I’ve said it once (or twice) and I’ll say it again: content is no longer king, it’s air. It not only touches all aspects of your marketing these days but of your business as well.
Your audience expects to find information about any product, service, or challenge they face simply by typing a keyword into Google. If you aren’t showing up, even if someone referred them to you, there’s a good chance they won’t decide to move forward with you because of a lack of trust.
In my opinion (and I’m not alone), the most important element when it comes to building a long-term, sustainable marketing system is content. But here’s the thing, it’s not enough to simply produce content for content’s sake. You must use content as your voice of strategy, and the best way to do this is to produce content that focuses on education and building trust – all based on your core business objectives and message.
In order to be effective with this, you must come up with a plan. Waking up in the morning and deciding what you are going to write about on your blog that day isn’t sustainable.
The Total Content System
I came up with this approach a while back and it essentially allows you to plan, delegate, curate, create, collaborate, repurpose and get more out of every piece of content you produce.
Create foundational content themes
Develop a list of core content topics and assign one to each month for the next 12 months. Each theme should be a substantial topic related to your business or industry and represent an important keyword search term. You can also designate terms that you know you would like to rank higher for, but currently, have little or no content that leads people online or off to you.
Bundle your topics into packages
I find it helpful to think about it like a book, where each month represents a chapter in what will ultimately make up an important body of work by the end of this year.
But the key is to develop multiple subtopics around each theme and then develop a core “guide” for each theme by linking the various subject together.
I recorded a podcast on this topic that may shed more light on it for you – Content Marketing for Small Business
Develop your content delivery platform
Once you have your themes, you can organize your Content Delivery Platform. Here are a few examples of content that I use and how I use them.
- Blog posts – I write a weekly blog post that ultimately contributes to a monthly guide with other content of the same theme.
- Podcast – I publish a podcast episode twice/week and aim to have at least one of them be a solo show that discusses and aspect of my theme for the month.
- Webinars – Since we are creating all this rich, topic-specific content we host monthly online seminars to deliver the content in a new form.
- Content package – The final step is to take all of this content from each month and create a package that allows people interested in the monthly topic to access the entire package in one tidy resource.
Integrate content with core business objectives
Once the first two steps are complete, you must map your content plan to your core business objectives. This step allows you to better understand how to get a return on your content investment and how much you should actually invest in creating a certain form or package of content.
One of the most important aspects of a Total Content System plan is that it changes the lens you use to view all the information that comes at you all day long.
When you know what your monthly themes are, all of a sudden tools, articles, and conversations take on new meaning and seem to somehow organize themselves for the benefit of your ongoing, long-term approach.
Now, in order for all of this to be truly effective, I want to reiterate that the content must build trust and must educate your audience.
What types of content build trust?
- Blogs – A blog should be your starting point for your content strategy because it makes content production, syndication and sharing so easy. Plus, search engines love blog content which can help boost your SEO.
- Social media – Building rich profiles, and optimizing links, images and videos that point back to your main site is an important part of the content as strategy plan.
- Reviews – You’ll never have total control over this category, but ignore it and it may be one of the most damaging to your brand. Get proactive and monitor this channel aggressively.
- Testimonials – This content adds important trust-building endorsements and makes for great brand building assets out there on Google and YouTube.
What types of content work best for educating your audience?
- Podcasts – Podcasts are becomingly increasingly popular and serve as a fantastic way to engage and educate your audience in an easily digestible format.
- Seminars – People want information packaged in ways that will help them get what they want. Presentations, workshop, and seminars are tremendous ways to provide education with increased engagement.
- FAQs – There’s no denying the value of information packaged in this format, but go beyond the questions that routinely get asked and include those that should get asked but don’t.
- Success stories – Building rich examples of actual clients succeeding through the use of your product or service offerings is a tremendous way to help people learn from other individuals and business just like them.
If you liked this post, check out our Ultimate Guide to Small Business Marketing Strategy.