Paid media has been the way to lasso new customers since the beginning of the Internet. You pay for a spot in someone's daily feed, BOOM, instant exposure. While this plan of attack is obviously an important and major step in your business's overarching marketing plan, it may be time to start creating a new and fresh plan to supplement and work hand-in-hand with it.
"Why should I change it if it has been working for years?" You may be asking. We're glad you asked. In light of the recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, we researched how people were feeling about ads in their social media. According to a recent study conducted by social media management platform Sprout Social, 27% of consumers' opinion on social media advertising has declined within he past 12 months. I wasn't too shocked to see that of that group, 39% of people said their lack of trust was based on the recent political events. But what turned a whopping 58% of people off the most was the sheer quantity of ads they see in their social media.
Here's where content marketing steps in.
What exactly is content marketing? It's a strategic plan to create relevant, valuable, and useful content to help attract and retain your target audience. It's a way for people to organically find your business and learn from what you put out. It's a great tool to increase sales, build a loyal customer base, and save some money while doing it! On top of that, you can help with creating and honing your brand identity, which will help build a relationship with customers, which in turn will turn leads into sales.
So you want to get on the content marketing train and put it to work for you, but you don't exactly know how. That's what we are here for!
Here are some tips to help you get started on your content marketing plan:
- Define your goal: The first thing you want to do whenever you start anything is to set a solid goal. Make your intent clear. It will be a lot easier to create your plan if you know exactly what you're planning for. If you are having trouble coming up with a goal, try using the S.M.A.R.T goal model:
- Conduct Research: Now that you have your goal(s) written out, you now need to know what your target audience wants, and how they want to get it. If you take the time to get to know your consumers you will be able to create content that is more relevant and useful. The more relevant the content, the more likely people are to click.
- Determine What Your Content Will Be: Start creating your content and get a feel for how you want your brand to come across. Do you want to be professional and informative? Or would you rather be laid-back and fun? What kind of content do you want to create? This is where you get to really explore your brand identity and create relationships with your target audience. Test the waters with a few practice pieces, figure out what works best, then go for it! Here's a list of potential content formats:
- Track Basic KPIs: Start collecting and tracking data on your KPIs (Key performance indicators). This is important data that you can use to track just how well your new content is doing. According to the Content Marketing Institute, a good schedule for measuring marketing effectiveness is about once a month. Gathering information once a month gives your content a nice chunk of time to perform and give you some real data! The Content Marketing Institute also supplied a basic spreadsheet format to help you keep track of your data:
- Always be prepared for change: Once you start tracking your data for a while, you'll notice that content that once thrived on your site is now not performing so well. Be prepared to evolve with your consumers. Just because something used to do well does not mean it will always succeed. Make sure you're keeping up to date with that your customers want to see and switch things up if needs be. Don't be afraid to change!
- Learn from your peers: Keep an eye out for businesses who seem to be doing well in their content marketing. Talk to them, ask them what works for them and what doesn't. Learn from their mistakes and be open to collaboration as well. Compare strategy and learn what they are and aren't tracking, what content they're producing is the most successful, and if there are any additional factors that have helped to grow their brand.
These are just a few tips to get you started on your content marketing journey. Content marketing is an invaluable marketing tool that many people seem to undermine. Get a leg up on the competition and get your content marketing plan started!
What kind of content do you like to see businesses put out? Let us know in the comments!