A plan to start proper “content marketing”

Google’s recent updates appear to be favouring sites which have what’s known as a “content marketing” strategy in place, and if you’re one of those companies which has never got around to implementing a link-building programme, perhaps you should give up and try this instead. Content marketing is all about writing good, original material for your website, and drawing attention to it. Link building is far from dead as a strategy for doing better in the search engine results, but content marketing can get you those links at the same time as working in its own right.

It could – and should – be your big marketing initiative for 2014.

A good content marketing plan is something you can set in train now and build into your next marketing budget. It may actually replace some of the PR work you do already, so it might not necessarily require additional spending. It’s also the best “search engine optimisation” you can do too, so if you’re spending any money on “SEO”, that’s another source of funds.

Here’s how to create your content marketing campaign.

Firstly, decide how much content you’re going to produce. I’d recommend an article of, say, 250 to 750 words, every week, fortnight or month. The frequency might depend on your budget if you don’t have the time to write the articles yourself and are reliant on a technical journalist to produce them at, say, £500 a time.

Make sure you have somewhere suitably prominent on your website where you can publish the articles: a blog section, perhaps. Establish a procedure for getting approval and adding the articles to the website which isn’t too arduous. Make sure there are “sharing” or “like” buttons for the three of four main social media services; if your readers like what you’ve produced, give them every encouragement to say so and let others know. They will.

The critical part of an effective content marketing strategy is distributing the information. You’ll need a system of emailing each article out to subscribers and relevant prospects on your email list. You’ll need a company page on LinkedIn and Google+ (and perhaps Facebook) to publish a precis of the article. And a Twitter account to link to it too.

Then try to write a schedule of articles for the next year. If you have a schedule in advance, the articles will get done. Background technology articles, glossaries, in-house expert interviews and case studies are all fair game. Each needs to target a specific search term, which you should include in the titles and tags of the article itself and the links you’re setting up on the other services.

If you want an important marketing project to get your teeth into for the next year, this is one which will really pay for itself – certainly more than some of the tired old stuff which you might have been doing for years. When people ask me: “if you came into my company as marketing manger, what would you do?”, the answer is this. For those of you who are interested, here’s even more information.

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