At a startup workshop I was running recently, I got asked by one of the attendees what ‘content marketing’ actually is.

And it’s a damn good question!

Personally, I think most people associate ‘content’ with the long form stuff – so reports, eBooks, maybe longer blog articles, that sort of thing.

Interestingly though, if we take a look at how The Content Marketing Institute defines it, they say:

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

 

Oof, a bit of a mouthful to be honest!

But note they don’t define it as just long-form content. Just that it’s valuable, relevant and consistent.

So in actual fact, it could be anything.

From ad copy to social posts, from white papers to interactive wizard tools. If it’s valuable and relevant to the customer, and promoted out in a consistent way, then it qualifies as content.

 

But if content is everything and anything, then how do we know what to do or where to start?

Do we write some blogs, knock up some social posts, create a guide…?

Luckily there’s a really easy way to get started with content and then an even easier way to manage it on an ongoing basis.

Which is what I’ll be diving into in this article.

🏋  Ready to raise the bar?

 

How to make your content work harder

Repeat after me…

🗣  I don’t have to keep creating new content.

🗣  I don’t have to keep creating new content.

🗣  I don’t have to keep creating new content.

 

You get the gist.

One of the most overwhelming things with content is the thought that you have to keep creating new stuff.

Well you don’t.

It’s just like Hollywood movies or works of fiction.

Technically, they are all just rehashing the same stories that have been told before. Whether it’s a biographical account of someone’s life (already happened) or a tragic romance novel where the hero dies (Shakespeare).

There’s really nothing that new, it’s just dressed up in a slightly different way.

What’s more, you don’t need a Hollywood budget to rewrite a simple blog article that you did a couple of years ago, or to spin a guide from last year into a video for this year.

And if you don’t have a blog article or a guide in the coffers, fret not.

You’re bound to have at least web copy, hopefully customer interview transcripts, and at the very least, good old Google!

In some ways, this approach to content is just like how we should be dealing with consumables nowadays – recycle, recycle, recycle.

Though I’m not sure how much recyclable content is going to save the planet… perhaps if it’s printed?

My top 8 things for awesome content

Flippancies aside, now you’ve got the general gist of how to go about creating content, here are my top 8 things for then making it sing!

Numero uno

♻️         Do an audit

This goes back to the recycling idea. Before you can recycle, you need to know what you already have.

So get your hands on an audit template (Hint, there’s one in the Resource Hub of immerj!), so that you can capture all the necessary info in an organized way, and get to it.

 

Numéro deux

🙋        Do your persona work

As many of you will already know, I’m a big persona advocate. As long as they are done in the right way!

If you want some advice on that very topic, then you can head over here for a 2-parter on personas.

The key thing is, know who your audience is and understand what their pain points and frustrations are. Because without this, you won’t be able to create relevant and valuable content.

Period.

 

Número tres

🗒        Come up with a plan

Even if it’s a rough sketch of one. Something is better than nothing.

One of the main reasons for this is that without a plan, your content just won’t hang together.

Result?

A confused audience that doesn’t quite get what you’re trying to say.

A really good way of planning content is with a Theme approach.

If you’ve been following Monday.com at all recently, they’ve been running different verticals as their themes – so a few months back, it was project management for agencies. Then it was project management for law firms.

It’s also the approach that LinkedIn take with their content – and what’s even better is if you can come up with an umbrella theme and then sub-themes underneath that.

This really helps with consistency and getting a clear and focused message across to your audience.

Nummer fyra

😅        Sweat your content

Oh yes, we’re repeating that whole recyclable idea!

But here’s another great way to think about it.

Focus on a core or hero piece of content – usually something quite meaty like a video or an eBook – and then plan all your other content around it.

For example, a blog article that touches upon one of the topics in the video.

Or a series of social posts that are effectively ‘mini blogs’ on the same subject.

Or an interactive survey that flips the content into questions you would ask your customers.

If you need some help with this, then check out the ‘Content Atomizer’ template in the Resource Hub of immerj. It’s super for helping you visualize all those different content pieces and how they fit around your core piece (like below).

 

Nummer fem

⚖        Balance the emotional and the rational

Now this is starting to get into the psychology of the content a bit. And to be honest, if you can afford it, then do invest in a proper copywriter for this stuff as it’s truly worth it.

The point here is that whilst the persona work from earlier is a good guide on the topics you’ll want to focus your content on, your target audience will be a mix of emotional and rational human beings.

So make sure your content does the same.

A great example here would be talking about the pain points your customer typically experiences, where you really get into the emotional aspect of sympathizing with the problem. Then balance this out with some tips on how to fix it, or an anecdote of how one of your other customers has solved this very same issue.

 

Nummer zes

🔎        Don’t forget about SEO

You knew it was coming!

The all-important SEO.

The trick is not to overdo it though with keyword stuffing, to the point that your content doesn’t even read well.

But do invest in some SEO research with tools like Ahrefs or Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest and then weave this into your content in a natural way.

 

Nummer sieben

📣       Remember to promote it

You didn’t think that just creating the content would be enough. 

Nope, unfortunately, the old cliché of ‘build it and they will come’ does not wash anymore.

Rule of thumb – for however long it took to create your content, spend at least ten times as much time promoting it. And remember to do so on channels where your customers are active and engaged. Otherwise you’ll find out the hard way when customers send you snide messages telling you to f*** off, they’re not at all interested!

 

Numer osiem

📢       Keep on promoting it

Leading neatly on from number 7, reality is, you should never really stop promoting your content.

Content marketing and everything that goes with it like SEO, brand building, relationship nurturing – they are all a long game in some ways.

Which takes us back to the Content Marketing Institute definition – consistency.

Be consistent with promoting your content. It may feel like some days you’re banging on about the same thing over and over again. But stick with it and it will pay off. 9 times out of 10, people aren’t seeing all of your ‘promotional activities’ so even though you may be getting tired of it, your customers won’t be. They’ll only see it from time to time and just enough to get a consistent message across that will help build your brand and get you those all-important leads.

Interested in more practical ways to plan and build your content? Why not check out the videos in our Resource Hub – just sign up for free here. 

💜 Happy Planning!

From Emma at immerj

[Main Photo by Meghan Holmes on Unsplash].