We’ve been running a Facebook Live Challenge over in our Group – Social Souls. If you want to join in then visit the Group at any point in June – and choose 7 days that work for you. You’ll find the 7 topics pinned to the top of the feed in the Group.
Great content marketing is key to your marketing efforts and can reap huge rewards for businesses, both large and small, but how do you ensure what you are creating is great content? It’s a question we all need to ask ourselves, whether setting out to create content for the first time or thinking of developing an existing approach.
I’m sure you will have heard the Benjamin Franklin quote, ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’, well it’s something that we here at Carvill Creative certainly agree with. The starting point when it comes to content marketing is all about devising a smart and robust plan, so that you know what you want to achieve and can measure how effective you are. ‘But…’ you may be asking, ‘where do I start?’
Goals and Measurement
There are basically 5 goals, which effective content marketing can help you to achieve, and which you must always be mindful of when creating content:
Raise brand awareness
Drive traffic to your website
Convert leads into customers
Encourage existing customers to repeat purchase
It’s wise to sense check that what you are creating content-wise is actually helping you to achieve these goals. Measuring the success of your content marketing isn’t always straightforward, but with a little effort you can pull together enough information to be able to make a reasonably informed decision. Take a look at Google Analytics, get a deep understanding on how your content is performing against driving traffic, converting leads and repeat purchases. Get clarity on reach and engagement using the analytics available via the social channels you are using, and where relevant, track how many leads are being generated and converted.
Know Your Audience
Whilst in an ideal world, you have one key persona that your create content for – it may well be that you have more than one, and therefore, there are a number of target audiences that you are creating your content for. But whatever the case, you need to understand what engages each audience. What are they sharing and liking content-wise? What topics are of interest to them? What needs / problems do they have, and how can you best present information to meet the audience’s needs and solve their problems so that they will want to read the content and ultimately feel compelled to share it?
And it’s not just about understanding what might engage your audience, you also need to understand where they are more likely to engage with this content, i.e. which channels that they use.
Create a Content Calendar
It’s a really good discipline to create a load of content ideas relevant to your target audiences that you can schedule into a content calendar, which can include topics and keywords, as well as the different formats required. This enables you to review opportunities to repurpose content too. Your Content Calendar might cover the upcoming quarter, or even the next six months and will allow you to remain focussed on creating timely and engaging content.
Your Plan is Good to Go!
This may initially feel like a lot of work, however once you have done the planning groundwork, you will reap the rewards of an efficient and effective way of creating engaging content, which will ultimately, transition your content creation from being a ‘churn out of publishing haphazardly’ – into a far more targeted and purposeful way to help you achieve your goals.
Be mindful of the quote we shared at the outset of this article…and be sure to plan for success.
Thanks for tuning in…
Team Carvill would love to hear your comments and ideas around content planning. Be sure to join the conversation over on our dedicated Social Souls Group.
Carvill Creative the digital marketing and social media agency, helping organisations to ‘Get Social’.
No matter what social media platform you are using, you’re bound to have noticed the increase in videos appearing in your timeline. It could just be a funny viral that’s being shared over and over again, or perhaps a slick, high budget, celebrity endorsement. Whatever it may be, online videos are fast becoming the leading marketing medium, with the potential to take over from TV ads.
More and more brands are now on the continuous lookout for ways to grab our attention (and our cash) using social media videos to make their product stand out from the crowd.
At this time of year especially, the buzz is even greater. Retailer John Lewis used social media to launch their Christmas ad last month, with the hashtag #ManOnTheMoon all over Twitter. And what did we all do? Liked it, Shared it. It’s so easy to do, and that’s what makes it work. You don’t have to be in your living room, watching the TV to be targeted. With a mobile phone or tablet, you can be reached anywhere..
How we create videos now has also contributed to this rising trend. With the right app, nearly anyone can create a fairly professional looking video. It doesn’t always need to be complicated, it could just be a matter of getting your phone out and capturing the moment at just the right time. Originality is key…and humour, we all feel compelled to share something we find amusing.
Last year, we blogged about the importance of a Video Strategy, so find out what is working for your audience, what is liked and more importantly perhaps, what isn’t. Facebook now have Video Metrics to help with this, you can find out all sorts of valuable stats about your video posts.
So as 2015 comes to an end, we predict 2016 will be huge for Social Video as brands realise that video really is leading the way when it comes to content marketing.
