Developing Your Online Content Strategy

No business, no matter how big or small, cannot survive without some kind of content marketing.

In fact, every business today has some type of content that they have created in order to make sales and gain new customers, whether it is articles, videos, ebooks, or billboards.

If you’re just starting out and you want to find out more about content marketing, a major question you may have is how you can develop an effective strategy that will get people to recognize and patronize your brand.

In this article, I will answer this question and others that you may have to help you build your own content marketing strategy.

What you will learn from this article:

  1. The fundamentals of content marketing’
  2. How to find ideas for content
  3. The best sharing ratio for social network
  4. The best times to send your message to your social network, and
  5. How to find your own social strategy

The fundamentals of content marketing

First and foremost, what exactly is content marketing and why does it matter?

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Content marketing is simply any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of content in order to acquire and retain customers. The content could be in the form of videos, articles, photographs, ebooks, or just a simple tweet you send out to your followers.

The beauty of content marketing is that it works very well when you know what you’re doing.

So, what exactly does content marketing and having a content strategy do for your blog/business?

For starters, it’s going to allow you to earn more money and gain a bigger audience if you do things right. Make sure to read this article (and implement your learnings!) so that you will be able to do just that.

People are increasingly dependent on the internet for anything, from information and connection with others, to entertainment. The world wide web actually has millions and millions of pages and content, and a lot of businesses pay to have their content placed in the first few pages of search engines. After all, when people have millions of pages to choose from, your content will have a smaller chance of being consumed if it’s buried beyond page 3 on a Google result page.

Some of the most successful individuals online, however, don’t need to pay to have their content out front. They have an effective strategy that makes sure their audience easily finds their content. Indeed, content marketing, when done right, can save you upfront costs that you would have had to spend on paid traffic.

Let’s take a deeper look at content marketing.

what-is-content-marketing

Good content marketing starts with you knowing your audience.

Once you know this, you can craft your content better in order to deliver your message more effectively, with the end result that your audience will do whatever you want them to do, from signing up for your newsletter and following you on social media, to buying your products.

How do you find ideas for content?

In the internet, content is king. You must have something valuable to offer your audience if you want them to continue following you and to look at you as an authority.

However, consistently coming up with great ideas for content can be something of a challenge. You can’t just expect to have them when you need them. Forcing yourself to do so would only give you a headache.

There are some people who have mastered the art of coming up with great content. Their pages go viral regularly, earning them a lot of income and followers. However, they didn’t come by their success easily; they probably failed lots of times before striking gold. When brainstorming for good content, it can be hard when you don’t know how to brainstorm in the first place.

The point in brainstorming good ideas comes down to a few simple things:

  • What subjects are people asking/needing?
  • Do you want to write about it?
  • Does it have a market?
  • Can you write on the subject better than what has been done before?

There are millions of writers out there all trying to get their words seen by others and it can be extremely hard to get your voice heard. The best thing you can do is to write for those who are begging for more.

If you like writing about a subject that you already know is popular, it makes this process easier. You can look at the content that’s already out there, identify any gaps, and then fill it with your own writing.

So, how do you find popular content, one that people love to share and consume the most?

For myself, I use a tool known as BuzzSumo. It analyzes what content performs best for any topic or competitor. This tool makes the discovery process of finding content SO EASY! With it, you can clearly see what kind of content people love most on any site or topic.

Take a look at the screenshot below:

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As you can see, BuzzSumo found articles that have thousands of shares, likes, and social engagement. It clearly shows what type of content people want more of. Choose the ones that are closest to your brand, read the comments there, search for similar posts, and then build mental images on what could be improved upon on those topics. With all the information you have that’s available, you can easily get ideas on how to tackle the topic in a different way .

Having a tool like BuzzSumo at your disposal gives you a lot of ideas to write, and at the same time, have a clear understanding of what’s working in your market.

BuzzSumo for me has to be the most important tool in content marketing, especially when it comes to finding new ideas to write about. The ability to quickly identify what content is working well in an industry and who the major influencers are, is worth its weight in gold.

Give BuzzSumo a try for free and you will thank me later.

What’s the best sharing ratio for social networks?

In social media, there is no doubt that sharing is powerful. In fact, social sharing forms the foundation of social media; people use it to tell their friends what kind of content they like.

When it comes to business, however, it may not work if you share too much and too often. The best sharing ratio I use and which I recommend you to use in your social strategy is 30/60/10.

Let me break down this ratio so you can understand its power.

30 percent of what you share on your Twitter feed (or other social network) should be content you created yourself, whether your own blog posts, articles, or videos.

60 percent of what you share should be content you have curated online. It just means that out of all the content you found on the web, you pass on the most valuable stuff to your fans and followers.

10 percent of what you share should be calls to action.

Let’s further examine why the 30/60/10 ratio works so well.

