There’s no denying the value of effective content marketing; it’s a strategy that can solidify your event business’ brand presence in the marketplace, appeal to your ideal clients, and ultimately boost your profitability.
However, many see developing a marketing strategy as an arduous task. Suck folks are overwhelmed by the thought of constantly churning out ideas to develop content. In fact, many event professionals are quick to start up a blog with regular posts, only to fizzle out weeks or months later when business picks up. Or vow to be more consistent on Instagram only to give up once the busy season hits.
Content development takes time and energy. And if it’s not providing the return you expected immediately, it’s natural to want to push it to a back burner to focus on more pressing needs. Or, you might succumb to the pressure of looking at what your competition of favorite celebrity vendors is doing and start copying their “strategy.” The result is you start pulling topics from all over the place, leaving prospects confused about what your business is all about.
Both of these situations are the result of a disorganized approach with little to no strategy driving your marketing efforts. Taking the time to develop a content strategy in the beginning makes staying consistent on your social media channels and blog easier and even fun! And having a sustainable marketing plan keeps your channels flowing with useful content that attracts new leads and guides them towards an inquiry.
Start with your core content pillars.
Core content pillars are key themes and topics that you cover consistently in your content marketing. They are the core things you do best, the top things you believe in most and the most significant things your potential clients need to know about you. They keep your brand cohesiveness and attract highly-qualified followers and website visitors to your channels to find out more about you (in meaningful ways).
Sticking to your core content pillars is also an excellent way to bust through the all-too-common writer’s block that leaves as at a loss about what to write next. If you plan to outsource your content marketing in the future, well-defined core content pillars will also simplify the hand-off and ensure your content remains true to your brand, regardless of who is behind it.
Now, you might be wondering how to identify the core content pillars that ring true with your brand. The truth is that it starts from within: they should fully align with your personal and professional values. They should also factor in your ideal client’s challenges, fears, hopes, and dreams — these will help you determine the content that will resonate most.
From there, follow these steps to develop 5-6 core content pillars that you can incorporate into your marketing approach for a winning content strategy.
Do your market research.
There’s no point in writing blog posts or posting to social media if your content is not optimized for your ideal client. If you want to reach your ICA through strategic messaging, you need to know where they are and what they are looking for — that way, you can tailor your content to be precisely what they need.
Check your assumptions. Get to know your market and, in your research, aim to confirm (or reject) the assumptions you’ve already made thus far. It’s not enough to seek out clients that want “good food” or “a beautiful wedding” — you need to know their definition of “good” or “beautiful” if you want to appeal to them.
Gather insights. There are a few ways to gather these insights. First, start with your existing clients that you loved working with most. What drew them to you? How did you help them overcome their challenges? If necessary, don’t hesitate to reach out to these clients to ask them for feedback.
Join the Conversation. Another solution is to simply hop online and join in the conversation with your target audience. Facebook groups and industry-specific forums are great places to find people who match your ideal client avatar. What are they talking about? What are their biggest obstacles? What kind of information will help them accomplish your goals?
With a bit of observation, you can gain a wealth of insight into your dream client’s mindset that will help you curate content they don’t even know they need yet.
Dig into your specialties.
With your research in hand, you’ll start to notice certain themes emerging more than others. Hopefully, these themes align with your specialty and the needs of your target audience; otherwise, you might need to revisit your research to engage with a different corner of the market.
You might look at the themes that arise and wonder how you can make them your own. After all, many broad-stroke topics are covered far and wide across the internet. How can you stand out in such a noisy marketplace?
Get specific. Embrace this as an opportunity to get specific and dive deep into your niche. What kind of unique content can you provide?
For example, if you’re a caterer, you may specialize in a particular cuisine or serving style that you can talk about at lengths. As a photographer, perhaps you can embrace your role as a local expert, sharing everything from the best engagement spots to the best restaurants for a rehearsal dinner that is both picturesque and delicious.
Niche down. Branch out and consider where you can carve out a spot in your market that isn’t yet oversaturated. The themes that emerge will form your core content pillars — these are the topics that people will eventually consider you to be a subject matter expert.
Update your content calendar.
Without core content pillars, you likely didn’t have much of a content calendar to start. If you did, it probably wasn’t very organized or cohesive. That’s OK — it’s never too late to ramp up your content marketing. Take some time to sit down and fully flesh out your social media and blog calendars so they fit in with your new content strategy.
Now that you have a clear direction of the content you want to develop, you will feel more inspired to look ahead and create a plan that works for you. Your content calendar should give you a good idea of the messaging you want to push out at any given time, but it should remain flexible to internal and external changes.
Once completed, you have the option to create and schedule your content in batches or keep up with it on a regular basis. Either way, you won’t find yourself stuck on topics and spending valuable time trying to figure out what to write.
Track your progress.
Effective marketing is as much about evaluation as it is about implementation. Without this vital stage, you won’t know whether your new tactics lead to success (or if they fall flat). You also won’t be able to identify areas for improvement, which will eventually leave your content strategy stagnant.
Give your plan some time to kick into gear — it can take a month or two to start seeing results, so be patient and let your analytics do the talking. Keep an eye on your metrics on Google Analytics to determine how your content is performing. In particular, look for higher click-through rates, increased social engagement, more inquiries, and a higher conversion rate (which, of course, is our big-picture goal).
If these numbers aren’t improving the way you’d hoped, it’s a good sign you need to revisit your marketing strategies. It could be that your website needs a refresh or perhaps you need to promote your blog posts more. Maybe your topics aren’t resonating and you need to reconsider your core content pillars again.
Marketing is akin to an ongoing experiment, so keep trying and testing until you find the right formula that serves you the results you’re seeking.
Content marketing is a highly successful strategy for growing your client base and effectively boosting profitability, but it only works if you have a clear direction built upon a research-backed profile of your ideal client. Instead of worrying about what to write, start by figuring out who to write for — the rest will fall into place.