Publishing content on your website is a major component of inbound marketing. But it's not everything.
In fact, quality content and consistently fresh content, is absolutely critical to making your inbound marketing work.
But publishing content simply to have content accomplishes little.
It is essential to have an effective strategy when using written content in your marketing efforts. There is a significant role that content plays in your marketing as Joe Pulizzi and New Barrett, point out in their book Get Content, Get Customers,
By delivering content that is vital and relevant to your target market, you will begin to take on an important role in your customers’ lives. This applies to your online, print, and in-person communications. And this is the same role that newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, conferences, workshops, and Web sites have played in the past.
The Drive to Get Content
By now, I think most small business owners and professionals realize that “Content is King”, or at least in the top-tier of the marketing pantheon. The point is that we know and understand that a vital part of what we do in our marketing efforts will involve content. And that content will consist of written words (i.e. web page copy, printed materials, e-mail, etc.), graphics, images, and video.
Our efforts must and should be largely content driven.
But the problem too many of us run into isn’t so much content creation – you can get people for that. It is having a clear understanding of what the heck you are trying to achieve with all that content and how to achieve it! The possibilities and combinations of content delivery are almost endless. The social media platforms and channels available are staggeringly numerous.
And everybody who is supposedly an “expert” has a slightly different take on what is the best way. So what is a Business Owner-as-Marketer to do?
An Inbound Marketing Strategy and Plan
A strategy describes a global path to pursue a formal goal. .. A plan, on the other hand,
allocates in detail resources that are necessary to accomplish the strategy.
– Arnold Oskar Picot, Prof. Dr. Dres. h.c. Ludwig-Maximilian-University of Munich
What is needed first and foremost is a STRATEGY. When it comes to inbound marketing this is commonly thought of as your editorial mission statement. In other words, when you are dealing with putting content out into the world you are, in effect, now a publisher. And no self-respecting publisher functions without a clearly articulated and documented statement of what their publication stands for.
And neither should you.
Content marketing is not about “what you sell” it’s about “what you stand for.” The informational needs of your customers and prospects come first. Although there must be clear marketing objectives behind the mission statement, those should not be outlined here… To work, your mission statement has to be all about the pain points of your readers and followers or it simply won’t work.
– Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute
Based on your editorial mission statement you can then develop an effective strategy for accomplishing your company’s goals and objectives through content and inbound marketing.
And once you have a clear, documented inbound marketing strategy you can craft a plan for carrying it out. In other words, think: Vision, Strategy, Tactics.
It Sounds Complicated!
But here’s the best part: it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Life and business are complex enough without adding on additional layers of complexity. Keep your goals simple, your plan straightforward, and be ready and willing to shift and pivot as needed.
This means you must have processes in place to track, monitor, and quantify your results. You have to have a set budget of both time and money to invest – regularly and consistently. You gotta be all in, but you don’t have to be in over your head.
Inbound marketing is an approach that can be strategically scaled up as the need increases and resources become available. Done well and done right, inbound marketing can become both the cornerstone and foundation of your company’s promotional strategy.
And it can be fun to do!