Small businesses and large companies alike need to consider content strategy when creating articles and other content. Here's why.
Everyone’s been telling you that your business needs a blog, or, at minimum, a monthly newsletter to help you generate new leads, keep your existing customers engaged, and increase your search engine rankings.
You might have even gone as far as to hire an SEO consultant to send you some buzz words to include in your blog post titles. Write them up—or hire a $5-an-article intern to do it—and you’re good to go, right?
But Google isn’t everything, and in fact, thanks to Google’s recent Panda algorithm update that weeds the low-quality content out of search results, it’s tougher than ever to get traction with keyword content alone.
If you want to use content marketing to establish your company as a major player in your industry, you need a comprehensive content strategy based on identifying your prospects’ unique needs and the best systems for delivering the information that will help them.
First, think about what your company represents. Ask yourself questions about the image you want to present to the world. For instance:
Are we a fun, flippant start-up, or a serious enterprise company?
Who are our customers? Do we want to create a family-friendly website, or focus on appealing to urban singles?
As far as format goes, would our time and money be better spent on a daily blog, or would white papers and e-books help us build authority and generate more leads from our target audience?
If you’re not sure how to answer such questions, it may be worth investing in a content development consulting company with experience creating custom publications for brands. If you’re not a writer by trade, it’s sometimes tough to take your own personal voice out of the equation as much as you should—or, conversely, to give your clients a glimpse of your personality when you’ve been taught that all business writing should be formal and emotionless.
Together, you can find the right tone to strike, whether that means the hip irreverancy of Groupon, the friendly, down-to-earth attitude of Hannaford, or the suit-and-tie feel of Merrill Lynch. All of these companies thought carefully about their image and messaging before implementing their corporate communications programs; even though you may not have their budgets, there’s no reason you can’t do the same.
Spending time and money on content creation before you have a strategy in place can be a waste of resources. Take the time to focus on the broader picture before you begin filling in the details, and you’ll be doing more than creating articles—you’ll be building a brand.
Kathryn Hawkins is principal and chief content strategist of Eucalypt Media. She has worked as a freelance journalist for media publications and managed inbound marketing and content strategy for corporate and nonprofit clients for more than a decade.
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