A blog is now seen as an essential part of a successful social media marketing strategy. Content that is useful, trustworthy and addresses a problem your audience has will help you to sell your solutions better than simply agitating a problem. Creating a content plan can be easy when you set some goals, stick to a schedule and commit to it for the long term.
1. Set Goals
Are you struggling to make sales? Feeling like your content isn't reaching its full potential? It may be time to consider an integrated content plan.
Setting goals for what is to be sold requires a specific, detailed approach. You need to begin by having a clear vision of your desired outcome. What exactly do you hope to achieve? Once you know this, you can create content that supports it.
For example, do you want to fill a workshop or seminar? Encourage prospects to schedule a sales conversation? Book your catering orders? First decide your overall goal for your content. In this step, also determine the date the sale request will take place and any incentives you'll offer to drive the sale home.
Your blog is a powerful tool that can help you achieve these goals.
2. Create an Effective Blog
Are you hoping to start a blog that will be effective and produce great results? Start by keeping the end goal in mind. A blog can serve as an excellent way of sharing your opinions on a topic with your target audience. Keep the content focused on what interests your prospects and what they consider important. This will help you zero in on their pain points. It's also important that your blog has a consistent voice or theme. This will make it more memorable and help reinforce your Unique Selling Proposition. Remember, you're trying to stand out from the competition, so don't try and be everything to everyone. Stick with a message that resonates with a specific market.
As a business owner, one of your main goals is probably to make a profit. In order to achieve this, you need to bring in customers and make sales. Creating an editorial calendar can help you plan topics that are complimentary to your overall sales goals and communications strategies. You can entice the reader on each blog post with a sneak peak into next week's blog topic. Make sure to stick to your schedule and post consistently. Once you've established your goal, try creating a theme related to your sales topic. For example, look at magazines. Each month, many magazines have a certain theme. For example, a sports magazine might have a preview of March Madness in its February issue. And while that February issue has lots of other things in it, it has a whole bunch of material related to college basketball. In order to achieve your ultimate goal of making a sale (or many sales).
Welcome to my blog series on developing a monthly theme! Each week, we'll focus on a different subtopic that relates back to the overall theme. By the end of the month, you'll have a wealth of information on the subject and will be ready to take action on the item you're going to sell. Thanks for following along!
Before creating any content, it's important to do your research. Check out Quora, LinkedIn Answers, Yahoo! Answers, or similar Q and A networks to find lots of people asking questions related to your industry. Identify their frustrations, objections, and pain points to address in your content creation. Bonus: You can find the exact language that people use when describing their pain points. This is usually different than the way those in your industry refer to it. Researching these questions may give you some ideas for new content. Also, take a close look at the links to content within the answers to these questions. Follow these links to see what others in your industry are doing with their content online. (Spying can be fun and profitable! Just keep those dang binoculars hidden.)
As a business owner, it's important to be always on the lookout for ways to improve your product or service. One way to do this is by surveying your customers and finding out what their unmet needs are. Once you have this information, use it to create content that will address those needs. This could be in the form of stories, testimonials, or simply providing something of value that meets people's needs. By doing this, your content will stand out from the competition and help your customers get what they can't get anywhere else.
3. Write Social Media Posts
Once you have your content written, use this content as the source for your social media posts for the month. Engage your social network in an ongoing conversation focused around your topic theme on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other networks. This way, all your content is created with your sales strategy in mind. All your posts and articles are about walking your prospect towards the sale.
A guideline for content/sales online is that your content should be 85 percent PBS and 15 percent QVC, meaning that you shouldn't self-promote or sell more than 15 percent of the time. If you post one update per day (recommended), then in each month, you should have no more than four self-promotion posts.
4. Automate Publication
On-time and consistent delivery is an essential part of making this plan work. To ensure this, schedule all content in advance. The last thing you want is to have a blog post or social media deadline sneak up on you with no idea of what content to use. Use a service like TweetDeck or HootSuite to pre-program all your content on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Schedule your blog posts and emails ahead of time in your application as well.
For blogs, you should post new, relevant content at least once or twice a week. Your readers should also know the day you typically post and keep to that schedule. Alert readers via email about any new posts on your blog and promote these posts in your social media network.