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What is content marketing?

Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable and free content that helps educate your audience, rather than trying to directly promote your products or services to them.

What it is not about is creating lots of content without any strategy or direction.

The key word is ‘valuable’. If you do not offer your audience quality content that stands out from the crowd then they will not read or view it.

Content marketing is used by everyone from sole traders to multi-national corporations for one reason and one reason only.

It works!

Why is content marketing important?

Customers are now in control of when and how they want to search for information and they love it!

So much so that 70% of people have already made their buying decision before they contact a business.

Therefore, it is essential that your target audience find the information they need from you, early in their buying journey, and not from your competitors.

This means that instead of selling them your products or services you need to start giving them answers.

If you don’t, it is unlikely they will find you at all.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

Do you want to lose business when you can prevent it from happening? Of course not.

While you may not have control over a customer’s buying decision you do have the ability to offer them the information they need to make their decision easier.

This is why content marketing is so important as it helps you to become the first port of call when people think of or search for your product or service.

What are the benefits of content marketing?

There are a number of benefits to using content marketing including:

• You are viewed as an expert in your industry

• Increases credibility and brand awareness

• Builds trusted relationships and loyal customers

• Improves search engine ranking, increasing traffic to your site

• Creates an open channel of communication via social media channels

• Helps make the buying decision easier

• Provides value to your audience with no strings attached

• You gain a database of customers who want to be contacted

• Incredibly cost-effective

• Proven to increase sales

What are the challenges of content marketing?

There are a number of challenges to using content marketing including:

• Patience, commitment and sustainability

• Establishing your goals

• What content to produce and where to post it

• Understanding the challenges that all of your customers face

• Developing a detailed but easy to follow content strategy

• Creating a content calendar

• Finding the time to create quality content

• Writing content that meets the needs of your audience

• Establishing why you are different from your competitors

• Measuring the effectiveness of your content and understanding return on investment

What types of content should I create?

There are many different types of content you can create for your target audience including:

Question and answer content

Creating a question and answer section on your website will help your potential customers to find the information they are looking for.

It may seem like a daunting task at first but start by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and focus on answering the questions they are most likely to ask and then work your way down.

Before you know it you will have a database of questions and answers, not only for your customers to use but also for you to share via social media.

Customer focused website content

Having a question and answer section on your website will certainly help your audience find your website but the next step is keeping them there.

People are curious so once they have found the answer to their question they will start exploring your website looking for more information.

Therefore, it is essential that all of the content on your website is focused around your customer and their needs.

If your content is all about how great you are then they will quickly switch off and continue their search somewhere else, never to return.

Blogs

Blogs are a great way for you to give your readers more detail and bring to life the information you have included in your question and answer section.

They are also a great tool for you to bring your personality and experience to life by talking about situations you have been in and what you learned from them.

Blogs not only allow you to connect with your audience but also act as a fantastic and affordable way for you to promote your business, not only on your website but also across a number of social media channels, all for a single fee.

In fact, companies who post blog content gain, on average, 67% more leads.

Video content

People love video content. In fact, 60% of people will watch a video online before reading any of the text around it.

But isn’t video content expensive? Not necessarily.

When it comes to content marketing people are not looking for Hollywood blockbusters, they just want to watch people talking passionately about content that excites them.

A promotional advert may cost you upwards of £1,200 but by having a clear vision and a strategy in place you can produce four times the content for a third of the price.

This not only offers your website visitors a different type of content to look at but it also gives you even more content to share on your social media channels.

Images

It is true what they say, an image does tell a thousand words and the right image can be used to help bring to life the message you are trying to communicate.

Images also offer your customers a different type of content to keep them engaged.

Infographics for example are a great way to visually bring to life a complex situation in order to break it down into easily digestible chunks.

How do I get started with content marketing?

Below you will find a number of steps you can follow that will help you to get started on your content marketing journey:

• Create your content marketing goals

• Create customer profiles

• What are the questions each profile would like answered?

• What kind of content will each profile want to receive?

• If you currently have any content does it answer these questions?

• Make a list of the highest priority questions for each profile.

• What kind of content will each profile want to receive?

• Create a content marketing strategy to help you stay focused

• Create a content calendar so you know when to create and publish your content

• Start creating and sharing your content

If the thought of doing these steps scares you then you should consider seeking the help of a marketing company who will help make the process simple and easy for you.

What is a content marketing strategy?

A content marketing strategy is a document that allows you to remain focused throughout your content marketing journey, as it clearly outlines your goals and objectives along with the needs of your customers and how you are going to meet those needs through the content you will share with them.

It therefore comes as no great surprise that companies who take the time to truly understand their business and their customers, and use this as a foundation to create a clear and focused content marketing strategy, are more effective than those who do not.

How do I create a content marketing strategy?

There are five keys areas to delve into when creating your strategy:

Purpose and goals

Why are you creating content? What value are you bringing to your industry? What do you hope to achieve? What is your vision? How are you going to make a difference to your customers?

Your audience

Who is your audience? What are your customer profiles? What are their needs? What are the questions they want answered? How can you help them? What will their journey with you look like? What type of content do they want? How often do they want it?

