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April 15, 2014

Guest Post: Only Four Pieces to the Online Content Marketing Strategy Puzzle

content marketing for small businessAn online content marketing strategy is simply a plan for writing and delivering content in an effort to promote a brand and engage an audience on the web. The goal is to entice consumers to return to your website and other online profiles over and over again.

While content strategy can get complex, it doesn’t have to.  Here’s a simple four-piece process ideal for artisan food brands ready to get started.

Piece 1: Recognize Your Voice

During your original branding process you hopefully established your company values and mission. How does that translate into voice? Are you personable and conversational or corporate and professional? Decide on your style and work to create a consistent voice across all your marketing.

Piece 2: Determine What Your Customers Want

Survey your fans. Do competitive research. See what type of content your ideal customers typically engage with on the web and where they do it. For example, if your target consumers are vegan athletes, you should determine the top three online spaces where they spend their time and assess their interactions there. (My guess? Vegan athletes spend time of topic-specific blogs and forums and on Pinterest.)

Piece 3: Start Producing, But Don’t Publish

It’s time to get writing, picture taking, and designing graphics. However, do yourself a favor. Don’t open up four social media profiles, launch your blog, send a newsletter, and write an ebook all at once.  You won’t be able to sustain this volume of content unless you’ve got a team of people helping. Instead, take several weeks to produce content and get feedback before you publish.

Piece 4: Publish Strategically

Now that you’ve got content to work with, let’s create a calendar. This is a strategy after all! There are a few things to consider here:

  • Frequency – Don’t let too much time pass between postings. Doesn’t matter if it’s your blog, social media profiles, or newsletter. You want your brand to look alive and for your fans to visit you often.
  • Relevancy – Pay attention to what is happening in the world and how you can tie-in content to those events. Is it grilled cheese day and you happen to make an incredible cheddar cheese? Get out the George Foreman.
  • Scheduling tools – If you’re like me, you’ll find scheduling tools to be a huge time saver. Hootsuite is my favorite, and your website content management system likely lets you schedule content, too.
  • Check-in regularly – Frequently check the online spaces where your brand is represented so you can respond quickly. The most successful content strategies are those that have a high engagement with fans.

What’s your take on online content strategy? How has your strategy boosted your brand?

Sara Lancaster is the chief communicator at The Condiment Marketing Co., a storytelling agency for growing food brands who want to look big on the web. Learn more at CondimentMarketing.com.

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