When it comes to promoting your services, content marketing is not the only way to do it. It’s not essential for IFA’s to write blogs, produce useful guides, make videos, record podcasts, share updates on LinkedIn or be active on Twitter. But creating and sharing the right content can boost lead generation, engage clients more fully, and make referrals easier, so it makes sense to incorporate it into your marketing activities.
Your online presence matters
The web plays an important part in almost every route to sale. Whether that’s a sale that begins with a Google search for help with financial planning, or one that is punctuated by checking out the website of an IFA that’s been recommended, your online presence matters. Ideally, you’d like your perfect to client to find online evidence of your expertise, experience, and helpful approach. And content – be that blogs, articles, guides, videos, or books – is your vehicle to do that.
Creating and sharing content takes time and resources, so you need to ensure you’re doing the right things. That’s where content strategy comes in. Having a documented content strategy is the biggest differentiator between those who succeed and those who fail. Writing the odd blog and posting a few tweets is unlikely to see a stream of ideal clients beating a path to your door. It has to be part of a wider system.
Success takes time. It also takes careful thought and planning, persistence, creativity, great writing, strong leadership, great people and a genuine commitment to helping clients.
Content strategy is key to your success
A well thought through content strategy is your road map to content marketing success; a way of ensuring your content meets your goals, engages your audience and draws in leads.
Here are some questions to help you sketch out your content strategy.
10 questions to frame your content strategy
1. What is your goal? Clarify the business objectives and goals.
2. What are you selling? Outline the WHAT, the products and services you sell. Be clear on the path you will lead your contacts down on their journey to doing business with you. (This blog Three Simple Questions Your Sales Pages Need to Answer might help.)
3. What do your clients want from you? Uncover the issues and challenges facing your audience through customer research. Client questions are the basis for the very best content – Google loves content that answers the questions people are asking – so make it your business to discover exactly what it is your ideal clients want to know.
4. What story are you telling? What’s your message? Determine the why of the business. Make sure you can tell it simply and with conviction. (Read Once Upon a Time. Why Your Business Needs a Story.)
5. What will you talk about with your content? Focus on the sweet spot where your goals intersect with your clients’ needs and decide on the topics you’ll focus on over the next year.
6. What content do you need to sell your services? Set out the content requirements for your audience – make sure your website is equipped with content for every step of the sale.
7. How will you share your content? Choose the distribution methods and formats that best fit your audience.
8. How will you get found via search? Research your keyword opportunities and goals.
9. How will you make this happen? HOW are you going to do this? Draw up an editorial calendar and resource plan for your content marketing activities. Know who is creating and sharing what, when, where and in what format.
10. How will you keep a check on how you’re doing? Set measures for success.
Document your strategy and pin it to your wall.
It’s easy to get pulled off course when it comes to content creation, and a bit of ad-libbing is fine. But the secret is to know where you are heading, and to be intentional. That’s the way you’ll make content marketing work for you.
Sharon Tanton is a strategic storyteller and content marketing coach. She is the co-author of Valuable Content Marketing: How to Make Quality Content Your Key to Success