There’s a general rule of successful small business marketing – consider both sides of any equation: content and audience, content and brand, content and context, audience and engagement, engagement and call to action, action and PR, etc. In any given marketing channel, digital strategy exists precisely to connect the parts for a coherent process. Look at how these example parts fit together:
Make Written Content a Strategic Center
Since written content is so easily repurposed, reformatted, or recontextualized, it’s the centerpiece in most digital strategies. That doesn’t mean you have to start with it, of course. If you’re more of a writer, start with your blog. If you’re more comfortable speaking or thinking, multimedia can be the entry point and simply be transcribed. It’s certainly an option to focus digital marketing mainly on video and visuals, at least for a while, but a fully fleshed out strategy will almost necessarily involve text as well.
Make All Your Content Multimedia
It’s easy to make a reasonably good video, with either you on screen or your graphics and visual aids. No need to agonize over full studio production quality for every video. Sure, do that with a commercial or two, but for your regular ongoing content marketing, a couple of handy rituals will let you rinse and repeat with much more agility. For one thing, screen capture software like Cam Studio is free, and it’s easy to whip up visuals in Google Presentations. If you want to spend money, go with Camtasia and Powerpoint – same difference. Those individual slides can make excellent ‘pins’ for Pinterest, too. With very little additional effort, a presentation is a video is a series of pins.
Tie Social Content to Your Core Content
If you’re already producing a lot of good written and multimedia content, for your blog and visual social channels like Youtube, you can use multiple snippets of that material for social posting. Not just pins for Pinterest – you can do 140 character excerpts for Twitter, and slightly larger ‘teasers’ for other social channels. Nothing is closer to your brand than the core content you’re already creating, and this ensures your social posts link back to core content of substance, in the same way that targeted ads can link back to specific landing pages for greater conversion.
Build Your Social Audience Along with Social Posting
Just being a ‘microphone’ by putting out content without actually creating the audience for that content, ensures your effort is high and your engagement small. Facebook, for instance, puts your social content in front of more people based on the amount and type of engagement your prior content experiences. Rightly so, and search engines do the same thing with your blog posts and static web site content. If you are approaching content marketing as just throwing content onto the web, it’s anti-strategic. Strategically follow or connect with people, read their social posts, and amplify (share, favorite, mention, or comment on) the best ones. Earn the right to an audience that includes more people who amplify your own content. Besides, this lets you share more great material with your audience, that’s also produced by your audience.
Reach People Where they Work and Live with E-mail Marketing
Transforming content for a different medium, format, and audience is at the heart of an effective content marketing strategy. Single-topic e-mail “blasts” or multi-topic e-mail newsletters curated from the content you put out each month can get the attention of people who tend to engage content more consistently, or in a different manner, in their inbox than in social media. While we can easily comment on what alienates most audiences, we can’t so easily generalize about who engages content when, as though the audience were monolithic or uniform. That’s because audiences are diverse – there are multiple ‘models’ in your audience who operate slightly differently. E-mail lets certain audience segments think about content differently, utilize it differently, and share it differently too.
Engage Your Social Audience Directly with Local and Virtual Events
Assuming you’re growing your social audience, and it’s already more than just past clients, friends, and family, a giveaway, webinar, or well-conceived in-person local event (e.g. mixer, tour, or class) can shore up your brand relevance, further extend your audience, and bring more attention to your content. Just as posting content without also building an audience, or building an audience without giving them stellar content, is ineffective, so building an audience without directly engaging that audience is kind of a waste, or at least a missed opportunity.
PR and Press Is in Reach of Any Business That Does Something of Note
A little routine press coverage – even a single write-up – can position you, the professional, as an obvious expert, and your business as the obvious choice among competitors. If you’re not doing anything of note, you can at least put together a notable local or virtual event until you do, and meanwhile you can get strategic help in becoming noteworthy. If you’re completely shy of events or direct audience engagement, you can parlay some of your core content into an e-book (that’s something of note) while you’re working on overcoming this fear of the audience. In fact, it may help get you over that hump. With reporter tools like HARO, and publishing platforms like Amazon, anyone who wants to be a thought leader in their field can reap some PR rewards.
Pair Ads and Landing Pages for More Targeted Clicks and Better Conversion
Marketing works best when you strategize both ends of any process. Social content is best tied to core content or paired with a social audience. PPC (pay per click) ads are best when customized for a specific audience or a single service or product, and tied to a landing page that’s entirely focused on completing the conversation started by the ad, ending in a single call to action. The general rule is to think through the ‘sales process’ inherent in digital marketing, from the point that someone reads your content to the steps they finish with. Some will amplify, some engage, some refer, some research or lurk, and some ignore. Make sure you’ve created a pathway that accommodates these possibilities.
The ‘molecules’ of digital marketing naturally combine and work together. There are certainly other marketing channels as well. If you’re already deeply into these, then these will help feed the others. A hallmark of digital strategy is that each action contributes to the next. For help structuring, implementing, and sustaining a digital strategy, work with MadPipe to create your dream marketing department.