Don’t overlook your own social channels and the social networks of your employees. Everyone in your company should and can be an extension of your marketing efforts. I responded to any reply emails under the guise that our CEO asked me to follow-up. I tracked those emails in our Hubspot CRM via a Gmail plugin. I invited them to opt-in to our monthly retail nurture newsletter. This initiated a relationship with those accounts in support of individual sales members. The sales team loved it. They felt connected to marketing. And our accounts felt recognized by our CEO for their hard work. You need to do discovery on an ongoing basis. You can't just do it once. There needs to be rhythm.
Ramp up With limited resources, you must pick and choose your priorities. For me, that meant starting with sales enablement and product-related content. Create content that's going to help close new deals. Consider this starting at the bottom of the funnel and working your way back up. But don't forget—there's a lot of value to add at the bottom. Sales enablement content won’t be a lot. You can knock it out quickly and go back once a quarter or six months to update as needed. Next, tell all the great stories happening within the company. Show off what makes your brand unique. Include thought leadership pieces. Decision-makers want to like, trust and feel comfortable with brands they do business with. Often, these are stories that only your company can tell. Next, write some customer/prospect Q&As. Create content that helps them do their job better or helps them work through specific problems.
Distribution If you spend the time and effort to create content, you want people to read it. That means distribution is essential. This encompasses four umbrellas: owned, paid, earned and shared.
CRAFT BRAND AND MARKETING
Owned are all the places you have control over: your blog, newsletter, social channels, app notifications. Paid is anywhere you put your content with money behind it to garner more eyeballs: sponsored social posts, online ads, Reddit, etc. Earned is when other publications link to your content. Shared is when other people spread your content via their social networks. You can leverage all of these approaches if you have a dedicated communications team. Most small businesses don’t have these resources. The two distribution strategies I lean on are social and owned, specifically a monthly newsletter. Fold in some earned strategies when possible. Don't overlook your own social channels and the social networks of your employees. Everyone in your company should and can be an extension of your marketing efforts. Think about how a single piece of content can be chopped up, remixed and reused across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit and/or Fark. Send it to industry bloggers or writers. Give it to your sales team so that they can send in emails, etc.
Ideation As far as finding things to write about, there are no shortage of ideas out there. Typically, idea generators can be lumped into internal, external and digital buckets. Internal generators include sales, SMEs or your customers. External generators include trade publications, analyst reports, your competitors, original data, surveys, social media, etc. Digital generators include a handful of awesome tools (free with paid tiers) like BuzzSumo, Ubersuggest, SEMrush, Google Trends or Answer the Public. These tools are like your content marketing cheat code.