Would you like to generate more leads, sales, and business? Want to improve conversions and effectively establish your brand? Two words: content marketing.
Maybe these stats will help convince you…
- 80% of American Internet users interact with blogs and social media.
- 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles than through ads.
- 90% of consumers find custom content useful.
Oh, and let’s not forget that marketing with content costs you about 62% less than traditional marketing (you can see all the statistics here).
Here’s the thing about content marketing, though… you need a killer strategy! Here are nine steps to cementing one that empowers both your customers and your brand.
1. Zoom in on the Audience You Want to Attract
When marketing with content, the goal is usually to preserve your current customer base and reel in new consumers. Knowing how to connect with these intended audiences is the foundation of an effective content strategy.
The best approach is to view your audience as people, rather than statistics. What are they interested in learning? What are they specifically searching for online? What problems do they have? Answering these questions is the first step to success.
2. Identify the Relationship Between What You’re Teaching and Selling
To expand the reach of your products or services, the content you deploy must be interesting and relevant. The information should strike a chord with readers emotionally, intellectually, and/or in terms of practicality.
For example, if you sell a culinary product, the content could reflect the many meals that could be prepared using it. You could include recipes for nostalgic comfort foods, engaging emotions and intellect and presenting the product as uniquely useful.
3. Focus on Content Integrity
Consumers are smart and can differentiate solid information from spam. The latter can hurt your business. Consumers will avoid spammy material, whereas they will hold your company in high esteem if you prove to be authentic.
Your best bet is to hire subject matter experts who can shape your message into one that reflects your brand while educating readers. If you can’t afford to outsource to professionals, make the time and create high-quality content yourself.
4. Define the Voice of Your Content
Your content marketing strategy should be just one layer of your overall marketing campaign, which can include anything from television commercials to ads on social media. Everything under the umbrella of your campaign should be synchronized.
The content pieces you put out should never contradict any other brand messaging, or your main objective. Rather, each promotional aspect should strengthen the other by reaffirming your company’s overarching purpose.
5. Be Consistent
When creating your content strategy, be sure to decide on the frequency of your content and stick to it. Your readers, once engaged, will expect to receive information from you on a steady basis. If this doesn’t occur, they will disengage.
Being consistent is the hallmark of a successful business in general. Everything from the quality of your products to the production of your content should be reliable. This will give you credibility needed to position your brand as an industry authority.
6. Use the Right Channels
The best channels to utilize tie back to your audience. If your services are geared toward senior citizens, a hard copy newsletter might be their preferred medium. If you are focused on a younger crowd, social media may be best.
Promoting your content on social sites like Twitter can make it go viral. If the content is what readers are looking for, they won’t hesitate to share. Quick Sprout’s guide to content marketing offers more details.
7. Plan Way Ahead
To be consistent, you will need a long-term editorial calendar. Once you establish the frequency of your efforts, determine the topics you want to tackle as far ahead as possible. This gives your subject matter experts time to gather information.
One should bear in mind, though, that it is impossible to fully predict the future. You may have to change a topic at the last minute based on a current event. Trends might change in a way not forecasted. Be prepared, yet flexible.
8. Leverage SEO
A solid content marketing strategy geared toward the right audience is pointless if it doesn’t reach this audience. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the best free ways to get valuable prospects to your web pages.
SEO involves incorporating keywords that consumers search for into your material. This way, your content will show up in search engine results and reach the computer/tablet/smartphone screens of your target audience.
9. Never Stop Collecting Data
Intelligence gathering doesn’t stop when you identify your audience. The world keeps evolving, and so should your business. Keeping abreast of trends and stats ensures that your content is relevant at all times.
Additionally, it’s important to track what the competition is doing. After all, they could be rounding up your customers. To measure content metrics, you can use programs like Google Analytics. Use online tools to see what competitors are up to.
Does your business have a content marketing strategy? Which pillar has had the most profound effect on your success? Share your thoughts below.