Colourful Content Marketing With Top Content!

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1 What Am I Doing This For?

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What's It All About, Alfie?

There are a number of reasons to develop a sound content marketing strategy. Whatever your reason for marketing your content, you should know why you are doing it.

Reasons for marketing your content
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The reasons for setting up a content marketing campaign include one or more of:

  • To prospect for leads to follow up later
  • To encourage sign-ups to a marketing list
  • To make it easier to make sales
  • To make more people interested in a product
  • To increase awareness of your brand and products
  • To enhance your personal standing
  • To support your existing customers
  • To increase influence in your industry
  • To grow a community of loyal fans

Remember to track your goals throughout the campaign.

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2 Pick Your Subject

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What is your content about?

Your content has to be about something – and knowing what subject to cover isn't always easy. Whatever you create should be both unique and interesting to your target audience, - there are plenty of tools available to help you find the right topics.

Places to get content ideas
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Ways of generating content ideas, include:

And while you're looking, remember to always take notes! Use a tool like Evernote.

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3 Plan Your Content Delivery

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Don't be just a one-hit wonder

Content marketing is an continual process of building relationships with your audience over time. You need to develop a plan of the type of content you are going to deliver (Podcasts? Infographics? Blog posts?) and when you're going to do it (every 2 days? Once a week?).

There are plenty of content planning templates available – find one, or make your own, and make sure everyone involved has access to it.

Create target audience profiles
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All your content has a target audience; creating 'avatars' is a popular way of envisioning your audience. Answer these questions ... and think about what would appeal to them:

  • What do they do?
  • How long have they been there?
  • Who do they work with?
  • What do they do every day at work?
  • What do they like about their job?
  • What do they hate about their job?
  • What causes them most stress at work?
  • What do they worry about?
  • What do they need?
  • What would make their work life a lot easier?
  • What would make their personal life better?
  • What would make they choose a company to buy from?

Your content is designed to appeal to people, after all!

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4 Create Great Content

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Make people click into your content, and enjoy consuming it.

Whatever your content, its creation will follow the same process: select your topic, research it thoroughly, write and edit, then publish the results. Create for the profiles you have already made in Step 3, and make sure that your headline encourages them to explore more.

Headlines that get attention
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Your content needs to persuade people to engage with it: have a great title / intro to get your audience's attention. Some key promises that will attract clicks through ...

For more on this, have a look at Jon Morrow's excellent Headline Hacks website.

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5 Continue Having Ideas For Great Content

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Time to change the way you're wired!

When you have your content creation plan in motion, you'll adjust the way you look at the world - even when you are not at work.

The chances are you'll come up with ideas when you are on the bus, watching TV, reading the news, or just talking to people. This is where tools like Evernote, Google + and Hootsuite come into their own.

6 tips for ongoing ideas
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Just a few tips to ramp up your idea-collection rate:

  • 1 Always be in 'Research' mode
  • 2 Focus on a niche area
  • 3 Look for unique angles on existing issues
  • 4 Get your introduction right
  • 5 Tell the truth, check your facts
  • 6 Sign up for - and READ - key subject blogs

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6 Choose The Right Format

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It's not just about articles and blog posts ...

Content comes in many forms – have you really explored all the options? What might seem like too difficult might be easier than you thought – and be more effective at generating engagement with your audience.

Content formats to try
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Don't rule any of these formats out - you may surprise yourself!

… on their own, or in combination.

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7 Be Unstoppable

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Bumps in the road - we've all had them

Be ready to deal with the things that get in the way of your flow. People have been creating great content for thousands of years, and there are tried and tested ways of overcoming blocks in the creative process. From running out of ink to powercuts, from Coleridge's person from Porlock to the House of Unamerican Activities, we've been there before …

What's stopping you?
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Some things just get in the way - but you can deal with them!

  • Writer's block - there are many cures: just write something, then start editing; browse other people's work; break your task up; record yourself.
  • Find good writers - not just for those with writer's block. Places you can hire good writers include LinkedIn, oDesk. Read examples & begin with a small job!
  • Engage your reader - mix up formats, asking your audience's views. Talk to your avatar!
  • Re-purpose your BEST content - make great content, then turn it into a video, an ebook, a dynamic infographic, a series of blog posts.
  • When it doesn't come together - don't be afraid to bin failed content – then reuse bits of it in other ways.
  • Problems with your team - with outsourced staff make sure authors stick to deadlines. Don't employ a lot of new people all at once, slowly integrate them into the team. Brief them accurately!
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8 Optimise Your Content

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You thought SEO was dead?

Whatever your content, there is no excuse for not optimising it for search - if you want to attract visitors. After all, that's why you made it in the first place! Text content is simpler to optimise, but you need to look at optimising all the formats you use.

Golden rules for content optimisation
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You optimise everything else on your site (or you should do!), so don't forget your ongoing marketing content.

  • Know the keywords you want to lead to your piece
  • Use compelling title and description tags – with your keywords
  • Do the same for your text and descriptions – don't be lazy
  • Do the same for your images and videos
  • Make the words you use real and natural
  • Link to your content from relevant pages on your website
  • Keep the file size down – avoid long load times
  • Make sure it's obvious who the Author is
  • Link out to other relevant sites

The more you do this, the more authority your site generates.

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9 Introducing … Your Content!

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You think it's all over …

You can't just rely on search to entice visitors to your content – you need to promote it more pro-actively. Send it to your existing list and contacts, then find influencers you already know and follow them, develop relationships with them so they take notice of you. Comment and share their work, introduce other relevant work that you have found – as well as your own.

Ongoing promotion
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Now it's time to talk to people about the content that you have worked so hard on.

  • Identify thought leaders in your field
  • Get friendly with them on Twitter and Google+
  • Buy them a drink in the real world!
  • Promote / comment on their content
  • Ask for their opinion on your content - before it's live
  • Make sure they think your content is appealing and useful
  • Give them credit for their input

If leaders in your field feel that they have a stake in your finest content, they'll be much more likely to promote it to their own followers than if you just send them a message out of the blue.

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You Know It's A Success When You Can Say …

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  • “All my content is UNIQUE and obviously MINE.”

  • “There are no GRAMMAR or SPELLING mistakes.”

  • “All the statistics and data I have used are ACCURATE.”

  • “I have CREDITED all my sources - and asked permission where I needed.”

  • “I am PROUD of the content I have produced!”