C: Content | The ABC's of Marketing

Content Marketing 101

When we think about marketing, often times it’s content marketing that comes to mind and how we create and publish all of those things that we use to promote our business and connect with our audiences. What we don’t talk about enough though is intent. Most marketing — especially content marketing — fails because we haven’t tied it to a specific business goal or objective. For every piece of content you create and publish, you should be able to answer, “What do I want someone to do (or feel) after I publish this?”

Some content is there just for brand awareness. Particularly in farm businesses, you may not be selling product year round. But you still want to stay engaged with your audience and maintain those relationships so you post content that informs and entertains people — showing them what’s happening on your farm or in your business.

There is always an opportunity to connect content with sales goals, though, even when there isn’t a direct sales opportunity. Use brand awareness posts to invite questions from your audience, to start conversations about what you do and what your customers want and to build your email marketing list for future sales opportunities.

Regardless, every piece of content should be tied to a business goal.

OK, how do I do that?

First, you need to have a clear understanding about what your business does, where its strengths are and what you want to success means. If you’re not in business next year, it doesn’t really matter how good your content looks. Knowing what you need to do to stay in business is critical.

Worksheets to help you:

Mission Statement Worksheet

SMART Goals Worksheet

And second, you need to know who your target audience is. This is important because it will help you decide what type of content you should be producing and where they want to consume it. People love lists of popular hashtags and knowing “when the best time to post" is. In reality, the best hashtags are the ones your audience engages with and the best time to post is when your audience is online.

Ultimately you want to be able to identify your target audience and then craft a value proposition that effectively communicates how your business will make the customer’s life better.

Worksheets to help you:

Audience Analysis Worksheet

Value Proposition Worksheet

Three Types of Content

Once you have your business objective in mind, you can start to think about the type of content you want to publish and there are three categories that I encourage you to pull from:

  1. Brand Created Content

  2. Curated Content

  3. User-Generated Content

Brand Created Content

Most of your time and energy will go into this category. This is content that you create as a business or organization. It’s the photos, videos, graphics, blog posts, etc that you create and publish for your brand. You have control over this content — you craft the messaging and determine where and when it gets published.

There are excellent tools that will help you create content, some of my favorite:

SnapSeed for editing photos - I do most of my photo editing on the apple photos app, but SnapSeed is great when you have a photo that needs a little more oomph.

Canva for designing graphics - I recommend that you take the time to set up the brand kit with your brand’s fonts and color palette. This will save you a bunch of time in the long run.

iMovie and Adobe Premier Clip for editing video - These are both great apps that work on mobile and can help you quickly edit video content. Both also work on desktop for finer editing capabilities.

Curated Content

This is content that you’re sourcing from other brands and organizations and sharing with your audience. A logical place for farms to look is at the organizations they belong to: Farm Bureau, Trade Groups, etc. as well as University Extensions and other educational organizations. Other farms, economic development groups and other local businesses can also be good sources for finding content to curate and reshare.

When you’re sharing content from another brand or organization, make sure that it is relevant to your business and your audience. May is National Beef Month so this is a good time to share content from beef organizations that may be promoting the holiday with recipes, contests and special content.

User-Generated Content

This is content that your customers create centered around your brand. Sometimes this content is spontaneous — customers or partners will take photos with your product in it and tag you. You can also deliberately encourage UG Content. Ask your customers to post photos with your products — show their CSA share and what they made with it, post pics of them grilling your meats or post photos of your flowers, etc. — and use a branded hashtag. Make sure you’re following the hashtag and keep track of the posts, sharing them with your audience.

It’s always important when you’re sharing someone else’s content — either curated or user-generated — to ask for permission. This protects you as a business but it also starts a conversation and helps to build relationships and trust. If you’re using a branded hashtag, there’s an expectation that the content may be re-shared, especially if you have instructions saying so — but it still never hurts to leave a comment or send a message asking. And remember to give credit to where the content originally came from using a tag or mentioning them by name/handle in the caption.

Planning Your Content

Having a plan always makes things easier. Not only does it allow you to schedule and be deliberate about your content but it can also serve as a tool to help you evaluate what worked and what didn’t. Download my simplified marketing plan which includes a content marketing calendar and analysis worksheet.

Please let me know if you’re finding this series helpful! Send me a message to jamie [at] allagmedia [dot] com and let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see!

Jamie Tiralla