Content Marketing Made Simple

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing involves creating valuable and relevant information aimed to stimulate members of your target audience and, ultimately, drive them to action.

At its core – and this is where a lot of people make mistakes – content marketing should educate and provide value, not overtly sell your services. And the content you create should be closely related to your area of expertise and tailored to your audience’s wants and needs.

What Are Some Types of Content Marketing?

Content comes in many shapes and sizes. You’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to what you create. Here are some examples:

Blog Posts

This is an example most are familiar with. A blog post can be a write-up about an important case in your practice area, commentary on a news story that intersects with the work you do, or anything else that offers you the opportunity to show off your expertise and point of view. Blogs are often the “foundational home” for a piece of content to be repurposed across multiple channels (including, but not limited to, social media). Blogging also represents a great way to keep content fresh on your site and increase your online visibility (because search engines love fresh content).

eBooks

eBooks tend to be longer-form narratives on a specific topic. They are well-structured and incorporate images and a more polished design. eBooks typically educate versus entertain and provide readers with insightful and valuable information. They are an excellent way for the aspiring author to self-publish and demonstrate subject-matter expertise.

White Papers

White papers (like this one!) are like eBooks in that they are educational. They should provide in-depth information on a specific topic and provide solutions to a perceived need or problem. White papers are generally shorter than their eBook cousins.

Tips and Lists

“Top tips” and lists are popular forms of short and easy-to-consume content marketing. As with all online content, be sure to make them easy for readers to quickly scan, and use visual call-outs for key points and takeaways. If needed, provide additional links to other resources for more in-depth information (an eBook, perhaps?).

Presentations

Presentations or slide decks serve as a great platform for presenting complex ideas in a digestible and practical way. Remember, slides should be simple and to the point. Don’t overload the deck with paragraph upon paragraph of text. And be sure to sprinkle in images and graphics to keep readers interested and engaged.

Infographics

Infographics rely on visuals to tell a story, demonstrate a process and communicate data or knowledge quickly and clearly. Infographics are all about design and flow, so they should be visually striking. An eye-catching infographic could be one of the more “sharable assets” in your arsenal. If you’re seeking to provide information in an easy-to-understand way, infographics can be a very effective tool.

Video

Video can be a powerful way to cut through the clutter and make an impact. It has to be done right to be effective, and right doesn’t always mean expensive. The trick to using video as part of a content strategy is to make it interesting, short and valuable to your audience. Video tends to perform well on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Insight: Don’t feel you need to swing for the fences right away by creating a huge piece of content, such as an eBook. Start with a blog post, work your way to a white paper and then move on to an eBook or infographic.

Getting Started: Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

It’s easy enough to begin writing content and posting it, but you may find yourself veering off the path and struggling to maintain consistency and focus over the long haul without first developing a strategy. Having a clearly defined and structured content marketing strategy is vital.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

Who is the audience?

Remember, one size does not fit all. What you develop for referring attorneys and peers should not be the same as what you develop for consumers or the general public. Tailor your content to your audience and create something that will resonate with them.

What topics will you write about?

You can’t be all things to all people. Identify the topics you want to be known for and focus on those. For instance, if you are an expert in navigating business disputes, you may want to develop content that provides valuable insights to CEOs or business owners for when a disagreement with a business partner arises.

What topics should you avoid?

This may seem obvious, but it’s also important to know what topics you don’t want to be associated with. If you don’t identify these “don’t touch” topics as part of your strategy, you may find yourself straying off your intended path.

How often are you generating content?

Structure is key when it comes to content marketing. Establishing a process and schedule for when you will develop and distribute content goes a long way in ensuring consistent, ongoing success. The last thing you want to be is a one-hit wonder. (More on this in the Content Calendar section below.)

Who’s writing it?

It could be you, an associate, an outside professional or all of the above.  We’ve found that a mix of resources is an efficient and effective way to approach the work. What’s important is that you set yourself up for success from a time management perspective and put a process in place that works best for you.

Where will it live?

Before you develop content, consider where it will ultimately end up. Your audience consumes information differently in different venues. Tailor the presentation of your content for each channel, whether it’s your website, social media or email. This is increasingly important with the proliferation of smart phones. It’s important to consider how your content will look on small-screen devices.

Insight: It’s not enough to just start creating content. Having an objective and purpose behind your content marketing is key. If you don’t clearly define what success looks like and how you plan to get there, chances are you won’t.

Create an Editorial Content Calendar

As we said, don’t be a one-hit wonder; create a content calendar and stick to it. We recommend starting with one piece of fresh content every month and gradually moving to twice a month. You may find that once a month is all you can handle. But even then, in a year, you’ll have 12 solid pieces of content showcasing your expertise and thought leadership.

Example content schedule:
  • Define and develop a topic on Monday-Tuesday
  • Finalize by Wednesday
  • Post and distribute on Thursday
  • Engage with your audience and review your efforts on Friday

The “Thank You Factor”

Before you embark on your content marketing journey, keep in mind that it takes time to establish a reputation and make a lasting impression. Be patient and persistent and, whether you’re posting your first blog post or creating your tenth infographic, always ask yourself this question…

“Will my audience thank me for it?”

If the answer is yes, you’re doing it right.

Zack McKamie

Director of Strategic MarketingView Bio

Are you ready to get started?

1-800-559-4534