She finds an innocuous corner in which to spin her web. The longer the web takes, the more fabulous its construction. She has no need to chase. She sits quietly, her patience a consummate force; she waits for her prey to come to her on their own, and then she ensnares them, injects them with venom, rendering them unable to escape. Spiders – so needed and yet so misunderstood. – Donna Lynn Hope
Lots of the folk we talk to are really just starting out when it comes to implementing some kind of content strategy for their business. I’ve spoken elsewhere (and put together a funky infographic) about the steps you’d need to follow to build a halfway decent strategy – but it’s a lot of work and I’d understand if it felt slightly overwhelming.
When you’re just getting started you might want to try something a little more lightweight and responsive. At least until you find your feet in terms of who your demographic is and what kind of content they’re likely to respond to. In this post, I’ll show you some steps you can follow to do exactly that; get started with content, push it out, measure the audience reaction and adjust accordingly.
But first, let’s just think about what it is we’re actually aiming for in the first place.
I like to think of a decent content marketing approach as being a bit like that spiderweb described in the quote above. As the business owner and chief marketer for your business, you’re kind of like the spider. You’ve found your little niche, and now you just need to set about spinning your web (of content) in which you will begin to catch your prey. It might take a little while for you to construct the web just so, but once it’s done – you’ll be able to sit quietly yourself, waiting patiently for your prey to come into the web more or less of their own accord.
Ok so at this point the metaphor breaks down a bit, since you’re probably going to inject them with all the goodness of your products and services – which I certainly wouldn’t liken to venom (at least – I hope not!) But still, you probably get the idea.
If you get your content approach right, when a visitor comes to rest for a while amongst it – there’s going to be plenty there for them to get *stuck-into.* (You see what I did there?) And ideally, everything they read should draw them closer and closer to the centre, and further down the funnel towards an actual sale.
So, given that we know this is something that as online business owners and marketers we’re definitely going to have to do (otherwise we won’t get to eat!) – how can we get started if we’ve never built a content web before?
Here’s for steps you can follow to get things up and running fast!
1. Research your prey
Where’s the best place to spin your web? Where are you going to catch the most flies? Carry out some market research into who you’re trying to reach, what they’re buying, watching, reading, viewing and figure out how your content can meet some of their needs.
2. Release the web
Start spinning! At some point – you need to get past just thinking about what it is you’re going to do and actually get on with putting it out there. It won’t be perfect. Probably not even close for a while, but the more you put out there, the more you can gauge the response from whatever feedback you get.
3. Optimise it
AS you start to build up a decent sized web, monitor the content you’ve put out there to see what the response is. Is it getting shared? Is it getting liked? Do people leave comments? What are your analytics telling you about how long people are actually spending on your site? #Hint – a high bounce rate is bad. You want your content to be sticky!
4. Connect with other spiders
I’m not sure this ever really happens in the wild. I certainly don’t recall ever seeing more than one spider sharing a web, but nevertheless… YOU need to do it. Try to find some sites on which you can guest blog. Get to know folk on and offline by way of social media and events of interest to your kind of people. Find as many ways to circulate and promote your content as you can.
What we’re basically looking to do with this approach is to iterate it – over and over, particularly the first three steps. You need to think about this as being kind of cyclical. Do some research; write and release content; monitor the response and tweak and tune based on what you find – then repeat. As you do this more and more, you’ll get a better understanding of how to build your web in a way that maximises how much traffic you get and how long it sticks around for.
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