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Three Simple Steps for a Better Content Marketing Strategy

You’ve done it. Your last Facebook ad campaign pushed your business page over the 2,000 likes threshold and your email collector is grabbing emails like a machine (because it is a machine). Now what? Small business owners regularly face the challenge of creating engaging content for their consumers to chew on while also effectively branding their business. According to a recent study, the average organic reach on Facebook has decreased from 12% of your audience to just 2% in less than a year. In a world of over one billion social media users, how do you stand out? How do you avoid disengaged fans and a plague of un-likes?

Facebook Business Pages

Spam kills.

No, we aren’t talking about the delectable mystery meat in a can. We're talking about the click-bait content that's being produced by shady businesses and polluting your news feed. Don't be one of them. Quality content will win. Providing relevant, unique and engaging content without asking anything in return is becoming the unicorn of content marketing. In your attempt to gain a wider reach and more engagement, it is important to focus on quality and devise an editorial calendar to map out your content marketing strategy.

Consumers join email lists and follow brands on social media because they’re interested in additional communication. Content marketing is your way of communicating. It isn’t something you should be turning on and off like a light switch, either. Consumers are creatures of habit. It’s important to acknowledge this. An editorial calendar will aid you in providing consistent content and help you plan quality topics. Find a plan that works and stick to it as best you can.

Let the people speak!

Everyone likes to think that their opinion matters. Why else would there be tens of thousands of comments on a Miley Cyrus YouTube video? And Don’t even get us started with those fanatic ESPN commentators. When you provide content that asks a vote or encourages comments, fans are more likely to engage which will broaden your reach. You will also gain helpful insights on your brand and the way it’s being perceived by consumers. And when appropriate, the comment section can be a useful tool for customer relations and additional engagement.

What's #trending?

Don’t be the guy that posts a Harlem Shake video while everyone in your news feed is talking about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (more on this viral phenomena below). Providing timely content is very important and can be easily done by creating content that relates to trending topics (more commonly known as newsjacking). Two powerful examples of recent newsjacking are the ALS Ice Bucket Challenges of Orlando Jones and Matt Damon. Jones poured a bucket full of shell casings instead of ice water on himself to raise awareness for civil rights issues. Damon, a co-founder of Water.org, used toilet water for his challenge to bring attention to his goal of providing clean drinking water for everyone without it.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Stats  
So, besides sitting on Facebook and Twitter all day, how do you discover what's trending? Even though we're using the ALS challenge as an example, it's not the norm. Content goes "viral" every day, but not like this. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge will likely become the most viral movement ever. With a little research, you can discover other trending topics to take advantage of. A great tool for discovering these topics is Twitter’s Advanced Search. This feature allows you to search a keyword, phrase or hashtag in specified areas for a set period of time. With this information you can create content related to trending topics and stories in your area. Another tool you can use is Google Trends. Google Trends provides hot searches, top charts and overall search volume.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Whether it is MailChimp, Facebook or Google Analytics, there are always metrics for evaluating successes and failures. Analyzing the data will allow you to ditch the things that didn’t work and help you recreate the practices that did. You can measure reach and growth with Facebook Insights. You can measure open and sharing rates with MailChimp reports.  You can then tie everything together with Google Analytics and track which marketing efforts are bringing the most users to your website. Review your metric reports regularly and step back every 2-3 months to evaluate the big picture.

Content marketing and social media are now a required component for small businesses. By focusing on quality, using an editorial calendar, keeping an eye on trending topics and using analytics, you will have a more successful and more sustained content marketing strategy. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Content is still king. You just have to know how to use it.
Content Writer: Jason Wolfe Jason Wolfe Former RevLocal Employee

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