This is the 8th post of a series: “12 Steps to Begin Developing and Executing a Basic Digital Marketing Strategy.”

Focus on creating & curating quality content that is engaging and sharable

For some people the thought of content creation is a scary. However, for the purposes of this post, we are going to keep it simple. This post is designed under the assumption that you have limited time and budget. I’ll even share a few marketing automation tools to help as much as possible. The goal is to get you started with content creation, as you learn and grow, you can develop a more robust content strategy. Remember to focus on creating quality content giving less importance to quantity.  

There are hundreds of books and articles on Content Strategy. Content Warfare by Ryan Hanley is a book I recommend. For this post, let’s boil down content creation into two simple goals – Attract prospective buyers and retain current customers. Content is one of the most important driving tools for your inbound marketing strategy.

  • 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content. - Marketing Tech Blog
  • 68% of consumers spend time reading content from a brand they are interested in. - The CMA

Content Distribution - 30/60/10 Owned, Curated, and Promotional

The 30/60/10 ratio is a simple rule to get started with your Content Strategy

  • 30% Owned – Your blog, videos, pictures, infographics. Owned content is what you have created
    • Why only 30%? – You’re just starting and don’t have a ton of owned content yet
  • 60% Curated - Links to other content that is related to your industry, brand, or company. You will share, but include your thoughts, recommendations, or point of view along with the link
    • You to become a central thought leader, people look at you as the filter of good content
    • You have more opportunities to engage with your prospects and customers on topics that are relevant to them
  • 10% Promotional – Your calls to action, marketing, and sales pitch
    • Why only 10%? – People don’t want to read, hear, and see you talk about yourself all day
    • Don’t oversell on social media, people get turned off really quickly. Seek to provide value

In the beginning, keep your content topics simple

Let’s not complicate topic creation. You have a product, service, or some sort of offering. You know your industry, prospects, and customers. Let them hear from you.

  • Answer FAQs
  • Provide Thought Leadership & Expertise
  • Solve Common Customer Challenges
  • Share Industry News and Insights
  • Tell Your Brand Story
  • Share Company News, Events, and Stories
  • Provide Industry Statistics relevant to your customers

Choose your topics based on your goals. A few goals to consider:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Thought Leadership
  • Generate Leads
  • Retain Customers
  • Generate Traffic
  • Answer Questions
  • Competitive Positioning
  • Build Trust

78% of consumers believe that organizations providing custom content want to build good relationships. -TMG Custom Media

Centralize your Owned Content within a blog

For your owned and original content, centralize everything within your website, and on your blog. Not only will this help bring people to your website, but also this helps your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

First, create content in the form of a 500-1000 word blog post. Once you create a blog post, you’ll use that same post to create new forms of content and promote across many different platforms (see below). Your blog posts will provide information from the bulleted topics above. Don’t forget to add a simple Call to Action at the end of your blogs. Examples include – Following you on social media, signing up for your newsletter, providing feedback, etc.

Use your blog to create new forms of content

From that single piece of content, you can expand it into other forms – a Podcast, YouTube Video, Infographic, Webinar, Meme, etc. The type of content will depend on your audience and goals.

From voice of customer and understanding where your audience hangs out online, break apart your content … change from written word to video, words to a podcast, and pictures to memes, etc. Find the most important nuggets of valuable information and share it with your audience in multiple formats.

  • Neil Patel breaks down 15 Types of Content to Drive Traffic

Schedule and automate your content distribution

To reduce time, schedule your posts and sharing. Depending on your website host, you could have limited, but built-in capabilities for sharing content to various social media sites. There are many different content distribution tools, but two good options are Hootsuite and Buffer.

Hootsuite: “Manage multiple networks, schedule posts, and engage
your audience, all in one place.”

  • Social Media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, Instagram and FourSquare
  • Plans: Free, Pro ($9.99 / Month up to 50 profiles), and Business (Contact for pricing).

Buffer: “Buffer shares your content at the best possible times throughout the day so that your followers and fans see your updates more often. Get the most out of each post.”

  • Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest
  • Plans: Individual Plan (Free), Awesome Plan: $10/month, Small Business Plan: $50/month, Medium Business Plan: $100/month, Large Business Plan: $250/month

Through content curation, you’re the filter for your audience’s valuable 3rd party content

Content curation is finding information relevant to your audience across a diverse set of sources. Then, sharing it strategically through your social media and communication channels. We’re all constantly overwhelmed by information, insights, and data. By curating valuable content you become the trusted filter for your audience. You already read articles, have thoughts, opinions, and insights. It’s time to share them.

As you collect that content, provide your audience with a short insight or thought, then the link. You can even ask a question to engage them in a discussion. To make this easier, I’ll list out a few tools below.

  • Pocket: Install Pocket’s browser extension for easy curation. You can download the app on your smartphone for cross-platform usage. As you read an article, save and tag it to Pocket for future sharing.
  • Twitter Lists: Twitter can be a horrendous. It turns into a streaming mess if you’re not using Lists to organize the accounts you follow. A list is a curated group of Twitter users that you can create or follow. You can retweet great content provided by those you follow.
  • Start with a topic of interest and not only generates the most relevant articles to view and share, but also includes complementary topics and other users to follow. 

To get started with content curation, pick tools, start using them, practice, and learn from the response or engagement of your audience.

Don’t over-promote your products and services through the content you develop

People are tired of getting slammed by sales pitches all day. If you over-promote, they’ll turn you off, ignore your emails, and stop visiting your site. Use the promotional portion of your content very strategically. Of course, I’m not saying you shouldn’t sell or promote your products and services. I’m suggesting is that you need to be very careful how often. To help you control your content development ratio (30/60/10), develop a very simple editorial calendar.

Keep your content simple in the beginning. Creating value is better than complication and creativity (expensive publishing software, crazy cool graphics, etc.)

Since you are probably starting out, keep it simple. Don’t try to be too creative. Focus on “value” over complication and creativity. Get your content out there, test different types, learn what your audience wants to consume. Ask them how you can improve and what they want to learn. If you are providing valuable owned and curated content, you’ll draw prospects to your site and keep your customers satisfied. This is the essence of Inbound Marketing. Sales will happen naturally, your promotional content will help to augment your other sales activities.

Visit again next week when we’ll discuss developing Social Media. Or, sign up for my newsletter to receive these posts in your email.

I hope this post helped. How did you develop your content strategy? What tips do you have for new content creators?

Stewart Swayze