Your story

Why did you start your business? Why are your passionate about what you do? What makes you different from your competitors? Why should people trust you?

The process you will use

What content will you share? How are you going to share it? Where are you going to share it? How often are you going to share it? How will you communicate with your customers to find out what else they want to know?

How you will measure success

What does success look like for you? Do you have a stepped approach as there are a lot of success points on the way to increasing your sales? What’s next after you reach your goals?

Once you have a clear and concise strategy in place you can begin to develop a content calendar that makes it easy for you to know where you are and where you are going on your content marketing journey.

What is a content calendar?

A content calendar is simply a physical or digital calendar that outlines the content you are going to share, when you are going to share it and how you are gong to share it.

Using a calendar rather than a list allows you to see how you are going to distribute your content over the course of the year.

This makes it easier for you to see if you are sharing content on a regular and consistent basis.

It also allows you to plan your content around key events that would be of interest to your target audience.

How do I create a content calendar?

There are three stages to follow to create your content calendar (assuming you have a content marketing strategy):

• Stage 1 – Plan your content

• Stage 2 – What content do you already have

• Stage 3 – Add content to your calendar

Stage 1 – Plan your content

Start by making a list of all the topics you are going to create content for, thinking about your customer profiles and how they like to read, view or listen to your content.

Beside each topic add the type of content you are going to create (this will likely be more than one) along with the customer profile you are going to target.

Stage 2 – What content do you already have?

Most companies already have lots of information that they can turn into valuable content.

This information could include:

• Training material

• Project work

• Presentations

• Speeches

• Research

• Blog posts

• Website content

Just one of these could be reused and turned into FAQs, blog posts, videos and infographics.

Four for the price of one!

Re-purposing the information you have will not only give you more content to share, it will also save you a lot of time and money.

Stage 3 – Add content to your calendar

Start by thinking about the interests of your target audience both in and outside of work.

These could be sporting events, film and television awards or interesting business events.

Then add a few to your calendar and select a topic for that week that you can link to the event.

This approach will help you to develop your relationship with your target audience as they will be able to connect with the content you are sharing with them.

Next start adding any key events that are taking place within your business such as a product launch or sponsoring an event.

Finally, and most importantly, it is time to start adding the content you are going to share.

Resist the temptation to add content to every box on your calendar. Take some time to think about the amount of content you are going to share (How much time/resource do you have? How much do your audience want?) and when you are going to share it (What time of the day/day of the week works best for your audience?).

What now?

The key to success with any content calendar is to take the time to review your content and identify where any changes can be made.

Look at what types of content worked and what did not. Were there factors outside of your control that may have impacted the success or failure of the content or is there a pattern?

Once you have completed this process over a number of months you will start to see a pattern of what your audience like and what they don’t.

But don’t be afraid to mix it up every once in a while, variety is the spice of life!

 

How often should I create new content?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question.

In an ideal world you would post new content every day but you may not have the time or resources to be able to do this.

Consistency is what is important. Create a realistic target that you know you can meet and stick to it.

If you start as you aim to go on then your audience will get used to your posting pattern and will begin to look forward to the content you are sharing with them. They will start to build a relationship with you which in turn will build their trust in your business.

If you start by posting every day and you suddenly stop after a few days, weeks or months your audience will begin to question why this is the case and create perceptions of your business that may not be true.

Where should I share my content?

There are a number of places you can share your content.

Below we will highlight the main platforms we suggest:

Facebook

Facebook is a great place to share all types of content.

With over 95% of social media marketers saying Facebook produces the best return on investment why wouldn’t you post there.

Twitter

Twitter is also a great place to share all types of content, especially video content.

With link clicks accounting for 92% of all interactions on Twitter it is a great way to drive traffic to your website.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is also a great place to share all types of content, primarily with other businesses.

In fact, 94% of B2B organisations share content on LinkedIn.

YouTube

YouTube is a great place to share your video and audio content.

Their audience is very passionate and can become active advocates to your brand.

With 44% of users actively sharing links after watching a video on YouTube it makes sense to share your content on this platform.

How do I make my content stand out?

This is perhaps the most difficult part of content marketing and there is no easy answer.

Think about your customer profiles. What are your customers looking for? How are you going to solve that problem?

Once you have answered these questions think about their interests outside of work and try to link your content to their hobbies.

People are more likely to read or view content that they can connect with, so the key is to give them what they want.

Some other tips are:

• Keep it simple

• Don’t use jargon

• Write how you would speak to a colleague

• Keep it as short and snappy as you can

• Use images with any content you share

• Make it interesting

• Have fun. If you aren’t your audience will know

Is there a difference between B2C and B2B content marketing?

Yes and no.

The goal of each is the same but since you are targeting two different audiences your content will be slightly different.

The topics your B2B content will cover will probably be more business focused and may be more professional in tone (although not always).

Whereas the topics your B2C content will cover may be more varied and conversational in tone.

How long should my content be?

As short as it needs to be to communicate the point you are trying to make.

It really is that simple.

