Before we talk about building an effective content strategy, let’s establish why you’d put in all that effort with content in the first place.
Here are some statistics that are extremely convincing about the effectiveness of content marketing:
“Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less.” – DemandMetric
“47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.” - Demand Gen Report
“Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts.” - HubSpot
So you could just start blogging couldn’t you, and avoid bothering with a content strategy?
Yes, you could, but companies who work out a strategy for their content in advance have far more success than companies that blog at random.
Setting up your content strategy
The good news is that setting up a basic strategy for your content isn’t hard. It’s simply a case of working out where your business is now, being aware of your target market and their preferences, planning where you want to be, putting it into practice and then measuring the results:
1. Where are you now?
Take a good hard look at how your business is doing. What is working and what isn’t in terms of your marketing. Where are you strong and weak compared to your competitors, and what opportunities do you have to promote your company that you aren’t yet taking advantage of?
2. Who do you want to reach?
Ideally, you’ll already have buyer personas for your target market, but if you don’t, now’s the time to put something incredibly thorough together so you know as much as possible about your ideal customer.
Do your research and find out what platforms they use online. Do they prefer Facebook or are they congregating on Instagram? Would they prefer to read a blog or listen to a podcast?
Why do they buy? What makes them choose one company over another? What do they want to get from using your product or service?
The more you know, the more chance you have of producing the right content to attract your target market and promoting it where they are likely to see it.
3. Establish your goals
Once you’ve done the hard work above, you’ll have more of an idea where the gaps are in your current marketing and how you might use content marketing to fill them and get more leads.
It’s not enough to simply say ‘we want to blog more and sell more products’. You need to be specific about what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it, so you can see how you’re currently doing against those goals and then measure your efforts later to see what’s working.
4. What’s your ‘Why?’
For anyone outside the marketing department, blogging and producing content might not seem particularly important, so working out clear reasons why you need to do it can help get buy-in from other departments – very helpful if you also need to convince the directors to spend time and money on this.
Why are you doing it? What do you want to accomplish? Who are you hoping to reach with your content? How will you know if it’s a success?
Nail the answers to those questions, and you’ll have a clear idea in your own head, and the rest of the company will understand the point of having a content marketing strategy.
5. Plan your content mix
Once you know the type of content your intended audience wants to consume, you can take a look at what you already have and decide what goes and what stays, and then make a plan, using an editorial calendar to work out what you’re going to post, when, and how you’re going to promote it.
Don’t just add the content you’ll be posting on your own site, think about what you’ll do on social media, and plan in guest posts on complementary sites to grow your audience.
Look at accompanying lead magnets that you can use to get people to sign up for your newsletter so you can start to build a relationship with them. While you can’t plan the whole thing out for a year and expect it not to change, planning a few months ahead at least will help you plan and stay on track.
6. Measure your results
Take a look at your results from your new strategy once you’ve been going for a couple of months. How do your results now compare to where you were when you started?
Has traffic increased? What are your most popular articles, topics and types of content? What sites are sending you the most traffic?
How’s your conversion rate, and have sales gone up?
What isn’t working?
All of those questions can help steer you towards better results and help you work out what you can do to improve over time.
Once you’ve gone through those six steps, you’ll have a basic content strategy in place that should give your online presence a boost and add massively to the success of your digital marketing.
Thursday, April 12, 2018