The first steps to content marketing success

Digital 360 on 26 July 2017

Getting your company's blog up and running may sound daunting – and for many SMEs, it certainly can be. Several elements need to come together for a blog to be successful. But most of all, to produce great content, you need to start with a strong content marketing strategy.

To help, we've outlined the first five steps to getting your company blog up, running and working.

1. Identify business goals

Before you write a single post, the first step is to ask yourself some questions. These may include:

  • Why am I writing? What are my goals?
  • What will my team or I be writing about?
  • Who will be my audience and how will I reach them?

These basic questions will help surmise your key objectives and determine your blog’s direction. You want your content to be on-brand in look, style and tone. In this way, you will need to think about colour and fonts and determine what imagery best reflects your brand.

You will also need to establish how you want your audience to consume the blog. Will it be a series of how-to guides? Or will it more of a news feed about your company and industry? Finally, you should think about a producing a brand style guide that details how your content is to be written and the style rules to follow.

2. Choose a content management system

The second step in creating a company blog is choosing a content management system (CMS) that best suits your established business goals.

When deciding on an appropriate CMS, it’s important to establish your level of in-house expertise. If you and your team are have no development skills, then a subscription-based platform like Squarespace could be a perfect fit. These services are easy to use and don’t require code to set up and customise.

If, however, you have access to web development resources, then an open-source CMS like SilverStripe or Drupal are more powerful options. These platforms are suited for businesses that need customisation and unique functionality, whether it's for SEO or conversion rate optimisation (CRO).

3. Create a content calendar

A content calendar helps you manage your editorial workflow – that is, what you'll be producing and when it will be published. Content calendars vary from free platforms like Google Calendar and Google Drive to subscription services like GatherContent and Trello.

However you decide to manage it, a content calendar will streamline the writing process, getting content from production stage to publication stage. It will also aid with consistency, accountability and transparency between team members. You will know what needs to be produced and when. You can also add notes for additional considerations, like how the content will be amplified on social media.

4. Choose content creators

Again, depending on the level of in-house expertise, you might want to consider outsourcing copywriters or hiring freelance writers. You can do this by searching online, but you need to make sure you're asking the right questions to ensure their style and expertise match the direction of your content marketing strategy.

In some cases, SMEs will hire a digital agency to make the process of content creation a whole lot easier. A quality digital agency will have already vetted their copywriters and content creators. That means they're positioned to produce regular, reliable and high quality content for your blog.

5. Promote content

Once you have established your blog, it’s time to decide on how you will promote your content and through which channels. Here are some of the most popular ways to make sure your content reaches your desired audience:

  • MailChimp – MailChimp is an easy-to-use email marketing service. It's a simple DIY service for smaller businesses seeking to run email campaigns to a marketing list, such as their current customers or leads database.
  • Social media –If your business has them,Facebook and Instagram and Twitter are simple channels to share your blog content. However, it's not as simple as posting your content and hoping for the best. You will need to build up your audience to make these channels pay dividends. Thankfully, content marketing is a perfect way to do this.
  • Paid promotion – Another way to promote your content is by developing a PPC marketing campaign, such as GoogleAdwords. For instance, you may have a how-to-guide that you want to push to the top of search results with a paid promotion.
  • Organic search (SEO)Creating content is a key part of SEO. If your content marketing strategy is focussed on increasing organic search traffic, you'll also need a keyword strategy in place. Even if SEO is not your primary focus, it should still remain a consideration when you write and publish your content.

Keeping momentum

Keeping your content marketing program going is one of the biggest challenges you'll face. So don't view blogging as one big task – break it up into more manageable pieces. Remember, setting up your company blog doesn’t have to be complicated. The most important part is getting started. The sooner you start your content marketing program, the sooner your business will benefit.

If you’d like to find out more about blogging for your business, contact one of our content strategists today.