Now that does not mean you cannot share longer content as long as it adds value to the person consuming it.

How can I create content that converts?

Although content marketing is a vital part of converting potential customers into actual customers there are other pieces of the jigsaw that are needed to succeed.

If you have a detailed content marketing strategy that you are fully committed to implementing along with a marketing and communication strategy, including social media marketing, and a search engine optimised customer focused website then you will give yourself the best chance of converting potential customers into actual customers.

What are the most common content marketing mistakes?

Some of the most common content marketing mistakes are:

Guessing you know your audience

It is simply not enough to assume you know what your audience is interested in. It is vital to conduct customer research to understand your audience fully.

There are some simple tools such as Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner that can help you, but understanding your audience is crucial.

Lazy titles

You have just spent hours potentially crafting your piece so why spend only a few seconds thinking of a title?

Slapping a relevant sounding title may not yield good enough results.

Better to take some care and come up with a title that is relevant and good enough to attract your audience to click and read.

Over-obsessing about SEO

It is an easy to trap to fall into.

Focusing too much on search engine optimisation (SEO) and tailoring your content to suit can lead you to inadvertently deliver quantity over quality.

Your first priority should be quality. The quality of your content is what will build your audience’s trust in you. Poor content erodes that trust.

Failure to market your content

You could have the best content in the world but it is unlikely to gain traction to market your content properly.

So keep a keen eye on social media marketing, influencers sharing your content, ad campaigns, email marketing, and other forms of advertising.

Not tracking results

You want to make informed choices about how to market your content.

That means knowing which types of content connect best with your audience, which platforms generate the most attention for your content.

How do I get people to read my content?

You’ve slaved over your content and you’ve got it perfect.

But no-one is reading it.

Here are a few ways to get people to read your content:

Make it snappy

People scan web pages rather than read them. First you must accept this.

Consider how to keep your content concise. If you have a long piece written, consider breaking it up into a series of posts.

This might also help you to keep people coming back for more.

Promote your content

If you haven’t been promoting your content on social media then get started now.

Try to get influencers in your field interested in you and your content. A share from them can give you valuable third party credibility.

You can also look at asking readers to sign up for your mailing list so you can email them when new content goes live and you can also look into paid advertising as another way of reaching a wider audience.

How do I measure the success of my content marketing?

There are many ways of measuring the success of your content marketing including:

Web traffic

This is probably one the most important ways of measuring how well your content marketing is doing.

You can use a whole host of in depth analytics tools to track the traffic on your website.

Knowing how many people are reading your content will give you insight into how well it is working.

Page views and time on the site are two of the most important you should familiarise yourself with.

Social media metrics

There are many tools available to track the success of your social media posts.

For example you can track the engagement rates of your content promotions and learn ways to increase that engagement.

Engagement

How many people are commenting on your posts?

High engagement rates are a good sign of content that generates responses and discussion.

Lead generation

The purpose of content marketing is to attract qualified prospects who may one day buy your products or services.

If your content is not generating these leads then you need to look at ways to increase the prospects of generating leads.

Subscribers

Allowing people to subscribe to your content is a great tool. You can reach them and keep them updated.

Therefore, you must keep an eye on your subscription numbers. If they go up then great, if they go down then not so great.

Use this to look at how you can increase your subscribers.

Search engine optimisation

By ensuring good search engine optimisation (SEO) in your content you will help rank your website higher in search engines and therefore increase traffic to your content and website.

Should I use a marketing company for content marketing?

Not always. Probably not the answer you were expecting to find on the website of a marketing company is it?

Marketing companies are experts and the benefits speak for themselves.

However, the truth is that hiring a marketing company is not always the best choice for your business.

But this does not mean you cannot seek some advice from one as they have the knowledge to help you succeed.

There are a number of options you can consider including:

Do it yourself

This may sound like the easiest option but be honest with yourself. Can you commit the time? Will you be able to deliver engaging content?

Perhaps you might benefit from some professional advice to stay true to your marketing vision.

That is where a marketing company could come in. Helping you to ensure what you are writing is on the money.

Go on a training course

If you have the time and would like to learn the basics of content marketing then book yourself on a training course.

Hire someone to do it for you

This does not have to be a full time member of staff.

Think about the needs of your business, it may be that you start by hiring someone for a few hours a week or a blog by blog basis.

This will allow you to keep your content marketing in-house.

Hire a marketing company with expertise in content marketing

The benefit of hiring a marketing company is that you will have instant access to years of experience, giving you the highest chance of success.

You may think that this will be expensive however any good marketing company will be able to advise you on the best strategy for the budget that you have.

Whatever route you decide to go down it is essential that you, as the owner of your business, remain involved in the process to ensure that it remains connected to the values and core objectives of your business.

Who can help me with my content marketing?

There is a wealth of resources out there to guide you through content marketing.

You are visiting one right now in fact!

So search through our Q&A section for more answers or contact us directly.

We are always happy to answer questions and share our knowledge with people.

What are the key things I need to know to create great content?

There are widely recognised to be eight key factors in creating great content.

They are:

• Originality – Be original and don’t be afraid to put in some personality.

