You can have a killer product, an attractive website, a highly skilled sales team, but if nobody knows about you, then it all doesn’t matter. With over 2.5 billion websites and names out there, it’s incredibly difficult for customers to notice your business and for brand to stand out in the crowd. A content marketing strategy is one of the most valuable things you can create for your business. But even with the best plan, some people still have no clue how to get started. Don’t worry – we’ve put together a guide for you to get started with the basics.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a way of creating and distributing marketing content that can attract customers and increase sales. It helps you tell the story behind your business, connect with customers and build your brand. Content marketing can be used through different types of media, including blogging, social media, videos, infographics and podcasts.
Why is Content Marketing Important?
Content marketing is a strategy that works. It drives traffic to websites and social media channels, generates leads for sales and boosts search engine optimization of websites. It can also be used to introduce new products and build brand loyalty from existing customers: giving your brand a voice on social media is critical for companies to build a strong following and establish themselves as thought leaders in their niche.
“Content marketing can generate 3x the number of leads per dollar spent then paid search does."
Set Your Missions and Your Goals
Part of having a successful content marketing strategy is determining the mission and goals of your content. You can determine your mission and goals by asking yourself five questions to help you come up with content ideas.
What do I want the reader to do? What is my call-to-action?
Who is my target audience?
What is their pain point they will want to solve?
What do they already know about solving this problem?
Where can I find more information about the pain point?
Souza recommends answering these questions in order from most pressing to least pressing.
Establish Your KPIs
Leading a content marketing strategy means establishing your Key Performance Indicators or KPIs. This is what it takes to achieve your content goals. They could be numbers, but they could also be other things, like engaging a certain number of influencers or getting features in a certain number of publications. Too often, brands create a content marketing strategy without establishing metric-driven goals that can be used to measure success. Without these goals, you won’t know if your content is working or even what type of content to create. What do you hope to accomplish through your efforts? Are you looking to generate more traffic, leads, conversions or sales? Once you’ve established your KPIs, it’ll be much easier to determine how to measure them and to develop a plan.
Know Your Audience
It is a crucial part of any strong content marketing strategy to establish your target audience. If you think about it, each piece of content you produce should be geared towards your target audience.
“What makes your audience tick? What problems do they have? What questions do they have? Why should they follow your brand/products?
Here are three actions you need to take:
Collect demographic data on your customers, visitors and social media followers, etc.
Gather customer feedback
Create buyer personas to describe your ideal consumers so that you can target content better
Having a solid content strategy and taking action is vital when trying to build brand awareness. Researching and understanding your target audience is one of the first steps in creating content that is relevant and valuable to your customers. Take the time to learn about your audience’s demographics, interests and motivations. This will allow you to create a personalized marketing campaign that resonates with their needs. That seems pretty logical right? Wrong. According to Content Marketing Institute, 67% of B2B marketers are targeting the wrong audience.
Assess & Audit Your Current Position
To build a killer content marketing strategy, you need to understand where you are at right now. This will help you evaluate your current strategy and identify areas of improvement. Even in the busiest of seasons, we need to take a step back and examine our strategy. Your online marketing plan must be clear, concise and constantly evolving. When you begin crafting your message, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and lose sight of the big picture. To make sure that doesn’t happen, you need to audit your current position first. That requires taking the necessary actions such as:
Logging and reviewing all pieces of content, such as EDM campaigns, blog posts, social media posts and so on.
Assessing the success and effectiveness of each campaign
Finally, identifying the gaps or rooms for improvements
It’s important to also assess how your content compares with that of your competitors, and be on the look out for relevant trends and new content. Taking action and establishing your result metrics will help you shape a cohesive strategy that gives your content the best chance of succeeding. It’s best to have a clear plan in place in order to increase the likelihood of achieving the outcomes you desire, as well as streamlining other parts of the process.
“61% of marketers ranked improving their ability to measure and analyse their marketing impact as a vital priority."
Deciding on the Best Content Channels
As you go through the process and unravel the many platforms and content channels that can be used, you’ll start to wonder which channels you should be focusing your content on. It’s important to decide on the right channels for your content. A channel is a place where you create and publish content. It may be a blog or a social media platform. Your online store, or a newsletter. The key here is to know not only who your audience is but more specifically where they are and what they’re already using. One of the best ways to start is to ask yourself: Where are my customers hanging out and what are they reading? Where do they get their news? And what do they consider awesome? Note that the number of channels you can choose from is limited by the number of resources you have access to. If you don’t have a large budget for content marketing, stick to a couple of channels that work for you. Let’s take an example: Let’s say you own an online clothing store. Your customers participate in forums on Reddit, listen to podcasts, and get their news from Facebook and Twitter. When your customers have a question about clothing, they turn to Google or YouTube. In this example, it’s clear that online communities and social media are places you audience hangs out – so that’s where you want to start with creating your content strategy.
