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4 Elements Of An Effective Content Marketing Plan

Four elements of an effective content marketing plan - because you shouldn't be winging your marketing if you want to get results. Tips for female entrepreneurs and online business owners who are creating content on a regular basis to grow their brand.

Do you know why you create the content you plan to create?

So you publish a blog once a week and you post on Facebook every day, but what is your plan based on? Sometimes our plans are focused on the action we want to take, not the results we want from the action. The 4 elements of an effective content marketing plan force you to think about who you are actually speaking to, why are you creating the content you want to create, what the goal is of the content, and what you eventually lead to in order to grow your business.

4 Elements of An Effective Content Marketing Plan

IS IT RELATABLE?

I start every client call and every course I have by talking about how important it is to have a target audience (seriously, so important). If you're not relating to your target audience, you’re going to have a hard time selling anything to them. When you get inside the heads of the people in your target audience, you can really understand what they want, why they want it, where to find them, instead of just selling to them.

Take Action: Make sure you're connecting with your audience on a personal level in some way. Relate to your audience just like you would with a friend. You may be attracted to someone because you have a lot in common or because you are opposites and they are really knowledgeable in certain areas that you aren’t. If your audience is never saying things like, “I feel the same way,” or “You totally get me,” then they probably aren’t relating to your content and that’s a red flag.

IS IT ENGAGING?

If your marketing is boring or generic, you don’t have an effective content marketing plan.  You need to be engaging your audience by giving them things to care about and helping them in some way. If you are just talking at them and not talking with them, you are not going to be engaging them in a conversation or helping them care about what you’re saying. So ask yourself, “Why should people care?” Any time you share content whether it’s a blog post or a post on social media, think about why people should care. Are you sharing just to share or are you sharing because you have something valuable or entertaining?

Take Action: Talk to your audience and ask them what they’re thinking. What do they want? Speak to a specific person, ask them a question or try to figure out what they might be thinking or feeling, and create content that way. You’ll see what happens when you create content that engages with a specific person instead of trying to appeal to a lot of people and hope someone responds. If you hear crickets, then you're not connecting with your audience and you need to figure out why that is!

When you get inside the heads of the people in your target audience, you can really understand what they want, why they want it, where to find them, instead of just selling to them.Click To Tweet

IS IT ACTIONABLE?

While engaging is figuring out the why, making content actionable is the how. Once people care about your business and whatever you’re selling, how do they take the next step to work with you or buy what you're selling? You need to tell them what is it you want them to do and how they can do it.

Take Action: Give your audience the call to action! Ask them to sign up for a free training, tell them to request a discovery call. With all the noise in the business space, it’s easy to overlook an opportunity and move on. You need that extra push of telling people what to do if you don’t want people to scroll away and move on to the next thing.

IS IT LIST-BUILDING?

If your audience is on social media, your blog, or YouTube, you don't own your audience the same way you do with an email list. Social media algorithms are always changing. Even if people subscribe to your YouTube channel or follow you on social media, they only view a very small percentage of what you share. But email? Everyone checks their email. More people are likely to see your content via your email list than any social media platform, average conversion rates are higher, and YOU are in control of your email list.

I'm definitely not saying other aspects of your marketing don't matter, but if email isn't a part of your marketing strategy I would seriously think about getting started now (sooner is better than later). #trust

Take Action: You should have multiple ways for people to get on your email list. Not everyone is going to be attracted to the same opt-in. The more ways you have for people to opt in, the more they are going to do it. It could be a free email course, a challenge, a checklist, or free training like a webinar. There are a number of ways to get people to subscribe. Your email list will build your relationship with your audience and lead to that ultimate sell.

Is it time to revamp your content marketing plan? Download my free content planning worksheets to help you get started!

 

Easy Ways to Customize Stock Photos for Your Brand

How to customize styled stock photos for your brand - tips for customizing stock photos so they are more unique to your brand and stand out from the crowd. Try these 4 easy ways to customize your stock photos!

You probably already know that stock photos can make your life much easier by saving time and $$$, BUT it's kind of annoying to know that you're using the same photos as a bunch of other people, right? Luckily there are a few easy ways to “customize” your stock photos to make them look more unique to your brand!