• Snappy headlines – Think about newspaper headlines. Witty and smart headlines that attract people to read on.

• Keywords – These will help you to rank higher on searches so think about keywords that are trending on social platforms and search engines.

• User-relevant – Be relevant to you readers. Think about your target audience and tailor your style to match them.

• Trustworthy – Simple really. People will return if they trust you.

• Visual – Images, graphics and videos are great. They help to attract people and break up text.

• In-depth – Specific is always better than being general. If you provide your target audience with in-depth and well researched articles, you’re providing them with information that they won’t get elsewhere.

• Entertaining and/or educational – Another really simple but no less important factor. People read what entertains and/or educates them. Be stimulating.

Can I reuse my content?

Of course you can but you shouldn’t rely on this.

You should always be looking to create original content.

However, sometimes you may have something so good that a little tailoring to a current situation can pay dividends.

Especially if the content was successful and well received.

How do I get the most from my content?

You can get the most from your content by ensuring it reaches as many of your target audience as possible.

If you haven’t been promoting your content on social media then get started now.

Try to get influencers in your field interested in you and your content. A share from them can give you valuable third party credibility.

You can also look at asking readers to sign up for your mailing list so you can email them when new content goes live.

Finally you can also look into paid advertising as another way of reaching a wider audience.

What are some examples of great content marketing?

Here are some examples of great content marketing:

American Express

American Express have been using content marketing for for the past 100 years.

It all started with a series of popular travel guides in 1915.

This long term commitment to content marketing has served to make American Express one of the world’s most recognisable and most successful brands.

Callaway

One of golf’s most iconic brands has a hugely succesful content marketing strategy that is focused on educating their audience rather than selling.

Their YouTube channel features some of the most popular golf videos on YouTube.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a popular social media platform for B2B companies. They have committed to producing engaging and educational content designed to equip their users with the tools to be successful B2B marketers on the LinkedIn platform.

I don’t have the time for content marketing, what should I do?

If you are finding it difficult to commit the time to content marketing there are a number of options you can consider including:

Hiring someone to do it for you

This does not have to be a full-time member of staff.

Think about the needs of your business, it may be that you start by hiring someone for a few hours a week or a blog by blog basis.

This will allow you to keep your content marketing in-house.

Hire a marketing company with expertise in content marketing

The benefit of hiring a marketing company is that you will have instant access to years of experience, giving you the highest chance of success.

You may think that this will be expensive however any good marketing company will be able to advise you on the best strategy for the budget that you have.

Whatever route you decide to go down it is essential that you, as the owner of your business, remain involved in the process to ensure that it remains connected to the values and core objectives of your business.

How can I use Twitter to share my content?

Twitter allows you to post tweets with a limit of 140 characters.

You can post text, images, gif, videos and links to reach your audience.

Using relevant keywords as hashtags will increase the chance of your content reaching the right audience.

Visual posts often achieve the best results.

How can I use Facebook to share my content?

Facebook doesn’t have the same character limits as twitter.

You can post text, images, videos and links to reach your audience.

Using relevant keywords increases the chance of your content reaching the right audience.

Visual posts often achieve the best results.

How can I use LinkedIn to share my content?

You can post text, images, videos and links to reach your audience.

You can even post longer articles directly on LinkedIn.

Using relevant keywords increases the chance of your content reaching the right audience.

Keep in mind that the audience is mainly B2B.

How can I use YouTube to share my content?

YouTube is a video sharing platform.

You can post videos, stream live and use YouTube to host videos for you to embed in your website.

How can I build trust through content marketing?

Building trust through content marketing requires commitment.

There are a number of ways you can build much desired trust in your brand through content marketing including:

Quality and consistency

Publish regularly and ensure the content is good enough to go out into the world. You want to ensure that when people consume your content it leaves them with a positive impression of you.

Multi-channel approach

Social media is huge and still growing. By adopting a multi-channel approach you can ensure you reach the widest possible audience you can.

Keep the discussion moving

When people engage with your content you should get involved. This helps you build stronger and deeper relationships.

Don’t focus just on selling

A lot of companies issue press releases and posts on social media that are just about selling. People will buy when they are ready.

Content marketing is there to entertain and/or educate. This builds trust in you and your company and will lead to sales.

You don’t always have to be like a second hand salesman! Be normal.

How much does content marketing cost?

You can spend anywhere from £5 to £50,000 per month depending on what you are looking for.

Some will charge by the word for written content or by the second for video content whereas others will charge an hourly rate.

As an example we charge the following rates:

• Creating your content marketing strategy and calendar – £75 per hour (Block of 10 hours for £50 per hour)

• Writing and publishing questions and answers – £50 per hour (Block of 10 hours for £30 per hour)

• Writing customer focused website content – £50 per hour (Block of 10 hours for £30 per hour)

• Writing blog posts – £75 per blog (Block of 10 for £50 per blog)

• Designing infographics – £75 per hour (Block of 10 hours for £50 per hour)

• Video blogs – £200 per video (4 videos shot on the same day for £400)

Can’t find the answer you are looking for?

