Even if digital marketing isn’t in your career repertoire, odds are pretty good the words "content marketing" have reached your ears. Boiled down, content marketing is exactly what it sounds like—it’s all about using your organization’s website content to successfully market your services or products—but it’s not as easy to pull off as it sounds. If your content isn’t already strong, it takes a decent amount of thoughtful work to get it there (and sometimes the help of a digital agency to lend their expertise!), but these five steps are great ways to get started. Fear not, greenhorns—great content can be yours in 2017.
1. Audit your existing content.
First, grab a caffeinated beverage and sit down with your existing website (and anything else that’s commonly deemed “content”—newsletters, social media posts, etc.). Identify your content’s strengths and weaknesses. Here are some examples of things to question:
Is our copy written well? Is it error free? Does it effectively explain what we do?
Is all our information accurate and up to date?
Is our content to the point or does it tend to ramble? Does it have an actual purpose?
Are we using high-res images? Are they relevant? Are they real (as in, not stock photos)?
From there, the logical next step is to do some housekeeping.
2. Polish up what you’ve got.
Whether you identified your site’s weaknesses to include too many paragraphs, outdated pictures, or flagrant use of Comic Sans, make sure you take action on those things. Tighten up your copy so it succinctly reflects your organization’s offerings, and swap any outdated images with new ones.
3. Target relevant key terms.
Targeting key terms and facilitating other aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) is a mysterious beast even for seasoned marketers, but it’s important to understand the value of including terms your would-be customers will likely use to search the web for what you offer. In all actuality, basic SEO practices are simple enough to understand, but it’s still a lengthy explanation. Start by checking out some basic guides before diving in as a beginner; this guide from Kissmetrics pretty much covers the essentials—keyterm research and all.
4. Upgrade your assets.
When’s the last time you made room in your marketing budget to get some quality photos taken of your staff, headquarters, and service offerings or products? Nothing detracts from otherwise great content like grainy, low-res pictures (or no pictures at all!). If your site’s assets are A-OK in your book, devote some time to replacing written content with videos. Consider these video ideas as jumping off points:
The story of your company or organization’s history
A tour of your headquarters
Explanations or demonstrations of your services and products
Any other ideas you come up with are probably sure-fire ways to have meaningful interactions with your customers on your website and other places online, such as your Facebook and YouTube pages. Find yourself a qualified cameraman and get started!
5. Put together a real content strategy moving forward.
It’s still the first quarter of the year, so now is a great time to set your content up for success in 2017. Spend the next few months carrying out the tips outlined above; then, designate a go-getter on your team to track your content goals moving forward. Speaking of which, do your organization a favor and set some content-driven goals, like these:
How many people do I want to make a submission to my contact form?
How many people do I want to sign up for my newsletter?
How many people do I want to check out my site from Facebook or Twitter? Who do I want them to be (in terms of demographics)? How do I want to talk to them?
Based on your success, adjust your goals accordingly. You’d be surprised how much these content-specific goals will align with your business’s overall goals for the upcoming year.
Now all that’s left to do is go forth and produce great content!
Molly Riddle is the director of content strategy at Mostly Serious, a digital agency located in downtown Springfield, Mo.