Do you have a content marketing strategy? Are you unsure about what content marketing really is, and whether your business needs a content strategy?
Before we look at the 8 steps you need to consider for a creating a content marketing strategy, let’s consider what content marketing is:
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is about creating and distributing information that solves your customer’s problems.
Ryan Hanley describes content marketing as ” the various methods of which we deliver our message of value in the digital world.”
Delivering this value usually takes the form of information that educates, informs, inspires or entertains your online audience. Publishing consistent and valuable information, and building a ‘know, like and trust’ relationship with your online audience can transform leads into paying customers.
So why develop a content strategy?
You should have a content strategy in place because:
1/ Content provides the customer with access to your products and services and should lead them to a ‘call to action’ or the next step in your conversion funnel.
2/ Content can solve your customer’s pain points.
3/ Content positions your business as the trusted expert within your industry.
The first question you need to consider in developing your content strategy is:
1/ What do you want to accomplish?
To track your content success you need a strategy with specific goals:
To give you some ideas, successful content should:
– Improve your brand awareness
– Increase traffic to your site
– Generate more leads and sales
– Improve your search engine rankings
– Increase your competitive advantage
Your content should be accomplishing one or more of these goals.
2/ Research the audience’s needs
You’ll need to research your audience’s pain points and needs. Analyse what questions your customers are asking, can you spot trends, and do the same ones keep repeating?
Ensure that you track these enquiries and answer each of them with useful and valuable content.
If you’re short on questions, search online for your targeted key words and discover what people are asking about. Check out the website Quora to discover popular questions. Facebook or LinkedIn groups are also useful for discovering questions your target audience is asking for help with.
3/ Develop a content marketing mission statement
Creating a content mission statement will help to ensure everyone is working towards the same aim.
It will help you and your team to decide what content you will and won’t create, and what’s appropriate and inappropriate.
Take a look at Kraft Food’s content mission statement, as an example.
“Create delicious meal solutions that inspire amazing food stories which spread to drive sales, and create value for Kraft Foods.”
Every piece of content created should be checked against your mission statement to ensure you marketing a consistent brand message.
4/ What type of content?
Consider the different types of content that you can implement. This can range from easy to implement content such as social media updates and images, through to more complex content such as animation or custom applications.
As you’re likely to have content published on different dates and sites such as your website, blog, and social media channels, use an editorial calendar to help plan and organise the creation and launch of new content.
5/ Never build your content on rented land
This means ensuring that the content you create resides on your own property such as your website and blog, rather than originating from a social media site. This enables you to have full control over your content without being affected by changes to these sites that you can’t control.
6/ Content Optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process for making web content search engine friendly.
Every piece of content created such as text, images or video should include keyword optimisation so that it has the potential of ranking higher in the search results.
7/ Promotion of content
Once your blog post, infographic or video has been created you’ll want to promote it and the easiest way to do this is by social media.
Decide on the social media sites that are relevant to your industry.
There are a number of possibilities to choose from including
– posting to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
– Participating in groups
– Pinning images to Pinterest
– Commenting on blogs
8/ Measure your progress
How do we know whether we are achieving our objectives?
The best way to measure your progress is by using web analytics. This analyses and collects data from your web sources. The most common web analytics tool is Google Analytics which is free to use and has a wealth of information available.
Here is a recap on the main points:
– Decide on what you want to accomplish?
– Research your audience’s needs
– Create a content mission statement
– Plan and agree on your content types
– Build content on your home base where possible
– Optimise your content once it’s been created
– Promote your content using social media
– Measure your content marketing efforts
Remember that a smart content marketing strategy begins with understanding what the customer needs rather than what you want to offer them.