How to Get Started with Content Marketing
When it comes to your content that you are putting out into the world about your business, are you posting consistently and with a style that works for your business, or are you just putting things out there willy-nilly and hoping for the best? Well my friend, if you're leaning more towards the willy-nilly side, today's post will hopefully help you to get a bit more streamlined. Today, we're going to be talking all about Content Marketing.
Content Marketing is exactly what it sounds like - what content are you going to put out there for your business that people can learn more about your business from? Whether it's an Instagram story, a blog post, or a video showing them the behind the scenes of something you're doing, every single thing that you are creating is content. And if you're putting it out there for your business, it's considered content marketing.
The other day in our Instagram stories we asked you if you thought that posting content consistently or sharing new products and services was more important, and today we want to share with you how to create a happy mix of both! You want to be consistent in your posting, and share new products and services along the way. This way your target audience will continue coming back for more, waiting to see what you'll be sharing each day.
Specifically on social media, if you post 9 things in 9 minutes, and then go silent for a week until sharing a plethora of content again, it makes it pretty challenging to be consistent. Instead, choose to share those 9 images perhaps over 6-9 days, and see the difference in the engagement you receive for each individual post.
Everything that you create content for should appeal to your ideal client, and repel the people that are not. As much as we would love for everyone to love every single thing that we produce, the fact of the matter is that some people won't, and that's okay! This is something that you want to take into consideration every single time you're creating content - would your ideal client enjoy it, is there something in here specifically for them that they can learn about, can your ideal client or people in your target audience see themselves using this product or service, or will it leave them wanting more?
You could simply say "buy this, buy this, buy this, or you can go another route and share all of the ins and outs of the products you sell or the services you offer, creating a relationship with your followers. If you, as a consumer, had one or the other to choose from, which one would you be more inclined to purchase from?
"People do not buy products and services. They buy relationships, stories, and magic."
- Seth Godin
You may be curious as to why we're talking about ideal clients and target audiences off the bat, and it's because the two go hand in hand. When you're creating content, you're creating it to appeal to the people who want to purchase your products or hire you for a service. Simply put, if they don't like the content that you're putting out there, they will be less inclined to purchase from you or work with you. However, on the flipside, if they love everything (or most everything) they see, they will feel more connected with you because they will be able to envision themselves in what it is you are creating. Content marketing can be an incredible asset if you learn it well for your business.
For your content, everything can be divided up into different categories - think about these categories every time you are creating your content. Focus in on content that will teach your customers something about your product, be something where they can engage with you about one of your products, captivate them when they see something that leaves them wanting to know more, inspire them, or be a promotion for your business.
Every time that you put content out into the world, you want to ask yourself these questions:
1. Is it helpful? Will they learn something from this post, or am I just sharing to share it? What are the key takeaways I want them to learn by sharing this specifically with them at this time or on this specific day?
2. Is it something they care about? These days, especially when it comes to our businesses, we are posting a lot. And, if we review our business analytics on a consistent schedule, we will see which posts tend to do better, receive more engagement, interaction, etc. The more that you are creating content that you target audience cares about, the more engaging they will become.
3. Is it community building? How can you involve your community of people who are following your business in the content that you create? Perhaps you share a photo that your client or customer shared with you of your product on your own feed, or answer a question that you received from someone through a detailed blog post.
We need to spend time creating original, high-quality content for our business for people to see what we are capable of, to be established as an expert in our field, and for them to learn more about our business through our products and services in order to feel even more confident in making a purchase from us and supporting our business.
SO. What is an easy way to do this? When you're creating your content, simply put them into content "categories". Create a posting schedule for yourself with different topics and categories, and use a program that will help you keep track of them. For example, for our social media, we absolutely love using Planoly*. (this is an affiliate link. By clicking this link in particular, we will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you). It helps us to keep all of our content organized and is a place to house all of the images we have planned, the stories we're going to share, repost images from different accounts seamlessly, explore our analytics, and even have things in different draft folders so that we can put them into the schedule when their time comes.
However, on this same note, a lot of times when people share their goals with us for the week, "plan social media" is one of the top things they want to work on. I want to encourage you to flip that, and plan out your content, having your social media be a supplement to it instead of what leads your content entirely.
