How to Get Started with Content Marketing, Part One
Other posts in this series:
How to Get Started with Content Marketing, Part Two
How to Find Your Groove as a Content Marketer, Part One and Part Two
The Evolution of a Content Master, Part One and Part Two
If you're new in business or new to online marketing, you're probably aiming to publish new content about once a month at this point. In other words, you're a Content Starter (see A Content Marketing Model for criteria of the other two stages of content marketing).
Prerequisites for Content Starters
Here are the crucial content marketing tools you'll need to have in place before you launch your journey towards content mastery (please note that some of these are affiliate links):
- Email service provider - Consider Aweber - this is the one that I use, MailChimp, Constant Contact or iContact.
- Basic website and/or blog - Somewhere you can publish and archive your content, so that you can link to it from emails as well as from your social network updates. I use Typepad for my blog and website.
- Mailing list sign-up form - A widget, form or piece of HTML code that you can get from your email service provider. Put this right into your sidebar template so that it displays on every page, no matter where someone may land when they visit.
- Time for your content - Commit to spend at least two hours per week on content marketing tasks.
Finding your audience, and helping them find you
You're finding new clients through connections, through former work relationships, through networking or through other forms of prospecting. You're gaining experience and confidence as a coach and as a marketer.
You're probably still saying YES to everyone, but you're noticing that conversations with certain clients light you up like the others don't. Pay special attention to these - your audience is finding you!
As you get to know your audience better and experience client successes, notice also any patterns that signify the underlying model or process that is creating those successes.
Listen to any and all feedback about the content you're publishing. Which topics generate comments, questions or inquiries about your services?
Generating your core content
Start making notes about the topics you're talking about most often with those clients who particularly inspire you. You'll develop these into core pieces of content that provide valuable assistance and concrete solutions to your readers, while introducing them to your ideas and services.
You may also write some preliminary thought pieces as you're developing your services and business model, though at this stage you may choose not to publish them.
You'll also be looking at around at what other people are doing to serve the same types of clients you want to work with. This research will lead to new relationships and potential collaborations for you, and connective pieces of content for your readers.
Learning and practicing basic article writing skills
In your online research, begin studying the basic structure of effective articles (ones that you liked, ones that have been linked to a lot or ones that have been rated, e.g., with a star system) and try to incorporate that structure into your own monthly articles.
Choose one writing reference guide so that you can make sure to handle writing issues the same way all the time.
As well, lay out all of the tasks involved throughout the month, from brainstorming about article topics all the way to publishing on the specific date you've promised (e.g., the second Tuesday of the month). Build the discipline of consistency now when there's less content to manage.
In Part Two of this post, we'll look at how to build on your basic content marketing platforms, as well as some of the support systems that will help you take the next steps towards content mastery.