If you’re creating content without a plan, you’re wasting a lot of effort and likely not getting the return you want.
It’s hard work and it takes a specific strategy to make content marketing work. The better the plan, the better it works. Yet, only a third of marketers surveyed report having a documented content marketing strategy.
Content marketing is all about using content to attract visitors and increase conversions. That starts with defining your overarching goals for your content development, defining individual goals for each piece of content, and measuring the results.
A Documented Content Marketing Strategy
A documented content marketing strategy provides several benefits:
- Aligns content marketing teams around common goals
- Keeps teams focus on priorities
- Makes it easier to decide on content direction
- Creates accountability
- Provides clarity on target audience segments
- Measures success based on established goals
Creating a solid content marketing strategy can set you apart from the pack. Nearly half of all content is created on an ad-hoc basis without a plan.
A 4-Step Content Marketing Strategy Template
To create effective content marketing, you need to focus on this 4-step template:
Great content marketers know they have to research their target audience in order to determine the right content. That means researching your audience and not just your topics.
- Social media listening
- Website analytics
- Keyword research
- Sales team feedback
- Customer feedback
- Competitor research
Since you can create great content that will lead you nowhere, you should develop a profile of your target customer. This is called a persona, and make sure your content is developed with them in mind. To head down the right road, you will need content that connects with your target customer.
Before you start to write, you have to know the end result you are trying to achieve. Is it to position you or your organization as thought-leaders? Is it to convince them to buy your product or service? Is it to get them to contact you, fill out a form, download a whitepaper, or drive more traffic to your website?
Now that you know your target audience and have your goal in mind, it’s time to write. As you do, keep these things in mind.
How Often Should I Post?
Deciding how much and how often to post can be a challenge. The real answer is to post great content as often as you can. The key, though, is great content. A good rule of thumb is at least twice a week, but it’s better to post fewer high-quality posts than more frequent low-quality posts.
How Long Should My Posts Be?
An analysis of more than 1 million articles revealed that long-form content of 1,000 words or more consistently gets more shares and links than shorter content.
Why Is SEO Important?
Pay particular attention to SEO (Search Engine Marketing) techniques. This is what helps people find your content when they’re searching online. You’ll need to write compelling headlines and make sure you sprinkle in the appropriate keywords. You will want to make sure you are writing meta descriptions. These are the snippets that the search engines will show in addition to your title.
Subheadings help highlight key points in your posts when people are scanning your content. Search engines also give more weight to keywords when they are in these prominent subheaders.
Do Visuals Matter?
A strong visual may be the key to getting people to click on your content. We scan headlines and search results, but we notice visuals. In fact, MIT researchers find that the human brain can process entire images in as little as 13 milliseconds. If that’s enough to convince you, try this on for size: Posts that include images produce 650 percent higher engagement.
There are plenty of free sites where you can get high-quality images. Don’t just grab anything, though. Look for unique images or photos that will highlight key portions of your text. Use infographics, charts, graphs, and video whenever you can.
You can write the best content ever, but if nobody finds it, it won’t help you achieve your goal. Creating great content is the beginning, but you will want to use a mix of free and low-cost options to gain exposure.
Fortunately, social media has become a excellent way to get the word out. Make sure you are taking advantage of all the social channels your organization uses. Encourage employees and executives to share the content on their social channels as well. While basic posts are free, you may want to invest in boosted or paid posts to further your reach.
Develop an email list of followers so that you can deliver fresh content right into their inbox. Regularly compiling your best content and a few other weightier pieces from thought-leaders in your niche can be a great way to develop an email newsletter that will get read.
Consider having your team members incorporate links to your blog posts in their organization’s email.
Consider using your content marketing in other places besides just your blog. Offer guest posts to high authority websites or publish articles in business-friendly environments like LinkedIn or Medium.
Look online for discussions on key topics similar to your blog posts. When appropriate, comment on the topic and provide links back to your content. This is particularly effective when your post helps solve a problem or trend someone else has identified.
Monitoring and measuring the success of your content is critical. If you created content with your specific goal in mind, you need to measure the performance of content against those goals. Don’t get caught up in vanity metrics. For example, if your goal is to get people to click on a landing page and fill out their information, the number of clicks and visitors is irrelevant if they don’t fill out the form.
If your goal is ROI, you’ll need to track the cost to produce and market the content against the revenue it generates. Other ways you may want to measure content success include:
- Lead generation
- Lead quality
- Engagement/Time Spent
- Social sharing
- Search engine performance
When you find something that works, take a closer look. It may be worth developing more content in this topic area, re-purposing it in other venues, or refreshing it and posting it again at a later date.
When You Do It Right, It Works
A lot of organizations spend considerable time and resources creating content and don’t get the results they need. That’s because coming up with high-quality content and sticking to the content marketing template is difficult. In fact, 60 percent of companies report they find it hard to produce content consistently. This can be frustrating.
But when you do it right, it works. Research shows that content marketing produces three times the leads per dollar spent versus paid search. Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and produces 3X the number of leads.
Consider Hiring Content Writing Professionals
Targeting, creating, marketing, and measuring your content can be time-consuming. It can be frustrating. And, it can be expensive if you don’t do it right. Consider working with a content writing company. You’re an expert in your industry and you know how to run your business. By letting professionals handle the content generation, you can focus on what you do best.
If you too are in need of content marketing templates or just plain content writers, reach out to us today and start noticing the difference!