A Step-By-Step Guide For Content Marketing For your Business

Content marketing is all the rage now and it’s evidently a mandatory marketing activity for any business that hopes to reap an increased brand image, leads, higher levels of engagement, and eventually sales off the Internet.

Publishing content also helps you to establish credibility, help build a community around your products, give others a chance to interact with your business, and much more. As John Battelle of Ad Age puts it, “Every Brand is a Publisher”. If you are in business, you just have to speak up, keep the lines of communication open, and interact with present and potential customers. Here’s how to use content marketing for your business:

A blog is where it all starts

Think of a blog as your own business magazine. Publishing a blog has serious benefits for a business. In fact, Marcus Sheridan of Sales Lion lists out 50 great benefits of business blogging [http://www.thesaleslion.com/business-blogging-benefits/]. A 2010 State of Inbound marketing report by HubSpot clearly reveals that the rate of acquiring customers is proportional to the frequency of blog posting. Other results from the survey also state that companies enjoy an average of 60% lower cost-per-lead than businesses that focus on outbound marketing programs.

As a first step, decide on the frequency of blogging (number of posts that have to be published each week). Develop content based on a pre-planned content or editorial calendar and post regularly.

Social media demands a separate content marketing plan

At best, “random” would be the word used to describe how most small businesses approach their social media content marketing plan. Randomness in content marketing rarely works.

Your posts (or any information you share on social media) must follow a plan just like content publishing on your blog is dictated by your editorial calendar and with a fixed frequency per week. Plan every piece of content you’d share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Apart from regular publishing, you’d also have to respond to comments, share others’ content, leave comments, and engage with your network.

Planning your social media content marketing is so critical that HubSpot created a social media publishing schedule that’s invaluable for every marketer or business owner.

Content marketing with a community-based approach

Use your expertise and problem-solving skills (businesses solve problems) to answer questions raised on forums, Q &A sites such as Quora and LinkedIn Answers. By participating in communities, you create more opportunities for exposure, engagement, and credibility.

Users of these online forums learn from your written answers off these forums and Q & A sites while learning to trust you in the process. Community-based content marketing approach calls for a more altruistic approach to your marketing by “giving” content (knowledge) away in exchange for “reputation” and “trust” which ultimately leads to better brand exposure, long-term engagement, and sales.

Content breeds more content

Create an audio version of your blog posts and you have podcasts ready to distribute. Shorten a normal blog post that goes live on your blog, and you have just the kind of content that bodes well for sharing on your social media networks. Collect all your fact-based twitter tweets on a single file and you can build resource pages. A series of related blogs can always make a great source of input for creating a free, downloadable report. You may even use some of your existing content and distribute to your email list exclusively.

Create PowerPoint presentations and upload them on SlideShare. Make video versions of your presentations and upload them on YouTube or Vimeo. One kind of content can almost always be used in different ways. How are you going to use your content differently?

Diversify content production and build channels

Every content marketing opportunity is channel for business development. As you publish on your blog, get active on social media, generate various kinds of content that are best suited for different types of audiences, and even participate in online communities, you are basically creating what’s called as a “digital content footprint”. You content works as a trail of breadcrumbs to lead more visitors, customers, and brand aficionados to your blog. These visitors eventually turn into customers.

Content marketing, as it is for any kind of marketing, has an apparent system to it even if it looks chaotic for beginners. Every piece of content is the result of an overall content marketing strategy that works off multiple channels and methods to get you an umbrella of benefits.

Random content development leads to chaos and non-results. Strategic content marketing leads to profits, better brand recall, and a sustainable business for the long-term.

How does your content strategy look like? Please share your own thoughts in the comments below.

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