Walk into any online marketing conference these days and you will hear the latest buzzword: Content Marketing.  In fact, I have been keeping my finger on the pulse of this topic myself through a recent seminar put on by Social Media Examiner. After listening to some knowledgeable marketing gurus, my take is that investing time and energy into content marketing is well worth it, both for your short-term goals of SEO and marketing communications, and your long-term goals of building customer loyalty and establishing yourself as an expert in your field of business.

“But wait!” You say.  “I don’t have any content.” Ahhhh….but you do.

Go ahead and humor me a bit and play a theoretical game of “What is Content?’ Do you have a blog? That’s content. Do you have a website? Content. How about sales sheets?  Content. An article you’ve written? (Ok, that one was easy.)  Definitely content. Are you one of those clever folks who has come up with diagrams and Infographs for your business? That’s very useful content. If you are of the hipper, trendier style you may have video and audio files. Content. Content.  You get my drift.

So what to do with all this lovely content you’ve discovered?  First, recognize it as an asset. Second, organize it.  And, third, use it. My focus for this blog is the organizing part. So here we go…. in 3, easy to read, web-friendly, bullet-pointed paragraphs:

  • Pull it together. Administrative, yes. But you can’t ignore this step. Make a spreadsheet with all your content detailing its title (for example, “How Bees Communicate”), where it lives (blog post), what form it is in (5 minute video), and if it needs to be revised or is up to date.  This last point it important because it will encourage you to pull together ALL your content. Not just the recent stuff. But even the stuff that college intern wrote up for you a couple of years ago that could use some wordsmithing has potential.
  • Brainstorm on it.  For the last column of your spreadsheet, come up with a few ideas on where else this content could be useful.  Could you break up the article you recently wrote and make it into five or six interesting status updates for your Facebook page?  Can your rewrite it with a new slant and put it on your blog?  Or maybe you could do both. Do this with every piece of content. If the content is really lame and needs to be ignored forevermore, that’s fine.  Label it as such and move on.  But at least think it through first.
  • Schedule it out. This is where you see the fruits of your labor. Look at your media schedule and editorial calendar. (Don’t have one? Well, that’s another topic for another post).  Figure out what can go where. Spec it out and then be extra, extra organized and put it on your weekly calendar.  If you have a team of people, assign the list out.  Gertrude can be in charge of rewriting the content on queen bee behavior while Chuck is responsible for making sure it is Tweeted on the assigned dates.

Before you know it, you will have a wealth of steady blog topics, articles and tweets to last you into the next 6 months. And before you know it, you will have not just created a Content Marketing plan, but you will have solved your social media woes as well.


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