Content marketing is one of the hardest tools to master. It takes a lot of time, patience, daily practice, research and a little elbow grease.
But it's also one of the most effective pull marketing tactics available to businesses today. Just take a look at these recent stats from ExactTarget blog that prove the point:
- B2B companies that create content generate 67 percent more leads per month than those that don't (Social Media B2B).
- Sixty-one percent of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content (Custom Content Council).
- Interesting content is a top three reason people follow brands on social media (Content+).
- The average cost to generate a lead through inbound marketing ($143) is about half the average for outbound marketing ($373) (HighTable).
- Companies with active blogs receive 97 percent more leads than those that don't have a blog (NewsCred).
But because of the time you have to commit to make it work—and how little of that most of us have—business leaders either start with content marketing and abandon it because of lack of results or they don't start at all.
It's time to reconsider your efforts, and Valentine's is a great day to start.
Love Is In the Air
There's an easy way to create content that can be updated, revised and reused every year—a way to kill 10 birds with one stone. Build your content around the U.S. holidays.
Every year, we have the following celebrations: New Year's Day, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, May Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, the holiday season (including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa), and New Year's Eve.
To get your creative content juices flowing, just take a look at the common messages and clichés for each of these holidays, and write them down.
For instance, Valentine's Day might seem like a strange holiday for companies to celebrate, unless you own a retail or online business, but there are many opportunities you can take advantage of that focus on this romantic holiday. Here are a few ideas:
- A Valentine's Day love story. Highlight some of your favorite customers, what they do and why you love them.
- Valentine's Day love from the industry experts. Ask a handful of your industry's experts to write 150 to 200 words explaining their best tip to help your customers. Compile everyone's comments into one article.
- Our employees send love this Valentine's Day. With your phone's camera, take photos of your employees holding messages of love for your customers. Think, "We love you because ..." or "Why do we love our customers? Because ... " Upload the photos into iMovie, and edit them together to create a video you can post on your site.
Think about all the options you have that can highlight how much you love your customers, your employees, your industry, your city, your partners or your suppliers.
Spread the Love
Then, to extend your content throughout the rest of the year, brainstorm the same types of ideas for the remainder of the holidays. For St. Patrick's Day, for instance, you can have a "Pinch me! Is this real?" message. Or for the holiday season, tell your customers why they're a gift to you.
Write down three or four ideas for each holiday, and voila! You now have four dozen pieces of content.
If you need a little nudge in the right direction, try using these headline starters from content marketer Patrick Hayslett. They'll help you think through each holiday with ease.
- “Things you should know for …”
- “What to look for …”
- “What to expect …”
- “What will shape …”
- “How to reboot your …”
- “Biggest influencers …”
When you're finished, plan the publish dates for each piece. If you plan correctly, you'll have one piece of new content every week for nearly the entire year.
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