Developing and Deploying a Comprehensive Content Plan is the Foundation for a Successful Marketing Strategy
It has never been more important to create and implement a comprehensive strategy to develop and deploy valuable content as a foundation for your marketing efforts. The quality of your content is what influences your audience’s decision on whether or not to invest their time into viewing your website, articles or advertisements. Thought-provoking text, coupled with visually stimulating multimedia, have the power to inform, attract and persuade readers. Content affects every facet of marketing, from lead generation to portraying your organization as an expert. View your content as one of your most valuable resources. Producing valuable content on a regular basis shows your organization’s knowledge, authority and expertise in your industry.
It is essential to cater content to your clients, not your own ego. When people visit you online, they are not looking for commercials. Instead, they are looking for information to help them make a decision or to inform them about a topic which they are unfamiliar with. Show them that you are a thought leader in your field, don’t just tell them. Content should be useful, interesting and valuable to your targeted audience. Excellent content, published on a variety of platforms, is an essential component of any effective marketing strategy.
This article outlines the importance of content, knowing your audience and their needs, how to build a content library, how to schedule content, where to share content and a case study of The Public Relations and Marketing Group’s content strategy.
Why is Content So Important
SEO — A high search engine ranking will drive more traffic to your website. Strong, fresh content is quickly picked up by the major search engines and pushed to the top of the search results. Publishing excellent content as consistently as possible is key to enhancing SEO.
Position as a Leader —To position your organization as a leader in your industry, it is important to produce fresh and unique content in a variety of outlets. For example, write articles about topics in your field and provide your own insight and suggestions. You may also comment on industry news, events or controversies.
Media Relations — If your business is producing quality content on a regular basis, media outlets will also begin to distinguish you as an expert in the field. This results in more positive publicity and media coverage for your organization. For example, if they should ever need advice or an interview on a related topic, your organization will come to mind first.
Know Your Audience and Their Needs
When you are creating content, determine who you are targeting. Some articles may be very general and intended to reach a broad audience while others may target specific groups. For example, you may write a general “Marketing Tips” article that is meant for any organization, or you may be writing suggestions specifically for restaurant owners. Once you have determined what is of interest to your audience, you can better cater your content to meet their needs.
Build a Content Library
Blog — Use your blog as your online content hub. Excellent content related to your industry and organization should be published weekly, at the very least. You may also add photos to your blog posts and embed related videos to incorporate a multimedia element.
Website — Your website should be complete with well-written, interesting and informative content. This is the most important element in influencing people whether or not to stay and return to a site. If your content is strong, readers will be more likely to visit your other Web pages and respond to any calls to action on your site, such as signing up for an e-newsletter or connecting with your organization via social media. Your goal with website content should be for people to become repeat visitors, link to your site and bookmark it.
Off-line — Even in this digital world, it is important to have an off-line library of content. From brochures to print newsletters, your organization should also have an off-line database of content to share with clients, potential customers and bring to meetings and presentations. A good library of information and strong content is vital to your organization’s marketing success.
Reinvent Your Content — Maintaining a client library on and off-line will make it that much easier for you to reinvent and recreate content. While you will always need to develop new content, reusing your existing material will make it that much easier to consistently produce content. You can also reformat your content to be published in different outlets. For example, you publish an article and then create a PowerPoint and video relating to the same material. Not only do you want to write what’s of interest, but also what will be easiest for you to devote the time to. Building upon already existing articles will be less time-consuming and ensure that your content is current. For example, if you wrote an article on Facebook advertising when the service was first created, the content needs an overview of newer features and tools for it to be accurate.
Schedule Your Content
It is important to determine what content you can create on an ongoing basis so you don’t encounter a shortage. You should be able to produce ongoing content that relates to your organization and builds upon its credibility. Whether you can produce weekly articles, monthly e-newsletters or daily tweets, it is crucial to always engage your audience with a fresh supply of content.
On the other hand, if you have a lot to say, don’t say it all at once. Having your content spread out gives your audience the opportunity to take in one thing at a time instead of being bombarded with multiple posts. Programs like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite allow you to schedule your tweets to keep your profile consistently updated. Likewise, you can schedule blog posts as well. Ideally, your blog should be updated at least twice a week.
Share Your Content
Social Media — Excellent content is easily and quickly spread on social media sites. If people read an article that is of interest to them, they may post the link on their Facebook wall to share with friends or tweet a small blurb about why their followers should check it out. Because of the 140-character limit on Twitter, we advise that you use a free service such as Bit.ly to shorten your URLs. This leaves more space for text and a call to action for your followers.
Article Directories — There are thousands of article directories that will enhance your Web visibility by publishing your content and offering backlinks to your website. These free directories, such as Bpubs, Articlesnatch, Articlecube and GetYourContent, sort articles in relevant categories so interested readers can easily browse through the database and find the information they are searching for. For example, if your law firm published an article, it would be published in the legal section of these directories.
Bookmarking Sites — Social bookmarking sites allow readers to favorite an article or website and share it with others. The top three social bookmarking sites are Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon. A tip is to include these icons and links in your blog so readers can easily share and bookmark posts. On WordPress, there is the option of adding social bookmarking, as well as social media icons, under the title of every post.
PRMG’s Case Study
At The Public Relations and Marketing Group, we regularly publish content on multiple platforms. Our blog and website serve as our content hubs. The focal point of our content strategy is our weekly e-newsletter. In our e-newsletter, we include a featured article, an advertising spotlight, and an overview of “What’s Happening at PRMG.” The “What’s Happening at PRMG” section includes public relations and marketing successes on behalf of our clients. These successes provide our audience with case studies of what we can do for their organization. Advertising spotlights are also easy to produce consistently. These spotlights are sent to us from media outlets, which we summarize and include as our suggestions for our audience. Our advertising spotlights provide valuable information and opportunities to those who may be interested. As successes and advertising spotlights occur, they are posted on Facebook and Twitter. This basically just leaves the featured article, which takes up roughly 4-6 hours of our time. However, we find that this article is helpful in educating our audience and positioning our organization as a thought leader. Any time we publish fresh content, we notify our audience through our social media sites, post it on our blog and see how we can add it to our website or microsites. We also utilize LinkedIn, article directories and social bookmarking sites to share our articles and favorite websites with a broader audience.