When I talk to clients about their plans for LinkedIn, we invariably arrive at a conversation about the type of content they can be sharing to maximise their time online. Whether it be the updates you share via your LinkedIn Profile, the articles you share on LinkedIn, the blogs you and your team write for your website or the updates, news, videos and photos you share on your organisation’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube channel, the principles of content marketing are the same. But here’s the thing, do you have an overarching framework for the content that you share? And if you do have a game plan, is it based on strategic and commercial outcomes for your business?
This is the opportunity and why great content is so important!
Here are 5 steps at your finger tips that will help you create better and more valuable content so you can get results from your content marketing efforts.
1. Focus on the Communities You Serve
This step is about taking the time to really understand the people you wish to influence when you are online. There are often at least two communities my clients serve and I think you’ll find the same relates to your organisation. The first are the potential clients you wish to attract. Some people call this community their target market and develop buyer personas, ideal client profiles or customer avatars. Whatever you’d like to call them, they are people or organisations you’d like to be doing more work with. You need to develop a detailed description of both these ideal clients and the influencers who will refer your services or products to them. In this article I explore How to Develop a Client Profile for Social Media.
2. Provide Value
There’s a popular saying that if you give, you get, and this is certainly my experience and how I approach what I share on the blog and with our email subscribers. Do you subscribe to our updates? Sign up here. While the ultimate goal of content marketing is to attract, engage and acquire potential clients, we are operating in an environment where your potential client is likely to have a lot of choice, may not like to be sold to and needs to feel like you are for them. Depending on your industry and service type, it is unlikely a potential client will make the decision to buy your services the first time they encounter you, your team or your organisation. And this is why you need to develop a strategic framework of value adding content that can demonstrate your organisation:
- understands the client’s problems
- can provide solutions for these problems
- is the expert or specialist in your field
- has clients who recommend / endorse you
- can demonstrate values that they are aligned to
You can do this via your website content, value and mission statements, blogs, LinkedIn articles, LinkedIn posts, educational videos, white papers, downloads, case studies and social proof in online ratings or via client testimonials and LinkedIn recommendations.
3. Focus on Your Commercial Goals
This step helps you focus on what you are actually trying to achieve in your business. I know this sounds very obvious, and yet I mention it because the mistake some businesses make is that they know they should be online but they’ve not really thought about their longer term play and commercial pipelines.
Your two most important online assets are your website and email list because you own them. Social media platforms are renowned for changing algorithms and the rules of engagement. This means as many paths as possible should be leading to your website and email opt-ins and opportunities for people to sign up to value adding newsletters and content that land in their inbox and they look forward to receiving. Email marketing can be an extremely powerful way to drive commercial results if you’ve done the work in step 1 and 2.
Invariably, it’s often not until you’re running or leading an established business that can afford a digital marketing resource or agency, when you’ve already invested a lot in your website design and are ready to refresh or upgrade your website, that you really appreciate all of the elements required to get results online.
The diagram below is how Think Bespoke approaches this journey with our clients. When we provide our Online Assets Report this encourages our clients to do the necessary work to refresh their website content (and sometimes layout), update their LinkedIn Company page (and sometimes also their team’s LinkedIn profiles) and review their priority social media channels (which often includes analysing their referral traffic via Google analytics). This step ensures they have the foundations that will enable them to maximise their return on investment for their content marketing efforts.
4. Analyse, Test & Measure
This step is about taking a deep dive into your analytics and understanding the abundance of information available to you about your content’s performance. Rather than be emotionally invested in your content, I encourage you to be guided by how your community is responding to the information you share online. This step has informed so much of what I share as articles via this blog and as LinkedIn Articles and social media content.
Here are a variety of ways you can analyse your content’s performance:
- Google Analytics – see where your website traffic is coming from
- LinkedIn – Company Page Analytics. Find out more here.
- Twitter – Twitter analytics which can be accessed for your account here when you are logged in to your Twitter account
- Instagram Profile analytics (business profiles only). Find out more here.
- Facebook – Page Insights. Find out more here.
- Mailchimp – click through rates from newsletter campaigns
5. Have a Plan & Be Consistent
If you have followed steps 1-4, then you are well on your way to understanding the type of content you need to create or refresh. Information is power and taking the time to review your analytics, which can tell you so much about the type of content your community are enjoying and respond to, will help you improve your content focus and results. But you now need to refresh your plan and then stick to it!
Whenever I review my analytics and refresh Think Bespoke’s content, I put aside at least 4-6 hours. I then use our content planners and map the focus and content plan for the next 3 months. There are a variety of social media scheduling tools you can use to help keep you consistent, and they work best when you have a library of value adding content. I use resources such as our LinkedIn tips, branded quotes, client testimonials and our weekly blog as the cornerstone of Think Bespoke’s content plan. I also sprinkle in the articles I read over the month and post in real time when there is something relevant to share. All platforms prefer unscheduled posting, but you need to be realistic about what you can manage.
Allocate Resources to Creating Great Content
Social media and content creation either needs to be managed by a resource within your business, or you can use organisations like Think Bespoke to help. We create regular content plans and write blogs and LinkedIn articles for our clients. Our annual content planner (featured above) is a great tool to help you get started on your content planning and will help you develop an overall plan. Please book an intro chat here if you’d like to discuss how we can help.
As one of Asia Pacific’s Top 10 LinkedIn Experts I share fortnightly news with my global email community and run monthly online Lunch and Learns to teach professionals how to unlock LinkedIn. Sign up to my newsletter to help you learn LinkedIn – the right way!