Content is a vital component of any inbound marketing strategy, however, without careful planning and consideration it will not have the impact you need it to in order to persuade prospects to commit to that all important first meeting. Effective content requires its own dedicated strategy – but don’t despair – there are steps you can take that can help you know what direction you should take.
Step 1: Finding your subject
The first step to producing content that will engage a prospect is to identify your subject. There are a number of paths to finding a topic or an issue to produce content about, and all involve research.
- Firstly look to your competitors – what are your rivals talking about, which blogposts are getting the most engagement; which videos the most views. This will give you an idea of what the “hot topics” are.
- Brainstorm ideas with your team – remember that you are the best authorities in your own field and in your business.
- There are also online tools such as answerthepublic.com that will give you an idea of what people are searching for on the internet.
- Consider expanding your focus outside your company – find experts in the areas you have shortlisted for topics and approach them.
Informed and in-depth content is the key to both getting people to engage and, in turn, improving your position on Google. The best way to make your content ‘richer’ in this way is to find the right people to give a voice to.
This article brilliantly summarises why informed content is crucial:
“Remember: Google’s number one job is to show their user the best result. And in most cases, the ‘best’ result isn’t a piece of keyword-stuffed content. Instead, the best pages cover an entire topic in-depth. With in-depth content, a Google searcher gets everything they need in one place”
Step 2: Getting the right structure and choosing your format
Once you have your subject and your experts in place, it’s time to produce the content itself. The first decision you have to make is one of form. The range of different available channels for content is wide and depends on both the form of your content and your intended audience. So – what are your options?
The best approach is to vary the form of your content as much as possible – drawing on the expertise you have available. I’m a writer with an academic background, so the content I produce tends to be carefully researched and written articles drawing on authoritative sources and interviews with key Chartered Developments staff (for example this article on the history of the company) or external experts in fields that would be of interest to our clients (for example, see my piece on ‘Gravitas’). If you have access to a great designer you might want to focus on infographics; if your team has experience in audio or visual production you might want to consider a series of podcast episodes or videos.
It’s a chicken and egg situation: the subject matter and intention might dictate the form of the content, whilst the form might also change the shape of the subject matter. The key, however, to this step is in marrying what you want to do with the content (and who you want to target) with the talent you have at your disposal.
Step 3: Making it look great and optimizing it
You have your topic and you know the form your content will take – now you have to make it sing. Firstly, you have to ensure it looks or sounds great. With written content, ensure that it is broken down into easily digested paragraphs with subheadings. You would plan a piece of writing in terms of structure, so subheadings emphasise that structure, reassuring the reader that you know where you are going with your article and that you have put work into the preparation of it. Similarly, if your content is in the form of an infographic, then make sure it is visually striking and pay attention to the typography. If your content is in the form of a podcast or video you need to ensure it is professionally produced, that the sound quality of the podcast is crystal clear and the look of the video is slick and well edited.
At the same time, pay attention to the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). This is an entire topic in itself – but this article gives a good summary of the various actions you might wish to take including how to use imagery to improve engagement and construct effective calls to action.
Step 4: Promoting and measuring success
There are a number of ways to promote your content. The most obvious one is social media, for example, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or LinkedIn. Each platform has its own quality, its own ‘personality’ and its own audience – so it is worth researching each and considering carefully the best place for your content to be launched from.
Another good way to promote content is with an email campaign. A well timed and good looking email is a great way of informing your client when a piece of content has been produced, and a way of building a ‘community’ of consumers for your content. We can help you with setting up and delivering an email campaign – so get in touch if you want more advice and support in this area.
Finally, you need to measure the success of your content. Measuring which topics and which types of content have been popular is essential if you want to build on that popularity. Fortunately, there are a number of ways of to assess the success of your content. Using Google Analytics and monitoring the engagement you are receiving on the social media platforms you are using will give you a good sense of how well your individual pieces of content are performing. Use this information to get an idea of future topics, types of content and the frequency of your content production.
Once you have a great content strategy in place you can then complement it with an intelligent outbound marketing campaign, and they don’t come better than our carefully researched telemarketing. At Chartered Developments, our callers have the experience and the maturity to forge a relationship with a prospect based on respect and trust.