Recently, I was asked why content creation and blogging matters in 2014 by a young twenty-something individual, the member of a generation that is growing more and more accustomed to quick information fast – the future young professionals that will lead consumer purchases in the near future.
Attempting to keep it brief, I shared with the young man the virtues of having fresh content on your website and how it makes Google search engines happy and how studies show that it makes it easier for people to find you; I shared the importance of sharing your content on various platforms to maximize the content; and finally, I told him that he needed a plan of action to make it all work. If you are in this business, you know there is so much more.
My advice was simple and free, same as this article, but when it comes to implementation in a way that is thoughtful and organized and well-spoken, companies today are finding that they need time and budget for qualified content marketing professionals, able to write well and communicate effectively in a timely manner.
Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute shares a historical infographic beginning in 4200 B.C. when cavemen painted on walls to “custom publish” their content, proving his point that content marketing has been around for a long time. As he states, “Brands have been telling stories to attract and retain customers for hundreds of years. The difference today is that the barriers to entry (content acceptance, talent and technology) no longer exist for brands to get into the publishing arena.”
The infographic moves from cave drawings to 1895 when John Deere first published the customer magazine, The Furrow, to attract readers and offer relevant content that would both engage and sell. Farmers were given advice on how to be more profitable and deal with seasonal issues. Now, readers can enjoy The Furrow by tablet and connect via Facebook and Twitter.
Writing content is about finding the story you want to tell and telling it in a way that connects with your audience. Below are some of the steps to maximizing your content marketing plan in 2014:
1. Make a list of everywhere you want to share the content you create: blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
2. Make sure you have a website that can host a blog and is mobile friendly.
3. Add links on your website to all your social media; BUT, don’t make it too easy to steer people off the page, always remembering that when you take people away from your website, they will spend less time browsing and buying the very products you perhaps used social media to drive them towards.
4. Identify your core messages.
5. Grow your mailing list.
6. Make a content marketing calendar of everything you might need to highlight this coming year, knowing everything is prone to flux to keep content relevant and timely.
7. Talk to an SEO specialist to make sure you are optimizing search terms so your content will get noticed faster.
8. Hire a good writer that can (and will) think creatively, spell well and check his or her grammar and one that understands how a blog post can also be content leading into a press release, an email newsletter to consumers, a tweet, a Facebook post, a Pinterest image, an Instagram image,an infographic and so on and so on.
9. Keep on top of the trends or know someone who does.
10. Keep your talking points handy for you and your team to use in the many instances that customers use social media as a customer service tool.
Business owners find themselves asking – “So what is this Twitter and Facebook stuff and should I be on them? Who has time for that?” By maximizing your efforts using the steps listed above, you can move beyond beginner questions and really connect with the generation of today, where they are shopping and how they are communicating. Consumers aren’t reading cave walls, they are reading their smartphones. Don’t get left in the dark ages.