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Why Your Business Needs a “Content First” Social Media Marketing Strategy

Why Your Business Needs a “Content First” Social Media Marketing Strategy

By bridgetwpollack, Guest Blogger
Published: September 3, 2015 Updated: September 3, 2015

Social media marketing takes more than signing up for a free account and waiting for followers and fans to materialize.

But where do you start creating content that resonates with your audience on social media?

You need a content-first business. But while content-first usually refers to brands that develop content to build an audience before launching products or services, you can also think of the concept more widely to guide the development of your social marketing efforts.

Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, explained the steps of creating a content-first strategy in a recent SCORE online workshop.

Great social marketing starts with expertise and passion

Pulizzi’s first step in developing shareable, engaging content comes down to you as an entrepreneur. Think about your knowledge base and expert-level skills. In what topic areas do you have authority to speak as an expert? What aspects of your industry are you most passionate about?

Match your passion and expertise with what you know about your customers. What are they passionate about? What pain points can you help them solve? Together, these elements of your expertise and your customers’ needs create what Pulizzi calls the sweet spot – the basis for your content marketing.

Once you find the sweet spot, go beyond it to narrow your efforts. Go an extra step to determine your content tilt: the thing that makes you not just an expert, but a leading expert in some aspect of your line of work. “Everyone stops at the sweet spot,” Pulizza explained. “You have to tilt it to find your leading area of expertise, and differentiate.”

Once you’ve solidified your sweet spot and content tilt, it’s time to develop a brand content mission to guide the content you create and share. This mission can be brief, but it should outline your target market, what you’ll offer (ex: blog posts, a podcast, three YouTube tutorials per month), and the outcome for the audience – the value they’ll take away from the experience.

By narrowing your focus with the content-first method, you can spend less time wondering what to post on social media, and spend more time connecting with your audience in a meaningful way.

Pulizzi warns that monetization of the content-first marketing plan takes 15-17 months. But once your audience builds in support of your consistent, compelling content, you’ll see an increase in social media followers, customer engagement, and, of course, revenue. If your business is already selling products, you may see results quicker, but more gradually.

Put your content-first strategy to work

Once you’ve mastered your content strategy, it’s time to communicate! On Twitter, search for and follow other leaders in your industry or region. Accounts with overlapping audiences can offer content to share and respond to. On Facebook, you’re not tied to a character count, so feel free to ask questions, respond to customer queries, and solicit ideas for additional content. Create photo or video posts, or keep tabs on shareable content your colleagues and industry partners are making. Sharing relevant content from others bolsters your own content-creation efforts by offering new items to click and comment on during lulls in your marketing calendar. Sharing also strengthens your reputation as someone who pays attention to their industry – and appreciates their colleagues.

With a steady stream of great content, you’ll not only continue to excite your followers, you’ll also be prepared when social media channels change. Twitter and Facebook have evolved, and Instagram, Snapchat, and Periscope have joined them. Other tools, like Google Plus, have begun to fade out of daily use.

Who’s to say what social channel will be next? By focusing on your sweet spot and content tilt, you’ll have content that transcends specific social media tools, enabling you to adapt it to whatever social channel is all the rage on any given day.

Not sure how to turn your passion and expertise into a marketing strategy? A SCORE mentor can talk through your ideas and help identify a niche audience.

About the Author:

Bridget Weston Pollack

Guest Blogger

Bridget Weston Pollack is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the SCORE Association. She is responsible for all branding, marketing, PR, and communication efforts. She focuses on implementing marketing plans and strategies to facilitate the growth of SCORE’s mentoring and trainings services. She collaborates with SCORE volunteers and develops SCORE’s online marketing strategy.