A practical guide to building a content marketing schedule

5 tips: A practical guide to content marketing

I’ve made some mistakes with content marketing over the years. Thankfully I’ve learned more from my mistakes than my successes.

Below is a quick round-up of five things I check before clicking go on my content marketing schedule.

Research and Release

Start by conducting your own, original research. I use QuickSurveys by Toluna and SmartSurvey for multiple question research. But if I need a quick answer to a single question, I use the polls feature on Twitter (limited to one question and four answers, but you can target the audience if you pay to boost your tweet).

When you have the results of your survey, it’s time to release it to the world.

Twitter poll

Research results make excellent content because you are issuing facts that are only available from your company. It also positions you as thought leaders.

But think carefully about the questions before you launch your survey. Be sure you are asking questions about a topic that is current, relevant and hopefully thought-provoking.

Also, limit your release. Tell your existing clients about the research results first – basically, reward them for being a client. Then a week later, tell your qualified sales leads – again, let them know they are getting the results before the rest of the world (make them feel valued).

Finally, launch the results to the rest of the world via multiple channels.

Bonus tip: Limit your survey to just eight questions, any more than that and people start randomly clicking answers just to finish the job. Also, limit your answers to only 6-8 options.

React

You can plan when you do your research and the subjects you want to cover. But don’t let it stifle your ability to react to news events.

Content that is current will always get better engagement, so monitor industry and domestic/international news to grab issues for comment. A quick blog article with more than 350 words is easy to create – a ‘talking head’ video will perform better.

Bonus tip: In this instance, don’t get too hung up on proper grammar – speed is the key. You can always return later and correct any grammatical erors errors.

Respond

There is nothing wrong in hijacking other peoples content. LinkedIn, Twitter and Quora are great places to hang out and respond to content posted by other organisations (even your competitors).

Keep it objective and fact-based, and don’t be afraid to agree with your rivals.

Bonus tip: Monitor hashtags relevant to your industry as a quick way to find relevant content.

Rule of law

The UK government (and other countries) always publish their forthcoming programme of legislation. It will tell you when Parliament plans to discuss and vote on bills that are relevant to your company.

Check www.parliament.uk to build the dates into your content marketing programme and prepare some research so you can comment from a position of authority (Twitter polls are good for this activity as they are quick to set-up and get a response).

Bonus tip: I’ve had success getting MPs and MEPs to comment on new legislation. Don’t be afraid to approach your local representative; they are there to support you.

Reminders

Did you know 23 April is world English Language Day? There are many ‘international days’ that get coverage in the media; some are well-known, and some are a bit weird (today, 8 December, is brownie cake day, mmmm).

The United Nations (UN) publishes a list of official international days at www.un.org and a list of unofficial days can be found at www.daysoftheyear.com.

Find the days that are relevant to your organisation and plan to publish content on those days. Again, Twitter polls can provide some low-cost poll results to add authenticity and a different angle to your content.

Bonus tip: Write the bulk of your content in advance but leave the opinion poll until the last minute. People change their views on a variety of subjects, and you need to ensure your survey is current.

Conclusion

Your content marketing schedule can be a mix of pre-programmed activity and quick response to evolving news stories. Having a library of research results helps you to comment with objective facts and positions you as a thought-leader. A few words from other experts (MPs, MEPs and industry leaders) really helps your authority.

Bonus tip: Ensure your sales staff read your content and especially your research results. They are face-to-face with clients and prospective clients; your content can help position them as experts.


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