Development of a content marketing strategy that speaks to the target audience plays a key role in successful execution of an overall online marketing program. Companies that embrace the social web as part of their marketing mix need to consider the content created within social media channels just as much as corporate web site content.
Whether you communicate to your audience via a blog, Twitter or social networking sites like Facebook, the only true way to build relationships with a growing network is to listen, engage and provide content they find valuable.
When developing a social media content strategy, start by asking questions like: “What does my network find valuable?”.
A little listening can go a long way to get to the heart of a community’s needs. By understanding the pain points of those your company wishes to connect with, the better you’ll be able to provide the resources needed to make better decisions and improve their business.
You may have heard Lee Odden reference the need to create a social media roadmap, starting first by gaining a better understanding of the intended audience and identifying objectives. A social media marketing strategy is the bridge between reaching that audience and mutual goals. Gain an understanding of how you are going to speak to the community and what you want them to do.
Think realistically about providing and receiving value. For example, will building a network of 1,000 friends on Facebook have an impact on your business without clear goals around what you want those friends to do? There’s an implied connection between quantity of network and marketing effectiveness, but with social media it’s more about quality, not quantity.
Capturing insight about your audience in a social media context can be accomplished through:
- Social media monitoring tools
- Analyzing web traffic and behaviors to your web site from social media web sites
- Surveys of your existing customers
- Referencing demographic information supplied by social media sites that offer advertising
- Third party data sources such as Quantcast, Hitwise or Microsoft Advertising Audience Intelligence tools
If the objective for your social media efforts is to sell more product, become a resource to help your audience use that product and give insight into what’s in it for them. Make a bigger impact with your community by giving them the knowledge and tools to help them accomplish their goals and in turn, they will see your company as a valuable resource. Follow the ‘give to get’ mentality to build relationships.
How do I create unique content that speaks to my audience?
Provide opportunities for your network to create their own content. Run promotions involving user generate articles, videos, images or other content that can be shared, promoted and recognized. You can also collect and examine the resources you already have, including case studies, articles, white papers, PPTs or blog posts. Chances are, you have the makings for great unique content or can lay the ground work to repurpose that content.
In this age of Web 2.0, those who are active in social media are essentially publishers. Content creation plays a key role in your social media strategy. One way to ensure you publish consistent, unique content that speaks to your target audience and aligns with your target keyword concepts is to create a content calendar.
As an Account Manager for TopRank Marketing, I work with clients to develop a content marketing calendar that aligns with their strategy and guides development of meaningful information, resources and media to connect with their target audience. Social media publishing platforms like blogs can use content or editorial schedules to serve as a guide and keep messaging within the ballpark of the overall content strategy.
I’m curious as to how many of our readers active in social media have developed a content marketing calendar?