Everyone that has a social network has an email, and they constantly get sent new offers and content that they might be interested in checking out. The reason why a lot of people fail at the ratio on which they send out content is because they’re always trying to get someone to perform some type of action.

What they are doing, for example, is asking people to buy, opt-in, download their software, or something that involves taking action, day in and day out. This is a really bad thing to do because it will burn out your followers and fans fast. After all, there are only so many times you can ask them to do something for you before they get fed up and unfollow you, or worse, mark your emails as spam.

This is why I recommend you only send out 30 percent of content you created yourself. None of those should be promotional as well. It should be content that has value for your readers and without any call to action.

People like to hear your opinions and they also like you posting quotes, questions, updates, and things that are not yours. This is where the 60 percent comes in; this is content you have found online that you found interesting, informative, or entertaining, and that you think your followers would also appreciate.

This curated content is a big portion of the sharing ratio because it will make your followers think of you as someone they can always rely on to give them valuable content. When they see that you are also sharing other people’s posts, their trust in you will increase.

Curated content may consist of other people’s/other sites’:

  • expert tips
  • quotes
  • presentations/webinars
  • case studies
  • industry blogs/sites
  • infographics
  • statistics, data, charts, and graphs
  • videos, and
  • books/ebooks.

When you share content, the text should contain more than just a link. Try to include your thoughts or points of view on the subject as well, and maybe even a commentary. This will show your followers that you are a human being and not just some bot posting updates to your feed.

Don’t miss the huge benefits to using curated content in your updates. People really like it when there’s a mixture of content they can consume and engage with. No one likes the sale, sale, sale approach to anything so don’t make each one of your pieces of content about selling.

The last piece of this ratio is the promotion (10%). You might wonder why it’s only ten percent. Shouldn’t it be more because getting sales and opt-ins are the most important parts to doing business?

Well, no. As I’ve said, no one wants a hard sell approach all the time. If all you do is push your offers on people day in and day out, it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, they will soon stop listening.

The point in using this ratio is to make it appear to your followers, fans, and subscribers that you care for them and you have their interests in mind. Be subtle in selling your products because people are not dumb. They don’t like being sold.

If you create an amazing content sharing strategy that has loads of value with a little pinch of promotion within the mix, it will get people to take action. Provide incredible value and it will get people pumped so much that when it comes to deliver your own promotional or affiliate link, they will be more open to you.

I highly recommend you start using the 30/60/10 ratio in your social sharing network and newsletters immediately. Trust me, it really works!

Start using the 30/60/10 ratio in your social sharing network and newsletters immediately. Click To Tweet

When is the best time(s) to send out messages to my social network?

It’s extremely hard to give you the exact time to send out a social message. The fact is that what works for me and my followers may not work for you.

Even if you head over to Google and type in “The best times to post to social networks,” you will get about a hundred sites telling you completely different times to send your message to your fans and audience. It makes sense; after all, these sites are different, and they have difference audiences as well. It’s only logical that they have their own ways of managing their businesses.

In any case, it’s not a good idea to just blindly follow someone else’s schedule, as you don’t have the same followers and you may not even be in the same time zone.

time-zone-clocks

What I can do instead is tell you what has worked for me. I have created a PDF document for you to download that illustrates the best and worst times to post to social networks, based on my audience.

Bottom line: you will come up with the best times for you to post in your social network when you do your own testing. Post at different times of the day and analyze the results. Does your audience engage more in the middle of the day when they’re in the office? Or do you get the best engagement at night when they are at home and resting? You and only you will know.

Feel free to download my PDF document “The best and worst times to post on social media” so you will know how I came up with the posting times that are effective for me.

best-and-worst-times-to-post-on-social-media

What is the best social strategy for my business?

As with the previous question, there’s no real way for me to tell you what the best strategy is for you when it comes to doing your business. After all, I don’t know what type of person you are, the market you’re in, or the kind of customers you have.

The best thing you can do is to do your own testing, analyze the results, draft a strategy based on those results, and implement them.

In my business, I wouldn’t have learned most of the stuff I now know if it wasn’t for testing and optimizing. You can really get amazing results when you go through this process. Yes, it’s scary at first to try new things, but you will never realize success unless you take action, try new things, and learn from the experience.

Every person is unique and every marketing strategy is different as well. One thing that might work well for my audience and market might not work so well for you, and vice versa.

The biggest learning I can give you is that your content strategy should always involve some type of metrics where you insert something new into the mix. When you do this, you will learn what works and what doesn’t in your market and with your particular audience. Once you have these learnings, you will be able to come up with your own content marketing strategy.

Thanks so much for reading this article! I hope it brought some light on what you need to do in order to market your content. If you can, please share this article by using the social share buttons on this page. Feel free as well to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Thanks again and I hope you have an awesome day,
Scott