Want to know what one of the biggest mistakes people make is? It’s talking about things rather than doing them. You know what I mean. We say that we’re going to get something done (completing a big project, taking that dream vacation, learning how to cook), and, for whatever reason, despite having the best of intentions, we just don’t make it happen. This is often the case for companies too, particularly those wanting to develop content marketing programs.
The problem is that we often create barriers that impede us from getting things done. The big impediment for companies interested in content marketing is that they seem to think that they need to have the perfect plan in place before they can get started. The fact is they don’t.
Now don’t get me wrong. You absolutely do need a content strategy. All I’m saying is that you can get by without one for a while and, in fact, you’re probably much better off doing some actual content marketing and seeing what happens than spending weeks, or even months, talking about how you’re going to do it. Sometimes the best way to make an impact is to just get started.
With that in mind, below is a five-day plan that you can implement starting today to get your content marketing program off the ground. Will it lead to outstanding results? No. But what it will do is get you started so that you can gain some insights into what works and what doesn’t. From there, you can make adjustments and keep moving forward. That’s a much better outcome than spending months trying to create the perfect strategy in a vacuum.
Here’s how to get started:
Day 1: Pick a target
Consider all of your potential buyers and pick just one to be your initial target. It may not be the best one (yet), but that’s OK. Remember, the idea is just to start doing something to help you get going with content marketing. Once you have a target buyer, learn as much as you can about the person in a couple of hours by talking to your colleagues in sales or mining your CRM tools. Your job for the day will be done when you understand any pain points your target is facing.
Day 2: Create a simple piece of content
Since you are trying to make an immediate impact, stick to creating a fairly basic piece of content such as a blog post or an article that can be created in just one day. Brainstorm some ideas about what information you might include to address one of your target’s pain points. Do whatever research is necessary, including talking to in-house subject matter experts, and start working on a draft. By the end of the day, your goal is to have a solid first draft that is written specifically for your target and speaks to one of his or her concerns. Make sure to include a simple conversion goal in the draft, such as getting your target to click through to another relevant page on your website.
Day 3: Get feedback and iterate
On the third day, share your draft with others — ideally your in-house subject matter experts and customer-facing colleagues — to get some feedback. Find out if they think it is going to resonate with your target audience and make adjustments as needed. Now is also the time to make sure that your content has been optimized to have maximum impact.
Day 4: Publish and distribute the content
As soon as you arrive at work, get your content published on your website and then do everything you can to push it out. Promote it on your social accounts, try to engage an industry influencer in an online discussion about it, encourage comments, and look for reposting opportunities. If the content is really good, you may also want to e-mail it to everyone in your customer and/or prospect database.
Day 5: Measure results and look for insights
On the last day of the week, start measuring the impact of your efforts. Use Google Analytics to find out how many people viewed the content and how many performed the desired conversion. Look to see how many comments your content received, how many times it was shared socially, or if anyone linked to it on their site. Your overall results might be minimal, but that’s OK. You have successfully produced and distributed a thoughtful piece of content in just one week, which is a great accomplishment and gives you a baseline from which to measure all of your future efforts. Take what you learned and apply it when you do this all over the following week.
So stop talking about it and start doing it. You may be just five days away from making a quick (and meaningful) impact on your business.