Content marketing isn’t a thing

What’s that now?

You heard me. I don’t believe that content marketing is a helpful term. It puts forward the idea that it could be a tactic that you choose to implement or one that you don’t – like social marketing, search marketing, email marketing etc.

Having a content strategy, however, is something that every business, regardless size or type, needs to have. It’s your one tool to help your customers know who you are and what you do. Your content keeps your business alive, growing and your customers engaged.

The reality is that if your brand is the skeleton of your business – who you are, what you are and how you operate – then your content is the blood of your business.

In order to nail a content strategy you need to:

  1. Ensure it meets your audience’s needs: make sure that every single piece of content is one that addresses your customers’ needs in a way that is right for them. Make sure it aligns to your objectives and who you are as a brand.
  2. Ensure you have the right channels to distribute it: it’s no good having all this great content if you aren’t putting it out there in a way that is accessible to your audience and via a mechanism that is preferable to them. It’s like telling someone you are holding a coffee for them – they reach out and you don’t have an arm or hand to even be holding that coffee. So where will they find it?
  3. Continually review and renew content as appropriate: make sure you have a mix of content that has a short lifespan and a long lifespan. You should be reviewing the performance of your content, adjusting it and renewing it if it’s become outdated. Make sure you analyse the data you have in order to make informed decisions about your go-forward plan.

If you get this right, your content will engage your audience, help people to learn about your business, encourage purchase and increase the likeliness of retention.

If you don’t get it right – the rest of your strategy is redundant. What use is a skeleton, organs, muscles and limbs if you don’t have blood flowing through it that contains right levels of oxygen, nutrients etc?

I have a business, now what?

So much effort goes into creating business plans, understanding the rules (there are lots, I’m learning), how to fund your company, do you need any investment and setting yourself up with a website/social channels. But then what? Panicked posts while you frantically try to look at insights of what you post using the built-in analytics tools of each channel, spend hours trying to work out what everything means before starting the cycle all over again.

It doesn’t need to be like this. This post explores 5 top-tips for getting started online – from your website to your social feed. Start with the fundamentals.

  1. Develop an online brand – and be consistent. Ever heard of the phrase matching luggage? Well it’s essential for any business, particularly start-ups. You need to make sure the brand you use on your website is the same across your social feeds. Of course there can be a little variation on content and tone but it should all be identifiable as your brand. This includes colour palette, font, imagery style and tone of voice. Work what best represents your company and apply it to everything you do.
  2. Know what you want your website to do – and do it well. Spend some time working out what your online value proposition is. That is, when a customer comes to your website, what is the one thing you want them to do above anything else? Read your blogs? Buy a product? Donate to your cause? Knowing this can then help you design your website. Keep it in mind throughout every page design, all the content and the call-to-actions.
  3. Be strategic with strategic with your choice of social channel – make sure you look through the lens of your audience & objectives, rather than what’s hot right now. Just because the whole world is suddenly talking about Tik Tok doesn’t mean it’s going to help you grow your business. Go where your customers are and develop goals for each channel you own.
  4. Plan, plan, plan – it comes without saying that preparation is absolutely key for any business. This is inclusive of your content strategy. Make sure you have editorial calendars, spend some time block scheduling your social posts and map out where you are headed. A method I tend to find works well is looking at the full 12 months ahead, note down key tent pole moments throughout the year, then look 2-3 months ahead and start to think about some rough content ideas, then one 1 month out get a little more fleshed out and try to keep 1-2 weeks ahead of your social content. Just make sure you do have room for flexibility if and when you need to react to something.
  5. Analyse, learn and test – make sure you’re assessing your websites performance regularly, learn what works and test new things out. The same can be said for any marketing tactic you employ across all channels – search, social and display/video advertising. It is SO important to always check back and see what works and doesn’t so you can continually optimise your strategy. I recommend, depending on budget/activity levels that you keep an eye on this each week (absolute minimum and some tactics require daily monitoring) but make more strategic decisions every 1-2 months after deeper analysis. By this point you should have enough data to really understand if there are any trends.

So, I hope that helped! Marketing can seem overwhelming once you dig down into the details and too often I see companies panicking and saying things like “I need a website” before rushing to create one that aids their business in no way whatsoever. Or, my favourite is that they’re “doing social” or “trying paid search” – great!! But you need to understand why you are doing it and how it will help you reach your objectives.

Still confused? Drop us an email to see how we can help you.