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How to implement a content marketing strategy in a SME?

Inbound Marketing is the art of creating content to be published online, and measuring its impact. The main performance indicator is the number of new leads (or qualified leads) that these actions have generated.

We saw in last week’s post why it is important to set up an Inbound Marketing Strategy, we will see how today.

The first step, the most classic, is to understand the customers.

The art of publishing relevant content begins with the understanding of the customers, and the eco-system that is around. A very useful tool is the creation of a buyer persona, a representation of the typical customer to whom the content will be addressed. For a company in the BtoB, it can be customers, prospects, specifiers, influencers, end customers… To start the implementation of an Inbound Marketing strategy, it is better to start with one or two buyer personas maximum. This number can be increased once the staff is at ease with this tool.

At the end of this first step, you will be able to understand the motivations and needs of your audience. There are many online tools to help you build your buyer personas.

The second step is to define the editorial line.

To be exploitable, the company must find its communication niche in which it will be recognized as a key expert. The reflection work on buyer personas done previously will be the base to find the type of content to publish.
At this stage, many SMEs are wondering: « how could I stand out, while multinationals have entire teams dedicated to writing articles, posting videos or making tutorials? »
For an SME, one should not consider finding one’s space on too broad themes. From the start, it is better to aim very specific, but to be recognized as the specialist of the field. Rather than talking about its market in general, it could target one type of application in particular:
-for a segment of the population,
-a geographical area,
-a profession.
It is better to be the best in a niche subject, than an average player in a highly competitive sector, with no hope of breaking through.

 

The third step is the implementation of a publishing calendar.

The choice of the timing of the releases is very important, it can decide the success or the failure of a strategy of contents. To ensure success, 3 points must be respected:

Understand what a release schedule is

  • A list of topics to be discussed, with priority topics, according to the defined strategy
  • Define who is / are the person (s) responsible for the content
  • List channels for publishing content (blog, newsletter, Linkedin, Twitter …)
  • Specify the dates of creation and publication. Depending on the channel, schedules are more interesting than others.

Organize the calendar

Create a document, over one year, that will include all the documents to be published including for each:

  • The title of the content
  • The person who will write it
  • The date the article must be ready
  • The publication channels
  • The date of publication
  • Performance indicators (what are we measuring?)

Define the editorial style

The editorial style is a different concept than the editorial line. If the editorial line will specify what the company will talk about, the style will clarify the tone (didactic, offbeat, humorous…) and the rules of publication (minimum and maximum length of articles, how to mention the company, the products …).
At the end of this exercise, a reader who regularly follows the publications of the company, must recognize the style of a publication, even before knowing who wrote it.

Last part: Measurement of results and corrective actions if necessary.

 

Implementing a content strategy, defining an editorial line and an editorial style, who is going to write, the frequency and the choice of broadcast channels, that’s fine. But it makes sense only if these actions are beneficial to the company, and if it can be measured.
One of the advantages of Inbound Marketing is to be able to evaluate the results obtained by all these actions. The choice of performance indicators will depend on the companies’ objectives. Among the main KPIs (performance indicators), we can mention:

 

-Number of new customers generated / total cost of the Inbound strategy (acquisition cost of a new customer)
-Number of qualified prospects
-Number of subscriptions to a blog, a newsletter, e-mailing list
-Number of visitors to the site
-Time spent on the site

 

Depending on the results obtained, actions can be started:

-to reinforce and develop the strategy if the results are good,
-to make corrections if the results are below: choice of themes, rythm of publications, publication channels chosen …

All the elements we have mentioned are absolutely essential steps to maximize the chances of success, and avoid the pitfall of publishing for nothing.

It’s a lot of new concepts and new tools to master and absorb. At Pluvian, we are at your disposal to define, with you, your Inbound Marketing strategy, and help you set it up, so that you too can benefit from this new way of interacting with your audience, who responds to new behaviors induced by the digital. Do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Renaud Vuillet