On Facebook earlier this week, I talked a little about why I love to run. If I’m really honest, I love to hate it. My body aches the whole time, I feel like my lungs might collapse, I’m wheezing and sweating and grunting — it’s all so unattractive.
But then it’s over and I feel great, like I’ve accomplished a feat that I never thought I would get through alive. And I begin mentally preparing for the next round.
What I’ve learned in the short time I’ve put myself through this glorious torture is if I’m not prepared before I go running — if I don’t have a plan — I’m not as successful. I will easily give up, convincing myself I simply don’t have time to fit it in or the energy to do it. So I plot my runs and my distances on a calendar each week. I coordinate my meals to maximize energy and recovery. I craft my playlists so that my adrenaline is pumping the entire time. If I don’t, I’m more likely to hit snooze when it’s time for that early run, and continue to talk myself out it throughout the course of the day.
If you’re running a small business or organization, every day can feel like a marathon just getting the work done, not to mention the marketing you would like to do to generate more business. Let’s say you have a website, you have advertising in place, you are on social media — but the way you’re communicating isn’t producing results. Blogging, social media engagement and email marketing all sound great, but adding them to the mix probably feels overwhelming and at times, impossible. Creating a content plan can help make the task feel less daunting.
Here are five reasons you should dig in with a content marketing plan:
Your customers will get to know you better.
There are many ways to communicate with your clients, and they should all be a part of your marketing strategy. Websites, media advertising, signage — they all do the work. But with content marketing, you get an expanded space to share your voice, your message and why customers should do business with you. If people relate to you, they’re more likely tune in and take action.
You will keep people engaged with your business.
Ever listened to that podcast or read an article that just seemed to go on FOR-EV-ER? That really wasn’t engaging or relevant? Yeah, me too. Every time that happens I am more convinced of the power of understanding your audience. Before you create your plan, take some time to determine who your audience is, what problems you can solve for them, what questions you can answer, and what content is appropriate for helping them. Utilize Google Analytics on your website, or a tool like Facebook Insights, to see who is visiting, what information they’re searching for, and how they got to you. Take note of one-on-one conversations with customers who ask you important questions or offer feedback. Then tailor your message to those needs. On average, you have 15 seconds with an online reader. But you’ll have longer if you create something of value to them.
Without a plan, it’s too easy to do nothing.
In a former life, I was a weekly newspaper editor and publisher. Every week, after we published an issue, the news team would reconvene to plan the next week’s issue. This was not an option. We had a very real, very tangible product that printed every week, and there HAD to be content in it. Sure, we could come up with random stuff on the fly that would fill pages, but we didn’t want that. We wanted to produce a newspaper that was useful, resourceful and valuable to our community and our advertisers. Treat your website, social media and email content like you have no option but to send. Choose your topics, plan your message and delivery at the end of every month for the following month. Get out in front of it before you allow yourself to say, “Too late now. Next time.”
If you do the work, the rest is smooth sailing.
Create a calendar or spreadsheet that shows when you plan to blog, send an email, or post to social media and what the topic is about. There are plenty of resources on the web to help guide you. Once you plan your content, all you have to do is share it through the appropriate channels. For so many of those, especially on social media, you have the ability to schedule posts in advance. And then the work is done for the month!
Your investment will pay off.
Just like exercise improves your health, communicating with your customers and potential customers on the web, through social media, or email marketing will improve your online presence. New, fresh content posted on a regular basis will help increase search engine optimization — meaning, people are going to find you on the web faster. When they Google their problem or question, your business is more likely to appear at the top of search results with an answer. Suddenly, you’re winning half the battle with just a little planning — more traffic to your website, and ultimately, more people through your door.
Ready to get started with your content marketing?
Let’s chat! Our team has more than 15 years of experience in messaging and content strategy, and would love to share our knowledge with you to help you grow your business or organization.