Have you ever posted an article on LinkedIn, your website, or newsletter that reached hundreds or even thousands of people? And did that lead to more messages from (potential) clients than usual? Then you understand how strong the influence of content marketing can be.
For many entrepreneurs, things never get beyond this type of one-hit wonder. They don’t really have a structured plan to lift their content to a higher level. But that’s exactly the kind of thing that leads to more clients and higher revenue.
Luckily content marketing isn’t rocket science. If you follow the steps outlined here, you can easily reach your commercial goals as a website owner, online marketer, or writer.
Stop being noncommittal
‘Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.’ – Stephen King.
Perhaps one of the most important misconceptions about coming up with great content: you need to wait for inspiration to come to you. Creative ideas come and go. Often they pop up once you’ve already started the work. But before we get to the creative process, first consider your reasons for doing this.
What’s the goal of your content marketing? Do you want to:
- Directly sell products or services through your website?
- Connect with new clients or prospects?
- Collect more information about your customers?
- Create loyalty with existing clients?
- Increase name recognition or brand recognition?
Chances are that you’re aiming for a combination of the goals listed above. Consider which of these objectives are most important for you at this moment and which part of your content should reinforce that goal.
Create time to create content
The next step is to estimate how much time this is going to cost you. Great articles, infographics, social media posts, and videos aren’t just quickly created as an aside.
Will you be creating your own content? Free up a full day exclusively for content creation. At the end of the day, evaluate how much you’ve created. You can even request the same of your colleagues and employees.
If you’re planning to hire a professional (copywriter, illustrator, voice-over talent), they’ll be able to give you a sense of the timing involved. Ideally, you’ll be working ahead a bit, so you can avoid stress as you approach your deadline.
Anticipate important moments in your sector
Which month of the year is your busiest time? December? Chances are pretty high you won’t have the time to create much content that month. Too bad, since it’s probably also a time that draws new clients. That makes it extra important to plan ahead. Make a list of all the important events and times in your field, then brainstorm ways to create content in advance.
Make a (provisional) content calendar
Now you know your objectives for content and the time involved in creating it. Time to make a (temporary) content calendar with built-in deadlines. No more vague plans. Date by date, write down what kind of content (article/infographic/blog/podcast) you’re planning to make and what its objective is.
Always prepared with good ideas
Where do you find the inspiration to fill your content calendar? Trying to come up with ideas at the last minute (a day before the deadline) is not a great idea. Keep a large supply of ideas handy that you can draw from as needed.
Store interesting articles
You’re probably already interested in and following a diverse selection of media, connected to your field or sector (and if not: start doing so right away!). You’ll often run into an article that makes you stop and think, “Hey, that’s interesting.” It’s the perfect input for you to write something about. But will you still remember it months later? Bookmark every interesting article with tools like Pocket or Google Keep. Make a little note about why it was interesting to you and what you’d like to do with it down the line.
Start with your clients’ problems
Your product or service resolves an issue for your clients. So instead of bragging about how amazing your products are, dive a little deeper into your clients’ perspective. Pinpoint one aspect that occupies them. Not coming up with any great ideas off the top of your head? Take a look around on the Facebook groups, review sites, YouTube channels, or online forums where your target audience spends their time.
Don’t forget to look outside the border. For example, what kinds of questions are people asking on Quora about your line of business?
Keep an eye on the competition
It’s wrong to steal content, of course. But it can’t hurt to look around at your biggest competitors and which search terms they’re aiming for. Textmetrics can give you an automatic overview of your main competition. Thanks to the ‘inspiration module’, you’ll find popular articles about your subject matter. That will likely inspire you to write about your own experiences or to record a video with a slightly different perspective.
Don’t get stuck in your own vocabulary
A significant stumbling block for experts writing about their area of expertise: using words that are too difficult to understand. What you call an ‘operational lease’, your client might just call a ‘company car’.
That’s why it’s important to always research alternative search terms for your content. With Textmetrics keyword analysis, you can easily find alternatives, and you’ll get an immediate overview of how often people search for a certain term and how much competition you have from other websites.
Conclusion: great content starts with great preparation
Everyone writes a great blog post once in a while. But business owners who want to stay top-of-mind with their clients:
- Formulate goals for their content marketing.
- Make time, or hire the right people for the job.
- Create a publishing schedule (content calendar).
- Collect ideas 24/7.
- Use tools to identify their clients’ search queries.
Don’t forget to make your content SEO-proof!
Textmetrics offers you tips to optimize your content for Google real-time while you’re writing. So prior knowledge of SEO isn’t necessary. And… you can try out Textmetrics free of charge for the first 30 days!