How to Create a Successful Content Marketing Strategy
Consumers today are constantly barraged by marketing messages and all forms of adverts from countless brands. On a daily basis, an average consumer is exposed to a very high volume of promotional messages which makes it more difficult to get their attention. And this is why you need a Content Marketing Strategy to stand out from the pack.
The danger of this marketing clutter is less about making traditional channels somewhat obsolete or diluted but more about decreased interest of prospective clients to engage in what a business like yours wants them to do.
As you grapple with the right technique to effectively communicate with your desired audience base, how can you ensure that the existence of a wide-ranging interactive technology, the evolving media consumption habits of consumers, and the continuous growth in demographic diversity won’t stand in your way of achieving a proven return on marketing investment (RMI) and ultimately make your business grow?
That’s where content marketing comes in. It has the capability to influence your target customers more effectively by using carefully curated content that specifically targets their needs and interests.
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy?
Often people ask what is the best way to create a content marketing strategy, so in this article I wanted to layout some of the basic steps that I believe to be extremely important.
Here is how to create a content marketing strategy:
- Plan what you are trying to achieve
- Audience targeting & understanding to meet their needs
- Content Development
- Output Analysis to monitor success and failures
Now that seems easy doesn't it! Yes from the surface it is easy - but you need to know there's a lot of steps to make it all happen. Below I provide more details and some pointers on each.
So What Does Content Marketing Mean?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is defined as:
“… a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
“…how a brand creates, delivers, governs original or curated content to attract and retain customers, positioning the brand as a credible expert and ultimately, motivating a change in behavior.”
Content marketing is the prerequisite of demand creation – the bridge between brand awareness and lead generation. Curated and targeted content builds familiarity, affinity and trust with existing and potential consumers by giving them access to information that resonates in the proper format, through the right channel, and at the perfect time.
Why Content Marketing Matters
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach wherein your desired business goals and objectives are effectively translated to the type of content that educates people that will lead them to know, like and trust your business enough to engage with it.
In other words, content marketing has the right value, relevance and consistency not only to drive reasonable traffic to your website but more importantly, to encourage them to take the necessary action - do business with you!
Getting Started with Content Marketing
Stop letting your business struggle with the rapid convergence of technological changes or the constant assault of new competitors and get started with fully integrating content marketing with your marketing communications strategies. Here are five key steps that can serve as a framework to guide your efforts:
What does your organization need to achieve? In what way can content help in meeting these goals and objectives? How will content marketing complement your other activities such as sales, service, advertising, and promotions?
2. Audience Concentration
Who is your target audience – is it from a single, homogeneous demographic or from varied and multiple segments? How do you classify and organize your content to match their interests, concerns, and information needs and your expertise?
3. Content Development
The key is getting a clear sense of what you need to say and then translating them into content that your target audience can understand and relate with. Effective content strongly represents your business’ values and expertise and eventually convinces prospective clients that it resonates with their lives.
Content marketing isn’t just focused on improving a specific channel of communication and letting your company website strategy put in all efforts in just SEO or social media presence or email marketing. It promotes the use of digital multi-channel marketing communications to increase customer acquisition and retention as well as business growth and brand influence.
5. Output Analysis
There is a need to monitor results so you can determine which content has the most or least impact to your website traffic and search engine rankings. This will also enable you to gauge people's responses in terms of comments, questions, complaints, etc.
So Where Content Marketing Is Applicable?
Utilise the power of content marketing through a variety of digital channels it can support such as:
1. Natural Search
Articles on your website are one of the most commonly used forms of content marketing. Proper keyword selection, excellent SEO techniques and of course, high-quality content all play an important role to make your audience want to click, read, and commit.
2. Paid Search
Paid search advertising methods can lead to long-term, unrivalled success for your business. The most important thing to remember is first, to build a focused content platform and second, to build a target audience that will suit that content platform.
3. Online PR
Guest blogging or pitching your publication to social networks can build your authority and reach new audiences. Insightful content that brings real value to your target audience will stand out and can do wonders to your business.
4. Social Media Marketing
The status updates you share through different social media channels is important so you can be seen by consumers at optimal times in their specific time zone and eventually drive traffic to your site.
5. Display Advertising
Display advertising and content marketing go hand in hand to generate leads and sales for your business. While banner ads are visually enticing to people, it is not influential enough to get them near the buying stage. But combine it with interesting content, it can encourage them to subscribe, develop a relationship with you and eventually make purchases.
6. Email Marketing
As the most established of all the digital communications techniques, email marketing is the core of every content marketing strategy. It allows you to share your brand content that encourages readers to click that ‘call to action’ button.
7. Mobile Marketing
The secret is concise writing – not writing less but strong, succinct writing. With the right formula of attention-grabbing lines, value-laden content especially at the above-the-fold real estate, and bite-sized paragraphs, your mobile marketing can help you score points with your audience and produce winning results for your brand.
How to Develop a Customer-Centric Content Marketing Approach
There is only one goal: ensuring that the depth and breadth of your content focuses on what your target audience wants.
1. Study your website analytics
Make time to research about the needs, interests and preferences of your target audience. This can be done through analyzing their past and current user online behavior, keyword performance, internal search data, etc.
2. Observe interactions over social media
Visit different social media channels where your prospective customers go to on a regular basis. Collect data about the most common conversations and topics people are discussing so you can figure out if your products and/or services already offer what they need or still lacking somewhat.
3. Focus on industry research
Fortunately, there are many relevant industry researches being published more frequently these days. Grab a hold to them as they provide insights into your industry, your target audience’s expectations for products and services, as well as where your competitors stand.
4. Survey your current customers
Don’t hesitate asking your existing consumers about what makes them choose your company over the others, what features they love the most, and what they think should be changed or added.
Aggregating and reviewing this information will provide a good understanding and a clearer picture of what your customers and prospects want and need as you plan and create your content marketing strategy.
How Content Marketing Helps Your Business
1. It positions you as an established brand
Through content marketing, you are showing your customers that you are a credible thought-driven leader in the industry and that you are an expert in providing them with the products and services that matter to them. Content marketing is a foolproof way to educate people about your business and establishing a reputation which they can trust.
2. It attracts new leads
Effective content functions as a giant magnet. It draws potential customers to your site and gets them to take action – do business with you. It is therefore crucial to create and maintain a steady flow of relevant and engaging content to drive quality traffic and increase customer conversions.
3. It makes you the ‘talk of the town’ in social media circles
Content marketing and social media are the perfect combination of boosting lead generation and customer acquisition. Building a series of attention-grabbing, value-laden content and harnessing the power of social media can help you convert more of advert-averse people into happy, repeat customers with substantial Lifetime Customer Value.
4. It guarantees top presence on search engine results pages (SERPs)
Since customers turn to search engines to find solutions to their problems, your main goal is to be there when they go looking for it. Fresh, updated and well-written content is essential to draw people to your site, encourage them to take action, and keep them coming back.
5. It increases sales
Obviously, this is the ultimate goal for any business but content marketing isn’t just about pushing your products and services aggressively to people. Your target audience might have already developed a powerful resistance to the so-called ‘hard sell’ which makes old-school sales tactics pointless. Good content gently coerces consumers to trust you and do business with your company.
Why Content Marketing Can’t Be Ignored
Content marketing is important for your business because it can drive huge leaps in organic traffic growth. It is all about being closely involved with all the stages of the buyer journey – from start to finish. A well-planned content marketing strategy attracts your target audience, build brand awareness, prove your industry expertise and eventually, produce skyrocketing sales.