Have you been dragging your feet on content marketing? If you have, there’s no need to hang your head. It’s understandable! It takes a lot of time and energy to come up with great content and if you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’re wearing multiple hats every day.
That said, content marketing is still the best way to build an audience and sell your products. There’s no way around it.
The solution is to dig into your bag of tricks and give your content marketing plan a kick in the pants. And if you’re not sure how to start, I’m here to help.
Here are 6 of my favorite ways to jumpstart a content marketing campaign and get your business the attention (and sales) it deserves.
#1: Steal Ideas from Your Competitors
Stealing might sound like a crime but in the world of marketing, it happens all the time. And it’s not really stealing, it’s more a science of social listening: mixing market research with competitive analysis. All you’ll be doing is looking at what your top competitors are doing to market themselves online and applying some of their ideas to your own content.
For example, maybe you notice that one of your competitors has created a whiteboard video explaining a complex idea. You could do the same thing! Or maybe you’ve seen a few live Q & A videos come across your Facebook feed and you realize you could easily answer some questions from your audience.
Even a few days of researching your competitors’ websites and social media pages can yield a treasure trove of content marketing ideas for you to use.
#2: Ask Your Followers for Ideas
The people who are already reading your blog or following you on social media are obviously interested in what you have to say. One way to jumpstart your content marketing is to ask them which questions they’d like you to answer or which topics they want to learn about.
Of course, you’re not going to be saying, “Hey, customer, help me with my marketing!” Instead, you might say something like this:
I want to make sure that the content I’m creating is the content you want to see. Let me know what you’d like to read or watch, and I’ll do my best to provide it!
In my experience, people like to be asked for advice. This strategy offers a clear content-creation shortcut that has the benefit of making your audience feel important and understood.
#3: Define Your Content Marketing Goals
A lot of people spend time marketing themselves and their products, but I’m amazed at how many haven’t taken the time to define what they hope to accomplish with their marketing. It’s not enough to want to connect with your audience. You’ve got to be specific.
It might seem obvious, but I highly recommend thinking about what you want to achieve in the short-term and long-term and writing those things down. Here are some examples of concrete content marketing goals:
- Increase blog readership by 50% in the next six months
- Attract 1,000 new followers on Instagram
- Increase email subscriptions by 10%
- Get to 100,000 views on YouTube
The key in choosing content marketing goals is to make them clear, achievable, and measurable. In other words, don’t be vague. Use numbers and other key metrics to describe what you want to do, and then design your content marketing plan to help you achieve your goals.
#4: Use Your FAQ for Inspiration
If you’ve got a list of frequently asked questions on your website, it’s time to turn to them for inspiration. If you’ve answered FAQ, then you know the things that your followers are most likely to ask.
You know what that means? Each one of those questions could be turned into a longer piece of content. For example, you could take a question and turn it into one of the following:
- A how-to video
- An instructable
- A blog post
- An infographic
- A cheat sheet
- A short report
Let’s face it, most FAQ pages don’t go into a lot of detail. By expanding on the topics you’ve covered, you’ll be providing value to your target audience and demonstrating your expertise at the same time. That’s a win-win!
#5: Tell Your Customers’ Stories
There’s a reason that online reviews and testimonials get a lot of attention. Research shows that 97% of consumers read customer reviews before they buy a product, and 85% trust online reviews as much as they would trust a personal recommendation.
When you combine those statistics with storytelling, you’ve got a winning combination. So, if you’re stuck for content marketing ideas, why not reach out to some of your most loyal and happy customers and ask them to share their stories in a testimonial?
The key to creating a compelling testimonial is to have a clear narrative. That means you’ll need to ask questions to help you frame the story. Here are some suggestions:
- What made you look for my product?
- What problems did you want to solve?
- What other solutions had you tried?
- What made you decide to try my product?
- Describe what happened when you used my product.
- How did the experience of using my product make you feel?
- What were your results after using my product?
- Would you recommend this product to other people?
It’s important to find the natural arc of the story. That’s why you should be sure to ask about your customer’s problems and their emotions. That’s the kind of thing that will hook your audience and convince them to buy from you.
#6: Run a Contest
One of my favorite ways to jumpstart a content marketing campaign is to run a contest. Why? Because everybody loves a freebie!
Here are some of the things running a contest can help you achieve:
- You can attract new followers by requiring people to subscribe to your list to enter the contest
- You can get your products or services in front of a new audience by offering additional entries to people who share your posts
- You can ask for user-generated content if your contest asks participants to submit a photograph or idea
Hosting a contest is easy and doesn’t cost much. Just be sure that you have clearly written contest rules and that you award all prizes promptly.
Content marketing is a must, but it can be difficult to get started if you don’t have a ton of experience or a huge budget. The 6 ideas here are some of my favorites to jumpstart a content marketing campaign.
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