content marketing

Who Has Time for Content Marketing? You Do!

It’s easy to get excited about the many benefits of a strong content marketing program: thought leadership, improved SEO, audience trust, heightened credibility, and the list goes on.

That enthusiasm can take a bit of a dip when marketers find out how much effort is involved in creating a strong content marketing presence. The sheer amount of time involved in the planning, writing, editing, and publishing of quality content — week after week, month after month — can seem daunting for marketing teams already strapped for time. However, it does’t have to be! You do have time for content marketing even if you don’t realize it.

Fortunately, expert content marketing teams have discovered the secret to building trust through a successful blog, e-newsletter, video channel, and other assets: It’s about not working harder, but working smarter. Here are just a few proven “pro tips” for making the most of every moment you invest in your content marketing program.

Make a Plan and Stick to It

As the old adage goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Before you jump into creating content for your blog, e-newsletter, social media, and other venues, take the time to develop a strategy. This time investment will pay off handsomely in giving you a solid foundation, so you won’t be starting from scratch with every piece you create. (Don’t forget this added bonus: creating and documenting a content marketing strategy will help keep your content focused — a key factor in building a loyal audience.)

Gather your team and decide:

  • Who your target audience is (be as specific as you can)
  • How you can best reach them (for example, do they read blogs or do they prefer videos? Where do they hang out on social media? Do they have time to attend webinars, or would a more concise downloadable resource serve them better?)
  • What topics interest them (think about addressing their biggest pain points and speaking to their aspirations)
  • Once you’ve made these key determinations, remember to document your strategy in a place where all team members can refer to it every time they sit down to create content. This is a vital step that far too many marketing teams skip: In the recently published study B2B Content Marketing 2018: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America, the Content Marketing Institute discovered that only 37 percent of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.

    Learn to Love “Content Batching”

    If you’ve ever spent a Sunday afternoon cooking a week’s worth of meals to be eaten the following Monday through Friday, you’ll appreciate the concept of “batching” your content creation.

    Set aside a large block of time — maybe even a full day or more — during which you’ll create all your content for the next month. Remember to include, not just writing projects (blog posts, e-newsletters, etc.), but also video, images, and audio production, and keep your content marketing strategy document handy while you do this.

    By outlining your ideas ahead of time, and aligning them with your strategy, you will ensure that your content will be laser-focused, and always addressing your audience’s interests. Even more importantly, you’re giving content creation the time and attention it deserves, instead of tacking it on to your to-do list at the end of a hectic day.

    Bring in Other Voices

    Even though your team is responsible for content marketing, you don’t need to create every piece yourself. Bringing in other voices not only gives your people the occasional well-deserved break, but it also enriches your audience’s experience by introducing different perspectives.

    Here are a few proven successful tactics for bringing other voices into your content ecosystem:

  • Invite thought leaders and subject matter experts within your organization to share their personal insights on an issue that interests your audience
  • Invite outside experts to contribute guest blog posts. This is also a great way to broaden your audience, as your guest bloggers will share their contributions with their own followers
  • Curate best-of-the-best content on topics that interest your audience. This might look like a post featuring links to the week’s five best articles on a current development in your audience’s industry from respected publications
  • Embrace user-generated content. IBM, for example, invites employees around the world to submit “day in the life” photos, which the marketing team then shares on IBM’s official Instagram account
  • Share Your Story: Past and Present

    While your content marketing channels shouldn’t be all about you, sharing your own stories from time to time is not necessarily taboo. In fact, it puts a human face on your brand, and builds a more personal connection with your audience.

    For example, do your followers know the story of how your company was founded and how you got to where you are today? Share that story in your content. You can also share “behind the scenes” content to give your audience a glimpse at the goings-on around your organization, including:
    ● Preparations for an upcoming trade show
    ● Your CEO’s surprise birthday party
    ● Your team’s service day at a local food pantry; and
    ● A day-in-the-life of one of your call center representatives

    Time Is on Your Side

    If you’ve been holding back from adding content marketing to your strategy because of the time commitment involved, we have good news for you. By building time-saving techniques into your content creation process, you can start producing the blog posts, e-newsletters, social posts, and other valuable content assets which will build an enthusiastic following for you — without adding extra hours to your day. That, in and of itself, is a great reason to get started today.

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