Decide on Content Types
In a world where content is king, it’s important to have a clear strategy when it comes to creating high-quality content that will bring in new visitors and ultimately funnel them through your sales funnel. In the content marketing world, there are many ways to do this and it requires careful planning to ensure that your content Is relevant to your target audience. First off, there’s no point attempting to crack the code of what makes content successful without first considering what type of content will work best for your business. Content marketing is all about creating and delivery valuable content e.g. blogs, eBooks etc. However, you have to make sure that the information you are going to provide is unique, interesting and mostly a different reason to read the content that you are providing versus what is already out there. To make the most of your content marketing strategy, decide what content types you will deploy based on the goals of your campaign. Content type refers to whether the content will be textual, visual or a mix of both. It also include the amount of interactivity and creativity you want to use in order to generate excitement and interest.
Written content includes blog posts and articles, etc.
Visual content includes infographics, videos, and images
Interactive content includes quizzes and questionnaires.
Brands should be careful not to spread themselves too thinly in their use of these three tools. Use one of them one of them and master it. Once you have an idea of what you want to create, you will need to decide on your frequency of updates.
“61% of marketers ranked improving their ability to measure and analyse their marketing impact as a vital priority."
Identify and Allocate Resources
Now that you have decided on the content types and channels, you’re excited about your new content marketing strategy, but before you dive in, you need to make sure you have all the right pieces in place. Your content marketing strategy is more than just writing a few blog posts, it’s a plan and it’s time to identify and allocate the resources you need. The first step of any content marketing strategy is to identify all available resources that will go into the strategy. Resources can be anything from people to time, to money and even better: outside influence.
It is important that you identify these resources as early as possible to ensure you have what you need to be able to deliver on your campaigns. Here are three important areas to consider:
Who's managing the production and consistency of content?
Who and what physical or digital tools and resources do you need to create the content?
How will your publishing workflow look like, including content scheduling?
Many businesses have a hard time getting started with content marketing. Many are not sure how to allocate the necessary resources and where to start, but more important, they often don’t have the skills and/or knowledge to create and manage content effectively.
Choose a Content Management System
Good content is not enough to achieve your online goals. You need to make sure you’re optimizing visibility of your content, and that you’re publishing the right content at the right time for the right audience. Content managers allow you to schedule the delivery of your content and ensure its publishing when needed. Adhering to these best practices can help you achieve your goals:
Choose a CMS with relevant social media integrations. A CMS with integrations to relevant social media networks can make it easier for you to publish on all platforms. This can save a lot of time and effort as opposed to managing multiple accounts and applications. All of the major social media channels are supported by at least one CMS option (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter)
Ensure your CMS has robust analytics capabilities. You want a CMS that can tell you whether your content is performing well when shared across different platforms
Select a CMS that can give you control over your content marketing and that can help you foster the creation of valuable assets for your business. You need a system that will allow you to edit, update and republish content as needed
Choosing the right content management system for your business can save you hours of time and ensure that your marketing team can execute a successful marketing program.
Plan a Content Calendar
It’s time to get organized. To ensure a successful content marketing strategy, you must have it planned out. By creating a content calendar, you’re able to map out the different types of content you’ll release, the goals you aim to achieve with each piece of content and the time of year you’ll publish them. Your calendar will act as your blueprint for the entire content marketing strategy. Everything from what goes into the blog to what goes into your emails should be planned out in this calendar. Include topics for blog posts, topics for videos and anything else you may come up with. Depending on the goals of your company, you may need to plan ahead for different promotions, product launches or holidays. In addition to these planned dates, it’s important to also plan our unplanned events that arise through the year that could potentially cause a disruption to your strategy. Your calendar should be easily accessible so that your team can continuously monitor it throughout the year.
The result of great planning is that it makes it easy for marketers to create a cohesive story that will resonate with your audience and help you achieve your business goals with a minimal amount of effort.
“A content calendar will give you a better perspective of your overall marketing strategy."
Creating content is a major part of any marketing strategy. Content that presents your brand in the best possible light will help attract more customers, and keep them coming back for more. We know how tough it can be to generate quality content on a regular basis- we’ve been there ourselves. Let us take some of the load off by partnering with you to create excellent blog posts or articles at an affordable rate. Contact Market Partner today if you would like our team's help with creating stellar digital content for your company's website and social media channels.