When it comes to running a successful social media or digital marketing agency, landing meetings and signing clients is only part of the battle. Once you’ve sold your clients on your services, you’ve got to come up with marketing strategies that will blow them away and keep their customers engaged.
In this article, I’m going to be discussing the strategic side of marketing with regards to creating content.
Content is king in digital marketing, so that means allocating the right amount of time and resources to making your client’s (and hey, don’t forget about yours either!) content shine. Good content can boost visits and ultimately increase sales, so make sure it is a priority and not an afterthought.
When it comes to creating a solid content marketing plan there are four key steps to success:
- Brainstorming and Storyboarding
- Planning and Creation
- Scheduling and Adjusting
The first and arguably most important step in creating good content is research. Finding the right content that is going to click with your target audience is all about understanding the needs of potential customers.
One thing to keep in mind when approaching content is that a product or service usually provides a solution to a problem or issue, so it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of the person who is going to approach the business to solve a relevant problem or issue.
A great way to get into this mindset is to use forums and industry-specific conversational sites where communities of customers come together and post their thoughts on a product or service. These forums or sources could be as general as Reddit or the Facebook Search Bar or could be even more industry-specific.
For instance, if your client is a car dealership, search forums where users are seeking advice on purchasing a vehicle—what kinds of questions are they asking? What car brands are being discussed most often? Find any kind of information that can help you better understand this consumer.
Another great approach during the research phase is to look into what industry competitors are doing. What are their content topics and strategies? Do they have any pieces of content that have really hit and that you could recreate with your own take? Even paying attention to the content that doesn’t appear to be hitting is a great way to see what you should avoid.
2. Brainstorming and Storyboarding
This step in the process is all about taking the information you collected in step 1 and determining the content that you think will be most effective. Once you’ve collected your data, now you have to figure out have to turn that into your own content piece or series with your own flare.
During this step, it is also important to think about your target demo and their content consumption patterns. For instance, if during your research for your car dealership, you realized that a lot of people were asking for advice on purchasing their first vehicle, you could decide to create a campaign appealing to Millennials, who are most likely to be buying their first car over other age groups. Millennials prefer visual content in the forms of videos and memes and prefer blog articles over webinars. So perhaps your best content strategy would be a blog series on things to look for when buying a new car.
Remember to prioritize your content and to make sure that it lines up in an order that makes the most sense to the consumer. It should always be easy to understand and, above all, it should be engaging.
3. Planning and Creation
Now that you have turned your research into viable ideas, it’s time to plan and create. In this step, you’ll add the content outlines that you created in step 2 to your master content calendar and begin to play with creative and copy ideas for your campaigns, ads, or other online content.
Planning might seem like a basic step that doesn’t need to be including, but it is always worth mentioning that it is key to being able to manage your time properly. If you aren’t already using a content calendar for your marketing plan, then this should be a priority.
If creativity is not your strong suit, then this is the stage at which you’ll need someone with a creative mindset to begin taking your ideas from step 2 and turning them into things like videos, blogs, social posts, or any other form of content your audience will be interested in.
4. Scheduling and Adjusting
At this point, you will have everything you need complete with regards to creating the content. In other words, congratulations! You’ve got all the hard stuff out of the way!
Now all that’s left to do is to schedule the content and pay attention to anything that might not be working the way you had planned. Never be so set on your plan that you can’t adjust things that aren’t working.
There are also many business planning tools available that can help you with this phase of the process. Hootsuite is a great application for scheduling across multiple platforms, or if you want to spend time on trying to land new clients instead of on schedule, you might consider finding a Social Media Manager or Virtual Assistant through any number of outsourcing websites.
Once you’ve published and shared your content through all of your socials and website, always pay attention to what is hitting and what isn’t. Analyze your results and pay attention to any feedback you receive from the consumer, as this can help you plan for your next campaign or blog or vlog series when you start over at step 1.