Send us your question today!

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What is content marketing?

Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable and free content that helps educate your audience, rather than trying to directly promote your products or services to them.

What it is not about is creating lots of content without any strategy or direction.

The key word is ‘valuable’. If you do not offer your audience quality content that stands out from the crowd then they will not read or view it.

Content marketing is used by everyone from sole traders to multi-national corporations for one reason and one reason only.

It works!

Why is content marketing important?

Customers are now in control of when and how they want to search for information and they love it!

So much so that 70% of people have already made their buying decision before they contact a business.

Therefore, it is essential that your target audience find the information they need from you, early in their buying journey, and not from your competitors.

This means that instead of selling them your products or services you need to start giving them answers.

If you don’t, it is unlikely they will find you at all.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

Do you want to lose business when you can prevent it from happening? Of course not.

While you may not have control over a customer’s buying decision you do have the ability to offer them the information they need to make their decision easier.

This is why content marketing is so important as it helps you to become the first port of call when people think of or search for your product or service.

What are the benefits of content marketing?

There are a number of benefits to using content marketing including:

• You are viewed as an expert in your industry

• Increases credibility and brand awareness

• Builds trusted relationships and loyal customers

• Improves search engine ranking, increasing traffic to your site

• Creates an open channel of communication via social media channels

• Helps make the buying decision easier

• Provides value to your audience with no strings attached

• You gain a database of customers who want to be contacted

• Incredibly cost-effective

• Proven to increase sales

What are the challenges of content marketing?

There are a number of challenges to using content marketing including:

• Patience, commitment and sustainability

• Establishing your goals

• What content to produce and where to post it

• Understanding the challenges that all of your customers face

• Developing a detailed but easy to follow content strategy

• Creating a content calendar

• Finding the time to create quality content

• Writing content that meets the needs of your audience

• Establishing why you are different from your competitors

• Measuring the effectiveness of your content and understanding return on investment

What types of content should I create?

There are many different types of content you can create for your target audience including:

Question and answer content

Creating a question and answer section on your website will help your potential customers to find the information they are looking for.

It may seem like a daunting task at first but start by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and focus on answering the questions they are most likely to ask and then work your way down.

Before you know it you will have a database of questions and answers, not only for your customers to use but also for you to share via social media.

Customer focused website content

Having a question and answer section on your website will certainly help your audience find your website but the next step is keeping them there.

People are curious so once they have found the answer to their question they will start exploring your website looking for more information.

Therefore, it is essential that all of the content on your website is focused around your customer and their needs.

If your content is all about how great you are then they will quickly switch off and continue their search somewhere else, never to return.

Blogs

Blogs are a great way for you to give your readers more detail and bring to life the information you have included in your question and answer section.

They are also a great tool for you to bring your personality and experience to life by talking about situations you have been in and what you learned from them.

Blogs not only allow you to connect with your audience but also act as a fantastic and affordable way for you to promote your business, not only on your website but also across a number of social media channels, all for a single fee.

In fact, companies who post blog content gain, on average, 67% more leads.

Video content

People love video content. In fact, 60% of people will watch a video online before reading any of the text around it.

But isn’t video content expensive? Not necessarily.

When it comes to content marketing people are not looking for Hollywood blockbusters, they just want to watch people talking passionately about content that excites them.

A promotional advert may cost you upwards of £1,200 but by having a clear vision and a strategy in place you can produce four times the content for a third of the price.

This not only offers your website visitors a different type of content to look at but it also gives you even more content to share on your social media channels.

Images

It is true what they say, an image does tell a thousand words and the right image can be used to help bring to life the message you are trying to communicate.

Images also offer your customers a different type of content to keep them engaged.

Infographics for example are a great way to visually bring to life a complex situation in order to break it down into easily digestible chunks.

How do I get started with content marketing?

Below you will find a number of steps you can follow that will help you to get started on your content marketing journey:

• Create your content marketing goals

• Create customer profiles

• What are the questions each profile would like answered?

• What kind of content will each profile want to receive?

• If you currently have any content does it answer these questions?

• Make a list of the highest priority questions for each profile.

• What kind of content will each profile want to receive?

• Create a content marketing strategy to help you stay focused

• Create a content calendar so you know when to create and publish your content

• Start creating and sharing your content

If the thought of doing these steps scares you then you should consider seeking the help of a marketing company who will help make the process simple and easy for you.

What is a content marketing strategy?

A content marketing strategy is a document that allows you to remain focused throughout your content marketing journey, as it clearly outlines your goals and objectives along with the needs of your customers and how you are going to meet those needs through the content you will share with them.

It therefore comes as no great surprise that companies who take the time to truly understand their business and their customers, and use this as a foundation to create a clear and focused content marketing strategy, are more effective than those who do not.

How do I create a content marketing strategy?

There are five keys areas to delve into when creating your strategy:

Purpose and goals

Why are you creating content? What value are you bringing to your industry? What do you hope to achieve? What is your vision? How are you going to make a difference to your customers?

