Many times when working with clients we run into this question:
“How much content should I be creating?“
In a word? GOBS.
Yes, you need gobs of content to successfully run your social media sites.
Yes, you need gobs of content to successfully rank for keywords in search (SEO).
Yes, you need some sort of content (we like to call these particular pieces “lead magnets”) to “trade” for a right to market to possible leads.
We also call that the ‘Give to Get‘ – and it’s very hard to do without some sort of content.
While each brand will have different content needs, the most important part to know is that your content has to be QUALITY content.
So, how do you pump out lots of QUALITY content for your social media sites, for search, and for lead generation efforts?
Let’s discuss …
Things To Know About Content
First, let’s talk about what content is. It can be many things:
- Visuals (including memes)
- eBooks, white papers, cheat sheets, and checklists
- Social media updates
- Blog posts
- Presentation decks (think PowerPoint, SlideShare or Roojoom)
Most savvy brands are using content marketing to reach their customers on channels where they’re spending most of their time online.
“…a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.“
They go on to say:
“Content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior. It is an ongoing process that is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy, and it focuses on owning media, not renting it.
Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.“
CMI brings up another good thing to know when they mention curating.
Content Curation is looking to industry resources and thought leaders to find and share relevant content for your specific online audiences and communities.
For example, if you find this post useful, you’ll share it with your circle of influence. That’s content curation.
It goes deeper, of course, when you start scheduling your gobs of content, but we’ll get to that later.
WIIFM: What’s In It For Me?
I see many brands making the mistake of not putting their audience and would-be customers first.
In other words, they create content based on talking about themselves or their products; they’re selling at every turn.
If you want your content to be viewed as QUALITY content you’re going to need to ask yourself some questions:
- Who are my ideal clients/customers?
- What are their pain points?
- What kinds of content can I create/curate that will help with what they want or need; how can my content solve those pain points?
- How does my ideal audience consume content / What types of content do they consume?
- How can I use storytelling to humanize my brand and show social proof?
- How can I ensure my content delivers value each time?
- Why would my community read my content over _______ (others/competitors)?
Remember, it’s not about YOU. It’s not about selling or pitching.
It’s about educating your buyers and showing that you’re THE go-to brand if and when they’re ready to buy.
Social Media Content
When creating and curating content for our social media sites, we follow the 70/20/10 rule.
- 70% of our content is curated OPC (other people’s content).
- 20% of our content is original content – which can be tips, tricks, blogs posts, brand-specific memes, storytelling, asking questions, or entertainment-type posts.
- 10% of our content is marketing and sales.
That means nearly 90% of the time we are using ‘edutainment’ to educate and entertain our audiences, and only 10% of the time are we asking for some sort of conversion (sign up, download, subscribe, etc.).
Your lead magnets (which you can read more about in, “How Content Fuels Your Sales Pipeline“) should be used during this 10% to capture qualified leads for your marketing list.
While every brand is different, so is every social platform.
My recommendation: Post often enough to rise above the noise.
For us, this means:
- Facebook: posting several times a day, 7 days a week
- G+: posting at least once a day, 5+ days a week
- Twitter: sending 10+ tweets per day, 7 days a week
- LinkedIn: updating our status M-F, at least once a day
Other social sites we use get at least one update per week while SlideShare is updated on an as-needed basis.
Again, this is what works for us based on the sites that drive the most traffic and/or conversions for us. It may be different for you.
The are two keys to success for posting enough content to social sites:
- Use a publishing schedule to organize your content ahead of time.
- TEST (always!) what works for you for each platform you’re active on.
Content For Search/SEO
When marketers think of content for search, they often think of their website and their blog.
And while these are two FAB sources for search content, there are other areas that provide search benefits, too:
- Branded content: think white papers, eBooks, and other downloadables
- Social signals: such as likes, comments, shares, tags, and online conversation
And while your website is kinda like yelling “base!” during a game of tag, your blog is really where the magic happens.
Check out these stats:
- 52% of consumers say blogs have impacted purchase decisions
- 57% of marketers have acquired new customers via their blogs
- 42% of consumers look to articles and blogs for info about potential purchases
- 19% of beauty buyers who made purchases based on blog posts say they stumbled upon the content via search
How Much (Website)?
At the very least, make sure your website covers the basics, like:
- Your story
- Your story from the customer perspective (testimonials)
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Covering your products/services thoroughly
- At least one high-converting lead magnet
How Much (Blog)?
While advice varies on how often to post, the sentiment is clear on posting at least one blog post per week to remain effective.
And if you have the resources to post more than once per week – GREAT!
Just be sure you stick to it! Consistency is key for both consumers and crawlers for the big search engines.
These blogging stats from Hubspot — along with the ones above — should help you understand that blogging once a week is an “all or nothing” effort:
- Companies that blog 3 to 5 times a month, or around once a week, have more than twice the traffic of companies that don’t
- Company blogs with 15 or more posts per month see more than five times the traffic of non-blogging companies
- Small businesses have the most significant results and the greatest traffic gains when they update blogs more often
- Increasing your publishing frequency from 3-5 times per month, to 6-8 times per month, can nearly double your inbound sales leads
Lead Magnets: Content That Converts
Lead magnets are a good way to take the lurkers and bring them out of the shadows.
They’re also a good way to start building a solid email and marketing list – something that’s an owned asset!
Lead magnets are perfect for moving the general public into your sales pipeline because they:
- Employ permission marketing: when users opt-in they’re saying, “YES! I want to hear from you”
- Allow for ongoing communications (just remember the ‘Give to Get’!)
- Allow for segmentation based on services and products (or topics of interest)
- Are great for targeted marketing: a rifle versus shotgun approach
Content that converts well does an excellent job of both telling the brand’s story and showing expertise/thought leadership, as well as addressing the pain points and interests of the target audience.
You can have one amazing lead magnet and do really well. You can also diversify as a way of reaching more of your target audience.
An ideal mix of content takes care of each stage of the lead generation process:
- Top of Funnel
- Middle of Funnel
- Bottom of Funnel
- Continuing Education & Upselling (post purchase)
So that can be four pieces of content, or several pieces of content, for each area of the customer lifecycle.
There is no “right” or “wrong” answer here, but the idea is to have enough content to both educate and entertain your leads through the sales funnel.
So, How Much Content Should I Be Creating?
If it’s not clear yet: A LOT!
While the specific pieces of content each brand needs will vary, the research clearly shows that brands with higher-quality content come away with more qualified leads (and sales).
Look to your traffic sources to better understand where your potential audience is coming from.
Is it search? Social? Direct? Referral traffic?
Each of these areas has a direct need for content creation and curation – it’s up to you to figure out how to best meet those needs!
Or, of course, you can outsource to a company like B Squared Media to help you cover all those bases. (wink)
How do you figure out how much content you need? Let me know in the comments below!
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