Magnifying Your Impact
As we’ve seen, the content map for a full digital presence is extensive. Creating a website is only the first step. Businesses also need to post regularly on their blogs, video platforms, and social media. They need to create compelling campaigns, advertisements, and offers.
It’s this ongoing content creation that usually creates a roadblock for businesses; they simply don’t have the time to create and post content regularly.
The reality is, most businesses don’t have the time and resources to be active on every location on the content map. Instead of trying to maintain a scattered presence across all our platforms, take the time to build strong and recognizable presences on a few platforms first. Of course, this requires some decision-making. You have to prioritize your needs in the digital world the same way we prioritize our traditional marketing ventures.
Ultimately, this will maximize your online effect and build more value and trust with your audience.
Taking Stock of Resources
We all have limits to our capabilities. These limits depend on the the amount of resources and time we have to dedicate to digital marketing. Businesses with an internal marketing department or outsourced marketing team will have vastly different capabilities than sole proprietorships. Businesses with less manpower need to be extremely selective in their efforts. Meanwhile, businesses with more manpower still need to direct their teams toward activities that will have the most impact.
Many businesses are still hesitant to direct time and finances toward their digital marketing activities. However, it takes both to create content that is both consistent and high quality. If you haven’t already, it’s time to invest in your content. Push to dedicate more resources for the first few months. Once you’ve gotten into a routine and developed a content strategy, it can begin to become far more cost-effective.
The Two Static Components of the Online Content Map
The website and location listings.
These are the “anchors” for your online presence. They contain evergreen content, or content that lasts for a prolonged period of time. Luckily, once the website and location listings are set up, they rarely need to be structurally updated. As soon as these two components are in place, you’ll be ready to start building your online content around them.
Highlighting the Content Map
Deciding which direction to take can be difficult. Each platform and type of content provides different audiences, content types, touchpoints, and results.
These three questions can help narrow down two or three platforms to focus on:
Which content can you create most effectively?
What are your long-term marketing goals?
Where will your content have the most impact on your audience?
Which social content can you create most effectively?
Start by asking what kind of content you’re familiar with. Or, if you’ve hired someone to create content, what are they best at? If the answer is written content, you might want to turn your focus to your blog. If you’re handy with a camera and have lots of interesting meetings or events, you may start creating videos in your day-to-day. If you interact with other businesses in your day-to-day, social media gives you an opportunity to build on those connections.
Next, think about which platforms will be most effective for your business type. For example, Instagram can help you create powerful visualizations of your brand and products. Meanwhile, if you are a service based company, LinkedIn may help you make valuable connections with vendors and potential clients.
Consider how versatile your content can be. Are there opportunities for cross-posting your content across platforms? A single blog could be posted on your website, on your LinkedIn, on Facebook, and as a guest post on other industry websites if slightly altered. Videos are even more versatile. They can be shared on your website, on video hosting platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, on almost every social media platform, and can be embedded in email campaigns or newsletters. Consider choosing a few platforms that allow for cross-posting so you can spread your content further and spend less time on creation.
What are your long-term marketing goals?
Social Media Marketing is a long-term game. If you are expecting instant results, then I urge you to test and try, until you realize that patience is needed. A full online presence can do incredible things for your business, from establishing brand awareness and bringing in new leads, to creating partnerships and improving sales. Each component of the content map contributes to these goals in distinct ways, but they are all developed with a long-term strategy.
Do you want to:
- Drive traffic to your website?
- Create immediate leads? (then use AdWords, to be discussed in future blogs)
- Establish yourself as an industry leader?
- Grow internationally?
- Create brand value?
- Build an audience?
-Create an interactive atmosphere?
-Simply create subconscious touchpoints?
Each platform in your digital content map can align with strategic long-term goals. Let’s take a look at the primary outcomes of platform.
Social media platforms are capable of building significant brand validation, brand awareness, and brand interaction. As outlined in the content map, each platform has a different audience and different capabilities. However, there are a few main conclusions we can draw from each:
Facebook can help you increase brand awareness and interaction on the largest platform.
Instagram can help you visualize your brand and increase your brand awareness / touchpoints.
Twitter can help you establish industry expertise, broadcast news and thought leadership.
LinkedIn can help you make connections and facilitate B2B sales.
Youtube can help you showcase your brand with video.