Your audience

Who is your audience? What are your customer profiles? What are their needs? What are the questions they want answered? How can you help them? What will their journey with you look like? What type of content do they want? How often do they want it?

Your story

Why did you start your business? Why are your passionate about what you do? What makes you different from your competitors? Why should people trust you?

The process you will use

What content will you share? How are you going to share it? Where are you going to share it? How often are you going to share it? How will you communicate with your customers to find out what else they want to know?

How you will measure success

What does success look like for you? Do you have a stepped approach as there are a lot of success points on the way to increasing your sales? What’s next after you reach your goals?

Once you have a clear and concise strategy in place you can begin to develop a content calendar that makes it easy for you to know where you are and where you are going on your content marketing journey.

What is a content calendar?

A content calendar is simply a physical or digital calendar that outlines the content you are going to share, when you are going to share it and how you are gong to share it.

Using a calendar rather than a list allows you to see how you are going to distribute your content over the course of the year.

This makes it easier for you to see if you are sharing content on a regular and consistent basis.

It also allows you to plan your content around key events that would be of interest to your target audience.

How do I create a content calendar?

There are three stages to follow to create your content calendar (assuming you have a content marketing strategy):

• Stage 1 – Plan your content

• Stage 2 – What content do you already have

• Stage 3 – Add content to your calendar

Stage 1 – Plan your content

Start by making a list of all the topics you are going to create content for, thinking about your customer profiles and how they like to read, view or listen to your content.

Beside each topic add the type of content you are going to create (this will likely be more than one) along with the customer profile you are going to target.

Stage 2 – What content do you already have?

Most companies already have lots of information that they can turn into valuable content.

This information could include:

• Training material

• Project work

• Presentations

• Speeches

• Research

• Blog posts

• Website content

Just one of these could be reused and turned into FAQs, blog posts, videos and infographics.

Four for the price of one!

Re-purposing the information you have will not only give you more content to share, it will also save you a lot of time and money.

Stage 3 – Add content to your calendar

Start by thinking about the interests of your target audience both in and outside of work.

These could be sporting events, film and television awards or interesting business events.

Then add a few to your calendar and select a topic for that week that you can link to the event.

This approach will help you to develop your relationship with your target audience as they will be able to connect with the content you are sharing with them.

Next start adding any key events that are taking place within your business such as a product launch or sponsoring an event.

Finally, and most importantly, it is time to start adding the content you are going to share.

Resist the temptation to add content to every box on your calendar. Take some time to think about the amount of content you are going to share (How much time/resource do you have? How much do your audience want?) and when you are going to share it (What time of the day/day of the week works best for your audience?).

What now?

The key to success with any content calendar is to take the time to review your content and identify where any changes can be made.

Look at what types of content worked and what did not. Were there factors outside of your control that may have impacted the success or failure of the content or is there a pattern?

Once you have completed this process over a number of months you will start to see a pattern of what your audience like and what they don’t.

But don’t be afraid to mix it up every once in a while, variety is the spice of life!

 

How often should I create new content?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question.

In an ideal world you would post new content every day but you may not have the time or resources to be able to do this.

Consistency is what is important. Create a realistic target that you know you can meet and stick to it.

If you start as you aim to go on then your audience will get used to your posting pattern and will begin to look forward to the content you are sharing with them. They will start to build a relationship with you which in turn will build their trust in your business.

If you start by posting every day and you suddenly stop after a few days, weeks or months your audience will begin to question why this is the case and create perceptions of your business that may not be true.

Where should I share my content?

There are a number of places you can share your content.

Below we will highlight the main platforms we suggest:

Facebook

Facebook is a great place to share all types of content.

With over 95% of social media marketers saying Facebook produces the best return on investment why wouldn’t you post there.

Twitter

Twitter is also a great place to share all types of content, especially video content.

With link clicks accounting for 92% of all interactions on Twitter it is a great way to drive traffic to your website.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is also a great place to share all types of content, primarily with other businesses.

In fact, 94% of B2B organisations share content on LinkedIn.

YouTube

YouTube is a great place to share your video and audio content.

Their audience is very passionate and can become active advocates to your brand.

With 44% of users actively sharing links after watching a video on YouTube it makes sense to share your content on this platform.

How do I make my content stand out?

This is perhaps the most difficult part of content marketing and there is no easy answer.

Think about your customer profiles. What are your customers looking for? How are you going to solve that problem?

Once you have answered these questions think about their interests outside of work and try to link your content to their hobbies.

People are more likely to read or view content that they can connect with, so the key is to give them what they want.

Some other tips are:

• Keep it simple

• Don’t use jargon

• Write how you would speak to a colleague

• Keep it as short and snappy as you can

• Use images with any content you share

• Make it interesting

• Have fun. If you aren’t your audience will know

Is there a difference between B2C and B2B content marketing?

Yes and no.

The goal of each is the same but since you are targeting two different audiences your content will be slightly different.

The topics your B2B content will cover will probably be more business focused and may be more professional in tone (although not always).

Whereas the topics your B2C content will cover may be more varied and conversational in tone.

How long should my content be?

As short as it needs to be to communicate the point you are trying to make.

