One of the many challenges a marketer faces is creating consistent, engaging content which realises marketing goals.  However, there are many reasons why it can be a hard and difficult task. In other words because you often rely on different sources of information from within the wider team their focus can be diverted elsewhere on a regular basis.

Alternatively, you may only have one person to create the content. For instance someone who finds coming up with regular content easy in most cases, but more difficult at other times.

As content is only a part of what a marketing manager/director must manage, this blog seeks to outline a few tips and hints to help anyone who may be struggling to come up with those all-important ideas.

1. Planning

Above all planning is no doubt the single most important aspect of creating content. Without a plan, you plan to fail, especially when the objective of creating regular content is to be consistent and fully present in your market place.

First, a checklist of things you need in place:

  • An understanding of what your marketing objectives are
  • Robust structure chart of:
    • who you are
    • what you do
    • your USPs
    • key products and services
    • target audiences
    • key messages
  • Content calendar
  • List of available marketing collateral to use
  • Your in-house advocates – those people in the business who can help you with the background information to your content
  • List of your potential customers pain points so that you can address these in your content
  • What your marketing KPIs are so you can align your content results and report back.

2. Sources of content

There is an array of sources to enable the creation of good content. Consequently the key is to consistently review them and develop new ones.

Some examples are:

  • Key events – check out what is happening in your company and industry. You may be attending, speaking or exhibiting at conferences and exhibitions, launching a new product, or simply taking part in an event
  • Awards and achievements – winning an award, achieving a certification, celebrating a milestone business birthday
  • People – promotions, speaking at events, milestones, charity fundraising, recruiting, why people like working for your company, team events
  • Industry – check the pulse of your industry. What are people talking about? What new research has just dropped that has identified a shift?
  • Case studies – use your clients testimonials as proof that your business is a good company to deal with, share their quotes and maximise on the companies and brands you work with
  • Surveys – we all love to know what everyone else thinks, so sharing surveys and opinion gets attention
  • Statistics – people love figures, attention grabbing numbers get readers hooked. Infographics are a great way of utilising statistics
  • Use idea generator tools
  • Causes – choose the ones that are related to your business or your employees
  • Memberships – being part of associations and useful information they share or events they are holding
  • Thought leadership – provide expertise in your industry, give your point of view and be supportive of others, but above all be seen as credible
  • Partners/collaborations – shine the light on how you work with others and collaborate
  • Resharing content – whether this is blogs, video, podcasts, YouTube videos. These are good sources to share valuable content to your audience
  • Follow trends – monitor the news and use tools such as Twitter trends.

3. Content structure

Ultimately your goal in creating marketing content is to get noticed.

Your marketing objectives may include increasing your brand presence, launching a new product and increasing sales, but every piece of content should have the following elements:

  • A hook to grab attention
  • The main body of your content which can be anything from the list above
  • A call to action.

4. Use the marketing mix

This list below is not exhaustive, so use all the tools available.  BUT – please measure what works and what doesn’t and continue with the ones that work!

  • Website
  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • E-books
  • Email
  • Digital Marketing
  • Newsletters
  • Video
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars.

5. Authenticity

Your business is unique. It is a big world out there. You need to stand out. Don’t sell what you do, tell people who you are and why they should buy from you in several ways:

  • What’s your passion, the mission for your business – let it shine through in your material
  • Think about what problem your product or service solves for your target audience
  • Determine your keywords so that you can consistently use them in your messaging
  • Have a voice in your industry and develop a viewpoint
  • Don’t forget imagery – use your own and try not to rely too much on stock images
  • Be authentic – be you or your business, don’t copy, be different and stand out.

Conclusion

In conclusion, content planning can take time and a lot of effort to get right but can provide great results if done well.

The top ‘do’s and don’ts’ from this blog:

Don’t

  1. Try to be on all channels and everywhere if you don’t have the resource to do it well – think ‘quality over quantity’ always
  2. Forget that your business is unique, above all stand out from the crowd
  3. Create content without it having a specific purpose
  4. Just push content out, create opportunities for engagement
  5. Put content creation into silos – successful content should be integrated.

Do

  1. Take dedicated time and resource to plan and execute. If you don’t have the resource in-house, consider outsourcing
  2. Have a strategy and a plan
  3. Measure, test and review your content strategy against your KPIs
  4. Be innovative and creative!
  5. Tell them what you do, over and over again, but differently.

And FINALLY – the most important aspect of content creation is REPURPOSE, REPURPOSE, REPURPOSE. That though is another subject entirely!

Karen Howell is an experienced strategic marketing consultant and runs her own business, Zebroid Marketing which seeks to help growing businesses develop and implement their marketing strategy. To contact her for more information please email her directly. Karen has been a member of Jigsaw Business Women for over four years.