Let's be honest, launching a content campaign can feel as intimidating as a dentist standing over you with a pair of pliers... a mean dentist, with a knowing smirk and an evil glint in his eye.
However, the stats are there to prove that an effective inbound strategy guarantees business growth. What's more, companies are three times more likely to see a higher return on investment on inbound marketing campaigns than on outbound efforts.
So, forget the dastardly dentist. Kick start 2019 with a content-led boom and you know what, it will all be sunshine and rainbows.
Here are five things to do in order to get started.
1. Use your most powerful weapon: your knowledge
Now, we don't normally like throwing images of bullets around the place willy-nilly, but we have a point here.
When it comes to content, knowledge is key. Your business, whatever it may be, likely has some precious insights that your prospective customers are crying out for. However, it can often be the case that those who have the most valuable expertise are the most time-poor.
And content, is often seen as a very time-consuming venture.
Yet, by putting some simple processes in place, an inordinate amount of time can be saved. In fact, using the bullet method, senior stakeholders can supply the unique insights that are so critical for an engaging content campaign in a matter of minutes.
And that's good news for you. Because the knowledge you possess as an organisation is hugely valuable to those who are searching and researching your industry – as they will be before making a purchase.
So, although content may seem like a mammoth task, for those who are the shortest on time, it can be taken care of quicker than a speeding bullet.
2. Take a scientific approach
Content marketing is, at its core, an exercise in promotion. If it doesn’t result in growth, well, you’re doing it wrong.
Although many see content as a creative process, it can (and should) be approached in a scientific manner. With observed conditions, clear inputs and processes, you can be certain of producing consistently positive results.
Now, for different businesses, 'positive results' might mean very different things – but more often than not, these will be grounded in lead generation and (inevitably) boosted sales and revenue.
With a strategic and scientific approach to content – build, measure, optimise – leads should be flying through your door like confetti at a carnival. So, get your frickin' groove on.
PS: On the topic, we're huge fans of using behavioural science to help us get things done. If you want to know how to make a habit of content production, then check out this piece...
3. Get your customers to trust you
For customers, the corporate world can sometimes seem like some sort of contemporary reproduction of Tolkien's Mordor. And all are one and the same - part of the all seeing, devious oligarch sucking up all that is good and pure.
(Sorry... got a little morbid there.)
However, content gives you the opportunity to give your business a personality and a voice. A voice that will allow you to connect with your audience and establish trust.
When customers set out on their buying journey, they're not just thinking about what problem they need solved but who they should do business with.
So content allows you to not only communicate, but to do so in a manner that tells your prospective customers who you are and how you're different.
Trust matters. And to get it, you have to earn it. Content is the right place to start.
4. ... and then, make a point of delighting them
Although content marketing is far from a new concept, it is still very much evolving.
One major change in 2018 was the 'retirement' of the traditional funnel, and the adoption of Hubspot's flywheel in its place: a recognition that, in order for a content strategy to be successful, it shouldn't leave customers on their arse as soon as they've converted.
We all know that existing customers make the best sales reps, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise that happy customers are far better at selling than disgruntled ones.
For a content strategy to be successful, it needs to constantly give back to already existing customers and delight them with insights, offers or just plain instructional, functional information about how to make the most out of your product.
5. Get a bit sassy...
Don't you give me that sass, Jack! No seriously though... give me that sass, Jack.
Although it may sound like a risky prospect, you'll be surprised how liberating it can be to actually let loose and tell your audience what you really think.
In your industry, there's no doubt that your business has some unique insights that will challenge the status quo. So, why not get a little bit lippy and step out from the crowd?
Challenging assumptions and stimulating debate will separate you from the competition – not just other brands vying for your customers' money, but also publishers vying for their attention – all while reminding everyone that your business has an advanced knowledge and is capable of thinking outside the box.
We recently penned a little doodle on the growing assumption that brands should avoid publisher style content and focus on library pieces. We thought that line of thinking was a load of wishwash so, we fleshed out our thoughts and put them out there.
And you know what? It felt damn good.
When content is done right, it always does.