Content marketing: off to a good start in 8 steps

Chances are you’ve heard about content marketing before. But what is it really? With content marketing, companies focus on the information needs of customers and prospects without promoting their own products or services. Often people start sharing content very enthusiastically without thinking about a content strategy. The result? The hoped-for results are lagging and content sharing is getting less and less attention, a shame! Why? Because it’s a great way to stay in touch with customers and prospects. A nice side note is that when you share content online regularly, it also benefits your ranking in Google through SEO. Off to a good start with content marketing? In 8 steps to a winning content strategy? Then read on quickly!

Core values

At the first step, bring into focus your company’s core values. How do you want to be seen by the outside world? And how absolutely not? Once people have the wrong idea about you or the company? Then it takes a lot of effort to change that image again in the future. This is why it is important to first think carefully about your company’s core values.

Make a schedule

In content marketing, it is important to be consistent and consistent in sharing posts. Therefore, it is important to think carefully about a schedule in advance. Without planning, you will find that sharing content will become less and less frequent. It is not necessary to plan in detail for the entire year. Use the overall schedule as a coat hanger to hang other content on.

As an example in this article, I will take a travel insurance provider. A look at the Google Trends website tells me that the search term continuous travel insurance is searched a lot in the periods just before the school vacations. So that is an important time for these providers to share information with the target audience.

Purpose of the message

Always ask yourself why you are publishing something, what the purpose is and what you want to achieve. It is important to always align the purpose of the message with the customer need and not that of the company. Therefore, before you start content marketing, set one or more goals and make sure they are measurable.

If you don’t choose you won’t be chosen

In content marketing, it is important to think in advance about the target audience(s) you want to reach with the message. Next, it is important that you know the information needs of the target audience(s). Often we ourselves think we know what information they need without researching it first. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience(s) and provide answers to questions that keep them awake at night. You can find this out, for example, by conducting (or having conducted) a keyword analysis. Would you like to work on this yourself? In the article SEO tips for 2020 to rank in Google, there are some free tools to perform your own keyword analysis.

Why finding out the information needs is so important? When you know the information need, the content is more likely to be read. In addition, this also makes it more likely that the target audience will take care of further spreading the content you created to share with others.

Appropriate writing style

It is important to match your writing style to the target audience. Make a clear choice whether you are going to address the target audience with “you” or “you,” for example. It is also good to consider the extent to which specialist terms are necessary. Once you choose a particular style of writing? Then it is important that you use this writing style consistently.

Appropriate content form(s)

Off to a good start with content marketing? Then it is important to figure out which content form(s) are best suited to reach the target audience(s). How does the target audience want to be informed? Commonly used content forms are the monthly newsletter and catchy blog. In addition, more and more companies are turning to vlogging to convey a message in person.

You don’t always have to choose a specific content form. It’s fine to choose multiple content forms. As long as you match the chosen form to the audience you want to reach.

Content distribution

You created the most relevant content and tailored it entirely to the needs of the target audience? Totally awesome! Now it is time to look at the most appropriate (online) communication channel to reach the target audience. You can have the best content but when you start distributing it through the wrong channel, it won’t get read. If you operate in the B2B market, the obvious choice is to share your content through the business LinkedIn platform. If the business focuses on the B2C market, in most cases it is best to share the content via Facebook and Instagram.

A common mistake companies make is to share content on as many channels as possible. Why this is unwise? It takes an awful lot of time to maintain all these channels. In addition, not every channel is always appropriate for reaching your target audience.

Evaluate, measuring is knowing!

You’ve put an awful lot of time into creating content. Naturally, then, you want to know how the content you created is being received by the target audience. Therefore, it is important to evaluate in the interim the extent to which the content you have created is being read. Is that promising campaign not going quite right? Sometimes a small adjustment can still lead to success. Take the final end results into account when creating a new content campaign to do even better next time. There are plenty of tools available to measure the success of a campaign. Use this to determine in hindsight whether the predetermined goal was achieved.

I myself once chose to share a news story at the end of the afternoon via LinkedIn. The result? Despite the added value of the message, I had reached very few people after one week. I decided to spread the word a week later through the monthly newsletter that included a link to the website. After a week, I opened the dashboard in Mailchimp and saw that the message had been opened by 89% of the 417 recipients. Some recipients had even read the message multiple times. So a top result despite a poor first start.

We often tend to share successes and put away disappointments. Accept that it doesn’t always work out! In such a situation, make yourself vulnerable and ask the target audience you wanted to reach for feedback. That way you will achieve more and you can use the information gained to do better next time. In content marketing, you put the target audience at the center. Asking them for feedback shows you are involved with them!

Good luck with the implementation!

I hope you can use the above steps to achieve a successful content strategy. Sharing content remains a matter of trial and error and repetition. But when you use the above steps, you will see that customers and prospects will begin to see you as a valuable source of information. Eventually, you will naturally gain the trust and sympathy of the target audience. The reward? Brand preference, loyalty and positive word of mouth.

Questions about content marketing as a result of this article? Or just want to spar about a winning content strategy for your business? If so, please contact us using the contact form.

Good luck!