Though it’s been said many times before, it’s worth repeating: If you have a website, then you’re a publisher, and you need to think like one. This means you need to produce fresh content on a regular basis. Developing a content marketing mindset means always being on the lookout for new content possibilities.
Wearing the publisher’s hat
Like most things, achieving the goals in a content marketing strategy takes some effort. For a business owner or marketing director to add publisher to the number of hats they already wear requires a commitment of time and energy. Unfortunately, most businesses today don’t have the budget to add more staff in order to tackle the objectives in a content marketing program, so it becomes a matter of juggling the resources they have. So, how can businesses make it work?
Get executive buy-in
For starters, getting top-down buy-in is critical, especially for small businesses. Key executives need to recognize that a content marketing strategy is crucial to their online success, and they need to understand that they, too, will have to participate.
Get all employees involved in content creation
Once executives are on board, it’s easier to involve the rest of the staff. And there is absolutely a place for everyone to help create content. Here are just a few ideas you and your staff can start with:
- Engage your executives in a Facebook chat. Have them answer questions posed by your Facebook fans and supporters. You can also repurpose the resulting content as a post on your blog.
- Poll your staff to see which of them might be willing to write blog posts on a rotating basis.
- Create a video in which your shipping manager explains your business’s shipping process.
- Take pictures during your next team lunch and post them on your blog.
- Interview one of your employees every week or every month as a “getting to know us” feature on your blog.
- When anyone on your team attends an industry event, have them take pictures and write up a summary to post on your blog.
Keep the ideas flowing
I find it helps to keep a little notebook on hand, or use the voice recorder on your phone, so that when you get that great idea for a Top 10 list or some other piece of content, it won’t get lost in the day to day shuffle.
Keep in mind that not every idea you come up with will make the cut. Some photos or videos won’t necessarily turn out well enough to publish. Not all contest ideas will be winners. That idea you had for a blog post might have sounded good at the time, but maybe it took too long to start writing it and it got stale. When this is the case, don’t be afraid to just delete it and start again on something new.
On the other hand, even when you do create something cool, you can’t let it sit idly online expecting it to always be cutting edge or consistently relevant to users. Your job is to keep producing fresh material and finding ways to repurpose your best content so that it offers new and different online opportunities.
My turning point
I didn’t always practice these words of wisdom. My turning point happened about two or three years ago. I found that my firm was creating a lot of web content for our clients, yet we created almost none for ourselves — the classic “cobbler’s children go barefoot” scenario. But then I started to think about how I purchased things online. I realized I was buying from sites that gave me the detailed information I needed to feel comfortable with making a purchase. I am sure you all do the same.
So we raised the bar and started treating ourselves like one of our own customers. Our staff now creates content on a regular basis, and we produce a report on the results every month — just like we do for our clients. We blog routinely on third-party sites. We add three new posts to our blog every week. We gave Flip video cameras to every employee so we could shoot more videos and take more pictures. We eventually reached the point where the vast majority of our website traffic (77 percent) was coming to us as a direct result of the content we produced, instead of from our home page or other top-level pages. We do not spend a single dollar on advertising and haven’t for quite a while now. Our marketing is truly content marketing.
Securing top-down buy-in from the start means that you can look to anyone and everyone in your organization to provide inspiration and new ideas for content. Foster a fun environment where creative expression is valued. The more you encourage creativity, the more you can gain from your content marketing strategy.