Once your business has made a decision to jump on the social media bandwagon, the next decision is to decide upon what channels to use and how much time do you want to spend posting, tweeting, pinning, cricling, creating or following?
When making these decisions, businesses often make the mistake of signing up to all the most popular networks, hoping to have a business impact by reaching the right customers straight away. The reality is that it’s virtually impossible to do them all – or at least do them all well.
Businesses that do try, often go in all guns blazing, then after a week or two, due to the lack of responses to their online activities, the use of social media channels by that business rapidly dwindles – and they’ll often end up with a Facebook page with a couple of half-hearted posts on them, or Twitter feed with the latest tweets being 6 months old. This end result can actually be more damaging to your business than not having any social network presence at all.
The one piece of advice we can give you is to choose your channels wisely – don’t try to be everywhere! The important thing you need to figure out is which channels are dominant for your market.
In social media, it’s about quality, not just quantity. Doing two or three channels really well with consistent, highly engaging content is what will lead to conversion and customers.
Here are a few ways to come to the conclusion about the right social media channels for you:
Where does your business sit in the social media space?
Are you aiming to build a community presence? If so then Facebook, Twitter and Google+ could be for you.
Does your business use a lot of images? If so then perhaps Instagram or Pinterest is the way to go.
If you’re a business can provide professional and useful insights for others within your industry then get yourselves on LinkedIn.
Think about your target audience – where is your target buyer and what channels are they using?
Have a look at your competitors – what channels are they using? Are they doing well on social?
Do you have time to be working on all the social media sites? How many channels do you think you can do really well on?
Have a clear social media strategy in place – then you can work out a plan that you can realistically implement.
Keep in mind that social media takes time, especially if you want to build up a reputation – so don’t get frustrated if you’re not getting instant results.
It’s very important that you choose the right channel or channels from the outset and it’s equally important that you do not get distracted in trying to support your profiles on those channels.
Whichever social networks you choose to use, be prepared to sufficiently resource the activity – this will take some time, skills and prompt responses to build up the right social network for your business. Once you’ve learnt how to master one or two channels to begin with, you can than progress to the next one.
You’ll be surprised at how much time an effective social media presences takes up – so don’t overburden yourself initially, as that is a guaranteed recipe for failure.
Whether you are publishing a blog, promoting an event or other marketing activity – be sure that you
make your communications count. Check these 8 publishing basics before hitting the ‘send’ button.
Spell Check. The quickest way to lose credibility is to share content peppered with typos. Check your spelling and grammar. There are apps such as Grammarly which can help if you struggle.
Web Friendly Content. People read differently online to how they read offline text. It’s difficult to read bulky paragraphs of text online so be sure to keep your sentences short and include bullet points and links where possible to highlight key points and steer the reader to where you want them to go / what you want them to do.
Call to Action. Have you told your audience what you want them to do? Make your intentions clear from the start. If you are inviting people to an event, or need them to do something – get the ‘action’ in right at the beginning of your content. This way they don’t have to read the whole page to understand what’s being offered and what you want them to do.
Does your Headline / Subject Line explain the proposition? Check that your Headline/Subject clearly explains what’s on offer. Often audiences don’t read beyond the headline – so be sure you capture attention and sell the proposition from the start.
Is your content Keyword Optimised? Make sure you are leveraging keywords in your Headline/ Subject Line and where relevant throughout your content. (Work on a 4% content to keyword ratio).
Are the Links / Processes Working? If you have included links to other pages – then be sure to check that links are working and active. If you’re including a process, for example, if you are sending readers to a landing page to download a guide – then check that the download, data capture mechanisms work seamlessly. Remember that in Twitter and LinkedIn you are limited to the amount of characters that can be published – so be sure that any links aren’t going to get ‘cut off’ at the end.
Are you sending communications to a relevant audience? The most successful marketing activities are those which are targeted effectively. Be sure that you understand your audience and target your communications accordingly.
Have you included contact details? Whilst the call to action for your audience may be clear – some may have questions. Be sure you provide a ‘contact us’ option – whether it’s an email address or telephone number – somewhere where those with questions can very simply get in touch.
Basic, but often missed. Happy publishing.
@Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing and design agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire. The agency covers all aspects of marketing strategy and online visibility – covering social media marketing and social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.
Want to talk to the team at Carvill Creative about your social media activity or training needs? We’re happy to chat, so simply ‘get in touch’.