Every social media manager is looking for various ways to keep the business on the cutting edge. Content marketing is the solution to remain relevant and, more importantly, efficient and effective in today’s world that is leaning towards social media marketing.
Content marketing is part of marketing strategy where the focus in on creating, publishing and distributing content to your target audience which is mainly to bring new customers to your business.
Content marketing can be done through social media, e-books, newsletters, blogs and videos. These pieces of content are useful to share information about your brand with your ideal buyer.
You should have a well-considered approach towards the creation and distribution of valuable content to your potential customers. Social media managers have to go through 7 stages of content marketing in order to come up with the best content that will appease to customers.
Here’s an overview of the 7 stages of content marketing:
The content that you are planning to create should be created with your audience mind. This is a stage where you define the Who, Where, What, Why, When, What and How of your content marketing.
Understanding your audience includes a detailed research of the very basic factors such as the age of your audience, gender, their location, their behavior, and their interests.
It is important to understand what your audience is expecting from you, what are the issues that they are facing? In what way can you solve their problems?
When you are into content marketing, you can’t just build your audience by accident. It is indeed a huge challenge to find the right audience from hundreds and millions of people out there on social media.
Dedicated efforts and a methodical research will lead you to the right audience who will be interested in your products and services.
- Goal Setting
The goal setting phase is the visualization of the end result of your content marketing. For example, your end result might be to achieve a 10% increase in qualified leads. In this phase, you need to have a clear vision of what the content should achieve in our business.
The goal of content marketing should fit into the overall marketing strategy of the business.
Content marketers should establish goals to establish the effectiveness of strategies, their general direction, and the methods they use to create content.
In this stage the research work that was completed in the first phase needs to be converted into content pillars. It forms a bridge between the research stage when the hypotheses in created and translating the hypotheses into content.
The goals should realistic and achievable and should not expect overnight results. Content marketing is a slow game and should be given enough time to mature into full-fledged results
- Content Strategy
The next phase in content marketing is to develop a content strategy.
Content strategy is something that helps you to answer the question “why.”
In this phase the main reason behind why you are creating content and who are you helping by offering your content has to be answered. As most of us are aware content marketing is typically used to build an audience for your brand.
Your content marketing strategy is an outline of your key business and customer needs. It also is a detailed plan outlining the methods in which you will use content to address customer needs.
Every content strategy should include reasons for creating the content, risks and the vision for the brand success. It should have a business plan that covers the goals and unique values offered as part of the content strategy. It should also cover the aspects of how to manage the competition. And finally content strategy should also include the social media platforms that will be used as a medium to explain your story.
- Content Creation
Creating compelling content that will get someone to stop and engage with you on your social media page is the key to content creation. Content is used for increasing brand awareness, engaging with audience, customer attraction and retention, and lead generation.
Today, you know that there are many more social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc. where your audience is spending much more time than ever before.
Hence every social media manager needs to understand the uniqueness of each social media platform so as to bring in the audience engagement by customizing the content. Images, text, video, hashtags and mentions have to be customized to make optimum use of the content.
But it is also true that not all content is suitable for every social media platform. What works well on facebook might not become popular on Twitter.
Each platform has its own uniqueness, and a social media manager need to understand that one-size does not fit all platforms.
- Content Curation
After completing the content creation stage, the next important stage is the content curation. No doubt that every marketer loves to create original content and share content. But getting fresh ideas for creating content for your blog, social media posts and e-books can seem challenging when you want to do all this by yourself. Originally created quality content alone will not be sufficient to meet your social media marketing goals.
Curation is an act of searching, filtering out and publishing content based on your customer personas, arranging the content in an orderly manner to make it easy for your readers and finally sharing it with your audience at the right time.
As a social media marketer, it’s quite natural that you do not have enough time, money and resources to always involve in creating high-quality. Even though original content should be very much part of your content strategy, curated content will save you time and resources that are used towards engaging your audience and get traffic to your website.
- Content Distribution
Content distribution is the phase where you should aim to reach new audiences and spread the brand message.
While writing great content and curating informative content is essential, spreading your content far and wide is also equally essential. What good is creating and curating great content if nobody sees it?
Analyze different pieces of content and create a distribution strategy for different kind of content pieces. The distribution can be planned using social posting, emails, guest blogging, influencer outreach programs and lead interviews.
Getting content in front of the right audiences is ultimately what will make social media marketing or content marketing successful.
The final stage of content marketing leads to achieve the magical ‘engagement’ from your audience. Engaging with your social media users will ultimately determine the success of your business.
Just striking a conversation with your users will not bring engagement. You should know their interests and should engage with them on continuous basis by providing them information on the issues that they face. Building an emotional connect with users will take your brand’s presence to great heights.
Engagement will give you leads on your customers’ behavior, their likes and preferences.
When users are engaged, they feel free to offer feedback in the form of tweets and responses which will eventually help you to improve and serve your customers better.
Reach out to your customers at a time when they are most active on social media to get the highest engagement. Add impressive pictures, popular hashtags, eye-catching videos and add mentions of big names to attract the right set of audience toward your content.
Leveraging the power of social media tools such as Cloohawk , Hootsuite, ManageFlitter and Agorapulse will give added advantage to improve engagement. These tools listen closely to your potential audience, identify influencers and make a list of audience that could be interested in your content.
The success of content marketing is all about creating an engaging and enriching content experience for your customers. The key to content strategy is to align the right and relevant content with the right audience. While it’s no easy task for brands to create quality content, going through the 7 stages of content marketing will make it easier for a social media manager to design and market content that is well worth the investment.