November 5, 2015
Guide to Getting Started With Content Marketing
“Do you do SEO?” If this is one of the first questions you’re thinking about asking us here at Alt Creative, you’re in good company. We hear it all the time! But while SEO is certainly an important part of any marketing strategy, it’s not something that’s best done on its own. Sure, you can lace a few good keywords into your web copy, but the search engines are far more likely to find you if you’ve got a vibrant, relevant and frequently updated blog and social media feed.
The real question you should be asking is, “How do I create a killer content strategy?”
We’re glad you asked. Let’s take a look at just what content marketing is, how you can get going with it, and how you can keep yourself from burning out.
What is Content Marketing?
At the most basic level, content marketing is the art of communicating with customers without actually selling to them. It’s a form of relationship and awareness building that’s closer to journalism or media production than it is to traditional advertising and marketing. With content marketing, you’ll always be providing helpful and actionable materials that deepens your relationship with your customer.
How to Produce Killer Content
1. Create It Yourself
There’s no better way to introduce the world to your unique voice and expertise than making your own content.
One of the best ways to start brainstorming ideas is to do a little keyword research using the Google keyword tool. Enter terms you’d like your customers to use to find you and the tool will suggest a number of related phrases. These can be both a great jumping off point for brainstorming ideas and a great way to get yourself ranked on search engines, as you’ll naturally use these search terms when writing your posts.
One of the best things about content marketing is that you can stretch one measly idea into a number of different posts using different formats. Once you’ve got your idea, decide whether you want to start with a blogpost, video how-to tips, an infographic or even just a funny drawing. Then set aside some time, start your writing, filming or scribbling and have fun!
2. Curate Other People’s Existing Content
Being a top-ranked website doesn’t have to mean only producing your own content. Many of the world’s top-ranked websites are content aggregators that never produce their own materials.
But curating doesn’t mean stealing other people’s work, which can easily get you blacklisted on Google. What it does mean is following the best blogs, social media and video sites and signing up for industry Google news alerts so you can be the first to know about the most interesting and helpful content out there. Once sourced, link to that content on your blog or in your social media feeds with a short summary, or publish a small excerpt before sending readers right to the source. Google loves fresh content just as much as readers do, and this will keep you high ranked and well-read.
3. Use What You’ve Got
You may already have far more content ready to share than you think. Have a brand new project you’re extra proud of? Highlight the project on your blog, or give your readers a behind the scenes glimpse into the production process. Do you have some exciting company news? Use your blog as a platform to tell the world. Have a great employee who makes your office run ten times smoother? Ask her to blog about a day in her office life. There are stories everywhere you turn, so don’t be afraid to look around you!
Whether you use all three of these approaches or just one, it’s important that you use a content calendar to keep your content varied and your production on track. Doing so will also help you create themes for every month, which will in turn inform all of your brainstorming and help you vary your content from week to week.
Strategies for Getting Your Content Read
If you’re only thinking of posting your content to your blog, you’re really putting too many eggs in one basket. Posting different types of media on different platforms will keep your voice and ideas fresh in the mind of consumers, bringing your message directly to their favorite online niches. Google also loves websites that have multiple inbound links and connected accounts, as it makes a site look all the more authoritative.
A few places where you’ll want to share your content:
Your blog is great for hosting blog posts, customer case studies, company news, infographics, embedded videos, photos and comics.
Social media is great for posting links to your blog, popular news stories, memes, podcasts and, well, just about any other kind of content you produce. It’s also a crucial platform for engaging directly in conversations with your customers.
YouTube is the second most used search engine in the world, making it a powerful platform for SEO content marketing. It’s a great place to post instructional videos, news updates or even just a friendly greeting from your company. Make sure to add keywords to your title and meta-descriptions.
Email marketing is a great medium for sending out blog-like content with clear calls to action to funnel customers deeper into your brand. Even better, you can reuse eBlasts on your blog without Google even knowing.
Amazon and other book sellers are a great a place to host and sell eBooks stuffed with expert tips and industry know how.
Other blogs within your industry are a great place to guest post. Doing so will expose your brand to the blog’s followers and will also provide more content for your own blog when your fellow blogger pays you back with a post of their own.
How to Prevent Burnout
Phew! That should be more than enough to get you started, but you can stretch all of your content out even further by thinking strategically about reusing what you’ve already produced.
Reuse your content on different platforms. A blog post, for example, can easily be printed in a magazine, as long as you’re upfront with your editor about where you’ve published it before.
Give old content a new approach. Let’s say you wrote a blog post entitled, “10 Tips for Sneaking in Exercise During the Day.” You can easily freshen up that material by adding a new spin to the title, like, “Top 10 Tips for Exercising During Your Lunch Break.” Or, remove the “Top 10” element and rewrite the article as, “Tips for Exercising at the Office.” While it’s all the same basic idea, these approaches will make it as good as new.
Update old tips. Hey, things change in a year. If you have new advice to add to an old article, swap out the new content for the old and voila! You’ve got a new post.
More guest posting. Using all of these strategies, you can reuse the same idea on multiple guest blogs by slightly changing your angle or approach. Your fellow bloggers are always looking for content and will be happy to add your voice to their own.
Content marketing is by far one of the most important things a business owner can do. With so many strategies at your disposal, it’s really a great excuse to get creative and have a little fun while you’re spreading the word about your awesome business and all that you do. Good luck!