So to get you started, we have created a 3 step guide to hep you establish a content marketing strategy (for SMEs) that require minimal cost. We are going to explore strategies that local SME owners and markerters can start on NOW by using resources readily available within the company.
Step #1: Start Small With Achievable Objective
“What do you want your readers to do/think after they have read through your content?”
This sound like a simple question but it involves throughout consideration of the image you want your company to be seen and the actions that you want your readers to take. It basically forms the skeleton of your entire marketing content.
To get you started, here are some common examples of the objectives companies drive towards:The objectives are arrange according to the relative amount of investment needed to reach it. For example, branding is going to require most investment as you need to maintain your company image through various campaigns, such as a mix of SEO and social media marketing. But to generate traffic, you can simply rely one marketing campaign such as through Facebook marketing or email marketing.
So do consider the amount of investment, in terms of time and resourse, that you like to put in to your content marketing, along with the needs of your company.
Bonus: Tip for setting objective
One of the best practises for goal setting is to make it SMART. It’s a practise recommended and used by researchers and businesses, alike.
Here are the steps to create a SMART objective:By creating a detailed and action-based objective, you can have a clearer idea on how to go about reaching your goals.
Step #2: Create Your Content Marketing Strategy With Existing Tools
“How are you going to reach your objectives?”
This is as important as your content marketing objectives. But first, you need to know the tools that you can use before forming your strategy.
Tools 1: Your Current Knowledge
Think of the information that you can share, right now, and that your readers are interested to know. It can be the frequently-asked-questions or a interesting question a client asked you some time back. It will be good if you can do a little research and talk to some of your customers or clients. Ask them what would they want to know now and what information helped them with their purchase in the past.
Just remember, whatever the information may be, the sharing the information should ideally allow you to attain your preset objective in the long run. It should encourage certain behaviours that you want them to have.
Tool 2: Your Content Marketing Channel
Tap onto your existing communication channels. Select the appropriate channel that would be able to attract the exact target group that your objective are set out for. Just a recap for you, here are some possible channels:
- Google Hangouts (video-based content)
- Company website
So if I am trying to improve my SEO visibility, I will looking into my existing websites (blogs, official website, etc) and see how I can boost my SEO game with. I may also check on Google Adwords or Yahoo Gemini (any search engine you prefer) on good keywords that I can aim to get ranked.
South-East Asia has the highest percentage of social media users, of which Singapore ranks as the 4th country with highest social media penetration ( number of social media users to the number of population ratio). So, social media is probably going to be a good place to start.
However, different social media has different user demographic. Check out our post on the top 3 social media in Singapore for more information on the different user demographic.
Tool 3: Your Content Creation Ability
There are many types of content that you can use in content marketing. You may be using some of them now, but whether you are using it for content marketing is another subject matter.
Each presentation format of the content has different performing metrics and requires different skillset from your team/company. Some needs more designing skill while others more copywriting or videography skills, or may be a combination of all.For those looking to leverage more on photo-based content, we have an article on free stock photos which may be useful for you.
Align Your Tools With Customer’s Journey Map
Once you know the tools that you can play with, it’s time to think of how you can plot your content marketing strategy.
With your existing resources and skills, think about how you can make your customer interact with your company through the platforms that you are familiar. Think of the flow of action a viewer has to go through before they take action, specifically the action that you want them to do. Then, map the actions out on your laptop or a piece of paper.
Here is an example of a simple customer journey map for a lead generation campaign.This method of plotting customer interaction with the company has been used by many service businesses such as Starbucks and MacDonald. Some people call it a customer journey map or a service blueprint. No matter the name, the gist of mapping out the interactions helps company to oversee the interaction needed between potential customer and the company, making it clearer for future improvement.
Here are some questions that can help you with your customer journey map:
- How does your customer discover your brand?
- Before taking up an action, will they be doing any research and what research would they do?
- How many times does your customer has to interact with your company before taking up an action?
- What happens to a customer who drops out of the planned route map? How can you prevent or re-engage them back?
If you realise that you are not able to plot your strategy well without include one or two additional channels or skillset that you do not have now, don’t worry. Work on what you have first, you can always acquire the lacking parts when you are more convinced of the effectiveness of content marketing.
Also, don’t confuse this with buyer’s journey. Buyer’s journey explain the purchase process your customers go through before engaging you, while customer journey map is plotted interaction points your customers go through before they take up an action you want them to. Still, You can use buyer’s journey to help you better understand your customer’s purchase process.
Step #3: Implement Your Strategy
Once you have your strategy ready, it’s time to gather your manpower and allocate time for content marketing.
“How much do you intend to commit to your content marketing plans”
According to Sheridan, a content marketer himself, you need at least 10 hours a week for successful content marketing. It sounds a lot but if you split the work in your team, you can have 2 staff to work on it for 1 hour each working day.
Also to clarify, Sheridan’s 10 hour rule is specifically for content marketing that involves blogs and social media. This includes time taken to write the articles, post a social media post and review through at the performance of both end of the week. But content marketing can also happen through a single channel; social media or email! You definitely won’t need more than 10 hours each week to work on an email or a Facebook post.
Here is a quick guide for a gauge on the amount of hours needed for each activity:
- Social media post ≈ 1 hour each (including simple editing and copy writing)
- Email ≈ 5 hours each (including simple editing and copy writing)
- Illustration with template available ≈ 5 hours each
- Simple Video ≈ 2- 6 hours each (dependent on length and amount of information)
- Blog article ≈ 2-3 hours each
- Reviewing through campaign result ≈ 1 hour each
You are definitely going to spend more time during the first month as your sort out the different requirements across different channles (e.g. image dimension for Facebook post as opposed to email, etc) and demand of your readers. But as time goes by, you are only going to get quicker in your writing.
Commit yourself to upload content a few times per month. For starters, once a week is good. The more frequent you publish your content, the easier it is for a reader to recognise the value your company provides them.
Give yourself one day to work through this guide and discuss with your team. And once you have the ground plans layed out, get the ball rolling!
Just a reminder: Content marketing is a long-term game. You cannot expect result to come in within the first 3 months. But once take flight, you can see why content marketing such a big thing in America and Europe.
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