What comes to mind when developing a content marketing plan? If you’re like most companies, it’s a combination of trying to answer two key questions:
Who will write my content?
How will I generate leads from the content I create?
While I could suggest the traditional route of creating frequent, high quality, long-form content with actionable advice, I’m going to take you down another road.
Those elements are still very much in play, but everyone likes a twist; don’t you think?
Be a Reporter
How many industry conferences do you attend? While there, I assume you live tweet, share Instagram posts and possibly share a few updates via Facebook. And while creating a recap of the conference on your website is a vehicle to share information with the conference attendees after the fact, why not engage them while they’re fervently tweeting and Instagramming?
Attendees at conferences have been known to breathe a sigh of relief when a presenter utters the magic words, "You don’t have to take notes, you’ll receive my presentation after the conference." In marketing, we know that the No. 1 way to create loyal, happy customers is to solve a problem for them. This should be applied to everything you do for your business. Be a resource for conference attendees and live blog during the conference. This way, you can drive relevant, quality traffic back to your website and be a resource for attendees — their personal notetaker.
Here’s How to Create a Quality Live Blog:
Step 1: Begin by finding an image relevant to the topic at hand. Create a clear title, like “[Conference name] Live Blog: Demystifying Social Media.” At the conference, attendees will likely actively conduct online searches for the name of the conference to find information about upcoming speakers, networking information, etc. This is a way to capitalize on search.
Step 2: Let people know your blog is a live blog. Simply have static text at the top of your blog that says, “Please excuse typos, this is a live blog for [conference name and link].”
Step 3: Establish a format for your live blog. Simplicity is key because you’ll be publishing content at a rapid-fire rate. I suggest a format like this:
Title of presentation Presenter:
Introductory sentence: Include an interesting tidbit about the presenter or a quote to draw people into the story.
Step 4: Be choosy about the content you publish. If a presentation doesn’t lend itself to coverage (i.e. it’s too visual or it would be lost on your external audience), don’t cover it. Remember: you are providing quality for both the attendees and your blog readers.
Step 5: Edit your content at the end of each day. I try to do quick edits before posting, but it’s essential to spend time editing content when you can.
Here’s an example of a live blog Organik SEO did for the recent Social Fresh West conference in San Diego.
Interviewing the top dogs in the digital marketing/SEO realm for blog posts has its benefits. The company that you feature will likely help promote your content because, after all, it’s about their business. Additionally, you’ve set the foundations for an ongoing relationship with that company/person because you’ve actively targeted them as a thought leader in your field.
Rather than simply emailing a contact at the company and asking them for an interview, dig deeper. Do your organizations share a similar passion? Perhaps you’re both committed to sustainability? If so, come prepared with five or six questions about green business practices that the company you’re interviewing employs. But don’t be rigid: allow the conversation to flow. If it diverges into another topic, build on that and perhaps you’ll have two blog posts ready to publish from your interview. Let your contact know that you’ll not only be featuring their content on your blog, but also on your social media networks — give them the link to these networks and foster your connection with them there as well.
Speaking of connecting via social media networks, LinkedIn is charting a new course into the publishing world. The oft-overlooked network now features a publishing tool that allows you to essentially use LinkedIn as a blogging platform. It features basic capabilities to help you format content and is an incredibly user-friendly publishing platforms. The great benefit of this feature is that your connections, the ones you deemed so important that you added them to the digital Rolodex that is LinkedIn, will see your content in their feed.
Use this publishing feature to speak to those connections with whom you’d like to foster a relationship. If you’re a digital agency that serves small businesses, write posts about how companies can manage social media on a small budget, or share tips for networking. Republish popular content to your blog.
Even if you have a strong grasp on what your consumers need, it’s always good to test the waters to see if their needs have evolved. Rather than writing content based on what you think your audience wants to read, ask them. Post a list of hot button topics to Facebook and ask your audience what they’d like you to address. Do the same on LinkedIn in groups and status updates.
If you have time, get creative. Create YouTube videos of common social media struggles, for example, and at the end, include a call to action asking people to comment about their most frustrating social media challenges. Then write about it in a blog post. You’ve shown your audience that you’re not only engaged, but you’re listening and actively solving their problems. The wins, they are all yours!
Do you implement any of the four I listed? Any other content creation strategies you like to use? Let me know in the comment section!
Image credit: Startup Stock Photos & Canva