The world of marketing is changing. With changes in the way that we consume information, an advert in the local paper isn’t going to cut it anymore – not if you want your business to be successful. This is where a content marketing strategy can help.
The internet has given businesses more information about how consumers think and buy, and the consumer more options about how and who to buy from. Leading from this, we have seen a massive rise in the effectiveness of content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
Business advice and support specialists, Informi, state that “Instead of bombarding your target audience with sales advertising, you give them content that adds value in some way, enticing them to engage with your business. Usually, this is content you give away for free and promote through your marketing channels.”
Content marketing can consist of blog posts, podcasts, articles or videos – any sort of content that can be posted online, is useful and informative, and is usually free. It can be posted on your website, social media, in a newsletter or on blog websites, for example.
One of the biggest differences between content marketing and other marketing types is that it helps people to come to you instead of you having to find them.
Before you Start
As with any marketing project that you are going to start, it is important that you have a strategy before you get going. Without a strategy or plan, you might still have an impact, but it will probably take longer – and you will probably lose money along the way.
Before you start to plan your content marketing strategy, it is important that you have a few things defined:
- Your target audience – know who you are aiming your marketing at
- Take the time to consider how you are going to find and target your intended audience
- What do you want your target audience to gain from your content? (NOT what do YOU
want to gain from it)
- Your business goals – getting more leads, more traffic to your website or more sales, for example
- Come up with a way that you are going to measure your progress – sales figures or KPI’s, for example
Planning your Content Marketing Strategy
Now that you have the basics defined in your head (and in your plan) you can start to think about how you are going to plan your content marketing.
Content Creation Process
First, think about the actual process of the creation of content:
- Who is going to create it?
- Who is going to update and maintain it?
- What resources do you need?
- What is your publishing schedule?
- Who will approve the content?
- What is your content production workflow?
You should now think about what your content is going to include. Start off by carrying out some keyword research into how people could be searching to find you online. Keywords are the terms that people use to search – so they could be, for example, “coffee”, “decaf coffee” or “what is the best decaf coffee?”.
You should use three methods to carry out your keyword research –
- Brainstorming about what you already know about your customers and target audience
- Google Analytics and Google Search Console which will give you data about how people are already finding your website
- Other keyword research tools
The first thing that you should do is start a blog on your website. This is where you can publish your own content and is important even if you are planning on also publishing in other places.
Some other aspects to consider include:
- Your content type – try to mix it up with fun, informative, lists, how-to guides, industry news, and expert advice
- The length of your content – longer, in-depth content tends to do better in the search engine rankings, but you must make sure that it is interesting and informative
- Use keywords throughout the content, but don’t stuff it full of them – search engines will penalise you for that
- Add in links to pages on your website or external, reliable websites
Remember that by showing that you are an expert – or authority in your area, people are more likely to come to you when they need you, even if it’s not right now.
You should also go back and look over any other content that you have created for your business in the past, make a record of it, decide whether it is working and tweak it if need be. This can also help you to identify any gaps which can be filled by new content.
Promote your Content
You now need to think about how you are going to promote your content. It could be social media, blog posts, link building, emails, guest blogging, for example.
Any business that is hoping to be successful in 2020 needs to engage in content marketing. But with a solid strategy to ensure that it is as effective as possible. With a good content marketing strategy, you can help to give your business the best chance of success.