It really is that simple.

Now that does not mean you cannot share longer content as long as it adds value to the person consuming it.

How can I create content that converts?

Although content marketing is a vital part of converting potential customers into actual customers there are other pieces of the jigsaw that are needed to succeed.

If you have a detailed content marketing strategy that you are fully committed to implementing along with a marketing and communication strategy, including social media marketing, and a search engine optimised customer focused website then you will give yourself the best chance of converting potential customers into actual customers.

What are the most common content marketing mistakes?

Some of the most common content marketing mistakes are:

Guessing you know your audience

It is simply not enough to assume you know what your audience is interested in. It is vital to conduct customer research to understand your audience fully.

There are some simple tools such as Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner that can help you, but understanding your audience is crucial.

Lazy titles

You have just spent hours potentially crafting your piece so why spend only a few seconds thinking of a title?

Slapping a relevant sounding title may not yield good enough results.

Better to take some care and come up with a title that is relevant and good enough to attract your audience to click and read.

Over-obsessing about SEO

It is an easy to trap to fall into.

Focusing too much on search engine optimisation (SEO) and tailoring your content to suit can lead you to inadvertently deliver quantity over quality.

Your first priority should be quality. The quality of your content is what will build your audience’s trust in you. Poor content erodes that trust.

Failure to market your content

You could have the best content in the world but it is unlikely to gain traction to market your content properly.

So keep a keen eye on social media marketing, influencers sharing your content, ad campaigns, email marketing, and other forms of advertising.

Not tracking results

You want to make informed choices about how to market your content.

That means knowing which types of content connect best with your audience, which platforms generate the most attention for your content.

How do I get people to read my content?

You’ve slaved over your content and you’ve got it perfect.

But no-one is reading it.

Here are a few ways to get people to read your content:

Make it snappy

People scan web pages rather than read them. First you must accept this.

Consider how to keep your content concise. If you have a long piece written, consider breaking it up into a series of posts.

This might also help you to keep people coming back for more.

Promote your content

If you haven’t been promoting your content on social media then get started now.

Try to get influencers in your field interested in you and your content. A share from them can give you valuable third party credibility.

You can also look at asking readers to sign up for your mailing list so you can email them when new content goes live and you can also look into paid advertising as another way of reaching a wider audience.

How do I measure the success of my content marketing?

There are many ways of measuring the success of your content marketing including:

Web traffic

This is probably one the most important ways of measuring how well your content marketing is doing.

You can use a whole host of in depth analytics tools to track the traffic on your website.

Knowing how many people are reading your content will give you insight into how well it is working.

Page views and time on the site are two of the most important you should familiarise yourself with.

Social media metrics

There are many tools available to track the success of your social media posts.

For example you can track the engagement rates of your content promotions and learn ways to increase that engagement.

Engagement

How many people are commenting on your posts?

High engagement rates are a good sign of content that generates responses and discussion.

Lead generation

The purpose of content marketing is to attract qualified prospects who may one day buy your products or services.

If your content is not generating these leads then you need to look at ways to increase the prospects of generating leads.

Subscribers

Allowing people to subscribe to your content is a great tool. You can reach them and keep them updated.

Therefore, you must keep an eye on your subscription numbers. If they go up then great, if they go down then not so great.

Use this to look at how you can increase your subscribers.

Search engine optimisation

By ensuring good search engine optimisation (SEO) in your content you will help rank your website higher in search engines and therefore increase traffic to your content and website.

Should I use a marketing company for content marketing?

Not always. Probably not the answer you were expecting to find on the website of a marketing company is it?

Marketing companies are experts and the benefits speak for themselves.

However, the truth is that hiring a marketing company is not always the best choice for your business.

But this does not mean you cannot seek some advice from one as they have the knowledge to help you succeed.

There are a number of options you can consider including:

Do it yourself

This may sound like the easiest option but be honest with yourself. Can you commit the time? Will you be able to deliver engaging content?

Perhaps you might benefit from some professional advice to stay true to your marketing vision.

That is where a marketing company could come in. Helping you to ensure what you are writing is on the money.

Go on a training course

If you have the time and would like to learn the basics of content marketing then book yourself on a training course.

Hire someone to do it for you

This does not have to be a full time member of staff.

Think about the needs of your business, it may be that you start by hiring someone for a few hours a week or a blog by blog basis.

This will allow you to keep your content marketing in-house.

Hire a marketing company with expertise in content marketing

The benefit of hiring a marketing company is that you will have instant access to years of experience, giving you the highest chance of success.

You may think that this will be expensive however any good marketing company will be able to advise you on the best strategy for the budget that you have.

Whatever route you decide to go down it is essential that you, as the owner of your business, remain involved in the process to ensure that it remains connected to the values and core objectives of your business.

Who can help me with my content marketing?

There is a wealth of resources out there to guide you through content marketing.

You are visiting one right now in fact!

So search through our Q&A section for more answers or contact us directly.

We are always happy to answer questions and share our knowledge with people.

What are the key things I need to know to create great content?

There are widely recognised to be eight key factors in creating great content.

