Content marketing is a double-edged sword. It's easy to create content and unlike old-school traditional marketing methods there are virtually no barriers to producing content. Unfortunately, many companies rush to get on the content marketing bandwagon with little thought concerning strategy or long-term goals. This typically results in very low quality content that does not serve any particular purpose. This type of activity is less of a strategy and more of a wasted effort. Before you get carried away with content creation, determine what you hope to accomplish and ensure you are utilizing smart strategies. Here are four smart content marketing strategies that will help you gain influence, earn trust, and increase sales.
1. Develop Buyer Personas
Smart content marketing demonstrates a deep understanding of a specific audience and its needs. This is often a paradigm shift for many professional services firms. These firms often have the urge to simply talk about their services and try to make sales. There is a place for the "sell, sell, sell" mentality, but it isn't on your blog or social network. Consider how your content is serving your audience.You must provide relevant content that meets a specific need in order to turn readers into paying clients. If you haven't yet, take some time to develop buyer personas. Understanding your buyers' pain points and goals will help you create compelling content that actually meets a need.
2. Schedule Content Updates
Even large companies with content marketing managers sometimes struggle to keep their content updated on a regular basis. It's unlikely you have time to babysit your blog and social networks, but luckily there is an easy solution. Both Facebook and Twitter now offer native features that allow you to schedule content ahead of time. Third party tools such as HubSpot can save you time by allowing you to schedule content updates across all your social networks. Set aside one day a month for content creation and then schedule your content updates as needed.
3. Use Idea Generators
Whether you are personally writing your content or not, you still have to come up with ideas. Typically newbies start out with tons of ideas and enthusiasm for their blog. This usually lasts a few days at which point the hard reality of blog block hits. Inability to create new ideas is one of the biggest roadblocks to creating fresh content on a regular basis.
One way to keep fresh ideas flowing is to "crowdsource" ideas. Ask your staff to submit ideas on a weekly or monthly basis. Many employees get a kick out of seeing their article ideas published. Another way you can come up with fresh content is by using idea generators. If you can think of three nouns then Hubspot's Blog Topic Generator will create a week of blog topics for you. They may not be a perfect fit, but these article titles will definitely help you brainstorm some great ideas.
4. Build Buzz with Enthusiasm
In the past, professional services firms depended heavily on word-of-mouth referrals. To a certain extent this is still true, but these referrals often happen online and the results are usually much faster than traditional word-of-mouth referrals. If you want customers to find you and get excited about your services, then you have to be excited too. Avoid overly "salesy" and boring content. Create content that conveys your enthusiasm for your product and your followers and fans will help you build your buzz.
While you may be hesitant to try content marketing, your competitors are not. With a little hard work, focus, and strategic thinking, you will definitely see significant ROI. If you're ready to let go of old-school marketing methods, then why not try these smart content marketing strategies?