What is content marketing? “It’s any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content (pictures, text, video, images, etc) in order to acquire and retain customers”
Everyone wants to create great content for their social media accounts that will engage the audience and drive them to take the action you want them to take, be that sales, grow awareness or build an email list. But it’s not always easy to know where to start.
Once you know the steps you need to take to create great content it’s really not that hard. But where do you start? There are 5 steps you need to follow to begin:
- Step 1: Strategy
- Step 2: Customer Avatars
- Step 3: Channel Fit
- Step 4: Content Creation
- Step 5: Production
- Step 1: Strategy
Step 1: Strategy
Your strategy is a roadmap to where you want your content to take you. Without it you’re lost.
We’ll begin here by establishing exactly what you want to achieve from the content that you’re putting out there. Without a strategy, your content isn’t pushing towards an end goal. with a strategy your content is working to guide your customers towards the defined end point you establish like visiting a sales page, downloading a lead magnet, or requesting a quote.
The first step is to settle on exactly what you want your content to achieve. Pick a couple of the objectives below to get started:
- Increase sales
- Build awareness
- Increase website traffic
- Create leads
- Increase engagement
Once you know your objectives you can use them as an end point to focus your content marketing on. These objectives will shape the next 4 steps.
Step 2: Customer Avatars
To market a product or service properly, the first thing you must do is get clear on WHO your ideal customer is, where they are hanging out, what their challenges are.
Developing avatars, sometimes called buyer persona, is an important way to help you identify the issues your customers face and how you can show them, through content, that you can solve these issues, choose the right messaging and tone for your content.
Use the questions below to start building your Avatars:
- Demographics: Are they married? What’s their annual income? Where do they live? Are they male or female? How old are they? Do they have children?
- Profession: What is their job? What’s their role / title?
- Information: How do they discover new information? What publications, blog and websites do they use?
- Goals: What do they strive to achieve? What’s important to them? What are they striving to achieve
- Challenges: What’s some challenges they face? How can you help with this? What are they most concerned about?
You will most likely have more than one avatar that you create here so repeat these questions for each customer type. Write them out on separate documents and choose an appropriate picture of someone who represents this avatar.
Step 3: Chanel Fit
Examine the social media channels available. Based on the avatar you’ve developed, choose the right ones based on your audience and where they spend time.
Looking at the different social media channels will help you understand what types of people spend time on each of the platforms and the different type of content that is used for each.
Here are some examples of the top 5 social profiles:
Who: Businesses (B2B)
What: Professional development and business-themed content. Mostly posted in long form to Linkedin’s Pulse.
How often: Two to four times a week
Who: Everyone (from individuals for personal social, to businesses for marketing and communications)
What: Short updates, conversations, statements and media.
How often: Multiple times per day
Who: Everyone (personal and businesses)
What: All content types (text, media, links, etc)
Post frequency: At least daily
Who: Lifestyle, food, fashion, personalities and luxury brands
What: Visual content, including short videos (less than 15 seconds)
How often: Once a day
Who: Everyone (personal and businesses)
What: All content types, but importantly anything keyword rich
How often: Once or twice a day
Step 4: Content Creation
Once you know who you’re talking to and what action you want them to take as a result of the content, it’s time to start actually creating the content.
The best type of content either educates, entertains or inspires. All you need to do is choose what format you will deliver the content as. The key is to make sure that no matter what the format, you’re delivering value every time.
Keep your avatar in mind and pick the appropriate content for the channels you’ve chosen to meet the objectives that you set in the first step.
When you’re creating content there are a few different content types you can choose from:
- List posts
- Case study
- How to guide
- Personal and behind the scene
When you’ve got lots of complex information to present, infographics are your go-to. People are, in most cases, visual learners. Infographics organise data in a way that is easy to consume and understand.
Videos are one of the most highly engaging pieces of content that you can produce, when done right. They’re sharable across different platforms but they need more work to create. With inexpensive tools, it’s easier than ever to create and share video.
Content producers are discovering that list posts are effective. They’re a great way to deliver a complex amount of information in a way that is easily understandable and consumable. The deliver bite-sized content that can be consumed fast.
This is like ‘social proof’ and demonstrates to prospects that what you’re offering has worked for others. It builds trust and shows that other people have used your product or service successfully.
How to guide:
Give your readers value and a reason to consume your content. How-to guides show them that you not only know what you’re talking about, but you’re able to provide some of that valuable knowledge to them to help.
Personal and behind the scene:
The most valuable thing i was ever taught was that no one wants to do business with a company, they want to do business with a real person. So prove you’re real with some insightful behind the scenes content.
Step 5: Production
Now that you’ve decided which content to use, you’re going to organise all of the content posts into a content calendar over a set time frame.
A content calendar can be as simple or complex as you want. But the fundamentals of it are they it allows you to forward plan your content and allow for upcoming campaigns, events and to be topical.
Start by creating an excel sheet with a column for the day, date, content type, content copy and any links or images. You can then plan ahead your posts to stay one step ahead of the competition.
This is where you’ll put all of the information you’ve worked through into a plan so you can be organised and timely with your content – no more scratching your head, staring at a blank screen when you have to post for that day, it will be all planned ahead of time.
So start with a spreadsheet and begin planning out your content by type and across the different channels. note the images or links you’ll include and make sure the content is appropriate for the platform.
To recap, we’ve covered a lot of ground to creating your great content.
- Step 1 Strategy: This is where we looked at the objectives you want to achieve for your content.
- Step 2 Customer Avatars: Discovering the types of people you want to reach, and all of the factors that will make your content more effective when it reaches them.
- Step 3 Channel Fit: Using the objectives and avatars, we examined the different social platforms you can include in your media mix.
- Step 4 Content Creation: Some of the different content types available to you when you’re considering what to post.
- Step 5 Production: Using a content calendar to plan your content out in the production stage so you can forward plan and be timely with your content.
Download the 5 Steps to Creating Great Content workbook here: get the workbook