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4 Content Marketing Trends for Business Owners in 2017

As we approach 2017, it’s interesting to think about where we’re headed in the coming year when it comes to marketing our business.

All business owners want to stay on top of their game by being prepared for what’s ahead but in today’s fast-changing world, what does that look like?

Below are some content marketing trends you’ll want to prepare for when marketing your business in the coming year:

1) Incorporate More Social Media Graphics, Infographics, Visuals and Videos. Since your followers are 80 percent more likely to read your content if you use coloured visuals, this area needs to be built up more across your social media channels.

The popularity of visual content will only increase, so you must be prepared. Using Facebook live is still a hot commodity so be sure to dive into that opportunity too!

2) Build a Team. 60 percent of marketers in one survey said content creation was their biggest challenge last year.

To overcome this obstacle, get a team of people to help make content development and publishing easy. This includes having a good writer and social media specialist.

3) Tap Into Influencers. 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations where only 33% trust ads.

Consumers have begun to tune out traditional ads and increasingly connect to their social networks to guide their buying decisions. That’s why connecting with influencers is so important.

What is an influencer? “Influencers are people with significant networks (followers, readers, etc.) who can speak to a broad range of products and services with the ability to sway opinions in their favor.” – Jess Estrada.

Identify influencers to reach out to in your industry. Follow them on social media and see where you can strike up a conversation.

4) Drive Content Marketing Leads into a Funnel. High value content is one thing, but if you don’t build in a strategy that continues building rapport with prospects in the right way, you are leaving money on the table.

Content Marketing is a highly effective way to segment your audience and send them targeted follow-ups and offers, instead of adding them to your main email list.

Creating an Effective Content Marketing Plan for 2017

One of the biggest mistakes I have seen businesses make is they jump into content marketing without a strategy. While trying to appeal to their target market, they slap together a couple of eBooks and free offerings and hope it will be enough to drive sales.

The first step to making content marketing really work for you is to have a solid, smart content marketing plan in place.

Make sure you outline the following essentials in your content marketing plan:

Understand Who You Are Marketing to. Before starting any kind of marketing strategy, it’s vital you understand who your ideal target market is. There’s no point in investing your time and money into marketing when you don’t have a clear understanding of who you want to buy from you.

A Comprehensive Review of Past Efforts. Review your past content marketing efforts and results from 2016. This helps you to see what was most effective, what wasn’t, and develop a plan to improve for next year.

Set Goals and Benchmarks to Determine Future Campaign Success. Having a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish and what that will look like is important.

Do you want to develop awareness? Are you working to build brand loyalty? Are you educating prospects? Want to increase engagement with your tribe? Are you increasing sales and profitability?

Develop Content Ideas that Align with Sales Goals. Here’s some example sales goals:

o Boost sales of Mega Fit Bootcamp by 25%.

o Get 50 new leads a month into our sales funnel.

o Create an eBook on Sales Tips for People Who Hate to Sell to drive leads to the funnel.

Plan a Content Marketing Calendar with Dates and Deadlines. Create an editorial calendar that clearly lays out your dates and deadlines so you can easily prioritize your efforts. This eliminates the “what do I write” problem.

It also makes it much easier to work ahead on content and delegate to team members.

I hope you’d enjoyed these highlights, stats, and facts to help you prepare for content marketing in the coming year.

I’m curious: What changes do you plan to make to your social media strategy in 2017?

Get Your Arms Around Content Marketing

Back in the day, business owners and executives designed marketing messages for their products and services that, like a megaphone, were directed outward toward target customers and cast a wide net. The usual marketing media were print, radio and television.

Traditional marketing activities are still employed, but they’ve been joined by a more personalized strategy known as content marketing. Neil Patel, CEO of KISSmetrics, defines content marketing as “… the way for a business owner to educate customers and potential customers about your products and services. The goal is to offer tips, help and education about anything that can be useful to the customer. This kind of information can be shared in the form of a blog, white paper, webinar, video. or social post… “

Content marketing directs inward and engages customers on a granular level. Solopreneurs and organization leaders can reveal a deep understanding of customer priorities and challenges, build trust and credibility and demonstrate how customers might benefit from using their products and services.

Michael Brenner, a Forbes Magazine Top 40 Social Media Marketer and head of strategy at NewsCred, points out that “Small businesses don’t have the luxury of massive ad budgets… They need to drive brand awareness and (sales) leads with limited resources. Content marketing is a great way for small businesses to do both.”

Great. How can early-stage entrepreneurs, small business owners and Solopreneurs get started with content marketing? First, identify the content that your customers will value and present it in a way that will lead them to your message. Consider your customer’s viewpoint about the reasons that they use your products or services: what are they trying to achieve and what information might they appreciate? Speak (and listen) to your customers about their business goals and challenges and get a better handle on where your products or services fit in.

Shelly Kramer, founder and CEO of V3 Integrated Marketing, advises marketers to “Tie your overall business goals and objectives into your content marketing strategy” and to incorporate content marketing into social media. “Social and content have to work together in order for you to be successful… You can’t have success with content without a robust presence in the social media space… Understand the role that fresh, relevant content and social media channels play. There is great content being published on corporate blogs on a daily basis that no one ever sees.”

Next, choose your delivery platforms. Do customers visit your website often? Then posting a white paper once a month or writing a weekly blog could work for you. Are customers part of your LinkedIn group or Facebook fan page, or do they follow your business on Twitter? Add those icons to your email signature block and website, to create social media connections that alert customers to your content.

Along with fresh and relevant, volume, value and variety are your other guide posts. Brenner says “(Volume)… starts with this notion that you need to be present in our always on, always connected world. The second thing is value. Your content has to be good. I always recommend that brands identify what they want to talk about and then make every effort to produce as much valuable content around those topics as often as possible. The final tip is about variety. Customers (and search engines) reward brands that deliver value in multiple ways, so think about text-based articles, videos, SlideShare presentations, case studies and all the information we consume across the digital, social and mobile web.”

Finally, measure your content marketing ROI and monitor its impact. Patel offers three metrics: 1. Track content views; 2. Use Google Analytics (free) to track which types of content drives visits to your website; and 3. Measure your search traffic. “You have to give it time. Don’t expect great results in three months or six months, but you will see traction. Within the first three months you should see more traffic to your site. Within a year you should start to see good results and an opportunity to monetize traffic on your site.”

Patel concludes, “Good content marketing builds trust. If someone trusts you, they are more likely to buy your products and services and more likely to tell their friends and family.”

Thanks for reading,

Kim