Before diving head first into Content Marketing Strategy, peruse these simple guidelines:
1) Know Thy Brand: Many brands suffer from ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ and tend to offload content marketing and communication duties onto several people. This creates some major issues, the brand ‘voice’ becomes disjointed and reflects the tone of multiple perspectives instead of one universal voice for the company. Sometimes having multiple people involved is unavoidable, just make sure basic content marketing strategy is discussed and the lines of communication are always open. A weekly meeting to go over ideas and updates is beneficial to the whole team involved. It keeps everyone on the same page and keeps brand goals in the forefront of the collective mind.
If you outsource these duties, please touch base often and keep those individuals abreast of any upcoming events. Springing information upon them last minute won’t allow time for proper strategy assessment and needed edits. You have to remember, they are not sitting in meetings with you and what you choose to share is the only view of the inner workings of your brand they have, keeping them in the dark helps no one.
2) Thou Shalt Not Covet: Know your limits when it comes to how many Social Media platforms and marketing channels you can effectively manage. Sure “SnappyAppy3000” might be the latest thing to make waves, but if you can’t keep your brand’s account active and engaging, why bother? If you have limited time and/or resources, only pick channels you can tend to on a regular basis. Updating your blog once in a blue moon looks lazy and reflects poorly on your brand. That YouTube channel featuring stale videos from 2 years ago also looks bad. If you can only keep up with your Facebook Brand Page, blog, and LinkedIn, so be it. Just ensure that the channels you choose have the greatest benefit to your brand overall. Once you get into the groove and feel confident with the platforms you chose to pursue, then you can think of expanding to more avenues. Please, please, don’t go haywire and create an account on each platform and then leave it dormant. Fans searching for your brand will see this and it just looks unprofessional, or worse they will think you no longer exist.
3) Thou Shalt Not Have False Idols: Keep tabs on thought leaders within your industry and check out what your competition is doing. You may be inspired by their content marketing push or their lively flock of followers. However, don’t rip them off. They are their own creature, and so is your brand. What works swimmingly for them might not work as well for you. Reflect on what makes your brand and target market unlike any other. What unique insight or attributes can you contribute to your sector? Once you put a thumb on what makes your brand tick, get rolling and be open to evolving.
4) Honor Thy Data: SEO is vital to giving your carefully crafted content legs. Before plugging away at a blog post or advertorial, check out which SEO keywords should be focused on and look for “holes” where other brands in your industry aren’t as active. The less competition around a relevant keyword, the better and cheaper. Remember that you are writing for humans, so don’t go berserk and insert keywords wherever possible. Make sure your keyword usage makes coherent sense and isn’t just a stream of repetitive buzzwords laced together in the headline, post description, and article body. After all, it’s humans you’re trying to attract to your content not computers…
5) Thou Shalt Not Kill Your Traffic: Metrics, metrics, metrics. Make sure you are keeping watch on your Google Analytics data, Facebook Insights, etc. Some content will take root with your audience quite easily, other content might be less than stellar. Don’t waste your time reworking content that garnered a lukewarm response. Use your data as a guide to your content marketing strategy moving forward. You may think you know exactly what your audience wants, but your data should always back up that notion. Numbers don’t lie.
Also, don’t be afraid to discuss items beyond your product or company’s scope. Look to your industry as a whole and trends rippling through your sector. Not every shred of content needs to be about your specific brand. Become an authority in your field and pick the brains of those who are at the top for nuggets of sharable wisdom. Have confidence in your content output, just don’t believe that you are above growth.
6) Honor Thy Name: Engagement from your fan base can be a double edged sword. Most of your feedback won’t set off alarm bells, but every so often a situation will arise that needs to be handled promptly. Your Facebook and Twitter pages for example should be looked at as extensions of customer service. Sure your content post might have nothing to do with a customer complaint, but be mindful of your handling of their comments and questions. Open up dialogue in an appropriate place, such as a Facebook direct message or refer them to a company contact’s phone number. Never, never lead an irate customer on a wild goose chase.
When potential customers research your company, you don’t want negative interactions to color their judgement of your brand. Remain level-headed and professional when handling customer issues publicly.
7) Thou Shalt Not Stray: Making sales is your end goal, let your content marketing strategy help your pipeline. Just don’t expect a piece of quality content to magically translate into instant $$$. Instead, think of creating content has building a lasting relationship with your fans. Provide content that fills a need or piques their interests. Invite them to sign up for an informative newsletter, give them a heads up for events, etc. If they feel valued, they will return and eventually convert into sales. Be patient and avoid being overly garish with your sales tactics. Allow fans to digest your content without being hit with aggressive “Buy now! Buy now! Buy NOW!” messaging.
Have any personal commandments of your own? We’re listening!