OrangesEven the most seemingly “boring” business can come to life with an effective content strategy. Whether your business sells rocks, foam or the most popular laptop on the market, an effective content strategy can make the public want to learn more about your company. In particular, start-up businesses benefit from the dissemination of information on a variety of social media platforms. As you seek to create a new content strategy or enhance an existing one for your business, here are some tips you can keep in mind. So the question is how do you get a content strategy done right?

1. Assess your current weaknesses and areas of improvement.

As a business owner, you should consider the current resources that you have available. If you are a one-man show or have a staff that is over-committed with responsibilities, this may be a weakness as you try to produce content. You should consider your current access to technology, Internet speed, staff, financial resources and knowledge of social media systems before your begin to create your content marketing strategy. If you are just barely making it by in your business or don’t have time to update blog posts, you may want to consider outsourcing your content marketing to a firm.

Also, businesses should realize that an effective content marketing strategy does not happen overnight. Too many business owners rush into the world of content marketing with the idea that a strategy should instantly turn into direct sales. The best content marketing strategies require a time frame of at least six to 12 months for fruition. This provides your business with time to become a leader in disseminating knowledge in a given subject area. Through a consistent content marketing strategy that is followed for an extended period of time, business owners are able to gain the trust of customers and quality assurance representatives who work for major search engine websites.

Companies like Sears and Colgate are great examples of companies that have designed a long-term content marketing strategy. Sears has created its own “FitStudio” content platform that disburses fitness information to health-oriented customers. Colgate has created the “Oral and Dental Health Resource Center” that features many articles on dental health. Each company is becoming a respected expert in its own niche field.

2. Know your audience.

A start-up business must know its audience in order to succeed in developing content through blogs, websites, e-books, online catalogs, social media websites and more. In creating the “Oral and Dental Health Resource Center,” Colgate has demonstrated a keen understanding of its customer. The company realizes that a majority of its customers are concerned about dental health, otherwise they wouldn’t be purchasing toothpaste. The company consistently delivers interesting and health-conscious information that is geared toward its customers.

By understanding the needs of your audience, you can build greater trust with them through your content. People are hesitant to buy products or services from companies they do not know. If your business can become an established leader in providing resource on select topics, customers may begin to associate your company with quality products.

3. Identify the goals of your content marketing strategy.

Content can be updated on a variety of platforms on the Internet. Before your business begins to develop its marketing strategy, it should make a list of the current platforms it uses. Your current list may look something like:

  • Blog
  • Main page of a company website
  • Facebook account
  • Twitter account

What this type of strategy lacks is any vision for becoming a leading resource for information on a topic. It fails to consider the following useful platforms:

  • Glossary of terms
  • Newsfeed
  • Several blogs
  • Forums for users to share viewpoints
  • Chat feature with sales agents
  • Videos
  • Store locator feature
  • Instagram
  • Flickr

Content marketing gives your business an exciting and dynamic way to communicate with your audience. If you are not taking full advantage of the tools available for your company’s use, you may be missing out on the opportunity to develop a meaningful connection with customers. As you set your goals, you may want to begin by making an effort to post one article a day on a blog. As you increase your readership, you can increase your goal by posting two, three or even four articles a day on a blog. Other goals could be:

  • Posting every positive review you receive from customers on Facebook
  • Posting a fun employee bio on social media outlets once a month
  • Hosting a social media promotion once a month

Content marketing strategists can help your company take full advantage of the hottest social media tools on the Internet and also update them for you. They can set conversion goals for your company and also help you to attract customers over a long period of time.

4. Develop high-quality content for your audience.

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Start-up companies frequently make the mistake of “rushing” into the world of content marketing. Customers want to derive value from the content read on the Internet. This means that your business can offer specific tips and advice to help them. If you are short-staffed or are not the greatest writer, outsource your content to a development to a company that cares about your success. A strategic content marketing firm takes the needs of your audience into consideration in order to propagate articles attuned to these needs.

General Mills is an example of a company that consistently delivers valuable content to its customers. General Mills frequently posts easy and tasty recipes on its social media accounts. The recipes frequently require General Mills food products. Visitors often share these recipes on popular recipe and cooking websites. By delivering quality content that users love, General Mills is able to maintain its status as a top grain producer and also increase the sale of its grain products.

5. Get help when you need it.

Rather than try to compose blog posts when you are exhausted or give content marketing projects to overwhelmed employees, you may want to consider investing in additional help. Your content marketing strategy is a powerful way to attract new customers in 2014. Whether you need help planning the strategy or actually creating engaging content, digital marketing experts may be able to assist you.

Even as a start-up, unlimited potential exists for your company to reach out to millions of people. Start-up companies are in a great position to benefit from the advice, expertise and writing abilities of content marketing strategists.