For those in the creative business, content marketing can seem like a whole other job on top of your work. Finding inspiration, curating photos, writing content, picking hashtags, and considering your audience’s media consumption habits can quickly stack up to feel like an overwhelming task — especially when you consider content and social media marketing is most effective when done on an ongoing basis.
However, it does not need to feel like an impossible feat. In fact, it can be a pretty simple process when you have a smart workflow in place. Below, we will explore several places to look for content ideas, as well as how you can simplify and streamline your content marketing approach for maximum impact with minimal effort.
A Fail Proof Guide to Effective Content and Social Media Marketing
There are plenty of sources for inspiration out there, but you need to know where to look. While it can seem like a good idea to see what your competitors are talking about, it is best to create as much original content as possible. Here are a few places to look for ideas:
Believe it or not, you do not need to come up with brand-new information that no one has ever heard before. If you’re in the wedding industry, for example, remember your couples are getting married and they have never done this before; even if they have, they are not sitting knee-deep in the industry like we are. Looking to your most frequently asked questions can help to demystify the big question of what to write about that will resonate with your target audience.
Much like your FAQs, you can find a lot of content right within your contract. Look at your policies and procedures to see what could use further explanation. Don’t look at it as boring content. Instead think of it as an opportunity to expand upon what you’re passionate about and how that benefits your target audience.
In continuing with the wedding industry example: consider the questions you get from other vendors on behalf of their clients. Even if they do not make the list of your FAQs, they are just as useful to your target market. These ideas are great for long-form content like blogs, videos and podcasts, which helps to elevate our industry with more qualified couples who are prepared to have educated discussions with other vendors. From there you’re able to distill the long form content into shorter form content like captions and posts.
To round out the wedding industry example, remember that engaged couples are more active online than ever before, which provides those of us in the wedding industry with an invaluable source of information. Check out discussion boards on wedding-related sites like WeddingWire and The Knot. These are real-life couples discussing their hopes, dreams, fears and obstacles — all of which may influence the type of content you choose to create.
Simplifying Your Social Media Marketing Process
Content marketing takes time, especially when you are putting out regular posts on social media. This does not have to consume your life, though; with a few simple strategies, you can keep your content marketing running without blowing up your schedule. Let’s cover some the best practices to streamline your content marketing efforts:
This is arguably the best approach for content marketing, especially when it comes to social media. Set aside a full day to focus only on creating content for the whole month ahead. Turn off all notifications and distractions. It’s important to know you are only dedicated to content in order to stay focused. If you try to piecemeal your approach, it is not going to be effective and will become more of a burden than anything.
Schedulers go hand-in-hand with batch working, as you will need a platform that will push out your pre-planned content at the right time. Here are a few suggestions:
- Planoly is a great choice for scheduling Instagram posts and Stories, as it allows you to see your grid before publishing to ensure your feed looks the way you want.
- Tailwind is the best option for automating Pinterest, as you can batch upload Pins to publish automatically for up to 30 days into the future.
- Facebook is best done directly from the page as the algorithms are set to prioritize organic content that is published natively. Don’t worry — you can still pre-schedule Facebook posts from the Publishing Tools tab of your page.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. If social media and content marketing are not your jam, consider outsourcing the responsibilities to someone who enjoys it. See if anyone on your team is interested in helping or hire a contractor to fill in if possible. You might not even need them for every part — some may be interested in creating content whereas others might prefer the technical side of scheduling and tracking metrics.
At the end of the day, though, it’s important to remember that you are responsible for everything that goes out under your brand. Don’t count on your pre-scheduled content to run your entire business. Likewise, do not let a contractor or team member manage every aspect of your brand messaging. It’s important to maintain ownership of your online presence, so keep tabs on everything being published.
It is also a good idea to intersperse some in-the-moment content to keep your feed personable, which is the perfect opportunity to experiment more with video. Try showing off some sneak peeks of upcoming products or a few behind-the-scenes videos while onsite at your next event. Content marketing needs to feel genuine and there is no better way to achieve that than by putting a face to the brand!
Of course, social media is very much about being social, so don’t fully let go of the engagement responsibilities. It provides a great way to connect with potential clients or customers, as well as other creative entrepreneurs, wedding vendors and more online, so keep your engagement authentic and personal.
As with everything else in your business, you need to be aware of what is working and what is not. Before making any major changes to your content and social media marketing plan, review your analytics to keep track of your baseline numbers. Going forward, they will serve as a reference point to see how your efforts have impacted the growth of your business, which will help you to adjust and refine your marketing plan in the future.
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