Repost from Net Imperative
by Andy Brown
Too many businesses make content marketing about them and forget the real reason why they should be doing it. It’s becoming more ego marketing than content marketing. Andy Brown, Managing Director Reality PR, looks at how you plan for content marketing by leaving egos behind.
Content marketing in PR has been around for a long time, and in recent years has become very much an integral part of a PR’s role. It is as pivotal to the success of a marketing and PR plan as the press release and media relations were 10 or 20 years ago.
To be really good at content marketing however you need to understand the guidelines and put in place a set of rules. Here are my tips, strategies and tactics for creating amazing and useful content that your target market will want to consume, engage with and follow to help raise the profile and awareness of you and your business and generate leads.
1. It’s not about you. Work out your audience and make it about them.
You probably have a good idea who you will be targeting with your content but what you may not fully understand is what engages them. Your content should not be about your business or your ego because in all honesty people aren’t interested in you. Until you realize that, your material won’t go anywhere. Content should be about your audience and what they are looking to solve. Chances are your piece of content is not new. It has more than likely been covered by someone else, so why should people read your blog? What are you going to say that’s different? Are they going to learn anything? If they are then the chances are they will sign up to read more of your content or share it with others and you’ll start to get a loyal following. So, understand what engages your audience and what gets a reaction from them. You might ask up front, for example on twitter, what people would be interested in reading, then give a list of two or three ideas you have in mind and ask their opinion. It could save you a hell of a lot of wasted time and it’s a great way to engage with your audience.
2. Agree on the results or goals of your content.
Don’t just create material for the sake of it. Have a purpose and keep that goal in mind when you write.
So, are you looking to:
* Raise awareness for your brand
* Guide prospects down the purchasing funnel
* Convert your audience into buyers
Whatever your objectives you need to assess how your content is helping to achieve those goals.
3. Have a plan for your content
Before you sit down to write you need a plan. Not about a plan about the content, but about where it will go. Think about your influencers. Maybe you can include a referenced quote or reach out on social media and share your content with them. They may then share it with their followers.
Consider which publishers and websites you’re going to target. Which websites would be interested? Some publications are happy to accept pre written work whereas others prefer to be consulted beforehand. So do some research and find out how they operate. It may be that publishers prefer to have an input in the content and may even tell you what kind of information they’re looking for or would like to see included. I made a classic mistake a while back when I spent hours and hours writing a piece of content. I had a particular marketing publication in mind for it and when I’d finally submitted it I had it politely but firmly rejected. Why? Because had I checked with them first I would have known that they like to have an input in every article they publish and do not accept pre written material. I wont make that mistake again.
Make sure every article you write is optimized for SEO purposes.
4. Use images to bring your article to life.
Loads and loads of copy might be contain all good stuff for people but it can be a bit dull. So, use quality, original images where possible or illustrate with infographics or video. Remember, you want people to share your content and by making it more visual or visually interesting you’ll increase your chances of doing just that.
5. Create a content schedule
It’s a lot of work at the beginning because you have to come up with a bunch of ideas at the very start. But, it keeps you focused. Look at your target audience, consider what they want to know and will find useful and engaging, consider what you want your blog to say about your expertise, your company and your brand, then stick to it. Adopt a writing style and stick to it for continuity.
For more tips I recommend Graham Charlton’s post on econsultancy https://econsultancy.com/blog/65003-15-indispensable-content-marketing-tips . It’s a little old now but still full of very useful advice.