Content marketing is one of the best ways to attract customers to your brand and demonstrate value. It is also one of the most difficult for people to maintain over the long haul. Many businesses look to SEO to boost visibility to customers. But without fresh and relevant content, SEO hasn’t got a prayer of making a long-term difference.
How to solve the problem of content? Things on my checklist would be: define the target audience, find the voice of the brand, target platforms for publishing, assign someone to create and publish content, and write a content publishing calendar. Each one of these deserves a closer look; today we are analyzing getting a content publishing schedule in place.
Things To Know Beforehand
Knowing your target audience helps determine the platforms you would be publishing to and types of content you want to devote time to. The main content mediums are writing / blogging, videos, podcasting, and graphics / photography. Platforms that you could target for publishing campaigns would be your own website, social media, iTunes, YouTube, Vimeo, or even something old school like print.
Your website should be the central hub of your publishing efforts. You own and control the content on your website. On social media or platforms like Medium, you don’t have ownership of your content, and your posts can be completely buried, as Facebook is doing. Email marketing is also part of driving people towards your content.
Types Of Content
Blogging is one of the best ways to publish on the web. Search engines still primarily index text, and blogs and news aggregators have taken the place of newspapers and magazines in modern culture.
Video is very effective. YouTube and Vimeo are exploding in growth, and people can easily share and embed videos. Pinterest and Instagram let you share videos as well as pictures, and platforms like Vine let users create short videos. YouTube is an interesting place to publish, as it actively encourages video creators to publish and form a community. Almost every top channel on YouTube has a set publishing schedule. They have taught their audiences to anticipate content, and they treat their videos almost like a television show — scheduled to show up on set days. Aiming for viral videos is like playing the lottery: it happens to a handful of people, but it’s not a real game plan. It is better to build for consistent growth.
Podcasting is a great way to inform and entertain. Many people listen to business podcasts during work, on their commute, or at the gym. Another advantage of podcasts is people do not need to be looking at a screen to take them in. iTunes, Soundcloud, and Spreaker are just a few of the platforms where audio content can be published.
Photos and Graphics work particularly well with the visual nature of the web. Images can be stand-alone content (like an infographic) or a component of another piece of content. Portfolio blogs, infographics, blog photos, Instagram, Pinterest, and Flickr are all places where graphics can be published.
Blogs, YouTube, and podcasts should have regular schedules, but social platforms should also have some sort of publishing schedule. Plan unique content for each platform, and tailor the message to the medium. Apps such as Buffer can help you publish to social platforms such as Twitter or Facebook at set times each day. WordPress websites allow you to schedule blog posts at a certain time and simultaneously share the link on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn. Publishing when your audience is awake and watching their feeds helps you maximize visibility and sharing.
Establishing A Content Schedule
So now you have established what type of content you are publishing and for whom, and what platforms you are publishing to. You should also estimate how much time content creation will take each week. From there you can get a clear idea of how much content you can publish on a weekly basis. For example, let’s say you’ve decided to publish two blog posts, one YouTube video, one Pinterest post, two Instagram pictures, and five Facebook Page posts each week. That might look something like this.
- Sunday: Publish Instagram photo.
- Monday: Publish blog post, Facebook story.
- Tuesday: Publish YouTube video, Facebook story.
- Wednesday: Publish Facebook story, Pinterest Pin.
- Thursday: Publish blog post, Facebook story.
- Friday: Publish Instagram photo, Facebook story.
- Saturday: Day off.
A huge part of making your content calendar work is scheduling time to create and edit the material. Videos and podcasts may take more time than you realize to edit. Blog posts turn out better if they go through an editing process, and graphics can also take substantial time to create. Be aware of how long each takes and plan accordingly. A personal tip for videos is to film them in bulk! Filming footage for several videos does not much more time than it takes to do one, but setting up always takes the same amount of time.
Don’t Make Excuses
Most people fail by abandoning their efforts if they don’t see results after the first month or two. Creating useful content is the most effective way to position your business as knowledgeable, and establish trust with your customer base.
Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay the course.
It blows my mind how many times I have heard potential clients ask about Pay Per Click, AdWords, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, etc. — but feel reluctant to devote energy to something that adds permanent benefits to their marketing. Businesses don’t blink an eye at extraneous ad spend, but show reluctance to try something that will cost them only some time.
Part of the problem has to do with misconceiving what SEO and marketing are and what they are not. SEO is not a magic bullet — it cannot make a site with sparse content rank #1 in Google overnight. Search engines need something to index.
Google notices sites that regularly publish fresh content, and sees them as relevant. A website that hasn’t been updated in months — not as relevant. Marketing is about showing value in a service or product; advertising is the penalty for not investing in content marketing.
Great content takes a time commitment, but it pays dividends in brand awareness and loyalty. It also drives discovery and SEO. Google prefers fresh content and people gravitate towards brands that actively publish on social media. Content marketing is not too difficult, it is just sharing your insight and expertise. Publishing consistently takes discipline and planning, but it is well worth the effort.