creating this content for?
- What problem are you going to solve for these people?
- How will your content be unique?
- How often do you feel you should publish this content?
- Where are you going to promote this content?
- What days can you schedule for yourself to create this content?
If you need some more help on this, HubSpot offers a free Goal Planning Template that you can use as well.
Step 2: Identify Your Priorities
Determine what you want your content to do for you:
- Get more engagement from your audience.
- Teach your audience something.
- Tell your story.
- Nurture leads.
- Create brand awareness.
- Upsell or cross-sell.
Step 3: Define the Core Content Approach
Depending on your brand’s identity, you’ll find different ways to intrigue your audience and get them to engage with your content. There are three main ways to add value in your content:
- INSPIRE the audience with stories.
- EDUCATE the audience with valuable information.
- ENTERTAIN the audience by making them laugh or presenting relatable stories or facts.
Choosing your content approach will help you to define your core message and tone.
Step 4: Determine the Types of Content You’ll Produce
As you begin to think about the types of content you’ll create, be sure to keep a few things in mind:
Focus on your strengths. In other words, if you absolutely detest being on video, don’t commit to creating videos. Or find a way that you can create them without being in them, like recording screen shares.
If you hate writing, consider other options such as podcasts, an audio blog, or a vlog.
If you create content in a format that you hate, not only will it be a drudgery to make, but it will come through in the final product as well.
Just because the “whole world” is doing something, that does NOT make it right for you and your business.
Keep your ideal audience in mind. When you come up with your format and topics, you always want to keep your ideal client and audience in mind. Think about questions like:
- What problem are they looking to solve?
- What is holding them back from doing business with you?
- What do they want and/or need from you?
Once you’ve got a good grasp on those things, you’ll have a clearer picture of the kinds of content you should start creating.
Here are some additional ideas in regards to the types of content that people often forget about:
- Tutorials— Teach people something new with easy-to-understand, step-by-step instructions. (They’re searching Google and YouTube for this information every day!) For example, my tutorial: 6 Reasons Social Media is Not Working for You and How to Fix Them is still the most viewed post on our website.
- Guides— A guide doesn’t have to be a 40-page eBook. In fact, people love short content that helps them solve a problem quickly. Just be certain that it provides real value to your audience.
- Interviews— People love to learn from industry leaders about their work processes and routines, their secrets to success, or how they have overcome setbacks. If you decide to do interviews, be sure to develop your own style and structure your interviews around a common theme. Lifehacker’s How I Work and John Lee Dumas’ Entrepreneur On Fire are great examples of this.
- Infographics— Infographics turn ordinary facts and figures into creative visualizations, and they’re highly-shareable online. Visually and Infogram offer free templates for creating beautiful infographics.
- Curated Content— Most of what you produce should be original, but curated content can provide a great resource for your audience and drive big traffic to your site.
Step 5: Commit to a Publishing Schedule
The quality of your content matters. But in the online world, the more consistently you publish, the more traction you will get.
Consistency is absolutely key.
Decide on a schedule you can stick to, and then actually stick to it, even if it’s just once a month.
Step 6: Build Your Content Calendar
After you have done all of the above, schedule yourself two hours of time to build your content calendar.
Here is what works best for us:
Our team does a brainstorming session to create monthly themes. These themes are broad in scope, allowing us some flexibility to be creative around predetermined topics.
Since our audience is other business owners, we choose themes like:
July: Play More
August: How to Educate Your Audience
September: How to Prepare for the Holiday Season With Your Business.
To brainstorm these themes in an efficient way, we use a free tool call Savvyroo.com. We keep a running list of all our theme ideas, and then we talk about the best ones to use each month.
From there, we narrow down our topics.
Then, we start talking about titles and social media posts.
Here is what the finished product looks like:
The hardest part is finding the time to do this, but it’s worth it.
The future of your business will thank you for taking the time to plan – and put that plan in place – in order to maximize your visibility!