With your content categories, there are five general categories that you want to focus in on, and rotate continually. You don't want to have the same kinds of posts all the time because you want to keep things interesting for your followers, and it will give you something to look forward to as well, since you're not doing the same thing day in and day out.
The Five Content Marketing categories we suggest to incorporate are
teach, engage, captivate, community, and promote.
Your content posting schedule may look something like this for two weeks:
Monday - Educational / Teach (give them information)
Tuesday - Engaging (give them something to reply to)
Wednesday - Captivating (give them something that gets their attention and leaves them wanting to know more)
Thursday - Promotion (where you ask them to make a purchase)
Friday - Inspiring (gives them something to feel good about, inspires them for the weekend)
Monday - Community Building (give them information you received from someone in your community)
Tuesday - Promotion (ask them to make a purchase)
Wednesday - Teach (give them information)
Thursday - Engage (give them something fun to chat about with you)
Friday - Captivate (give them something that leaves them "wanting to learn more")
...and so on. Above we also included gives + asks for each content category, and that is because you want to continually be giving them content that they will find useful before asking them to make a purchase. This may be done through sharing a blog post, a photo of your work, etcetera.
For example, if you are a calligrapher you may want to share about different techniques you do (educational), a finished product you created for a client (community), a setup of your workspace (captivate), and introduce a new product (promotional).
If you are a shop owner, you may want to share a customer photo (community), share about products that arrived in your store recently (promotional), share a specific product and ask them where they can imagine themselves using it (engage), and share a close-up of one of your products that has an encouraging quote (captivate).
Let's use an example of a social media post where they're in different categories altogether this time:
Example Caption: "Here's where Product One began. This product came to be when I was sipping my morning coffee on the back porch listening to the birds say their good mornings above me. The words "slow down" whispered into my soul, so I immediately pulled out my sketchbook, handlettered the phrase, and knowing that I wasn't the only one who would love to have this to hold close each morning as the day began. It'll be available in the shop next week ... is this something you can take to heart today as well? Comment below if you've heard these two words creep in to your quiet space before. What do you think you could do differently, starting today?"
This post does what?
It teaches them about how you came up with the design, encourages them to engage because you've included a call to action at the end, it captivates their attention if they're interested in learning more about you and your work, and inspires them to "slow down" if it's something they need to do. You perhaps aren't even showing an image of the product itself, rather the behind the scenes of it when it was it was created. Do you need to make sure that every piece of content you put out there ticks all of these boxes? No, but you want to make sure that it always includes at least one.
These are all examples of things to take into consideration when you're creating your content to market your business. With a little time spent thinking through all of the different categories, your days of wondering "what do I post today?!" will be long gone.
We didn't want to have you do this and not provide an item to help you work through it, so if you scroll down a wee bit further, you'll see there is a free download for you! We've created a free worksheet for you to download and print out to help you to organize all of these thoughts and brainstorm what specifically you can use for each content category. (psst... this may be similar to a worksheet that we'll be working through in person at our Fall Conference too!) . After you've filled this out, think about the things you're including - which ones can you expand upon and do as a blog post, which as a social media post, which ones can you do as a video, and what products or services are you going to promote?
For example, if you're sharing a blog post, can you perhaps pull 2-3 pieces from that blog post and use them in your social media? Or, can you additionally create a video around the same topic where you can show them your product in a different way? Alternatively, if you have a product launch coming, can you share behind the scenes videos in the makings of them, along with creating an FAQ series about the products? Or, can you even show various people using those products in different ways, with a link back to your shop to purchase it themselves too?
From every piece of content you create, always try to think about it as a bigger picture, and then which additional pieces you can pull from it to "stretch" it further to make it last longer. When you start to plan out your content in categories, slowly but surely you'll be able to be more consistent with it all. Content planning will come more easily to you the longer you do it.
Simply remember to start out at a pace that works for you, and think about how you can best serve your target audience with your content at the same time. Start slowly, work steadily, and give yourself time to plan out your content ahead of time. It will definitely make posting your content more consistently a lot easier in the long run.
We hope that this post today is incredibly helpful to you and will encourage you to think about your Content Marketing consistently in your business!
Do you have any additional ideas that your business could incorporate as a content category to use consistently for your business? Share them with us in the comments below!