Content marketing has given small businesses the opportunity to become their own publishers of news and content. It has leveled the playing field between small and large businesses due to the fact that it’s now affordable for all of us to publish and curate content. But the challenge that many businesses usually face is finding the time and developing a mindset to create a consistent flow of new, interesting information.
Competitive intelligence, can help you become a content marketing secret agent, but there’s another target audience that you need to pay an equal amount of attention to – your ideal customer.
You need to speak directly to the challenges that your ideal customer faces and help them solve these challenges – in turn, you become the go-to person for their business. There are a few things you need to do to achieve this.
Understand Your Customers
This is a key question when determining the roadmap for your content marketing strategy. Where do your customers hang out in real life and online? What forums and websites do they visit? What challenges do they face and what kind of content can you create that will help them overcome these challenges?
Buyers are already overwhelmed by the amount of content that businesses generate (and you’re not the only one distributing content – buyers are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content coming from everybody who is marketing in the digital space). We need to shift our thinking as publishers and provide content that breaks through the vast amount of digital noise. The only way we can do this is by focusing on quality instead of quantity.
Marketing budgets are limited, which is why digital marketers need to focus on generating content that is well-received and leads to conversions. Instead of embarking on a costly exercise of generating new content from the get-go, many marketers can make great strides by taking a step back and conducting a content audit to determine the following:
Find out what content already exists within your company
There are undoubtedly presentations, proposals, brochures and action plans that can be adapted for content marketing purposes. A lot of great content will already be available within an organization and many times, all you need to do is remove sensitive client information and repurpose it for your target audience.
Take a content inventory and identify gaps to fill
When creating an inventory of content, you will probably find that there’s a lot of information available on a number of products and services, but there are giant gaps when it comes to other products or services that a company offers. Identifying the gaps will give you a good starting point when it comes to determining what you need to write about.
Replace or remove outdated content
Few people visit their corporate website on a daily basis and they’re usually horrified to see how outdated some of the information is. A content audit will show you where you need to remove and replace old legacy content.
Improve the quality of existing content
If you’re working with content that’s more than five years old, you might find that it contains good information but the tone, style and focus don’t hit the mark. Improving on existing content is a good way to stretch your marketing budget Instead of getting completely new content written, you can tweak content that’s already been created in order to make it more effective.
Use content in new and different ways
Case studies can be transformed into downloadable Whitepapers, internal company news can be turned into blog posts, PowerPoint presentations can be repurposed into SlideShare presentations and photos from your conferences and functions can be used to populate your Pinterest account. Making your content strategy as far-reaching and effective as possible starts with being innovative about how you can take content and turn it into multimedia items, news items or any type of content that your target audience would want to consume.
Find out who you can team up with to curate additional content.
If your primary business isn’t to become a news agency for your industry, you can’t spend all your time creating quality content. The smart way to share the latest, best and most relevant information with your fans and followers is to dedicate a portion of your content strategy to content curation. Content curation is sorting through a large amount of web content to find the best, most meaningful bits and presenting these in an organized, valuable way. It’s a valuable part of any successful content marketing strategy.
What Your Content Marketing Mix Should Look Like
According to the experts, a best-in-class marketing mix should consist of:
- 65% original content (created by your business)
- 25% curated content
- 10% syndicated content A marketing mix of different sources of content will not only help you to leverage your resources more efficiently, but it will better engage your target audience because you’re focusing on sharing high value content with them.
Types of Content
Now that you’ve seen how a marketing mix can consist of different types of content, it’s important to understand how content is defined. Here’s a quick overview of the top two types of content (original and curated):
Original content is the content that you create yourself – it’s the content that takes blood, sweat and tears (or at least dedicated time) to produce. Whether this means your staff members are actively writing blog posts, filming videos, repurposing brochures into long-format press releases or you are writing case studies of the projects you completed, they all fall under the umbrella term of original content.
While curated content refers to content that was produced by someone else, there is still a level of personalization involved because real people (you, your digital marketer or your staff) have gone through the process of selecting it to share with your audience. The key to getting content curation right is committing to consistently finding, organizing and sharing high quality and relevant digital content with the right target market. In order to do this ethically, keep these tips in mind:
– Remember that you’re sharing someone else’s original content, so make sure you have credited the original source of the content.
– Make the content more personalized by adding your own point of view, writing style and opinions as you curate the piece.