August tends to be a ‘slow news’ month. It can be a quiet time for some businesses and the temptation is to either go off the radar or just publish ‘filler’ content to keep things ticking over. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Content marketing is a great way of minimising ‘peaks and troughs’ in your calendar year by planning ahead to maintain your audiences’ attention with some useful ‘holiday reading’ – which hopefully this blog will be for many of you!
Stay committed to your long term goals
In the words of Jon Buscall: “Content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign.” It is not designed to generate ‘quick wins’, it’s a long term brand and relationship building exercise. Sounds fluffy? Not if you want sustainable growth from a network of loyal, valuable customers. Not if you want to be able to recruit the best in the business now and in the future. Not if you’re planning on selling your business and need to build brand equity. After all, a bank of high quality, unique, useful, well-read, targeted content in a tone of voice authentic to your brand and ethos is an asset. It is marketing currency. It leaves a legacy. It presents the opportunity not just to close a sale today, but to achieve long term growth and success.
Think conversion, not clicks
So, if a ‘digital agency’ has told you that you need to ‘do some content marketing’ as an add-on to SEO and PPC campaigns, they’re barking up the wrong tree. They don’t mean content marketing, they mean ‘article writing’. These ‘articles’ don’t necessarily need to be high quality pieces of topical, engaging, useful content that you can be proud to showcase to your customers, employees and potential investors. They just have to generate traffic. Any old traffic will do. After all, you’re agreeing to ‘pay per click’ and you’re measuring your SEO campaign success on number of hits, rather than on real, tangible business outcomes – ie conversion of visitors into loyal fans who spend with you on a regular basis or want to work for you or want to buy your business. If you’re working in a highly regulated sector, those visitors might even be key stakeholders who are watching to see if you’re practising what you preach and therefore are critical to your future existence.
Less is more
Content marketing is a big commitment. It is time consuming. It does require a huge amount of research and skill on an ongoing basis. But that doesn’t mean that you need to create content for content’s sake. Why write a blog a week, if every other one isn’t something to be proud of? Or if most of them aren’t?
Plan ahead but be flexible
How about instead of scratching your head thinking of things to say, you take a step back and listen. Listen to what your target customers, dream employees and key stakeholders are saying and talk about what they want to hear. Apply your expertise to what’s trending in your marketplace and put a new spin on it. You should – and almost undoubtedly will – have useful, interesting things to say on many topics that your target audiences are interested in. And you can combine that with things that they’re not already talking about but will want to know. Things that you’re doing to advance your sector, examples of how you’ve helped other people just like them, insights into new developments on the horizon.
Your content can be all thriller, no filler. If your content marketing plan is empty, let us help you fill it. Before you know it, you’ll be pushing back new announcements to make way for all the even more topical things you have to talk about that week.