A content marketing strategy is critical to your success online. Taking the time to sit down and map out a strategy is an investment at the beginning that pays dividends in the end, reduces your workload over time and leads to the creation of more effective and targeted content.
Aligning Business and Marketing Goals
When creating content, every piece should have a clear purpose. If it doesn’t, pass on it. Consider the primary objectives of content marketing for most businesses:
- Increase brand awareness in target markets
- Drive traffic to your website
- Increase volume of sign-ups on your website
- Increase traffic to a lead generation landing page
Content marketing goals will typically align with your business’s broader goals, traffic, leads and sales. All goals should be measurable, by a dollar amount, a percentage or some other numerical target. Once goals have been determined, it’s time to break down the logical steps to take to achieve them.
Know Your Audience
A great place to begin with your content marketing strategy is creating an audience profile or buyer persona. Learn about your audience by paying attention to social media and what type of content potential customers are sharing, the most popular social platforms among your target audience, and methods that seem most effective in reaching the audience.
If a potential customer favors Facebook, what are they liking and sharing? Is it positive or negative? Is communication expressive and detailed, or concise and to the point? How do things catch their attention? Is it basic social media posts in their timeline, advertising, or searching for specific content? Who is the customer? Are they employed at the executive level, or blue color? Do they work at a small business, or a large corporation? What are their goals and challenges?
Once you have a thorough understanding of your target audience, you can create content with them in mind.
What Type of Content Is Most Effective for Your Business?
Once you’ve drilled down on your company’s specific goals and target audience, it’s time to determine the most effective types of content to achieve your marketing goals.
Goal #1 Increase Brand Awareness
Content designed to increase brand awareness should have an overall broad appeal, as it should appeal beyond those current using your products and services, not just limited to current customers. Some content types successful in building brand awareness include case studies or client success stories, video tutorials, practitioner blog content, and posts capitalizing on pop culture events on social media (e.g. Super Bowl, blizzards, the elections, etc.)
Goal #2 Driving Traffic to Your Website
To drive traffic to your website, content should be easily found and have strong ties to your business or industry. Content that tends to do well in this endeavor includes SEO optimized blogs, targeted social media ads, guest posts on industry blogs and newsletters sent via email.
Goal #3 Increase Volume of Sign-Ups on Your Website
Content designed to increase sign-ups should include a clear call to action while illustrating the benefits of a product or service. Successful content types include product demos and video tutorials, thought leadership or influencer content, and targeted social media ads and campaigns.
Goal #4 Increase Traffic to Lead Generation Landing Page
The kind of content that drives people to lead generation forms is content that is helpful and detailed enough to convince the customer that trading their information for access to it is a good deal. Alternatively, you can offer them some incentive. Useful type of content include webinars, live product demos, gated content such as white papers, toolkits and guides, and contests that may allow the customer to win something for signing up.
How to Execute
Once you’ve determined the type of content that will be most effective for your business, it’s time to lay out the plan for creating it. Take the following steps:
- Schedule – Create a schedule for new content. How often will you release new content? Once a day, once a week? Advise your team in advance to maintain deadlines.
- Ideas – Assign specific team members the task of generating ideas, but stay open to anyone with a great idea.
- Create a Brief – When working with teams, creating a brief outline the ideas, goals, audience, timeline, and role each person will play can be invaluable to keeping everyone focused on the task.
- Creation – Multiple people may play a role in the creation of content: writers, editors, videographers, a manager. A project lead can help manage between steps when several team members each play a part.
Create a Process for Promoting Content
The content is ready to go; now it’s time to promote it. You’ll need to determine where to promote it for maximum effectiveness. Social media is an obvious place to start, with three unique options: paid, earned and owned social media.
Owned social media refers to your own channels, your company’s Facebook page, Twitter feed, etc. Owned social media offers the benefit of repeat visitors and knowing who your followers are. This type of social media has broad appeal and is great for increasing traffic to your site and greater brand awareness.
Earned social media is the shares and mentions your content generates from other users. This allows content to reach a wider audience at no additional cost and can improve your Google rankings. Here again, it’s great for driving brand awareness and works especially well with content that has a broad appeal.
Paid social media refers to advertising that allows you to target a specific audience in a tight timeframe. This is great for lead generation content, and it will drive signups, new leads and sales.
Email, SEO optimization and display ads are also all great ways to promote content.
Measuring and Refining
To gauge the success of your content, you need a way to measure it. Determine what metrics you want to achieve and how best to measure them. You can track results through Google analytics, social media analytics or in-house tools. Determine how often you want to check the metrics and set a regular schedule for this.
Creating an effective content strategy may seem intensive, but building a solid foundation, adding the necessary tools and determining your measurements for success are all key in taking your company’s marketing success to the next level.
About the Author:
Richard Sutherland writes about digital marketing, social media and business. You can read his other articles here at the 360contentpro.com blog.