Opening up your laptop to begin your content marketing strategy can be a daunting task - but don't worry, it needn't be as headache-inducing as you think. All you need is a solid content plan to follow and as we're a nice bunch at ActivelyOutdoors, here are six top tips to follow in order to make your life that little bit easier.
Tip #1: Do a quick audit
Before you start your content plan, it is well worth doing a content audit of your current assets. Does your current content include the following: Product brochures? Blogs? E-newsletters? Website copy? Podcasts? Infographics? You may only have a little content to audit, but do spend some time looking over what you have. This will include your tone of voice (are you pitching to the right audience? Birdwatchers, not cyclists for instance - are you meeting their expectations?). Also take a look at keywords you are being found by and the audience reaction. Then look at where you want to be, whom you are trying to reach (which platforms are those people using and how to reach them), what are your key messages and what are your overall objectives? Once you have done this, you are ready to get started.
Tip #2: Be sure to add value for your target customer
Its imperative that your content should be relevant to your target customer - otherwise you may as-well just pack up and go home. This is even more relevant when talking to people who are looking to invest in a new product or trip away for their chosen hobby or special interest. You need to make it interesting and add value – is it something your customer will be interested in or learn from? “Open” content is becoming increasingly popular; this is content that gives away knowledge or showcases the credibility of the company in question. What can potential customers learn from you and your brand? In the long term, is this going to be profitable and build sustainable relationships with your customers? This will help you build solid and lasting marketing foundations.
Tip #3: Use online tools to help you manage and plan
If you had to manage it all in real-time yourself, you would likely never leave your laptop. Several online tools are out there and widely available to help you pull together a piece of written content and turn it into audio, publish a video, change images, add effects and create seamless presentations or e-marketing campaigns. Make sure you check out software such as Trello for helping you to plan your content and Hootsuite for scheduling social updates across multiple platforms at times when your customers are most likely to be active.
Tip #4: Don’t do it alone - share tasks
If you don’t have the luxury of an appointed content position within your company or an external agency like ActivelyOutdoors to take away the strain, make sure your plan outlines roles and responsibilities with the resource you have available. Content can be very time-consuming: you have to take into account time for planning, research, curating, creating, editing, distributing/promoting, interacting and reporting across several pieces of content – that’s a full-time job so be sure to share the tasks with others to make it more manageable and therefore less likely to go wrong when somebody takes annual leave or is off sick.
Tip #5: Work around your calendar
Work into your plan events that are specific to your industry. Is the UK summer trade important for you? If so, you should be preparing summer content a good few months in advance. When are your industry events? Build up to these and highlight them in your plan. If you know something is happening or you have a new product or service launching, include these in your plan.
Tip #6: Analyse your audience
Reporting is absolutely crucial and you should set aside time for this as often as you can. Analysing what content your audience are spending time consuming or interacting with and responding to this by adding more of this content into your plan - will see you go a long way in marketing terms. Even before you start your plan, look at any content you have had as part of your audit and analyse the response to this, which will help inform you of customer preferences or popular topics to work into your strategy. The best tool for this is Google Analytics and be sure to pay attention to your social metrics (what people liked, favourited, retweeted or talked about).
Special interest media has for many years held an unbreakable reputation for delivering loyal, engaged and sustainable audiences. A dedicated readership, with plenty of advertising appeal and easily obtainable audience data and insights - means special interest brands did and still do provide plenty of advantages in the magazine media industry.
Of course though - in the here and now, as with all traditional magazines, special interest titles have had to adapt in recent years. Mainly to consider the opportunities provided by a multi-platform approach with digital at their heart.
It is through using a 360 degree approach to multi-platform assets that can lead to big gains for both publisher, advertiser and consumer.
Taking and tying big pools of content together and blowing them out across all platforms gives selling parties a much better chance of success in terms of making an impact on consumers. This experience makes sure people really engage with content, compared with just a one-off interaction with an article or simple ad unit.
In the past, maybe a publisher and brand have been a little bit too siloed in their approach and what all brands should be doing now is to look at these content platforms together and seeing how they can work together to educate and inform better buying decisions.
Last friday, we saddled the horses (packed the car up) and made the trip to England's smallest historic county of Rutland for this year's Birdfair - where we were helping various clients outline marketing strategies and produce more branded content for their respected product blogs and web pages.
A well run and enjoyable show it was too, and along the way we met some great people/staff from leading brands, fellow publishers and tour operators. We even managed to consume one of the largest and best full-english breakfasts known to man at Hungry Birds cafe in Oakham. If you haven't been to either, we would highly recommend!
Until next year Birdfair - adieu.
AO and the european VANGUARD marketing team have been busy bee's these last few weeks. The impending UK launch of the brands new top-of-the-range Endeavor ED II range of binoculars has seen us create a flurry of highly targeted branded content and new digital marketing material for birders and wildlife enthusiasts including previews, detailed field tests and competitions. Stay tuned for more on the official launch at Birdfair 2014.