Content marketing is still enjoying its position as one of the greatest and most efficient marketing strategies available to modern professionals. If you haven’t gotten involved with a strategy of your own, it’s time to strike while the iron’s hot. Consumer demand for content is at an all-time high, but increasing volumes of competition and technological developments like AI writing programs may jeopardize the long-term future of the strategy. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can guarantee yourself some of the benefits.
Still, starting a content marketing strategy from scratch can be intimidating. Some brands have worked for years and have still barely scratched the surface of their potential, so how can you gain any momentum in a reasonable amount of time?
I won’t deny that it does take time and patience for a content marketing campaign to pay off, but getting started is way easier than you think. You only need five crucial ingredients:
The first thing you need is a reliable, easy-to-use blogging or similar content platform. The goal here is to have a publication platform for you to push your material to. In most cases, the goal of content marketing is to funnel users to a particular website, so if you already have a website—great! You can either use the blog section (in the case of most template sites, like WordPress), or create a blog of your own. If you’re new to the game entirely, you can start your own website that exists solely as a blog.
It doesn’t matter how fancy or involved the platform is. As long as it readily allows you to post new material, and gives you some kind of SEO functionality, you should be in good shape. You can worry about the more trivial elements, like the design and layout, at a later date. For now, your main concern should be getting words and images up in a central location.
Next, you’re going to want a personal brand. Let’s take a step back and examine why a personal brand is important. If you’re an individual, you certainly don’t want to blog anonymously—if you do that, you’ll never gain any recognition or momentum. If you’re working on behalf of a company and the company has a corporate brand, it’s similarly bad practice to blog only under the company’s name. People don’t trust information from companies; they trust information from people.
If you aren’t sure where to start with a personal brand, don’t worry—it’s actually quite easy. Your personal brand can just be you, in a nutshell, with a little bit of professional flavor to make sure people believe that you’re an actual authority on the subject. List some defining characteristics for your personal brand, including your areas of expertise and how you want your voice to be portrayed in your future articles.
Your social network should be a display and extension of your personal brand. Essentially, you want to show yourself off and start building meaningful connections over the course of several platforms and several months. It’s likely that you have a Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn page at the very least, but how often do you seek out new connections? How up-to-date is your profile information? How relevant are your posts to the type of reputation you want to hold in your content campaign? These are all questions you’ll need to answer and resolve before you get started writing content.
With a decent social network set up, you’ll have a far easier time in the early stages of your content campaign. You’ll be able to syndicate your articles and get more readers. You’ll be able to earn a better reputation, and faster. And you’ll be able to hit the ground running when it comes to building relationships and getting your material featured on other sources.
Next, you’ll need to have some sort of plan for the future of your campaign. Hopefully, outlining your personal brand gave you a taste of what you’re looking for. Still, you’ll want to define your goals—are you more interested in building a great reputation, or in driving quantifiable traffic to your site? Are you interested in high-profile publishers, or would you prefer to be known more exclusively within a particular niche?
From there, you’ll have to decide on the fabric of your content campaign. How often are you going to post? What kind of topics are you going to choose? What about the length and structure of your articles? These are important questions you’ll need to sort out before beginning.
Finally, you’ll need to have plenty of time to get started with a campaign. The setup process itself takes a few days, but then you’ll need to dedicate several hours every week to writing, editing, publishing, syndicating, and measuring the results. There is no shortcut for success in content, and many people have abandoned the strategy once they’ve realized this. Don’t let it happen to you; know that it takes a serious investment of time, and be prepared for that eventuality.
If you have these five ingredients at your disposal, you should have no trouble getting started with your content marketing campaign. It won’t be an easy or fast process, but if you put in the time and put in the effort, you will eventually find success.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.