Content marketing is the ongoing process of creating valuable information that customers use to form a relationship with your brand, product, or service. Diving into a consistent content marketing program takes time, practice, and most importantly, commitment. In many ways, building a strong content marketing program is like training for a marathon!
Use these 5 great tips to prepare yourself for the content marketing marathon.
1. Set Up a Schedule
Running a marathon takes planning. Not many people can just wake up and start running the NYC Marathon. Instead, athletes set-up a training schedule to build up their endurance. Over time, they see gains in their endurance, and how much further they can run before needing a break.
While it would be great if businesses could just wake up and have a solid content marketing program under their belts, this isn’t very likely. Getting there takes time and involves following a plan to reach your goals.
First, start by looking at your end-goal: Develop a content marketing strategy that engages my audience on a weekly, bi-weekly, or daily basis.
Next, think about how you will get to that stage. Set-up a content creation calendar where each week a new blog article, news story, video, or other informational piece of content is published.
(Just make sure the goals are realistic! I can attest that creating a new article each day falls outside of my time limits.)
They key is setting up a schedule that works for your individual business.
2. Listen (to your audience)
Providing useful information requires an ability to understand what others value. It depends on your ability to listen. It’s a two-way street where you listen to what your audience wants and deliver content that illustrates your understanding of their needs.
How can you tap into this human insight?
Check out what your audience is posting on your Facebook page, LinkedIn business profile, Twitter account, or other social media platforms. Often times, these people are asking questions that are common among your target audience, but only a few are able to speak their mind.
3. Mix Up Your Training (Content)
It’s true. The process of writing new articles and coming up with creative blog topics can feel monotonous after a few short weeks! But breaking out of that rut is critical for maintaining your progress and your visitors’ attention.
Here’s a training tip that helps me climb out of fitness slumps: Instead of following the same workout program week-in and week-out, I’ll mix in a few pure cardio days. Starting with the treadmill, moving to the exercise bike, and finally jumping over to the gruesome stair-climber.
Though we are creatures of habit, sprinkling in a dose of variety can definitely keep life interesting. And the same concept holds true for your content marketing strategy!
Great Content Resources:
- Presentations: I highly recommend using SlideShare for visual presentations. This is a great tool for incorporating concepts that draw on visual cues and fall in the “how-to” category .
- eBooks: Already have your content in a MS Word document? Great. Now transform it into a PDF with PDF Converter, or simply convert your blog article to a PDF in MS Word.
4. Let Your Competitors Motivate You
Research has shown that bicyclists who ride alongside competitors tend to perform better than when they ride solo. Why? Because their competition is always in their rear-view.
Likewise, it’s important to see what your competitors are doing on the content marketing front lines. Are they adding a new blog article every few days? Uploading a promotional YouTube video before every big offline event?
Let their efforts serve as the fuel to your content creation fire! Competition is a healthy part of any activity. Use it to your advantage!
5. Take a Few Rest Days
We all know that feeling at the end of a long week or after an intense workout. Great, right?
It’s that small window of time for us to refresh our minds and prepare our bodies before we dive into the next week or workout.
Schedule a day or two off from intentionally thinking about your content marketing strategy. Seriously. Get your mind off of the topic, and tell yourself, “I am going to enjoy the hell out of this rest day! If I have an idea, I’ll make a note, but then it’s straight back to whatever else I was doing.”
In all honesty, I’ve found that my rest days have provided unexpected inspiration for some pretty amazing marketing ideas. When we break out of the ordinary and expand our minds, that is when the creative juices start flowing, and a new stream of thoughts begins flowing in.
Whether it’s a day of sight-seeing around upstate New York or simply reading a book on leadership, make the most of your content marketing rest day. You might be happily surprised by the unintended consequences of such a day.
What techniques are you using to keep your content marketing focused and on course? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!