The marketing landscape has undergone a massive transformation from intrusive self-promotional tactics to a more inbound approach. It’s no longer enough to just create ad campaigns on Google and Facebook. You have to educate potential customers about your brand and convince them to purchase your product. This, in turn, means you must consistently publish fresh, well-researched, and useful content.
Content marketing is no longer a novelty that you can afford to experiment with. It’s becoming the norm for most business owners and digital marketers. Whether you want to generate new leads or retain existing customers, you must provide your audience with valuable content. If you still haven’t outlined a content marketing strategy for your business, it’s high time you get started.
Content Marketing: A Closer Look
Content marketing is the practice of publishing and promoting high-quality, insightful, and valuable content to attract new customers. It involves two main stages – content creation and distribution. This article focuses primarily on content creation.
Instead of directly selling your product, you use a mix of blog posts, videos, infographics, podcasts, etc. to lure your target audience to your website. Thereafter, you use a mix of free and gated content such as e-books, checklists, webinars, etc. to convert website visitors into leads.
The next step is to nurture these leads by providing them with more awesome content in the form of newsletters, tutorials, etc. The key is to address their pain points, solve their problems, win their trust, and educate them about your product and brand. You should also focus on retaining existing customers by providing them with access to exclusive content.
Image via Wavemaker.co
Depending on your marketing objectives, target audience, and budget, you can create the following types of content:
- Blog posts
However, if you want your content to yield the desired results, you must develop an actionable content marketing strategy. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 69% of the most successful B2B content marketers have a well-documented content marketing strategy. Simply put, it’s a framework the outlines the type of content you’ll create and distribution channels you’ll use. It involves a series of steps, ranging from goal setting and audience research to optimization and monitoring.
The Relevance of Content Marketing
High-quality content is an integral part of your company’s overall marketing campaign. Whether you want to increase website traffic using search engine optimization or boost audience engagement on social media, you need eye-catching content. In the absence of good content, your product will likely drown in the ocean of sub-par and self-promotional businesses.
Content marketing is an organic way to build brand awareness and connect with your target audience. When implemented correctly, it generates qualified leads and drives conversions. Additionally, it reinforces your online reputations and establishes your brand as an industry authority. This, in turn, boosts brand trust and customer loyalty.
The biggest benefit of content marketing is that it offers long-term results. For instance, a well-researched blog post will continue to attract website visitors as long as it remains relevant. Likewise, the recording of an insightful webinar can be used to grow your mailing list even months after its release date. This makes content marketing a cost-effective alternative to paid promotion.
It is, however, worth mentioning that today’s consumers are flooded with a wide array of mediocre content. You are competing with thousands (if not millions) of businesses to grab the attention of your potential customers. Therefore, churning out lots of content without any strategic plan isn’t enough. Instead, you should focus on publishing content that reaches the right people at the right time and strikes a chord with them.
Building an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve likely already developed a content marketing strategy for your business. It is, however, crucial to analyze your existing strategy and understand whether it’s relevant in today’s competitive market. Here are the steps to create and execute a successful content marketing strategy:
1. Define Your Goals
It’s essential to have a clear idea of the objective you want to achieve through content marketing. It influences the type of content you create and helps you measure the ROI of your campaign. Use the SMART approach to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
Image via Perdoo
Here are some examples of SMART goals:
- Double your email opt-ins in the next quarter
- Achieve a fixed revenue target in the next six months
- Increase your website traffic by 50% over the next two months
2. Identify Your Audience
You can’t create relevant and useful content without understanding what your target audience wants. It’s important to look beyond the traditional demographic parameters like age, gender, location, and socio-economic background. Identify their hopes, aspirations, struggles, and pain points. Additionally, you should have a clear idea of the channels and devices they’re using to consume content.
3. Audit Your Existing Strategy
The next step is to analyze your current content marketing strategy to understand whether it’s still relevant to your goals and audience. Identify gaps and find ways to fulfill them. This is also a good time to take a look at your published content assets and identify the best-performing ones. You can use Google Analytics and Google Search Console for this purpose.
4. Perform Keyword Research
A solid keyword strategy will help optimize your content for search engines and make it relevant to your target audience. They also come in handy when you’re brainstorming ideas for your overall content strategy.
You can use tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, etc. for conducting keyword research. We also recommended that you look at your competitors’ content and find the keywords they’re targeting. Once you have an understanding of the existing search results landscape, you’ll be able to identify the topics you should address.
5. Outline a Content Calendar
This step involves identifying the type of content you’ll publish and prioritizing the topics you’ll work on. Create a timeline for publishing and distributing your various content assets. Determine the most effective distribution channels for each piece to reach your target audience.
6. Implement & Monitor
Finally, you’ll create the content and promote it on various channels like your website, social media, streaming platforms, search engines, etc. You should monitor and analyze its performance, and calculate its ROI. This will help you refine your approach as you work through your content calendar.
Content marketing is an indispensable part of your overarching advertising campaign. It helps you build awareness, trust, credibility, and authority. You should focus on identifying your audience’s pain points and create content that fulfills their needs.
If you’ve made it this far into the article, you now understand just how much goes into a content marketing strategy. If you need to create a content marketing strategy, give us a shout! WriteForMe’s team of content marketing experts can help you achieve your inbound marketing goals.