Learn how to get the most from your content marketing strategy with these 7 actionable steps for growing your business.
Are you looking to grow your business from your content marketing strategy?
Perhaps you are new to the world of content marketing or maybe your current strategy is just falling flat.
No matter what the case is, the key to making your content marketing strategy work for you is to make it actionable.
In this article, we discuss seven actionable steps to help get the most from your content marketing strategy and grow your business.
1. Start With Your Business Goals in Mind
At the heart of any effective content marketing strategy is having clear goals in mind.
Having a clear goal in mind before starting any project or task helps keep things on track and ensures you are focusing your efforts on working towards something specific. After all, if you don’t know where you want to go with your content marketing efforts, then how can you expect to reach your goals?
To identify and set a goal for your content marketing strategy you will need to consider what it is you are looking to accomplish with content creation.
Here are some goals you may have in mind:
- Increase conversion rates
- Increase revenue
- Move leads through the buying funnel
- Build trust and connections with existing customers
- Generate more leads and connect with more potential customers
- Improve SEO
- Gain more website traffic
- Social media engagement
Whether your goal includes one or all of these, it is necessary to clearly identify what it is you want to achieve. From here, you can devise a content creation mission statement for your plan. In this mission statement, you will explicitly write out who your content is for, the types of content you will create, and what your desired result will be.
The best goals will be ones that are clear, specific, measurable, and attainable. If they aren't, then chances are you won't meet them!
These goals will serve as a foundation from where the rest of your content marketing strategy will be built.
2. Develop an Editorial Calendar
Creating an editorial calendar will help you not only save time but also strategize effectively. By creating an editorial calendar, you will be able to plan ahead when you should publish new pieces of content as well as what kind of content. You can use this as a guide to ensure that you do not miss deadlines.
An editorial calendar allows you to organize your work into different categories such as social media posts, email campaigns, webinars, etc. The key to a successful editorial calendar is that it provides structure so you can focus on each piece of content without getting distracted by other tasks.
Most importantly an editorial calendar will provide you with a high-level understanding of your content marketing strategy.
To develop a content marketing editorial calendar you'll need to:
- Have your goals determined
- Identify and research possible topics and keywords
- Prioritize highly valuable content
- Identify products and services to shape content around
You will also need to really understand your topics. This means more than just being an expert in an area. Knowing what headlines, subtopics, and types of content are popular for your target audience is essential. Utilize tools like BuzzSumo, Google Analytics, and Aherfs to help compile this information.
Finally, you will need to revisit and reassess your editorial calendar regularly. To do this, you will need to consult your analytics and decide if what you are doing is working towards your goal.
Once your editorial calendar has been developed you will be able to create a production schedule that will handle the more detailed day-to-day aspects of content creation.
Editorial Calendar Strategies
There is more than one way to go about planning the content you will produce. One very effective strategy is the pillar and topic cluster model.
Pillar content is a type of content that thoroughly covers a specific topic. Depending on the industry or niche, this topic will be much broader like workout routines. Pillar articles are comprehensive longer-form content usually in excess of 3000-5000 words.
While keyword research is very useful in developing pillar content ideas, do not get too distracted by it. Instead, focus on topics that will be relevant to your readers. Not only will this ensure your audience will be interested in the pillar content itself but they will also find content made from the content cluster topics to be valuable as well.
Branching off from your pillar content will be your content clusters. Content clusters are subtopics directly related to your broader pillar topic. For our example topic of workout routines—some topic clusters could include low-impact exercise, high-impact exercise, workout equipment, supplements, and so on. From each subtopic, content can be expanded upon. Pillar content pages are intended to link to cluster content pages and vice versa.
The pillar and topic cluster approach helps to structure your content creation and helps with SEO.
One of the reasons pillar content and content clusters are so useful is because with the ever-changing search engine algorithm—search engine users are now searching with longer, more conversational requests. As such, search engines are providing more specific results for users. Therefore, having a content strategy that accounts for this by addressing all aspects of a topic in a conversational yet informative and thorough manner results in better rankings.
Hero content is content that can appeal to a mass audience. In a way, this relates to pillar content in that they both encompass broad topics for a large readership.
However, there is a difference between these two terms: Hero content tends to have a shorter length while pillar content tends to be much longer. The reason for this is because most people who write pillar content tend to be experts in their field. They know exactly how to cover every aspect of a topic without leaving out anything vital.
However, when writing hero content, writers must take into account things like brevity, readability, and accessibility. This is because hero content is intended to appeal to as many people as possible with the purpose of introducing your brand.
