In this article I explore 5 steps for creating great content to help you maximise your content marketing efforts.
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 social media channels, 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 creating great content is so important!
5 Steps for Creating Great Content
Here are 5 steps at your finger tips that will help you create better and more valuable content so you can maximise your content marketing efforts. Creating great content is about focusing on the communities you serve, providing value to your ideal client communities, focusing on your commercial results, analysing and testing and measuring your content, having a content plan and being consistent.
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. To create great content, you need to always be thinking about what’s happening in these people’s lives right now and how you can help solve their problems, or at least demonstrate you understand their reality.
You need to develop a detailed description of both these ideal clients and the influencers who will refer your services or products to them. Have a strong sense of their needs, what type of content they like to consume, the regulatory environment they operate in and the issues they may be dealing with.
2. Provide Value to Your Ideal Client Communities
There’s a popular saying that if you give, you get, and this is certainly my experience and how I approach what I share here on Think Bespoke’s Knowledge Base, and with subscribers in my monthly email updates.
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While the ultimate goal of content marketing is to attract, engage and acquire potential clients, you’re most likely to be operating in an environment where your potential client has a lot of perceived choice, may not like to be sold to and needs to feel like you are for them. In this way, creating great content is about building trust with a specific group of people you want to positively influence with your content marketing efforts. The goal is to demonstrate your value with helpful tips, insights and case studies as a way to help reducing risk in your decisions maker’s buying process.
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 and newsletters, LinkedIn posts, educational videos, white papers, downloads, case studies and social proof in online ratings or via client testimonials and LinkedIn recommendations.
This is an our LinkedIn Newsletter, LinkedIn Thought Starters, that we publish monthly via Think Bespoke’s company page. It’s one example of how we add value to our community on LinkedIn.
3. Focus on Your Commercial Goals
This step helps you focus on what you are actually trying to achieve in your business when creating great content. 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, and posting regular via their LinkedIn page or client facing team’s LinkedIn profiles, 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, and organic reach is getting harder and harder to achieve, even with great content. We are operating in much more of a ‘pay to play’ environment with Google ads, Meta ads and LinkedIn Campaign manager.
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. Creating great content via your 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 you 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.
I recommend you invest in a part time or full time resource who works within your business and is responsible for these critical digital marketing components, and can create great content focused on your commercial goals.
If you want them to up-skill in LinkedIn, please check out my LinkedIn Marketing Mentoring program.
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 should inform the type of content you create and the topics you explore in blog articles, LinkedIn articles and LinkedIn newsletters.
There are a variety of ways you can analyse your content’s performance including Google Analytics to see where your website traffic is coming from and LinkedIn analytics, including profile and page insights. If you use a third party scheduling tool like Buffer, you can also get access to analytics, depending on your plan.
5. Have a Content Plan and Be Consistent
If you have followed steps 1-4, then you are well on your way to understanding how to create great content. Information is power and taking the time to review your analytics, which can tell you so much about the type of content your community is enjoying and responding to, will help you improve your content focus and results.
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.
Remember to include a mix of owned, promotional and curated content. In this article I explain the difference between these 3 types of content.
Content Marketing Strategy Playbook for LinkedIn
Bring your plans to life on LinkedIn with our Content Marketing Strategy Playbook.
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