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Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy

There is no way the importance of a strong content marketing strategy can be overstated. While the web continues to grow, change and adapt to new technology, content is the only thing that has remained equally important. Information will always be sought after, entertainment will always be crucial, and content can provide both.

More than that, content is versatile and as adaptive as the Internet itself. Just look at recent innovations that have become popular within the last couple of years, such as Vine and Google Hangouts on Air. One allows you to create mini clips strung together into a single small video. The other live-streams and records communications, so you can hold group interviews, discussions, webinars, etc.

Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy

Both of these inventions are incredibly modern, and emphasize that while technology is becoming more sophisticated, content is still the core reason behind its creation.

These are some basic principles to always keep in mind when planning your content marketing:

  • Your content should always be high-quality. Yes, this one is pretty obvious, but how do you define “high-quality”? I’ve been asked this question a thousand times. My definition of high-quality has always been the same: You need to be true to yourself. If you are reading an article and think it’s something you would love to come across when researching this question, it’s a good one. You need to love every piece of content you are publishing online (be it your website or someone else’s).
  • Your content should always be varied. Don’t just stick with a single type of content, because it limits your reach and audience. You can re-package or create whole new pieces in a different style of media, which will allow you to stretch beyond your usual boundaries.
  • Your content should be social-media-friendly. Content marketing and social media marketing go hand in hand. While social platforms should be about engagement as a priority, they are also a great place to show off your work. Make sure you are using the right kind of platform for the right kind of content.
  • Your content should be narrowed down using analytics. A glance at this valuable data could make all the difference in the world. You can use tools like Google Analytics to see your most popular content, the most popular content on competitor sites, and narrow down your strategy based on what your audience is most attracted to. This may also help you to settle on what types of media you will focus on.

Now, onto the types of content to build your strategy around.

Blogging

This is going to be the bread and butter for most of the people. While there are many content styles out there gaining popularity, none have grown like blogging. The industry has branched out into different forms, such as photo blogging, video blogging, microblogging, etc. But the general concept has remained the same.

Content rule

Blogging usually becomes a core element of any content marketing strategy. Consistency is key, so make sure you are posting regularly. And this is not really about the frequency! Never sacrifice quality for speed. Too many bloggers make the mistake of trying to fill their blog as fast as possible, but the posts are useless. That doesn’t help you.

I’ve seen different people succeed with different types of content and pace. I’ve seen great blogs that became known for posting 2-paragraph updates daily (example) and I’ve seen great blogs that became know for posting a huge epic article once in a while (example).

The key is consistency in the style you are going to develop for your blog.

Action item: Set a steady but manageable pace that lets you really dig into a topic. Post something valuable, and maintain a regular schedule that works for you to manage both writing and promoting an article.

Images

ImagesIf you run a blog, you are probably used to using stock images that only enhance content by catching the eye. This is just fine, but keep in mind that images are your best way to stand out, so using the same everyone did won’t accomplish too much.

Creating original media (while making your brand recognizable in each image you publish) gives your posts a unique bent, can make your content quite popular on visual social media networks (Pinterest, Google Plus, Facebook), or just bring in users based entirely on those images. You can develop an entire strategy around a single style of content this way.

My favorite example of creating an original concept by visuals is Site Geek. While there are many hosting review companies, Site Geek made hosting reviews so visual and beautiful that it immediately became popular:

Site Geek made hosting reviews so visual

IM Creator is another brilliant example of how visuals can become the whole marketing strategy of its own. They have developed the whole new section on their sites giving away images to help their users and give them another reason to spread the word!

Action item: Use easy tool like Canva to create your consistent and branded visual strategy. With Canva you can create templates, watermark them with your logo and re-use from article to article while tweaking the concept. The same can be accomplished in other image editing tools but Canva makes it easier and more productive.

Videos

Videos are a tricky form of media, because not everyone has the time, money or production values to compete with the incredible video makers out there. While with blogging you are relying on your talent to communicate, making videos requires a lot more know-how.

However, anyone with a decent smartphone can shoot a high quality video these days. There is also a lot of software out there, much of it open source (free) that will make it possible. One of the easiest and most popular ways to create video content has been Google Hangouts on Air lately. So it isn’t impossible to produce good videos without any experience.

Action item: Take some time to check out competing videos to see how they are doing it. Make sure you are paying attention to how new tools are being used to create this content. For example, note how many people are gathering together groups of experts and recording industry discussions on platforms like Hangouts On Air. Or how often you see popular videos that are merely people podcasting on screen, talking right at the viewer.

Other Media

Content can take on many forms, and so I chose to write a quick section dedicated to those outlying methods. Infographics, comics, charts, graphs, slideshows… anything you can think of would apply here.

Even a well-curated list of helpful resources can become a social-media-share- and link-magnet. This list of resources for startups is a good example of that: All you need to do is to research well and pack nicely to create a useful digital marketing asset!

content-marketing-05

Your creativity is your only limit.

Do you have any tips for creating a thorough content marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments!

Images: ”Content Marketing hand writing with a blue mark on a transparent boardShutterstock.com

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Ann Smarty is an experienced blogger and entrepreneur running a lot of projects including Viral Content Buzz and TekSocial. She is also community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann Smarty is the serial guest blogger running My Blog Guest, the free guest blogging and content sharing platform. http://www.seosmarty.com/

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Comments
  • What a great post Ann. Thanks for sharing it with the TYB audience. Content marketing is definitely so important these days and the best way for it to be organised is to have a strategy in hand. As always I look forward to your next post for us.

  • Thanks for being such a great editor, Sian!

  • Harlan West

    Nice post, Ann. I really appreciated your action items,

  • What a comprehensive article n Content Marketing, just at the right time to kickstart 2015. Thank you Ann for sharing your expertise!

  • In fact I loved this article so much I shared it on my blog post coming out tomorrow and quoted the bit on “Video” @ http://juleskalpauli.com/blog-bullet/

  • Great post Ann! Some awesome tips, that if followed can produce successful results. Great tweet quote from Cyrus, it’s so true. Your action items are really cool as well.




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