Content marketing is a must for nearly every business. Content helps you drive traffic, boost SEO, and build trust with potential customers and leads. It also gives you fodder for social media, allowing you to share valuable information and show your authority within the industry.
While 53 percent of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority, many still don’t understand how to execute. Content is especially challenging for startup and small business owners whose skill set does not include writing or marketing. As such, this list is for you and if you need more help give me a shout.
#1: Create a Content Calendar
A content marketing calendar is helpful in many ways. Not only does it ensure that you’ve aligned business goals with content efforts, but it guides your content efforts, allowing you to be intentional with what you’re creating and publishing. As you look ahead, you can plan content around seasons, holidays and other big company events.
The initial work to put this together means you have less work to do when it comes time to publish. With themes and ideas planned, all you have to do is check your calendar and create the content.
#2: Get Into a Publishing Routine
One of the hardest tasks with content marketing is creating the content itself—as a business owner or busy marketer, there are likely many things on your to-do list that feel more important than writing a blog post. If you don’t make the time, however, it will never get done.
To make this easier to execute, choose one day a month, for example, that’s dedicated to creating content. Write and schedule all your content that day, or over the span of a few days, so it will publish throughout the month and you can focus on other duties.
Another option: Outsource the writing and publishing work to a contract or freelance writer. Learn more about my content marketing services if you’re in need.
#3: Always Be Ready for Traffic
I had a blog post go viral a few years back—2 million pageviews in just two days!—and it literally crashed our blog. The problem: I wasn’t ready for it. My similar content plugin wasn’t set up properly and we didn’t have any advertising or tracking set up yet. While still exciting and helpful in terms of boosting overall traffic for months and years to come, we didn’t get much from those 2 million pageviews.
Even if you only get 100 visitors each month, don’t let that traffic go to waste. Get everything set up right away; you never know when a big day of traffic will hit. When it does, you want to be ready.
#4: Make it Easy to Share
It’s shocking to me how many websites and blogs still don’t have social sharing buttons next to their content. If you don’t give readers a way to share, they’re less likely to do so because it takes more work. Instead of clicking one or two buttons to share a pre-filled Tweet or Facebook post, for example, they have to copy the link, find the app or website, write their own post, add the link and then hit share. The second option causes too much friction and you risk losing the share along the way.
If you don’t have a preferred plug-in yet, check out Neil Patel’s top 9 sharing plugins to find one you like.
#5: Tag Every Link
If you’re linking to product pages, landing pages, ebook signups—anything that is meant to directly drive leads, sales, or subscribers—tag it. This way you can tell what content is most valuable in terms of your overall business goals and bottom line.
What do I mean by tagging? When using this strategy, you append a code to the URL you’re including in the content. You can then check that code within your analytics tool to see if it drove any clicks, and what that click lead to, if anything.
For example, you may see the link tagged with “?a3025” drove 30 clicks to your landing page, and from those clicks you got 5 leads. That’s likely a valuable piece of content, so now you ask yourself: How can we replicate this? How can we drive more traffic to this piece?
If you use a third party analytics tool, you’ll want to use to their tagging options. If you use Google Analytics, use the Campaign URL Builder to create your tags.
#6: Track Monthly Stats
Tracking stats on a monthly basis allows you to see what’s working and what’s not. As a small business, you likely have minimal time and budget to create content. If you don’t track what you’re doing, you’ll never know if it’s worth your time, much less which content is driving ROI and which is falling flat. In the end, you’re spinning your wheels and likely not seeing much from those efforts.
Use a Google Sheet to track stats like total traffic, organic traffic, time on site, pages per visitor, and total sales and leads from content/blog efforts.
#7: Test Different Content Types
A blog post is the most common type of content, but you can do so much more than write 500 words and hit publish. Write in-depth guides that boost your authority in the industry. Create infographics that are sharable and fun. Publish interviews with influencers. Create humorous lists with memes and gifs.
If you want to take it a step further, start testing video content with Facebook Live or producing your own pieces for YouTube. You could also try podcasts or LinkedIn Pulse publishing. The best way to find what works for your business is to test, test, test.
#8: Don’t Treat All Platforms Equally
Not all platforms are created equal when sharing your content. For example, for one brand I manage, I know that humorous memes and articles will do well on Facebook, while Google-focused articles will do best on Twitter. Get to know your audience and what gets them to engage and then repeat until you find a formula that helps you meet your content and business goals.