The whole point of marketing is to spread your brand across as many platforms as possible, and into the brains of as many potential customers as you can. So why aren’t you doing that?
If you are not implementing a content marketing strategy online, then you are missing out on thousands of platforms and millions of potential customers.
What is a Content Strategy
This is the digital age. Customers don’t read magazines anymore, they could care less about your billboard and the only time anyone actually pays attention to a commercial is during the super bowl.
What content marketing does is level the marketing playing field with the companies who have millions of dollars in advertising spend.
Your alternative is to pay for advertisements on search engines and social media platforms like Facebook. But why pay when you can reel in the same results organically.
Brands Need a Content Strategy
It can be assumed, since your reading this article, that you are not an expert on content marketing. That’s ok. Content marketing isn’t as difficult or complicated as some agencies might have you think. You can implement a successful content strategy on your own.
Your content marketing strategy is, and should always be: To provide value to as many members of your target audience as possible. Whether it be through the product/service you sell, or through the valuable information that you provide, your content marketing strategy should ultimately do two things:
- Provide valuable and informative answers to the target audiences questions.
- Illuminate the path that the customer need take to solve/alleviate their problem by buying your product/service.
A content marketing strategy is really just a comprehensive understanding of how your target audience searches the internet to solve their problems and providing the solution that addresses that problem through value-laden, informative content.
So what is the solution to their problem? Your brand, of course.
Goals of a Content Strategy
The reason you are implementing a content marketing strategy is to create brand awareness and develop an expert reputation. In other words, you are trying to develop trust in your service and drive online traffic to your website.
Ideally, the customer reads your content, determines you are a reputable source, then decides to buy your product/service, or at least provide a lead for later conversion.
Six Questions For Your Content Strategy
- Who is your target audience?
- What problem/question are they trying to solve by searching online?
- How are you different from your competition?
- What are the content formats that you will focus on?
- On which platforms will you publish your content?
- How will you be managing the planning, creation, and publishing of your content?
Tools For Creating an Awesome Content Strategy
There are literally thousands of web tools available for every manner of task or challenge you may encounter online. Don’t be fooled by the expensive subscription based or “freemium” tools out there that claim to solve everything from time management to arthritis.
Content marketing strategies are intricate, thorough, concise, and long-sighted – which means the tool you will need to utilize most effectively in creating a content marketing strategy is your brain.
The following tools are easy enough for any brain to use and can supplement your cerebral fortitude to ensure that your content strategy is well informed, appropriately scheduled and measurable against metrics and data.
YouGov Profiles is a database of consumer, demographic and political data collected from over 200,000 thousand people across the United States on a regular basis. That data is categorized and into a consumer profile.
Users can then search for any keyword and be presented with the profile of the person most likely to buy, read or be interested in that keyword. For example:
I regularly develop content centered on the Chicago market because that is where I live and do business. By typing “Chicago” into YouGov Profiles, I am provided a comprehensive demographic breakdown of the “People Who Like Chicago.”
This tool is great for determining your target audience but also determining what type of content to develop and feature in your content marketing strategy.
In the above example my target audience, people who like/live in Chicago, I can see that most are young, democratic leaning, media professionals. So my content marketing strategy should feature content that appeals to that demographic.
BuzzSumo is a fantastic addition to any content marketing strategy as it enables the user to search topics and find related content that has been posted online. More importantly, however, BuzzSumo enables the user to see how successful that content performed and how much influence it had compared to other similar content.
BuzzSumo also allows the user to sort results by performance across individual social networks, which is valuable in determining which social networks to publish your content.
Google Analytics is essential to every content marketing strategy because it enables to user to track the success of that strategy.
With Google Analytics users can:
- Determine if the current content marketing strategy is effective.
- Find any gaps in the strategy that can be filled with content.
- Find any broken pages and fix them.
- Determine on which platforms your content is trending.
- Discover which types of content are the most effective at generating web traffic?
- Determine if your content is driving conversions.
Buffer is a social media scheduler that enables users to schedule the publishing of an article or content piece across the various social networks. It’s simple, easy and effective.
Define Your Target Audience
What is most important to your content strategy is your target audience/customer and what is important to them. In order to develop a content strategy, you must first understand exactly how much your target audience knows about your product/industry/service.
- What are the pain points that they try to alleviate by searching the web?
- What solutions have they been finding?
- What about those solutions have left them dissatisfied?
- Have you considered the content that your audience is already consuming?
- How can you create better content?
