Content marketing can seem overwhelming at first. What should you write about? Will anyone read it? Where should you post it? Should you use a typewriter? Will you become a world-renowned author and go on book tours with Oprah? Okay, before we get ahead of ourselves…
Let’s remember the goal of content marketing: to get leads (who eventually become customers) for your business—organically. Here are five tools that will help you in your quest to great content marketing:
1. Social Media: Know what’s going on.
Get to know your audience! What do they need and want? This is the very first step of developing great content. Social media platforms are prime tools for learning about your buyer persona. What’s trending? What types of websites, offers, or even designs attract your target persona? Your chief goal is to understand your readers. This will shape your content into something worth reading.
2. Google: Know your competitors.
If you’re anti-Google, then Bing it up. You can use any search engine (or method) of your choice. Just make sure you do the legwork. Have a grasp on today’s market, including your competitors. What are their campaigns? What promises do they make? What problems do they solve within your industry? Your content should not be an exact replica of theirs—but you do share a target audience. Acknowledge and evaluate current content marketing strategies, and go from there.
3. A Planner: Know your strategy.
After studying your audience, competitors, and marketing trends, plan accordingly. Brainstorm and write things down for future reference. How will you approach content marketing? Use a planner or calendar for each project campaign. Plan time to write, edit, and proof the text for every assignment, as well as the publishing date and any follow-up promotions. Don’t ignore special events, holidays, sales, and other milestones within your industry; incorporate them into your writing to stay relevant.
4. A Dictionary & Thesaurus: Know how to write effectively.
(Bias alert: The author of this article is most passionate about this point. It may show…) These tools are non-negotiable. Strong content has high standards! Brainstorming, researching, and planning can only take you so far. Your content must be excellent. You don’t need to keep hard copies of a thesaurus and dictionary on your desk 24/7. But you should probably bookmark thesaurus.com and learn the keyboard shortcut for spellcheck. Write, rewrite, edit, and proofread. Then proofread again. Have you overused any words or phrases? Can you remove unnecessary words or repeated points? Keep it simple, clean, and concise. You’re not rewriting The Odyssey. You’re writing for the readers of 2014.
5. A Graphic Designer: Know that it’s gotta look great.
Whether it’s a landing page, blog post, or infographic, your content should visually appeal to the masses. First impressions matter. A clever one-liner introducing your content is valuable, but overall appearance is the real heavyweight. Have a professional designer create imagery based on what’s popular with your target audience. But make sure it accurately represents you and the product. No gimmicks or deception. Be truthful—and make it look good.
For more guidance on content marketing, check out these ebooks (and more to come!):