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You may have come across this eyebrow-raising statistic: one-third of all buyers want a “seller-free sales experience.” In other words, they want less traditional advertising and more content marketing.
If you have an established brand, a wealth of content to generate new high-quality leads for your business, and a capable team to produce that content, then this statistic shouldn’t alarm you. But for everyone else, take notice. Without a sound content marketing program in place, you risk losing one-in-three buyers from the start.
The good news: you don’t need to make a large investment in content marketing to start seeing results. Here are five time-tested tips to launch a content marketing program faster with fewer resources.
1. Build an editorial calendar
Behind every great magazine, popular blog, or viral Youtube channel is an editorial calendar that defines the what, when, where, and how of your content pipeline. This foundational asset provides the necessary structure to effectively plan, produce, and vary your content.
For centuries, traditional publishers have relied on editorial calendars to coordinate the complex and consistent production of content demanded by their audiences. Today, these timeless tools are widely used by B2C and B2B companies to take a more disciplined approach to content creation, especially considering how many assets they’re expected to produce. A study by HubSpot shows that 60% of marketers create at least one content asset every day.
To develop your content calendar, choose the appropriate application or project management tool. Ideally, this solution is cloud-based to enable real-time collaboration across a team. Then, begin planning out your content for at least the next month according to the following categories:
- Name (title or unique name for content asset)
- Topic (i.e. focus of the asset, such as company, customer, announcement, product, thought leadership)
- Release date (date and day of the week)
- Status (e.g. drafting, revising, designing)
- Format (e.g. ebook, blog, article, infographic, social post)
2. Repurpose existing content
Creating original content is both resource-intensive and difficult. Fortunately, you can alleviate this burden by repurposing existing content to save time while keeping your audience engaged.
When performing this exercise, look for existing content that doesn’t require a significant overhaul to reuse. Start with long-form “how-to” content or listicles that you can easily condense into a short-form asset. Consider turning ebooks into one-pagers, or infographics into multiple graphics for a series of posts on social media. Whatever your strategy, begin with the “lowest-hanging fruit” in your content tree, switch its format, and consider whether to stick with or change its channel. But whatever you do, ensure the repurposed asset offers your audience value. Quality always prevails over quantity, so don’t repurpose simply to fill your content calendar.
Use the following repurpose recipes to get started:
- Text to visual (e.g., blog post to an infographic)
- Visual to visual (e.g., infographic to social graphic)
- Text to text (e.g., blog post to ebook)
- Audio to text (e.g., podcast to Q&A blog post)
3. Look for content partnerships
Content partnerships are strategic relationships with complementary vendors or even customers that are willing to participate with you in creating original content. Content partnerships provide the value of scale by allowing you to leverage your partner’s established audience, content marketing capabilities and unique insights.
The benefits of content partnerships depend on the partner. Look for an organization that doesn’t directly compete with you, enhances your business focus and mission, has a well-established audience, and possesses strong content marketing capabilities. You want a partner that makes your job easier, not harder.
For example, HootSuite’s partnership with We Are Social focused on co-creating an annual report on social media and digital trends in 2022. HootSuite provides a social media dashboard for brands to plan, manage and track social media content. We Are Social is a full-service creative agency that helps brands develop and execute social media campaigns. Both companies are experts in the social media space and serve complementary niches. In theory, they should make strong content partners.
4. Analyze your competitors
Knowing what content to produce and how often challenges even the most seasoned content marketers. That’s why many continue to evaluate competitors when looking for content ideas and insights into what may work for their audience. They ask themselves: What kinds of content do they produce? On what topics? In what format? How often? And how does this content perform?
Conducting a competitor content analysis is one of the most basic strategies for any content marketer. It’s also one of the most important. As an experienced content marketer, I continue to conduct a competitive analysis not only to better understand what my competitors are saying — not to mention how, when and where — but what they’re not saying that I should.
To begin, make a list of your competitors, define a consistent approach to evaluate them and document your findings. When assessing content performance, use the built-in analytics of social media platforms and consider using an SEO tool (such as Semrush or Ahrefs) to measure the effectiveness of online content. Most of these solutions allow you to easily and effectively gather intelligence on your competitors and see how your content marketing efforts compare.
5. Use metrics to prioritize quality over quantity
How your content performs should be the basis of your content marketing strategy. By tracking performance, you learn what resonates most with your audience across a number of data points, including topic, format, and timing. You also become more likely to produce content that converts. The Content Marketing Institute found that nearly 60% of content marketers who engage in this activity also report feeling successful at their job.
Performance measurement should start with identifying the most important content metrics to track and establishing a consistent cadence to analyze them. Keep in mind that your most valuable metrics will depend on your business, solution and target customers, as well as the channel and funnel stage for each content asset. For top-of-the-funnel website content, for instance, you’ll likely want to focus on generating brand awareness and pay attention to traffic metrics like visitor sessions, bounce rate, unique page views, etc. For middle-of-the-funnel website content, you’ll likely care most about how many visitors fill out a form with their email addresses.
Launching your content marketing program
You don’t need a massive content marketing team, budget or runway to convince today’s B2C or B2B customers of your worth. You just need the right strategy and a willingness to commit to it.
So, don’t delay. Just get started.
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