- What platforms and channels to they use to consume content?
- Are you on those channels?
This one should be a no-brainer, but marketers always forget that their competitors are online and that your target audience is constantly ragging on them.
Your target audience is more than happy to tell your competitors all the reasons they are dissatisfied with product/service in their online reviews.
Your content marketing strategy should include stalking your competitors to determine what components of their content marketing strategy are working and which are obviously not.
- What type of content are your competitors producing?
- What about their content has left their customers with questions?
- What information are they sharing that you are not?
- Have they participated in or adopted a cause?
- What discounts and offers are they offering?
Don’t Forget Search Intent
It’s essential to every content marketing strategy to never lose sight of the search intent of the target audience. In order to provide the product/service that alleviates the target customers problem, your content needs to first appear on their computer/mobile screen when they search for it.
That is why every content marketing strategy should utilize SEO best practices, utilize keywords and avoid “spammy content” so search engines don’t suppress their content as irrelevant to the user’s search query.
Set a Content Management System
Whether you are utilizing a myriad of platforms and tools to develop, organize and implement your content marketing strategy, or you simply use excel to keep it all straight the important thing is to implement a content management system.
Content marketing strategies have a lot of moving parts which is why it’s essential to develop a systematic process for brainstorming, developing, publishing and tracking the success of your content.
Now that you have the framework of a content marketing strategy in place it’s time to fill it in by generating content.
Content Writing Tips
Content writing includes many more bells, whistles and moving parts than creative writing. Content writing isn’t easy, but it can be approached systematically.
- Hook the reader with a catchy title but don’t forget SEO. Catchy titles are great, and all but the purpose of your content is to reach as many readers as possible.
- Creating a catchy title that still aligns with SEO best practice is the optimal choice. For more on SEO best practice check out SEO Tips for Content Writers.
- Utilize headers to improve SEO. (H1, H2, etc.) Only use on H1 header per post.
- Break up your text with media and images. Readers don’t like large blocks of text. Break up your blog post with bullet points, short sentences, media, and numbers.
- Write simple, but well. It is important to be clear and concise with your content. A seventh grader should be able to read and comprehend it.
- Be conversational but not too informal.
- Always be compelling. Compel your audience to take the next step, to read more, to take the desired action
- Always end on a call to action.
What’s Makes A Successful Content Marketing Strategy
Every successful content marketing strategy has established benchmarks, determined acceptable risks and established a goal to be achieved.
Strategy Statement: This is where you state, in words, the precise goal of your content strategy.
Ex: “Our content helps restaurant owners increase sales by providing information so they can efficiently manage their inventory, decrease waste, and ultimately sign up for our restaurant management classes.”
Solidify the value that you provide the customer. How is your content going to deliver that value? What obstacles may prevent you from providing that value? How will you be overcoming that obstacle?
Your content marketing strategy needs to include your brand voice. It needs to tell the world who you are, what you stand for and why you are the expert at what you do. Your brand is everything. Determine percisly what it is and stick to it.
Online Presence: Now that your brand has an online presence it needs to be maintained.
Customers Read Reviews!
Your content marketing strategy is dead in the water if it doesn’t include a response to every bad review or promote on related networks. (guest post, sharing related content, etc.)
What do you do to promote your business on other people’s networks? Do you share and re-tweet what others publish? If not you should be.
Social Media/Channel Plan
Utilize tools like BuzzSumo and Google Analytics to determine which channels your target audience uses and publish to those channels.
What are your objectives for each channel? (I.e., number of likes, shares, retweets, etc/per post)
Your social media/channel plan should answer how you can cast the largest net with your content and create a cohesive conversation about your content?
Create a business blog on your website and begin regularly posting niche-related posts to it engage with your target audience. Generate backlinks and shine a spotlight on your expertise by guest posting on prominent publications like HuffPost, Forbes, and Inc.
For more on guest posting check out How to Guest Post: A Content Writers Guide
Develop content for related niches that broaden the scope of your brand, your expertise and the reach of your content.
Get personal and tell your brand story where ever possible. Have real conversations with real customers over social media and actively engage with your audience. Show them that you care enough about them to actually engage with them where they engage with their friends and family.
With this guide, you should now have the knowledge to go out and develop your own content marketing strategy. Go out and tell the world who you are. Engage, share and develop content. Prove to the world that you are the expert at what you do, but never forget that to successfully market online is to provide value.
The more value you provide, the more valuable you become. Become invaluable to your customers and start content marketing today with Otherworld Content.