OVERLAY TEXT

You're probably using stock photos for your blog or social media and adding a text overlay is an easy way to make them look more intentional. You can overlay text for blog post titles, quotes, testimonials or any other promotional messaging for your brand. Use your brand fonts and colors so that your graphics are easily recognizable – even if you are just using stock photos! For example, I use my own stock photos for most of the graphics you see on this blog, but since I'm using consistent fonts / styles for the text all of my blog post graphics have a similar look.

OVERLAY COLOR

Many styled stock photos have excess whitespace where text can easily be added, otherwise you can always add a colored overlay over all or part of the image so that your text stands out. Adding a colored overlay over a whole (or most of an) image is an easy way to make stock photos that aren't entirely in your brand's color palette work for you. Since the overlay “hides” most of the colors in the image, you can be a bit more flexible with the stock images you use in this way.

You can also add a colored overlay over only a small portion of an image where you want to add text or other branded elements. If you're using neutral stock photos this is an easy way to infuse a bit of your brand's personality into your graphics without distracting too much from the style of the images.

In the examples below you can see a few different ways I've customized styled stock photos for my brand – in the top left image I've added “hello” text on the gold clipboard using my brand font / color, in the top right I've overlaid a screenshot from my website on the laptop screen, in the bottom left image I've added a large color overlay at 50% opacity with text on top, and in the bottom right image I've added a smaller color overlay at 100% opacity with text on top. These are just a few ways you can add text or other brand elements to your stock photos to make them more unique to your business.

How to customize styled stock photos for your brand - easy tips for making the most out of your styled stock photos if you are a blogger or small business owner using stock photos for your website, blog or social media graphics!

OVERLAY YOUR PRODUCT IMAGES

If you sell physical or digital products, use your stock photos to showcase whatever you are selling. You can overlay product images on stock photos with excess white space or mockup style images with frames or tech elements where you can insert your work. I love the way The Spotted Olive used one of our stock photos to showcase these festive holiday gift tags on Instagram!

Use your brand fonts and colors so that your graphics are easily recognizable - even if you are just using stock photos!Click To Tweet

CROP / ROTATE / FLIP THEM

Last but not least, instead of sharing stock photos “as is” – most high quality images can be cropped, rotated, and/or flipped for a more unique effect. This is also an easy way to get more bang for your buck since you can crop stock photos in multiple ways and use them multiple times!

In the example below, you'll see one of the images from the Styled Stock Society (center image) and how it could be cropped / rotated to create 4 completely different images.

How to crop styled stock photos to maximize versatility - get more use out of styled stock photos by cropping them into multiple images!

If you sell physical or digital products, use your stock photos to showcase whatever you are selling. Click To Tweet

TIPS FOR CUSTOMIZING STOCK PHOTOS FOR YOUR BRAND

If you're customizing stock photos for your brand using any of these methods, it can be helpful to use certain tools to make the process as simple as possible! Personally I use Adobe Photoshop for most of my customizations but you can use free tools like Canva to add text or other branded elements as well.

  • Create templates – regardless of what tools you are using to customize your stock photos, setting up templates can save you a ton of time. Setting up templates makes it easy to just switch up your stock image and text instead of starting from scratch every time you want to customize something.
  • Be consistent – if you're adding graphic elements, colored overlays, or filters to your stock photos, you should be consistent with the styles and colors. You want your images to be easily recognizable, so don't change things up too often!

CUSTOM PHOTOS FOR YOUR BRAND

So those are a few ways to “customize” your stock photos so they are a better reflection of your brand. Stock photos are an affordable option for incorporating high quality visuals into your marketing (and I recommend them, especially if you have a limited marketing budget), but if you’re ready to elevate your brand with styled images that are completely unique to your business, I recommend investing in custom brand photography ;)

Prefer to DIY your own brand images?

Check out this post for the best resources for Instagram props and don't miss the Shopbop Spring sale (ends April 14th at 11:59pm PT) to save up to 20% on orders under $500 or 25% on orders over $500 – just use code EVENT17 at checkout! (full details here)  I'll be stocking up on home decor items and some pretty stationery!

How are you customizing stock photos for your brand?

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How To Repurpose Old Blog Posts Into More Useful Content

A guest post by Natalie Greagor of Strategist Cafe

The value of a blog is very important as it impacts the lives of others. As a new or seasoned blogger, it is important to consistently keep an updated blog and an engaged audience. Some days are harder than others when it's time to create new content. That's why it's important to have an effective content and blog strategy.

