Every day without a good content plan is a day that is costing your clients money, so they don't have time to procrastinate with their content marketing strategy. They need that strategy for increasing business, and it needs to be implemented now.
To avoid stumbling headlong into a strategy that is inefficient, cumbersome, or just plain risky, use these guidelines to help your clients formulate the content marketing strategy that works for them:
Business 2 Community claims that more than 60% of all companies plan on increasing their content marketing in 2012. Why are businesses scrambling to increase their content marketing efforts? Roper Public Affairs found that people prefer to get information in a series of articles rather than in advertisements.
Consumers and business decision makers want to do the research themselves; they feel it helps them make more informed decisions. Your clients can make their research easy by simply giving them credible information, and that information helps them to look to your clients as a trusted authority.
To get an effective content marketing strategy started, you need answer a few simple but important questions.
1. What information can you provide to your customers that they will find worthwhile?
A home construction company may choose to provide customers with home design ideas, maintenance tips, and information about new home products like light fixtures or tile. When customers begin regularly reading the company's blog post, emails, or social media posts, they will automatically turn to the company when a remodeling need comes up.
Consider the particular company and what it can provide. For example, a real estate agency could provide content on how to prepare your home for sale. An engineering company could provide updates on cutting-edge technology. A restaurant could offer recipes or the historical backgrounds of house specialties.
2. How often do you want to reach the public?
There's no set-in-stone rule for frequency of content marketing posts or emails, but consistency makes a difference. When customers know they can count on regular, informative content from your clients, they see them as stable and authoritative. Generally, blogs should be updated at least once a week to stay vibrant, and if comments are allowed on the blog, your clients should respond to questions to encourage lively, two-way discussions. Email communication can be as infrequent as once a month, especially if the emails are chock full of valuable ideas.
3. Who will produce the content for your marketing strategy?
Your clients should be realistic about how much content they can personally produce given the other demands on their time. Some people turn content production over entirely to another person or a company that hires writers to produce it. Other people write all their content themselves or hire out a portion of the work, especially if they enjoy writing or have special expertise in the subject.
Any way they go about it, encourage them to make a plan and stick to it. Perhaps they want to produce four blog posts each month, and they want to write just one of the posts. Find a writer to handle the other three posts and get that writer working before the posts are due.
4. How will you ensure good quality?
Even the best content marketing strategy falls short if the content is mediocre. To ensure good quality, make plans for having all content edited by someone other than the writer. Even small errors like spelling mistakes and formatting problems can be strikes against your clients' credibility.
5. How will you deliver your content?
Be creative in answering this question because today there are dozens of venues for dispersing content. A good content marketing strategy may hit several different venues at once. While brainstorming these venues, don't forget about press releases, social media posts, videos, photos, emails, blog posts, newsletters, and your clients' own websites.
Your target audience is important when considering this factor. Younger consumers tend to pay more attention to social media, and older consumers are more reachable via email and newsletters. You may need to use several methods to reach your clients' entire audiences.
Once you've answered these questions, you have the basics of your clients' content marketing strategy, and you can get started producing and posting content right away. Re-evaluate your strategy after an initial trial period, say four to six weeks, to see if your plan is having its desired effect. If not, make adjustments until you get the results you're looking for.