Tag Archives: content strategy

How To Create An Effective Content Marketing Plan

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.

Inspirational quote – motivational poster with words by Benjamin Franklin: By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.

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:

  1. Raise brand awareness
  2. Drive traffic to your website
  3. Generate leads
  4. Convert leads into customers
  5. 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’.

Do You Know Who Your Competition Is On Social Media?

competitors
Carvill Creative Competition

When starting out with your business on social media, it’s often best practice to spend some time looking at what your competitor’s are doing.

When you and your competitors are both trying to attract the same audience, customers looking for the same thing are going to be torn between whose content is better. Therefore it’s good to review the kind of content your competitors are sharing, and if others are sharing it, if so – then there’s a good chance they’ll share similar content from your channels too – but you can work on it so that your content is even better! That’s why it’s important to research what content competitors are publishing as it will give you clues about where to gain the most engagement.

Take a look at three important things to be looking out for when researching your competition:

  1. Learn From Their Mistakes

In today’s digital word, as a small businesses you too have to go out and earn your brand’s reputation. One of the very first steps when starting online is to take a look at your competitors, and dig up the mistakes they have made in the past. Social media is any easy place to search and see what people are saying – so when you find mistakes that your competitors have made or things that didn’t sit well with your target audience – take note of it.

Tip: Aim to monitor your competitors weekly – look out for how often they post in comparison to you. You may be able to see some differences in what effects this has on your audience’s engagement. For instance if they are posting content a little more often then you and have a better engagement rate – you may want to test picking up the pace.

  1. Find Out The Best Ways To Interact With Your Target Audience

Your target audience should be the key objective when it comes to your social media strategy. How businesses interact with their social media audience will largely affect the kind of response they get. So be sure to investigate the customer acquisition approach your competitors have – then think about what you could be doing differently? Do you need to think about increasing your followers’ every day? What kind of voice do your competitors use? Keep in mind that humour always works well online – but of course it has to be appropriate for the business.

Tip: Don’t get caught up in the number of followers, likes, fans etc. that your competitors have – although these numbers are important, they’re not as important as the engagement rates.

  1. Find Out What Content Works Best

When researching your competition – be sure to look at what content works well for them – but clearly, your intention is not to copy them directly. You purely want to see what they’re doing to give you an idea on how you can make your content even better – so just take a quick look at their work and gain clues about your own content by seeing what gets the most engagement from their audience compared to yours. You’ll quickly be able to see whether those photos of you and your employees at the Christmas party were a good idea, whether you may need to post a video once in a while, or whether you need to use more images.

Tip: When following different theories to your competitors, it’s important to remember that just because they’re doing something new that appears to be working, there is a good chance that they have not tested it – so be careful and always use your best judgement.

As part of your social media activity, research and analysis is equally as important as sharing  content,  so take some time researching the ‘big players’ in your industry and be sure to take our tips on board and to consider how you can build in a process to critically analyse your completion now and again.

This blog post was brought to you by Michelle Carvill, founder of Carvill Creative, the online visibility experts and author of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn for all Businesses.

If you need any help with your social media activity, blogging or creating content or any other digital marketing services, then do get in touch with us.

Video – The Most Consumed Media Online! What’s Your Video Strategy?

I went over to Google’s St Giles office yesterday to talk YouTube, video and content strategy.

Of course, when training for Business Training Made Simple, video content and YouTube (and Vine, Instagram and other channels) are covered as part of video content as part of our social media training courses.

This means our knowledge of YouTube (the second largest search engine in the world) – has to be right up to date.

Having met with the team at Google to talk about the latest advertising trends and opportunities available – it was good to hear stats we regularly share in our training straight from the horse’s mouth (so to speak).

So here’s a reminder of the latest online video consumption and YouTube stats to keep you up to date too:

  • 5% of our time online is spent in ‘search’ (ie: usually searching something on Google).
  • This means a whopping 95% of our time is not spent searching – but instead, browsing, watching, emailing, being social.
  • If your strategy is to dominate search – then that’s considering only 5% of the time spent online.  To pervade other areas – your ad strategy – or content strategy should consider other vehicles (eg: YouTube and other  social networks).
  • 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute.
  • Consumption of content and video via mobile is growing at 84% – much quicker than any other platform.
  • The average length of a video (of all the millions of videos online) is 3 mins and 8 seconds.  However, we know people drop off after 30 seconds, 60 seconds etc – so endeavour to keep your messages succinct. That said, if you have something worth watching – people will watch.
  • Ensure the first 5 seconds of your video are the most compelling and engaging. Decisions to continue watching are made in the first 5 seconds so be sure to bring your great content to the fore and not to bury it 50 seconds in.
  • 54% of consumers research online before they buy online.  (Personally, I would say this is higher but I’m not going to argue with the mightly ComScore).
  • YouTube has 28 million monthly users which puts it on a par with TV Channels Dave and E4.

It’s worth doing some research in YouTube to see what your competitors are up to – or indeed, just type in your keywords and see what comes up.  This simple research phase is important in understanding the content that is already out there, the quality of it – and indeed any gaps you can fill.

Be sure to be objective with your video content.  Our mantra is that you consider what matters for the audience.  What’s compelling, entertaining, educational, useful and purposeful for them.

Think about pain points – frequently asked questions – what is it that you have that can fix problems for others.  Showcasing this in a visual way can provide far more insight into your product that listing out features and benefits.  And of course – think about the power of advocacy.  If you say it – does the audience believe it – if you get one of your customers to say it – then that’s likely to be far more convincing.   Testimonial videos speak volumes.

As we say, ‘if you sell someone something they may remember you again – but if you teach someone something, then you are building trust and share of mind.

As with everything you do – Plan, Listen, Analyse before you Engage.  Do the research, understand what the objective of your video content strategy is – and then start to plan and build the content in line with key objectives.

This blog post was brought to you by Michelle Carvill, founder of Carvill Creative, the online visibility experts and author of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn for all Businesses.

If you need any help with your social media activity, blogging or creating content or any other digital marketing services, then do get in touch with us.