They are:

• Originality – Be original and don’t be afraid to put in some personality.

• Snappy headlines – Think about newspaper headlines. Witty and smart headlines that attract people to read on.

• Keywords – These will help you to rank higher on searches so think about keywords that are trending on social platforms and search engines.

• User-relevant – Be relevant to you readers. Think about your target audience and tailor your style to match them.

• Trustworthy – Simple really. People will return if they trust you.

• Visual – Images, graphics and videos are great. They help to attract people and break up text.

• In-depth – Specific is always better than being general. If you provide your target audience with in-depth and well researched articles, you’re providing them with information that they won’t get elsewhere.

• Entertaining and/or educational – Another really simple but no less important factor. People read what entertains and/or educates them. Be stimulating.

Can I reuse my content?

Of course you can but you shouldn’t rely on this.

You should always be looking to create original content.

However, sometimes you may have something so good that a little tailoring to a current situation can pay dividends.

Especially if the content was successful and well received.

How do I get the most from my content?

You can get the most from your content by ensuring it reaches as many of your target audience as possible.

If you haven’t been promoting your content on social media then get started now.

Try to get influencers in your field interested in you and your content. A share from them can give you valuable third party credibility.

You can also look at asking readers to sign up for your mailing list so you can email them when new content goes live.

Finally you can also look into paid advertising as another way of reaching a wider audience.

What are some examples of great content marketing?

Here are some examples of great content marketing:

American Express

American Express have been using content marketing for for the past 100 years.

It all started with a series of popular travel guides in 1915.

This long term commitment to content marketing has served to make American Express one of the world’s most recognisable and most successful brands.

Callaway

One of golf’s most iconic brands has a hugely succesful content marketing strategy that is focused on educating their audience rather than selling.

Their YouTube channel features some of the most popular golf videos on YouTube.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a popular social media platform for B2B companies. They have committed to producing engaging and educational content designed to equip their users with the tools to be successful B2B marketers on the LinkedIn platform.

I don’t have the time for content marketing, what should I do?

If you are finding it difficult to commit the time to content marketing there are a number of options you can consider including:

Hiring someone to do it for you

This does not have to be a full-time member of staff.

Think about the needs of your business, it may be that you start by hiring someone for a few hours a week or a blog by blog basis.

This will allow you to keep your content marketing in-house.

Hire a marketing company with expertise in content marketing

The benefit of hiring a marketing company is that you will have instant access to years of experience, giving you the highest chance of success.

You may think that this will be expensive however any good marketing company will be able to advise you on the best strategy for the budget that you have.

Whatever route you decide to go down it is essential that you, as the owner of your business, remain involved in the process to ensure that it remains connected to the values and core objectives of your business.

How can I use Twitter to share my content?

Twitter allows you to post tweets with a limit of 140 characters.

You can post text, images, gif, videos and links to reach your audience.

Using relevant keywords as hashtags will increase the chance of your content reaching the right audience.

Visual posts often achieve the best results.

How can I use Facebook to share my content?

Facebook doesn’t have the same character limits as twitter.

You can post text, images, videos and links to reach your audience.

Using relevant keywords increases the chance of your content reaching the right audience.

Visual posts often achieve the best results.

How can I use LinkedIn to share my content?

You can post text, images, videos and links to reach your audience.

You can even post longer articles directly on LinkedIn.

Using relevant keywords increases the chance of your content reaching the right audience.

Keep in mind that the audience is mainly B2B.

How can I use YouTube to share my content?

YouTube is a video sharing platform.

You can post videos, stream live and use YouTube to host videos for you to embed in your website.

How can I build trust through content marketing?

Building trust through content marketing requires commitment.

There are a number of ways you can build much desired trust in your brand through content marketing including:

Quality and consistency

Publish regularly and ensure the content is good enough to go out into the world. You want to ensure that when people consume your content it leaves them with a positive impression of you.

Multi-channel approach

Social media is huge and still growing. By adopting a multi-channel approach you can ensure you reach the widest possible audience you can.

Keep the discussion moving

When people engage with your content you should get involved. This helps you build stronger and deeper relationships.

Don’t focus just on selling

A lot of companies issue press releases and posts on social media that are just about selling. People will buy when they are ready.

Content marketing is there to entertain and/or educate. This builds trust in you and your company and will lead to sales.

You don’t always have to be like a second hand salesman! Be normal.

How much does content marketing cost?

You can spend anywhere from £5 to £50,000 per month depending on what you are looking for.

Some will charge by the word for written content or by the second for video content whereas others will charge an hourly rate.

As an example we charge the following rates:

• Creating your content marketing strategy and calendar – £75 per hour (Block of 10 hours for £50 per hour)

• Writing and publishing questions and answers – £50 per hour (Block of 10 hours for £30 per hour)

• Writing customer focused website content – £50 per hour (Block of 10 hours for £30 per hour)

• Writing blog posts – £75 per blog (Block of 10 for £50 per blog)

• Designing infographics – £75 per hour (Block of 10 hours for £50 per hour)

• Video blogs – £200 per video (4 videos shot on the same day for £400)

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