Over the past year, I’ve been able to blog a minimum of 100 blog posts due to this simple strategy: re-purposing my blog content.

Repurposing blog content means taking your most engaged posts and turning them into new pieces of useful content for your audience, plus new products and services that your audience wants and needs. Repurposing your blog content is the ultimate hack to creating more time and money for your business. There are 5 easy ways to transition your blog posts into viable resources that your audience can use today:

Turn them into paid products

Popular blog views help you understand what your audience likes to read and consume. The blog posts that get the highest page views should be repurposed into a product that will help you earn on autopilot.

You can either combine all of your popular blog posts into an e-book or an online course to help your audience apply your information more strategically. Or, you can convert each individual blog post into a practical priced product such as a workbook or guide.

Actionable step: Combine your top 5 to 10 blog posts. Elaborate on each topic, if there is more than one, to create a viable paid product to offer your audience. Or, create 3 to 5 paid products that you can create using the content from each post.

Turn them into opt-in incentives

Another way that you can repurpose your popular blog posts is to create an email opt-in incentive for each post. You can create a simple checklist or a small 10-page guide or workbook to give away for free in exchange for an email to build your email list. Simple opt-ins like these will attract leads so you can eventually turn them into paying customers.

Actionable step: If you have popular blog posts that gain a lot of comments, review all of your comments to find out what people had to say about your blog content for that particular blog post. Create a checklist or several checklists to complement your blog post for your audience to download in exchange for their email to build your email list.

Pro tip: You can promote the checklist(s) that you creates individually on social media by announcing their availability and collecting emails from your comments or inbox to also build your email list.

Repurposing blog content means taking your most engaged posts and turning them into new pieces of useful content for your audience, plus new products and services that your audience wants and needs.Click To Tweet

Turn them into fun quizzes

Use your most popular blog posts and turn it into a fun quiz with a tool like Qzzr. Ask your audience fun things related to your most popular blog posts and insert a quiz to collect leads. Or, create a quiz to send to your email to collect data from subscribers to understand more about their needs.

For example, one of my most popular blog posts is about earning passive income using Canva. I could repurpose the content in this blog post and create a quiz that asks my audience questions to determine which products are the best fit for them to create or earn from according to their lifestyle and business structure. Of course the title wouldn’t be that long, but the purpose of my quiz will be clear. As an added bonus, creating quizzes will help with research for your business.

Please note: This is an triple re-purpose strategy! It allows you to turn one blog post into a quiz and use that quiz to collect information, plus build your email list!

Actionable step: Use Qzzr to create a quiz for your audience to help you maintain high engagement while learning more about them at the same time.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 10 MORE WAYS TO RE-PURPOSE YOUR BLOG POSTS

Turn them into live stories

Video marketing works well for high engagement and conversion rates for online businesses. You can create 3 tips to help your audience accomplish or complete a task based off of your blog posts. You can also create Instagram story templates to describe the same 3 tips if you aren't a camera person. Remember, people who know nothing about you or your brand will find you online, so sharing tips from your blog posts will help you convert new audience members into new blog subscribers, new fans of your brand, and more!

Actionable step: Take 3 tips from one of your most popular blogs and present them to your social media audience on Instagram or Facebook to build the like-know-trust factor.

Turn them into new blog posts

Turn your most popular blog posts into a new blog posts by scanning your blogs and choosing profound statements and key concepts to create new topics that teach, inform, entertain, or entice your audience.

Actionable step: Revisit your top 5 popular blog posts and choose key points from each post. Create a blog list archive so that you have ideas of new blog post topics to write in the future. It's the perfect way to repurpose old blog content and create new content to serve your audience.

Never let old blog content go to waste. You can even repurpose old blog posts that don't get any traction. Simply re-purpose and/or revamp your old blog posts by following these steps. There are a ton of re-purpose strategies for your blogs. It truly is the best strategy for consistency online. Before you go, here’s 10 more ways you can re-purpose your blog content to not only get the most out of your blog content, but to get your brand in front of new audiences.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 10 MORE WAYS TO RE-PURPOSE YOUR BLOG POSTS

Do you repurpose your blog posts? If so, how have you repurposed your blogs in the past?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Natalie Greagor, creator at strategistcafe.com,  is a personal brand and online business strategist who teaches creative entrepreneurs how to build influence in their niche, grow their brand online, and get paid on autopilot.

Follow Natalie: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

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