How-To: Content Marketing Strategy

By Lee Collins •  Updated: 02/18/20 •  8 min read
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Having a content marketing strategy is something that seems vastly misunderstood as a traffic strategy for the average small business person.

The big companies are using content marketing. Consistently. Across the board.

That’s a big reason why they win.

They hire people and raise up departments to get content marketing traffic.

And it’s not just articles. They are using blog posts, slideshares, YouTube, Pinterest, their own sites, their own sister sites, and many other iterations of content marketing, to drive prospect engagement, new prospect visits, and repeat prospect visits.

But small businesses seem to have difficulty “getting a content marketing strategy going consistently”.

I’m hoping this helps.

What is Content Marketing?

First off, what is content marketing?

Content marketing is the process of using content online as a way to attract prospects to a website. Your content strategy can be written, audio, or visual.

The written content might be blog posts, articles, replies in question sites, forum participation, powerpoint presentations. It can even be written content on social media sites such as facebook.

Audio content might be podcasts or mp3s available for listening on the web. Visual content might be videos, pictures with diagrams, flowcharts, photographs, or drawings. Content can generate new prospects, or reactivate old prospects, bringing them to your website.

The Power of having a Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing can happen unintentionally and/or by accident. Sometimes a company might write content like blog posts or responses on facebook to questions by prospects. That content will begin to attract other prospects to the companies’ website, without that being the intention of the company.

The problem is much of the content marketing being done today appears largely unintentional.

But it is content marketing nevertheless.

The real power of content marketing happens when a company recognizes where their visitors and prospects are finding their content, or when they realize where the prospects are looking for content online about their topic, and they begin to intentionally create content for the purpose of attracting prospects or repeat visitors to their website(s).

Once this occurs, and some standardization of the amount of new prospects or new sales come as a result of a given piece of content marketing, then the company has the opportunity to expand quickly, at the pace at which their prospect generation and sales can keep up with their content marketing.

How Can Content Marketing Help a Business?

So, how can content marketing help a business?

Here’s an example:

Imagine a company realizes that each time it posts a new blog post on its’ site, it receives 100 new visitors, which turn into 10 new subscribers, which turn into 3 new buyers who are each worth $100 in revenue.

This means that the average blog post the company produces is worth $300 in revenue.

When you establish this metric, you can use it to determine what it is worth to generate that revenue. Perhaps the budget calls for a 10% “advertising” cost associated with new revenue.

At a $300 revenue point per blog post, this allows the company to invest $30 per blog post.

Part of that investment might go towards the actual writing of the article, part of that investment might go towards the maintenance or development of the blog itself, and part of that investment might go towards helping the blog post interact with the prospects online, in places where their ideal target prospects congregate.

This spread might look something like this:

  • $15 – blog post writer
  • $5 – development and maintenance of blog
  • $10 – promotion of the blog in places where prospects congregate online

Of course this is a simply an allocation of dollars, and these potential numbers are not based on the writing of one blog post.

This might be a 1,000 blog post commitment, which might mean a $15,000 investment in writing, a $5,000 investment in the creation and upkeep of the blog (per 1,000 blog posts) and a $10,000 investment in a human or collection of humans who work cooperatively on this as a small percentage of their overall workload in the company, helping the blog posts interact with other content online in ways that get it into the places online where the companies’ prospects tend to congregate and interact.

That’s when the work can begin.

Of course, this is just one content strategy.

For example:

  • Repurpose each blog post as a slide share,
  • Use it as the content for a youtube video,
  • Use it as the script for a podcast or mp3 recording,
  • and so on.

Keep in mind you have already covered the cost of creating the words themselves (the core element of the content). Because of this, the investment in subsequent content sourced from an original created piece of content diminishes over time.

Using these content piece together will create online momentum, the impact in terms of visitors and revenue could be multiples of the initial budget.

Having a Content Strategy is Changing the Game

Content marketing is a strategy that is becoming more and more popular.

So far, what I have just shared seems to simplify content marketing.
And yet, I think that’s just what the industry needs.

Don’t over-complicate things.

The problem is, until a genuine roll-out of content marketing is put into place in their companies, they are unlikely to see a return on investment. Content marketing performs best when it is done in volume, consistently over time, with a long term commitment window.

Consider a content marketing engagement commitment of 1,000 blog posts over the course of one year. 

Converting each blog post to a powerpoint and uploading them as a slideshare is a process that takes only minutes per day per powerpoint, meaning about 10-15 minutes per day to convert all 4 blog posts into slideshares. Your company would have 1,000 slideshares at the end of one year.

So far we are only talking about a 15 minute investment per employee, plus the additional 10-15 minute investment by one other person to make the conversion from blog post to slideshare.

This is something that could potentially be added to a small organization with no real additional cost to achieve.

How Content Marketing Drives Sales

Of course, if your company begins to see a ROI on this small level of investment, and chooses to increase to a goal of 10,000 blog posts per year, instead of 1,000, then perhaps the possibility exists to consider creating a “blog post” or “content marketing” department.

However, it might be wise, instead, to simply require each employee of the company to write one piece per day, as this keeps the pool of information as wide as possible, and gives a deeper spread of fresh information and insight.

Instead of having the “content marketing” department creating the content, various workers and departments can can screen, filter, and edit the blog posts.

If someone in the company enjoys talking and has a decent-sounding voice (I imagine almost anyone in the company could qualify), and has time, they can voice-over the slideshares created by the “slideshare” employee, and turn those slideshares now into videos.

Imagine a company with a presence of 10,000 youtube videos, all done within a one – year time span. You can easily have 1-2 employees per day do voice-overs, creating a high ROI when done correctly.

So far, you should begin to see the possibilities that might exist for YOUR company.

How to Improve Your Strategy

Perhaps your company is small, and needs to start initially with a 1,000 blog post commitment over one year.

Or your company is larger, but not ready to commit to 10,000 blog posts each year, but instead choose to split the order, and make a goal of 5,000 blog posts.

Or maybe you are a larger company, and you know that your company already has the spare talent to create as many as 20,000 to 50,000, or even 100,000 blog posts in a year, with matching slideshares and youtubes.

And this only scratches the surface of the possibility window.

Promote each blog post, slideshare, or video via social media channels, or advertised specifically on websites that exist in your companies’ topic-space online.

Tip: Install tracking and analytics on each content piece, ROI per blog post, slideshare, or video.

This allows you to then choose to re-promote profitable content pieces, for example:

  • promoting profitable pieces in facebook’s PPC department,
  • having youtube advertising in place which promotes your targeted videos in  targeted keyword searches for your individual youtube videos, and
  • other content dissemination pointing to these key pieces of profitable content,
  • such as instagram,
  • linkedin, and
  • other social media dissemination sites.

Is Content Marketing in Your Future?

By now, you’ll see the possibilities are practically endless, and you can increase at as fast a pace as you can afford to expand your web footprint!

At this point, my guess is that your mind is bouncing around, excited about the possibilities of having a content marketing strategy. And of course, you can start as small as you wish, and grow as fast as you wish, and become profitable at all points along the way.

All you have to do now is to get started!

Lee Collins

Lee Collins is a former Air Force Network Systems Engineer and Fortune 500 Corporate VP - who is best known as an early pioneer of Direct Response Marketing on the Internet. He has over 24+ years experience running operations for multiple multi-million dollar marketing, software, SEO, financial, and business coaching companies. When Lee isn't helping his private clients solve big (and small) marketing and operations problems, Lee is most likely heading up into the mountains in his fully-equipped Jeep Gladiator. Or just gone fishing.