The first content I wrote for the Internet was in summer 1996. Our team was building a website for Michelle Akers, the captain of the U.S. women’s soccer team at the Olympics in Atlanta. What I was doing was telling her story and helping her to connect with her fans. That was a great summer as they won the gold medal.
Since then I’ve written hundreds of pages of content (maybe thousands) for my own website and for clients. Building content has been a part of websites since the beginning of the web. It was the reason for the web.
A good place to start with content marketing is to know the WHY behind your reason for developing content.
Creating a Content Marketing Mission Statement
Okay, this sounds like a boring place to start but it will keep you from creating a bunch of irrelevant content that never gets read. You need to figure out who you’re writing for and what kind of information they want. To work, your mission statement has to address the pain points of your readers and followers or it simply won’t work.
- Core audience target
- What will be delivered to the audience
- Audience action
Here’s an example of a Content Marketing Mission Statement for a fictional tree service company:
- Core audience target: a homeowner in the Denver metro area
- What will be delivered to the audience: articles, topical blog posts, social media updates, email newsletters, videos
- Audience action: call our phone number, fill out a form, or get an online quote
Value of creating content
- Increased visibility
- Create something of value
- Establishes you as the expert
- SEO bounce from fresh, keyword-rich content
- Able to put something in the hands of people
When I first moved from Orlando to Denver in 2002, I had an advantage on a lot of web design companies because I had a good-sized site and had been around for a couple of years. At one point I was at the top of the search engines for many web design terms in Orlando and Denver because of the size of my site. There are a ton more factors now but having a good amount of content can still be a competitive advantage in the search engines.
Types of Content
There are two types of content you will be writing. One is Timely content. This would include blog posts, social media posts, news articles, etc., that are time-dependent. In a month or two they will likely be irrelevant.
The other is Evergreen: content on your site – services that you offer, FAQs, product descriptions, case studies, etc. This can also be blog posts that are not time-dependent.
I recently talked with a friend who started a local service company in March 2014. He was telling me that he employed the idea of getting a lot of content on his site down to the fourth level. They started developing evergreen content AND getting incoming links. It took about six months to start getting traction.
By spring 2015 they were near the top of the search engines and getting a lot of leads. The biggest complaints they were getting on Google reviews was that they weren’t getting back to customers with bids because they were too busy doing projects and being overwhelmed with all the phone calls. They didn’t get any complaints on the quality of their work. They did $900K in just their second year of business.
Key Components of a Content Strategy
- Create good content
- Repurpose content
- Distribute and promote content
Create Good Content
What do I create? We get stymied by not knowing what we should put together. Just create something really good that’s worth sharing. things that will move people to action or benefit them.
One of my passions is journaling. I have a business journal in on my computer right now that more than 500 pages that I’ve kept over the last 10 years or so. I also keep a creativity book where I write down ideas, draw pictures, etc.
I had a new client start this month that I’m coaching on her Internet marketing. She liked my article so much that the first thing she wants me to do is to write a 1,000-1,500 bio of her for an online magazine.
This is being wise with what we have. Take the really good content you just created and put into multiple forms that people will digest. You can even do this with past content that you have. I’m looking at doing this with a client who makes gowns for the mother of the bride.
- Downloadable PDF
- Twitters/Facebook posts – can get several out of one article
- PowerPoint and turn into SlideShare
- Video – can create several short videos from one blog post
Distribute & Promote Content
- Post to your website and then use Google Webmaster Tools to fetch them. This helps index your page first so you don’t have duplicate content problems.
- Send out as an email newsletter
- Social media networks: Linked In (link to the short post from your personal and company pages, or create a long-form post) Facebook, Google My Business, Twitter
Tips and Hints about Content Marketing
- Determine who will write your content: Outsource your writing – you can always add your owns stories to make it more personal
- Use Dragon Naturally Speaking: If you’re a slow typer or just want to get a lot of content out quickly, using Dragon Naturally Speaking can help. It turns your speech into digital words. It can help you create a ton of content quickly. Can go back and edit it later, or have an editor make it into a usable form. Google Docs also has voice recognition software you can use to get your words down on paper.
- Keep many articles in-process: You don’t need to have everything done at once. You can have several articles or posts in-process at the same time. Add to them on a regular basis and then drive one to completion.
- Take lots of pictures: use them within your content or for photo galleries. You should also consider having a professional photographer take pictures for you. The quality will go a long way in communicating your quality. I recently have some headshots taken that were both formal and informal for my LinkedIn profile and my Facebook profile.
- Use unique images: This is better than using canned stock photos of people shaking hands.