If you have a business, chances are that you have heard about content marketing in the very least, or you’re already implementing it in the overall marketing strategy. Content marketing has been around for some time now, but it is a very big topic in the last few years especially in digital businesses where the competition is fierce. However, it might not be so easy to have a successful and effective content marketing when you take into consideration the overwhelming number of companies on the market that are trying the same things as you.
It is known that those companies that have content marketing strategies that actually work are the ones that are extremely committed to planning all the details and spending a lot of time experimenting with what work. Moreover, those companies are not afraid to be flexible and to integrate new trends that are arising all the time in the world we live in today. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to spend significant amounts of money on it, but that you have to be persistent, informed, and through trial and error find what best works for you and your customers.
What is a content marketing strategy?
A content marketing strategy is a part of your wholesome marketing strategy and marketing development plan that is in charge of all of the types of media that your business puts out or owns. And everything fits here, we’re talking things for downloading, written things, visual things, and more. Content creation is important for any kind of business but it is crucial that the content your business puts out for the customers is planned and has a value and purpose. You need to consider many things when you are trying to develop your own content marketing strategy and some of those are:
- What is the purpose of your business?
- Who is the audience that your content is for?
- What are your Unique Selling Points?
- What format will you use?
- What channels are relevant for your business?
- What problems are you trying to solve for your audience?
If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering how to create an effective content marketing strategy that will thrive this year, or you want to check if your existing one is done properly. Let’s get into it!
Let’s start simple. Before we get into the specifics of what you should do to have an effective content marketing strategy, the first step that is very important is addressing the branding. The brand is what represents you and your company, the core values, the position of the company, and the overall reputation.
Your brand is the image that will be left in the minds of your customers when they hear the name of the brand. Having strong branding which can be backed up with value is what will make your customers and audience believe in whatever it is that you’re offering. Define clearly what your brand is about and position your product in a way which offers value and high customer experience for people.
Ask yourself which your potential customers are and what kind of products are they needing. Think about what is the unique value that your brand offers and how are your top competitors doing.
Understand your audience
Now, it’s obvious that content marketing is putting the emphasis on content. Meaning that the more high-quality content you offer your customers, the more they will respond to it. Good content has a higher value and power in the eyes of the audience. You should be aware of what kind of content is your audience consuming and make sure to go into that direction with your content. For this purpose, research should be done where you will study different types of content like scientific journals, forums, video content, etc. and see what best will suit your audience.
Another very important thing that you have to do before implementing your content marketing strategy is to actually define your target audience very well. Think about who will be using the content you are producing and how they might react to it. Define the specific traits of your target audience such as gender, age, educational level, social status, location, and many more. Other things you can do easily define your target audience can include researching the audience of the same businesses in the industry, reading some survey data, or else.
Define your goals
Before you finalize your content marketing strategy, you need to define your goals and objectives. What it is that you want to achieve by creating the type of content you think will reach your target audience.
When you are defining your content marketing campaign, keep in mind the goals and objectives like increasing brand awareness, growing sales, connecting with the audience, engagement of the audience, growing conversions, and many more! Ask yourself what do I want to receive out of this content marketing campaign? And once you’ve answered that question, choose which metrics you will measure accordingly. Measuring metrics will let you know how your efforts are paying off and how close are you to reaching your goals and objectives. These metrics should depend on the goals you have and can range from the number of website visitors, number of downloads, number of subscribers, an increase of sales, etc.
After you have defined your audience and your goals, you have to make sure that the audience finds out about you through their interests. You need to use what they like and the kinds of information they’re looking for. The way you can do this is to do keyword research that will help you out.
The reasons why you would benefit from such research is that by using the most popular keywords in your content can help with SEO which can then result in more organic traffic for your website. Moreover, it will make the job easier for your audience to reach the content that they are looking for. Firstly, make a list with basic keywords that are somehow related to what you’re offering, and then expand it based on your niche and the trends that are happening at the moment. There are many tools out there that will help you out with the keyword research.