Blogs are extremely versatile and can increase your brand’s organic reach in several ways. Blogs should be a top priority if you want to:
- Increase your SEO, leading to more website traffic;
- Establish industry expertise or thought leadership;
- Create third-party links to your content and website;
- Add upfront value to products and services by offering knowledge and advice;
- Have a versatile medium to share across multiple platforms.
SEO helps people find you online in the organic search engine results. Research shows that people tend to stay within the first page or two of the Google search results. As a result, SEO is a good lead-generation strategy. As long as you have it backed up with great website content and an excellent sales processes, SEO can seriously improve your organic sales reach.
You can send out email marketing in several formats. You may have a sales message or special offer to send directly to your audience’s inbox, or you could choose to send out regular newsletters (typically monthly or quarterly). The benefit of this is a direct update for clients that can generate excitement about an event, holiday, or offer. It can be more personalized than other forms of marketing communication.
Even more popular in recent advances, and as email open rates continue to drop, text marketing has become a means for businesses to connect directly with their audiences. While many people scan their email inboxes and typically skip over marketing messages, a majority of people will not leave a text message unopened. This is one of the most direct touchpoints you can have with an audience, and it works well if you want to send out reminders for appointments, events, sales, and offers.
Where will your content have the most impact on your audience?
Take your our own resources, capabilities, and business needs into consideration. What we haven’t considered is our audience. What are their needs? Where are they located in your content map? What do they want to see and how can we offer it?
If we aren’t pivoting to our audiences, we might as well not be marketing at all. In order to gain the trust of an audience, we first have to be present where they’re present. Producing hundreds of beautiful Instagram pictures won’t have much impact if our audience isn’t on Instagram. Since resources are limited, choose the platforms where our audience will connect and engage most.
If you’ve had an online presence for a while, you might already know where your audience is most present and engaged. Review your social platforms (using your metrics and data, if you have it) and ask a few pointed questions: Which platform has your audience been most active on so far? What types of content are people liking, sharing, and commenting on most?
Meanwhile, if you’re new to the digital space, finding out where your clients are could take a bit of research. Learn which demographics are using the platforms you’re interested in and see if they match with your clients’ demographics. There are plenty of useful statistics about audiences on blogs from Hootsuite, Statista, and CoSchedule.
Strategize Your Content for Maximum Impact
It’s likely that a few platforms have started to stand out. The next step is to prioritize them. If you are a small business, order your top 3 platforms from most to least critical. After this, we can look at how those three platforms might link together to help streamline the effort required and potential long-term returns.
For example, let’s say a commercial cleaning business has chosen:
This business can share their blogs as “articles” on LinkedIn and link to their featured blog posts in a monthly newsletter. They may also create LinkedIn advertisements that provide a special offer for cleaning services delivered straight to pre-identified potential clients (via an InMail). Their newsletters could be cross-posted on their blogs, with the sign-up option offered at the bottom.
All of these connections between chosen platforms make planning and delivering content easier and more streamlined. Plus, consistent touchpoints across multiple platforms can help them gain more trust from their audiences. (Brand unity will be discussed more in the future)
The Content Calendar
Once your platforms and strategies are in place, there’s only one thing left to do: plan out content. No matter how many people are on the content creation team, pre-planning content helps your strategy to stay on track.
A few things you can do to help plan your content are:
Create a content calendar so you know when you’ll be posting content (and what the deadlines are for content creation). I usually recommend to schedule 6 months in advance, the digital world and trends change too quickly to think about content beyond a 6-month timeline.
“Batch” your work – in other words, create all of your content in a single day, rather than trying to fit in content creation each day
Pre-schedule your content using tools on your platforms, or external tools like Hootsuite or CoSchedule. This guarantees consistency and takes the stress out of managing platforms individually.
Your Plan is Complete
By now, you should have a solid idea of how your content map is going to work harder for your business’ online presence. If you’re feeling at all uncertain about the choices you’ve made, don’t worry. Remember that everything in the digital world is experimental, it simply is changing to quickly, and it’s important to be patient when we’re starting to build your online presence.
In the next blog, I will talk about why these activities are important and what they can do for your brand in the long-run. You’ll begin to understand the immense long-term ROI from investing in your brand, capturing a customers lifetime value, and how it can help you achieve your long-term business goals.
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