Have you been wondering for a long time how to start on content marketing but the required baby steps stump you? I know, beginning something is always difficult and it is always the beginning that causes most of the problems. Once we have begun, many of the things begin to happen on their own (although nothing happens on its own – everything has a cause or a trigger). Most people have the same problem with content marketing. Once they have started putting the pieces at the right places it begins to get easier and easier. Whenever I tell people that they should have a clearly-defined content marketing strategy in place their standard responses, “Well, where do I begin?”
If this is the case, let me get you started. I can assure you, if you take these content marketing baby steps and then don’t abandon midway you’re going to experience some big results in just a few months. Please keep in mind that consistency is a big requirement if you want to experience success in content marketing.
Your content marketing baby steps
- Carefully go through your existing content:
Your content marketing doesn’t necessarily have to begin with the addition of new content. As a beginning you can start reviewing your existing content. Preferably, one page at a time. You don’t have much content? At least you have a homepage. Services/Products page? About us? You can start with these. Do you have meaningful headlines? What about the language? Are these pages well-written? Do they sound compelling to you? Practice total detachment. Would you like to do business with you? Be ruthless. Remember that the point is not that you want to please yourself, you need to please your prospective customers and clients. If you think you cannot have an unbiased opinion about the content on your website, contact someone who can do that professionally for you (wink wink 🙂 ), and if you cannot do that, contact one of your friends or relatives who have a good grasp over the language and tell them to go through your content and give their feedback. Make sure your existing content is up to the mark.Please keep in mind that you don’t hurry into the whole thing because this may end up discouraging you. Content marketing isn’t a one-day or a one-month affair. It is an ongoing activity. Don’t aim at reviewing all the content in a single day or in a single week. Spend a couple of days on every page.
- Start a blog if you don’t already have one:
Yes, yes, blogging is an old story and I myself say that not everybody needs a blog, but if you think you have got interesting things to say about your business then do setup a blog. Besides, content marketing without an active blog, to be frank, it’s a contradictory state of affairs. Don’t go for some free blogging service – why give precious content to other businesses when you can give it to yourself? I don’t mean to say you don’t write for other websites or blogs – there comes a time when writing for other blogs and websites is an integral part of content marketing, but that comes much later, when you already have a considerable amount of content on your own blog or website.Setting up a blog can be a daunting experience especially when you don’t do it on a routine basis. Seriously, hire someone who can properly setup a blog under either your existing domain or a new domain. You will need to integrate the design of the blog with that of your main website and you will also need many plug-ins for better content management and search engine rankings.
- Decide, once and for all that quality is what matters: Content marketing doesn’t mean publishing content indiscriminately. This proves to be counter-productive. There was a time when you could publish all sort of garbage and rank well but this no longer works. Content marketing means drawing people to your website by offering them valuable, useful content. Stick to this philosophy. As you take your first baby steps it’s a good time to understand this once and for all that nothing can beat quality content. Never go for cheap content just to fill pages and blog posts. Believe me, it will harm you. Have less posts. Have less pages. But purely focus on quality content.
- Start creating focused content: Don’t try to pack multiple subjects on one page or blog post. The more vertically focused your blog posts and pages are, the better will be their search engine rankings and conversion rate. Another psychological benefit of creating focused content is that you don’t overly worry about creating very long pages. Remember the content marketing is an ongoing process and if you begin to feel discouraged all your effort can be undone in a matter of a few weeks of lagging. So have smaller goals. Create smaller pieces of content if you don’t have much time because having some content is always better than having no content. It’s all right if you have just 200 words to say. Quality always matters over quantity.
- Spend some time on your social media and social networking presence: Eventually you will be using these channels to promote your content. That is, if you don’t solely want to depend on search engines like Google for your traffic. A lot of content marketing involves building your own communication channels. The more solid content marketing strategy you have in place, the less you have to depend on the whimsical search engine algorithms. Again, you don’t need to spend lots of time, just 10-20 minutes everyday interacting with people in your niche or with people you think may one day become your customers or clients or your brand evangelists.
- Start building your mailing list:
There is nothing like having a mailing list of people who themselves want to hear from you. You may wonder what content marketing has to do with building your mailing list but exactly what are you doing when you are sending out your email campaigns? You are broadcasting your content. Whom do you broadcast your content to? People who are eager to hear from you. Have a subscription form prominently displayed somewhere on your website and let people leave their names and email ids so you can occasionally send them email updates. It is just a way of keeping in touch with people who would like to hear from you. Don’t annoy them and don’t send them useless offers. Whenever you add some new page or blog post on your website, send them a polite reminder to visit your website. This way when you actually launch your content marketing campaign you will have a solid mailing list with you.
As I mentioned in the beginning, these are the content marketing baby steps. They may not seem much to people who are already comfortable with the concept but to those who want to make a beginning but don’t know where to start, these steps can prove invaluable.