Content marketing has been generating headlines as a cure-all for all of your marketing woes, in recent years. There are many great reasons for content marketing’s popularity, most notably it’s non-intrusiveness. We’re all burned out on traditional marketing.
Content marketing is still king when it’s done correctly. That requires a content marketing strategy.
Investing a lot of time, money, energy, and resources into content marketing without a content marketing strategy is like betting your company’s yearly budget on a roulette wheel. Yes, it could pay off. You’ll never know if it was due to your idea or just blind luck, however.
A content marketing strategy is necessary to earn your ROI. It’s even more mandatory to prove the merits of that investment to your shareholders and investors.
To help you make the most of your content marketing efforts, here’s a thorough guide to constructing a world-class content marketing strategy.
The Ultimate Guide To Crafting A Killer Content Marketing Strategy
First of all, there is no such thing as out-of-the-box marketing. Every marketing initiative is unique. It’s the marketing team’s job to sell and promote a specific product or service.
Before we get started, let’s take a look at why you need a content marketing strategy.
Why A Content Marketing Strategy Is Mandatory For Effective Content Marketing
In 2013, Netplus and Finch Brands interviewed over 200 brand marketers to assess the state of digital marketing. The Digital Brand Survey reports that most marketers feel overwhelmed with their daily duties.
When we go into content marketing blind, it can feel like just another item on our endless daily to-do lists. eMarketer reports that 60% of digital marketers create at least one piece of content each day, however.
That’s because content marketing leaders report 7.8x as much traffic for content marketing leaders. Clearly, it’s in our best interests to investigate content marketing as part of our digital marketing toolkit.
When you create a streamlined, scalable content marketing strategy, the process becomes automatic. It’s built into your marketing team’s daily routine.
When done correctly, a content marketing strategy can actually save you time and reduce work.
Now let’s find out how, shall we?
Research Your Niche
The first step in developing your content marketing strategy is understanding your audience and industry. Who are your customers? What are their pain points?
You’ll want to create detailed buyer personas for your ideal customer. Try to identify age, where they live, lifestyle, and how much money they earn. This will help alert you to potential problems you might be able.
These marketing insights will also give a hint where your customers live, online. If your ideal customer is a stay-at-home parent from 30 – 45, you might find them on Pinterest. Posting between 8 – 11 PM or on Saturday mornings might be a good time to reach them.
Identify Your Brand Goals
Knowing what you hope to achieve will hold enormous sway over the type of content you create. The mechanics of selling a product or service on the Internet is much different from simply raising brand awareness, for instance.
Some common content marketing goals include:
- Raising brand awareness
- Increasing web traffic
- Engaging audience
- Generating leads
- Increasing marketing ROI
- Building customer loyalty
Let’s delve a bit into each category to see the similarities and differences between different types of content.
Whether you’re just starting out or have been around and established for a while, brand awareness is key. We’re only as powerful as our reach.
Brand awareness is a key component in earning customer trust, as well. This is one of the pillars of content marketing and why it’s so much more effective than other forms of advertising.
Content focused on building brand awareness should aim to increase your brand’s authority as a thought leader. Focus on creating branded content that can be widely shared and build your legitimacy as an expert in your industry.
Types Of Content That Emphasize Thought Leadership:
- Guest posts
- Studies and research
- Video posts
Branded content that increases thought leadership performs double duty, as well. Your audience will share your content and advertise your brand for you.
Creating content is always a good idea. It’s only effective if people actually make use of it, however. Customer engagement is also a metric of how useful your content is to your audience.
Some Methods Of Increasing Engagement Include:
- Stir up a controversy
- Ask for opinions
- Be surprising
- Get your audience involved
- Create multichannel content
- Offer incentives
It is incredibly important we remain ethical in our attempts to increase engagement. It’s tempting to create content around the latest controversy in an attempt to exploit the outrage cycle to raise brand awareness. It’s not only tacky to do so, it can have a serious negative backlash.
One of the reasons content marketing is so effective is it builds trust. Exploiting human suffering for self-promotion will accomplish the exact opposite.
Instead, focus on positive ways to encourage audience engagement. User-generated content campaigns are an excellent example. So are classic calls-to-action like asking for opinions or comments.
Increasing Web Traffic
Increasing web traffic is probably the most classic content marketing strategy. There are a million ways to drive traffic to your website with content marketing. Most of them will help delight your audience and keep them coming back for more.
Hosting a blog on your website is one of the most common ways to increase web traffic. Creating blog posts around your niche is a fast track to thought leadership. It’s also an essential component of gathering backlinks, which will raise your website’s SEO ranking.
Make sure all of your blog posts follow on-page SEO guidelines. This will help capture the long-tail search engine marketing (SEM) goals, while still giving you content to promote via social media.
Create Your Content
This is the stage where you actually construct your content. Find the time to write blog posts. Work on your ongoing studies and research to create branded thought leadership.
There’s an almost limitless amount of different types of content you can make. Here are 100 Types Of Evergreen Content, to get your wheels turning.
Promote Your Content
Once your content exists, the possibilities for promotion are nearly endless. Social media marketing is one of the most popular – and powerful – ways to promote your content and increase your audience and reach.
It’s also a wonderful example of having a content marketing strategy in place. When you have the big picture in mind, your content creation and marketing work in unison. This greatly reduces the workload on your marketing department.
As you’re creating your branded content, keep a separate document with some of the main takeaways from that article. Pull out memorable quotes. Emphasize useful and interesting statistics.
Create high-quality branded images to help promote your content. Infographics are always a popular choice. Images that include text also get a lot of traction, especially on image-heavy social media networks like Instagram.
Once you’ve created your branded social media assets, it’s time to publish. Here’s where the marketing science comes in.
Content marketing is only effective when it is measurable. This means eliminating as many variables as possible, so you can truly get a sense of your content’s effectiveness.
The simplest and most effective way to make marketing measurable is by scheduling your social media posts. Apps like HootSuite and Buffer are popular choices for scheduling social media posts.
Don’t underestimate the power of email marketing, either. Social media is wonderful for gaining brand awareness. It’s never a good idea to let an outside agency control all of your assets, however.
You need to be building your email lists as you’re developing your brand. It’s important to be able to directly access your customers and audience, without the intercession of a third party.
Email marketing gives you a direct line to your audience’s inbox. It’s like them inviting you over for dinner. That’s a great time to tell them about your brand.
Make email updates and promotions a part of your content marketing strategy to remind your customers you exist. Roundup recaps and newsletters are always an easy and effective way to repurpose content for email marketing.
Assess, Rinse, and Repeat
This is a good overview of one iteration of the content marketing cycle. After you’ve completed the cycle, see what’s working and what isn’t. Let this guide your future content marketing.
Don’t rely solely on marketing metrics, either. Talk to your audience. See how they feel about your brand and what could be improved.
Content marketing is a wonderful example of what is so powerful about digital marketing. It gives small- and medium-sized business owners access to the same powerful tools that Fortune 500 companies have traditionally been able to access.
Content marketing also lets you continually innovate and update your brand, in real-time. That’s something that not even the largest corporations could’ve done even 50 years ago.
The business world is evolving at the speed of thought. Content marketing lets us evolve our brands at the same pace. Content marketing strategy lets you do so without feeling overwhelmed.
Ready To Master Digital Marketing?
New tools and resources for digital marketing are hitting the market every single day. Things are changing so fast it can be hard to get your feet beneath you, let alone full-sprint towards your marketing objectives.