Now that we’ve all established that content marketing is a great way to grow a brand, it’s important to understand that content is only part of a larger recipe. You can have the greatest, most interesting articles on the planet but if you don’t have a strategy for getting them in front of potential customers, they’re as good as wasted. Here’s the recipe to better content marketing.
Step 1: Start With a Great Article
Let’s not overlook the importance of a really well-written article. You simply can’t pay a mediocre writer $2 and expect an article that people are excited about reading. You’ve got to have a piece of content that is engaging, professionally written, and on a topic that your customers (and future customers) want to read. If you’re not the best person for the job, enlist the aid of one of your employees, hire a skilled freelancer, or work with a marketing firm that specializes in content.
Step 2: Add a Sprinkle of Social Media
Sites like Twitter, Google +, Facebook, and LinkedIn are your key to getting more eyeballs on your blog or website. Set up an automated feed so that every time a posts publishes, it goes to your profile. But also use your blog links to start dialogue about your content. This is a great way to drive interaction.
Your content shouldn’t be all you share on social sites. Aim for a mix of your own content, others’ articles, questions, and answers, as well as simple, mundane comments about the weather.
Step 3: Fold in a Great Community
If you truly deliver content that people want to read and share, you’ll begin to build a community of followers that support whatever your business does. Appreciate them, and do so vocally (or virtually. whatever works). Foster their engagement with your brand and find ways to thank them from time to time.
Step 4: Stir, Bake, and Repeat
Content will work for you if you work for it. It’s a constant retweaking and repetitive effort: you won’t see a flood of traffic after one post, but over time, your readership (and customer base) will grow and people will trust your brand. Be consistent in your efforts, and set up specific days each week to publish content or share through social channels. And be patient! You wouldn’t trust a complete stranger on the street with your wallet, so why would potential customers trust you with theirs after you’ve written a handful of great posts? Being helpful and providing advice will serve you much better than constantly trying to sell through your content and social media efforts.
Want to learn more about making content marketing work for your brand? I’m hosting a free BizLaunch webinar October 25, 2012, at 1 pm Eastern called “How to Use Content to Grow Your Business.” I’ll happily answer any questions you have.
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s written two books: 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and has blogged for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well as Mashable, Small Business Trends, CorpNet and Lead411. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.
Photo: missmeng on Flickr