Content marketing is creating, publishing and promoting value-based content to attract your target audience so they get to know, like and trust you. But content marketing should not be done without a well thought-out content marketing strategy.
All major marketing activities require a well-planned strategy, including creating content. Without a content marketing strategy:
- Marketing activities become random and unfocused
- Resources are wasted on tasks that don’t help you achieve your goals.
- Your marketing activities are not focused on the things that help you reach your ideal client.
Therefore, it is important that you plan your content and how you will promote it before you begin the creation process.
What is a content marketing strategy?
A content marketing strategy is about creating a plan to provide relevant, valuable content and promoting it on the marketing channels that best reach your target audience. You need to match your content to the needs and desires of your audience so that you educate them and become memorable.
There are many benefits to small businesses that implement a content marketing strategy. By providing quality content, you become known as a trusted expert and advisor in your industry. This helps to build your online brand presence, making your business more visible. And one of the most important aspects of content marketing is that it helps attract new visitors and turn them into qualified leads.
Before you start creating content, answer the following and create your content marketing strategy.
What do you want to achieve?
Determine the goals for your content marketing efforts. Do you want to:
- Attract new visitors
- Generate more leads
- Grow your email list
- Develop an expert reputation
- Build brand awareness
By knowing what you want to achieve, you can align the content with those goals so that it delivers actionable results.
Well written blog posts shared on relevant social media sites can drive more traffic to your website, help you build brand awareness and develop an expert reputation. Blog posts are good for visitors in the early part of their buyer’s journey.
eBooks and whitepapers are more useful for visitors who have learned about your business and want to get further education on how you can help them.
Creating a content marketing strategy will help ensure that you focus all your time, energy, and money on reaching a goal that is important to your business.
What does your target prospect want?
Creating content that connects with your audience is hard. What does your target audience want to know? What challenges or pain points are causing them to look for a solution?
You need to intimately understand your audience and the buyer’s journey and your content needs to be aligned with steps along that path.
Perform a content audit and organize it by type (blog posts, articles, white papers, videos and presentations) and by topic to determine where you need to fill in the gaps. Use this information to lay out your editorial calendar that will be your content road map going forward.
How often will you publish?
The challenge for most small businesses is to provide engaging content on a consistent basis. Finding the time to implement a regular and consistent strategy is very difficult. The key to success is to do what works for you based on your time and resources. Small businesses need to focus on providing quality content on a regular schedule, even if that schedule is only once or twice a month.
Writing requires creative thinking. Some people can create a blog post in minutes. For others (like myself), writing takes more time. Some write short posts more frequently. Others writer longer posts less often. Know which type you are and which would benefit your business the most. Then schedule your writing time accordingly. Do not commit to more than you can realistically achieve. To stay on track, try some of the following tips:
- Schedule time in your calendar to write. Having set dates for publishing can help remind you that it’s time for new content.
- Note ideas and topics that you want to write about
- Use your categories to organize topics to write
- Subscribe to blogs that may help generate ideas
Be realistic. Plan a schedule that can work for you and stick with it as best possible.
Where will you promote your content?
Besides your blog, where else will your content be distributed? Consider posting a link to your content on Twitter, your Facebook Business Page and LinkedIn, depending on where it makes the most sense. In order to drive people to your Website, you need to cast a wider presence by getting your content out to where your target audience is spending time.
Make it easy for others to share your content broadly.
- Add a visible subscribe button on your blog and don’t forget to allow visitors to subscribe via email.
- Sending content in the form of a series of emails to your list
- Add social share buttons to your website so visitors can share your content to their friends and followers.
- Share your content on the social sites that you use.
How will you measure your effectiveness?
Measure your results based on how effective you are at achieving your goals. If you want:
- More inbound leads, is your content helping?
- To grow your email list, is your lead magnet attracting the right audience?
- To become known as an expert in your industry, is your content projecting that image for you?
Track and measure your efforts so you can adjust if necessary.
And if you have a challenge creating the content yourself, don’t hesitate to consider outsourcing the writing to someone who can get it done faster. You have enough to do as a business owner to feel like you must write the content yourself. You could dictate your thoughts, turn it over to a writer and then edit the content.
Content creation is the basis of inbound marketing
Remember that content creation is the core of your inbound marketing strategy and needs to be done regularly for it to be effective. Good content gets found, consumed and shared, fueling more traffic to your website and giving you an opportunity to build trust, credibility, and authority for your business.
Are you going to create a content marketing strategy for your business?