Mike Parsons
innovation. storytelling. lifehacking. music

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Nine tested steps that will rescue your content marketing

 

There are no shortcuts to creating a great brand. There are no “cheats” to building an audience, no tricks to creating a community of fans. 

It's time to start telling stories that are useful, and that maybe even inspire. With the decline of paid advertising and the interruption economy, there's never been a better time to start fresh.

And a good story takes time and effort. Here is my essential, and hopefully time-saving checklist for content marketing done right.

 

1. Define why the brand exists. 

What is the positive thing the brand is fighting for in the world? People don't buy what you do. They are moved by why you're doing it. For example, look at Apple and Nike. If you'd like to learn how they do it, read Start With Why by Simon Sinek.

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2. Test how to give this story social currency. 

How can this story you've defined reflect what people care about and trigger them to share? Remember, the perception of people is created by what they share and the ideas they promote. Make sure they look good and are triggered to do it. 

Bud tells funny stories at the Superbowl to build more fans. Coke spends big to own Christmas. They're all using a STEPPS model that is captured in Contagious by Jonah Burger. Read his book contagious to learn how.

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3. Research the specific area the brand lives within. 

What’s the keyword and hashtag that represents the world of the brand? By quickly using Keyhole.co and Google Trends, I learnt that the content marketing, the theme of this post, has some primary areas of interest: effectivity, tools, providers, and case studies.

By understanding the topics that build an area of interest, you can explore a broad number of different, but related issues to engage your audience.

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4. Design a playbook that captures your content efforts. 

Content marketing is vast and requires a detail-driven approach if you want to succeed. Capture all your critical information into a content marketing framework.

The framework should include audience segmentation, channels, keywords, and tone of voice. 

By using Buzzsumo, I can determine that content marketing is a favourite topic amongst business executives. Look how much-related content is shared on LinkedIn.

From the variety of publications and popular articles, I can also infer that we have three segmentations for content marketing: entrepreneur, creator, and marketer.

Keyhole and Ritetag give some specific hashtags to work with: marketing, social media, digital marketing, smm, and inbound marketing.

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5. Build your story and content platform 

Your essential tools are a website, newsletter, and a variety of social media channels. I suggest that Squarespace, Mailchimp and Buffer as your primary tools. My five favourite social platforms for content marketing are Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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6. Create an engaging story

You should create a batch of a dozen rich content assets that reflect the main subjects of your narrative. You should cover topics as to why you exist, how you’re different and what you do. Every story should give a gift, an insight, that helps.

For each of your stories, you should make a blog, an image and, if you can, a video. All of these should be published over a week or two to get things started.

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7. Seed your content

Get active on social and with communities such as Hacker News, Reddit and Stumbleupon. Try Linkedin groups for business-related services and products. Publish comments, links and posts on these sites and focus on your hashtags and keywords.

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8. Start following

Track your key areas of interest such as groups, hashtags, themes, memes, and influencers that influence your area of interest. From Keyhole and Twitter, I can determine that these five users are some of the most significant influencers in content marketing:
@CMIContent
@JoePulizzi ‏ 
@SMExaminer
@GerryMoran
@jaybaer ‏


    
9. Boost Baby

Start to boost your social content with paid support to validated audience segments. Invest in paid support once you feel you've achieved some traction with a piece of material.

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When you boost your post make sure you test many variations of image, headline, Call to Action, and audience segmentation.

Now you have these steps. You can start to test and learn what works. Then you can return to each of these steps and start your journey of content marketing mastery. Good luck.