How to Take the Stress Out of Content Marketing in 2022
I don’t know about you, but I often feel overwhelmed at this time of the year. As a business owner, I’m busy getting the last few projects out of the door while also trying to find meaningful gifts for family and friends. And deciding what to cook. And arranging to see people. And remembering to breathe.
With the year winding down, it’s not just the festive season and all its trimmings that cause stress: it’s also the annual reappearance of the dreadful concept known as New Year’s resolutions.
If you listen to the gurus, 2022 is going to be the best year ever for your business. And a comprehensive content marketing strategy is how you are going make next year a roaring success.
But, as a business owner, it can already feel as though you have way too much on your plate. Adding one more thing, much less a ‘comprehensive strategy’, can seem like a step too far.
I’m here to tell you that content marketing is easier than you think. If you haven’t dipped your toes in the water yet, there’s no need to start a podcast or write daily blog posts. You can achieve a lot by following some simple rules.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing involves creating and sharing online material (‘content’) that aims to raise interest in a product or service, rather than explicitly promote your brand. It’s also a really effective way to reach new customers and raise your profile.
Examples of content include blog posts, email newsletters and downloadable resources. For example, a soap manufacturer might publish a blog post about the healing properties of black clay. A second-hand clothing company might feature a downloadable guide on ten ways to upcycle jeans on their website. And a reusable party kit provider might send out an email detailing how to host a zero-waste birthday party for your child.
People do business with companies that they know, like and trust, so offering content that is right up their street helps to build a bond. According to the Demand Metric (http://www.demandmetric.com/content/content-marketing-infographic), 70 per cent of people would prefer to learn about a company through content rather than advertising. What’s more, 60 per cent of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it. And 82 per cent of people feel more positive about a company after reading custom content.
So how do you win and retain customers with content marketing?
Make it relevant
Start out by putting yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes. What’s important to them? What are their pain points? What do they want to know more about?
You can make this very specific: let’s return to the example of the soap manufacturer. Their ideal client is Michelle. She’s 45 and has sensitive skin. She’s noticed that she’s getting more fine lines in the past few years and wants to start a proper skincare regime. She picks up her fruit and veg at the weekly market and buys organic whenever she can. Quality is more important to her than price.
To connect with Michelle, the brand might write a post on one of the essential oils in its soap. It might have a how-to guide on shopping for the best products for sensitive skin. Or send a newsletter on how to keep skin fresh and moisturised all winter long. All of this content should be packed with the keywords that Michelle might search for when she’s looking for information.
Armed with information about the best products for her skin, Michelle is likely to spend more time on your site, becoming familiar with your products and ultimately placing an order.
Make it simple
Not every company has an employee who is solely responsible for marketing. In fact, marketing might be just one of many hats you wear. The first thing to consider is, who is going to be responsible for creating your content?
If you have the time and a flair for writing, you might be happy to spend a day each month writing blog posts or crafting how-to guides that will drive more traffic to your website. If not, consider working with a content marketing professional. They should sit down and listen to your needs and goals and come up with some killer content to connect with current and future customers.
Also, remember that less is more: it’s better to add one great piece of custom content to your website each fortnight than several items each week that just fill space. Believe me, customers (and search tools) can tell the difference.
Make it authentic
Consumers today are thirsty for information, but also for authenticity. To build a connection and earn trust, your company should let its personality shine. Think about your brand voice: do you want your company to be known as friendly? Witty? Inspiring? Exclusive? Empowering? Jot down a few words and use those to guide all of your content. If you have multiple writers, this will also help them to be consistent in the wording that they choose.
Make it consistent
It’s essential to have a routine both for creating and publishing content. You could start by having a simple month-by-month schedule (e.g. hit publish on blog posts on the second and fourth Thursday of each month). And set aside time each month to brainstorm ideas (you should also have a running list) and to create content for the next month or quarter. Another important aspect, especially for social media, is visual consistency. If you have an Instagram feed, it should look coherent, not like a hotchpotch of random images.
Make it low-stress
Slideshows can be turned into infographics. Blog posts can be recycled into newsletter articles. There’s no need to recreate the wheel each time. To take the stress out of content marketing, pick one social media channel and do it well. And give yourself a break if you happen to miss a post or two. Remember that, as an ethical and sustainable business, you are doing your best to change our world for the better – and one late piece of content isn’t going to undo all of that good.
When Big Ben strikes 12, why don’t we all resolve to go a little easier on ourselves and take little steps in the right direction? You don’t need a comprehensive strategy. Start small and over time you are bound to turn curious visitors into loyal customers.
About the Author
Abigail Dahlberg is a copywriter and German-English translator specialising in environmental issues. Born in the UK, she now lives in western Missouri in the United States.
She loves nothing better than to help clients on both sides of the Atlantic tell stories about how they are changing the world for the better. When she isn’t writing, she can be found curled up with a book or hiking local forests with her kids and rescue dog, Lucky.