You’ve heard of content marketing, you know your business or brand needs an online presence, and you know you should be doing something about it, but you’re not quite sure where to start?
You’re not alone: digital marketing, including content marketing, can be confusing if you’re simply trying to keep up with the newest buzzwords.
However, content marketing is an increasingly efficient way to build audiences and convert them into loyal customers. It may have been a novelty concept some six or seven years ago; now, content marketing is an industry standard.
To make it work for you, you need to start at the beginning and build a solid content marketing strategy. Here is how:
Getting Your Goals Right
First and foremost, you’ll need to clearly define your content marketing goals.
By definition, content marketing is a tool to attract an audience of people who are interested in the types of products or services you offer and who are actively seeking information or education on the relevant topics.
The purpose of content marketing is to offer the audience free, valuable information that would help them solve their problems. Let’s say you’re a SaaS business offering software for accountants; your target audience will be accounting professionals who have certain pain points, for example, processing clients’ tax returns quickly.
The goal of your content marketing strategy will be to offer content focusing on actionable tips and information on how to keep up to date with tax return policies, process tax returns faster, and streamline accounting processes.
Once your content has attracted an engaged audience of accountants looking to work faster, they’re likely to become interested in the product you sell – the accounting software.
Regardless of what business, industry, or niche you’re in, start by clearly defining the goals for your content marketing strategy and write them down: this is the foundation you’ll build the entire strategy on.
Identifying Your Audience
Once you’ve got your goals in place, start researching your audience.
Who is your ideal customer, what are some of the biggest problems they’re trying to solve, and what are their most pressing pain points?
Use SEO research, join LinkedIn and Facebook groups to gauge what people in your industry are talking about, and use your website analytics to figure out who your audience is.
Next, define what sort of content is your audience most receptive to.
Are they most likely to read blogs, listen to podcasts, or watch YouTube videos? Do they prefer eBooks and white papers packed with well-researched, data-driven information?
Knowing your audience is key to start building a content marketing strategy that will yield the results you want.
SEO and Keywords
Even if you produce content that is nothing short of spectacular, it will have zero affect if it isn’t seen and consumed.
Always run an in-depth SEO research to identify specific keywords for each content piece you’re producing, then create sets of keywords for each topic. Keep in mind that specific, long-tail keywords are always more effective than generic ones; in other words, think “fast tax return processing tips” rather than “accounting” in the case of the B2B accounting software example.
The more specific you are, the more your audience will appreciate your content, and the easier it is to find your content online.
Now that you know your goals, your audience, and the type of content you want to create, it’s time to come up with a content calendar.
A lot of people get stuck during this phase: if you don’t plan and schedule your content in advance, you’re likely to fall into a never-ending catch-up game and start publishing content irregularly.
Audiences hate that: it’s very important to publish content frequently and consistently to establish and build trust and create a long-term relationship with your potential customer base.
To make sure you’re always ahead, create a content plan with topics you want to cover, then create and schedule the content.
Whether it’s blog posts, videos, podcasts, newsletters, or any other content, make sure it’s ready to go on schedule. This way, you’ll stay on top, and your audience will get used to regular, consistent content that gives them value.
You’re almost ready, but there’s one final piece of the puzzle to complete your content marketing strategy – and that’s content distribution.
It’s not enough to plan, create, and publish your content; you need to make sure it gets seen, shared, and engaged with. To do this, utilize your social media platforms to boost exposure and drive traffic back to your website.
However, don’t simply post links on Facebook or LinkedIn or add “link in bio” caption on Instagram.
Craft a compelling post that will grab people’s attention and encourage them to click on the link and read your blog post or watch your video.
Caring about your audiences doesn’t end with creating stellar content – it’s important to keep them intrigued, informed, and engaged across all your media channels and social media platforms.