3. Identify Your Target Audience and Map Your Customers’ Journey
This could include identifying their demographics, interests, location, job title, company size, industry type, and any other relevant data points. Once you know who they are, you can start thinking about how best to reach them through your content.
Knowing your customers’ pain points is another important piece of information to understanding your audience and creating valuable content.
Once you have located your target audience then you can create a reader persona. This is similar to a buyer persona but a reader persona is more specific to blog content. A reader persona is a fictional representation of a typical person who is most likely searching for topics related to your blog content. The goal of a reader persona is to help you understand how your readers think and feel about your topics.
By understanding your readers’ needs, you can create better content that resonates with them.
4. Create Content For Each Digital Media Platform
Knowing your audience is essential because it will not only dictate the types of content you create but also where it will be published so your target audience is most likely to engage with the content.
BuzzSumo and Google Analytics can give you important insights into which platforms are being used most by your target audience.
If a key segment of your audience is women between 20 to 35 years of age. Knowing this, you can create content that best relates to this specific group. For example, this particular demographic might enjoy content with striking visuals that can be easily shared on Instagram.
There are many digital platforms available today including blogs, podcasts, videos, eBooks, infographics, white papers, case studies, slideshows, and much more. These all require specific kinds of content depending on the platform.
Therefore, knowing who your audience is, what they want, and where they spend their time, will help you focus your content marketing strategy to fit their exact needs.
5. Cross-Promote Content
To maximize exposure, cross-promote your content across multiple social media platforms.
If you publish great content on one channel, don't forget to share it on other platforms as well. It may not seem obvious at first but sharing content across different networks increases its visibility exponentially.
Be mindful of what you post for each channel. Try not to blanket promote everything everywhere, it might be more beneficial to be a little more strategic.
Knowing your audience and where they spend their time and focusing efforts there is a better way of using your time and resources.
6. Repurpose Content and Update Older Content
When you use your bigger pieces of content and publish various versions of it in multiple ways is repurposing content.
For example, you can repurpose one Youtube video or podcast into a blog post, then break it down into various social media posts, repurpose the content to fit an article for LinkedIn readers, and then pull out a quote to post to Twitter. All repurposed from one piece of content.
So if you have videos or webinar content that have not yet been made into written content, now is the time to take advantage of this content. Webinars, product videos, and other video content can be made into written content pretty easily.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with it!
Update Older Content
Revitalizing and republishing older content with new information or incorporating a new angle to it will extend the life of your content.
For example, if you wrote an article last year about software solutions for small businesses, now is the perfect opportunity to rework this content and use it again. You can even add new value by adding fresh statistics, research findings, or other newer solutions. This is also a perfect opportunity to ensure the article is up to date with your current SEO strategy.
You should also consider whether or not you want to update the original text. Sometimes updating the text makes sense while sometimes it doesn't. In either case, make sure you're doing so ethically. This means citing sources and giving credit where it is due.
If you decide to update the original text, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Make sure you've updated the images used within the content.
- Add links back to the original sourced material
- Keep the brand voice and tone consistent throughout
- Don't change too much without good reason
7. Measure Your Progress for Successfulness
The final step in creating an effective content marketing strategy is measuring your progress.
KPIs are metrics that measure how successful your content marketing campaigns were. They include things such as traffic, leads, sales conversions, etc. The most common KPIs are those related to website analytics. However, other KPIs could include email open rates, click-through rate, bounce rate, page views per visitor, average session duration, conversion rate, etc.
Before you start measuring KPIs, you will need to discover which ones are relevant for measuring your business growth. For instance, if you sell products online then tracking product purchases would be very useful. On the other hand, if you run a blog focused on providing information to readers, then analyzing comments and feedback left by visitors would provide valuable insight.
Once you know which KPIs matter to you, start tracking them regularly. Then compare these numbers against previous months and years. Once you see trends developing, adjust accordingly. For instance, if you notice certain pages aren't converting well, then try adjusting your copy or focus on other areas of interest.
Final Thoughts on Content Marketing Strategy
Creating great content isn't easy but it's certainly worth the effort.
If done correctly, your content marketing strategy can help grow your business and increase revenue.
It all starts with having a clear vision of what you want to achieve and knowing exactly why you want to do it. As well, having a clear picture of who your audience or customers are is essential to creating the most relevant and appealing content.
From there, create a plan that includes specific goals, objectives, and action items. Finally, execute each item thoroughly until they become a consistent streamlined process that gets you proven results.
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