Choose the best content channels
When you have many of the things figured out, like who your audience is and what they need from you, you need to find out next where they hang out the most. Finding out where your online presence is already successful is of extreme importance since it is wise to focus on those platforms. Trying to be everywhere at once can be overwhelming for you and counterproductive. There are many different options when it comes to channels and some of them are:
- On your website
- Guest posts on other websites
- Content publishing platforms like Quora, Medium, etc
And many other platforms that can be used according to the format of your content and the audience you’re trying to reach. Trying to be present on all of these at once will most likely be unsuccessful. Instead, know your target audience and know where they can be reached the most. Combine multiple platforms for incredible results.
Choose a CMS
CMS is a content management system which is very important in the whole content marketing strategy. Chances are, your business already has a CMS in place, but it’s crucial to consider which type of CMS will be efficient enough for managing your business’s content. The parts of CM include content creation itself, then content publication, and finally content analysis.
So, basically, CMS is a software that will allow you to create, edit, organize and publish your content. A very well-used CMS is WordPress. The primary use for it is web publishing, but it can also be helpful on the intranet or otherwise. If you’re using WordPress, you are in control of the design, display, or the files and documents of the content. And the best part is that you do not need to know coding to work with this system, meaning even people that are not programmers can master being great content creators. That is a very positive thing since any user can create good content without the technical background, so it is diversifiable.
Brainstorm cool ideas
After you have done all the technical stuff, and gotten in consideration everything from what your goals are, to who your target audience is, which channels you’re going to use, and more, there comes the fun part. Having all that in mind, you can sit down and brainstorm cool ideas with your team members about what kind of cool content can you offer your customers. You can go as specific or as general as you want to, and all the innovative and different ideas are welcome. Write down the ideas for blog posts, video posts, social content, SEO customization, and whatever else may be applicable.
Diversify and repurpose the content
In order to appeal to every type of customer that you are trying to reach, make sure that you diversify the content that is being put out. Include different types of content that can be video (podcasts, live events, etc), visual (infographics, presentations), text (articles, blogs, studies, news, interviews, etc), PDF (manuals, tutorials, templates, e-books, etc), interactive (tests, quizzes, etc).
Once you create the content of quality, you can find ways to repurpose the same content in order to appeal to new customers that are more into different formats than the original one. Some of the easier ways to re-use the content that you already put out are:
- Turn it into an infographic, a video or a slideshow
- Make an article or video divided into a few pieces that you can publish in series over time
- Make slide presentations
- Make snippets and informative cool images sharable on social media
- Combine multiple pieces and create a white paper or an e-book
Be patient and stay alert
Content marketing requires time! You have to be very organized and plan ahead but be aware that the result will be seen in some time. Always keep working on improving the quality of your content, and think about other strategies such as influencer marketing into it. Don’t forget SEO and social media which are a crucial part of any content marketing strategy in 2019. And most importantly, keep up with the trends and modify your strategy to what is happening at the moment. Flexibility can be the difference between success and failure at times like these where everything is changing so quickly.
In conclusion, content marketing is an industry that keeps evolving and changing according to the progress of technology. As time passes, new types of content will be needed and new platforms will be used to distribute that content. And you should keep this in mind. Your business should always be in touch with the new trends, tools, systems that will deliver the content to your target audiences as effectively as possible.
But there is one thing that will most likely stay the same for the future, and that is offering top-notch content for the customers based on data that can be trusted. In other words, offering your customers content that has real value to them will never go out of fashion. Do not get discouraged by the time that you will spend on developing and implementing your content marketing strategy because if it is successful, it can be the difference between success and failure for your business and brand.
And finally, content marketing is an art. You have to work hard on it and be as innovative as you can be. If you see that a certain strategy is not working out, do not be afraid to admit that and drop it. Pay attention to the analytics, but also listen to your gut. Think outside of the box, and try different things. You can only reach amazingness through not being afraid to try and fail many times over.
About the Author
Gary Peterson is working at NCSM. He was born and raised in New York. Gary is a professional writer who specializes in SEO, social problems, email marketing, and healthcare. He likes traveling and taking gorgeous photos of nature. Rock music is something that inspires him. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter.