I believe the New Year is a gift! The beginning of a new year is when our hopes are highest, our dreams are reachable, and our resolve is greatest. A new year is also the perfect time to assess our business goals and to plan for the success we hope to achieve. If you are a business with a presence online, you cannot ignore the importance of effective content marketing to move your brand forward and reach your marketing goals.
Here are 7 things you should know for a successful online content marketing plan for 2014.
It is important to know exactly what you expect to achieve from your online content marketing efforts. Identifying exactly what you hope to accomplish will help you make better use of your time. Do you want more company page “likes,” or “shares,” are you trying to generate more leads or new customers or generate more traffic to your website and/or blog? If you set specific objectives it will help you better define your content marketing metrics and make your efforts more effective. Also, be sure that your objectives are as concrete, achievable and measurable as possible.
2. Know which mediums are best for your business
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to think that your content belongs on every social media platform that exists. Beyond Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., we are constantly being introduced to new social media platforms. However, it is extremely important for you to know which mediums make sense for your business. Don’t try to have a presence on all of them, just figure out which mediums work for your company and commit to making sure that your content is meaningful and effective. Remember that if you don’t have a person or team in place to administer these platforms, you will have to contract out those services. So, utilize the best talent you have with limited social media presence or engage in a more robust plan with outside experts.
To help you figure it out, here’s a helpful look at which online platforms will be trending in 2014:
Facebook: Facebook is still leading in social media. However, there appears to be a drop in numbers of younger audiences so if that is your primary demographic, you may want to evaluate how much time your company needs to invest in Facebook. Facebook continues to roll out features that have a heavy focus on advertisements, including video ads. Don’t rule out turning your content into ads via post boosts if this can be beneficial to your business.
Google+: Who knew? According to GlobalWebIndex, Google+, with 343-million active users, has become the second largest social network globally. Providing content on Google+ will help increase your SEO rankings so you will definitely want to examine how your company and/or the principal persons in your company can utilize this social media channel.
Twitter – 140 characters can be very challenging so Twitter is really emphasizing photos in 2014. Twitter ads are also generating some buzz so research whether this is a viable option for you to reach a specific target market for your business.
Instagram – Primarily photo focused, Instagram also has an ad component. Again, make sure that this is worth your time and investment and whether it will benefit your brand. If you have a visual product or service, Instagram could be right for your company.
3. Know who you want to reach
If you haven’t figured out who your target market is and/or what type of customer your business appeals to, you could waste tons of time. To get a feel for who they are and what their interests are, consider polling current customers to get feedback about their likes and dislikes as well as their online practices. Once you have an idea of what your customers want, you can craft messages directly to them, which in turn, creates customer loyalty, and more brand awareness. This targeted base of followers (loyal fans) is more likely to share within their circles, and ultimately help increase your company’s bottom line.
4. Know what you want to say
How will you determine what you want to say to your audience? It is beneficial for you to decide what the main topics are that effectively represent your brand. Using keywords and categories to segment your topics will more than likely increase your SEO and help you define how you want your brand to be known. You’ll want to first brainstorm a list of those keywords and categories that you feel a potential customer would put in a search engine to find your business. After you create (and refine) this list, you can include those keywords in your content (just be sure not to oversaturate your content with keywords – be strategic and intentional but not over promotional). Google’s Keyword Tool can help you with this process. Remember that it’s more important for you to provide content for your audience that they want to read – it’s not all about you!
5. Know how to engage your audience
Facebook, Google analytics and other metric tools can offer useful information about how your audience is responding to your content. Are your pictures or videos getting the most response? Does your target audience respond more to your messages during the evening hours or during the day? Which days are your website and/or social media channels getting the most traffic? Getting a handle on the answers will help you better understand the online habits of your audience and will only increase engagement when you learn how to adjust your content accordingly.
6. Know how to provide rich content
Where will your content come from? Who will be responsible for providing your online content? You have many choices when it comes to providing rich content. You can provide industry specific content from associations and institutions closely related to your business. You can provide content written by the professionals and experts within your company, or you can search for content from bloggers and influencers around the world. Bloggers love when you share something they’ve written and this form of flattery could get you a lot of exposure to their followers. Whatever you decide be sure that your content is always fresh and updated – there is nothing worse than a blog or social media platform that hasn’t been updated in months.
It is a good idea to look at your analytics at least once a quarter to find out what is working and what isn’t. Understand, however, that it takes time to build up a robust online presence. If you find that something just isn’t working, don’t be afraid to re-evaluate and make changes.
Business presence online is not a fad or fleeting trend, it is here to stay. More and more companies are finding ways to promote their brand online. Hence, going forward a lot of focus is on providing rich, online content that keeps customers coming back over and over again. If you take some time to know these 7 things for your company, you will have a strong and very successful 2014 online content marketing plan.
This post first appeared on www.yourprdiva.com