Ever noticed how millions of businesses across the globe are using content marketing to increase their revenue? It is because content marketing has produced awesome results by providing innovative solutions, and building long term relationships with customers.
Capgemini is a consulting firm whose website received a million new visitors once they revamped their content. Not only this, they ended up making approximately $1 million in sales in the very first year that they implemented a new content strategy. So, how did they make it possible? Well, the firm created a website that provided answers to their customer’s problems. Capgemini used innovative storytelling to communicate with their customers and to drive their business goals.
Content marketing is important because it provides answers to your customer’s queries. For instance, if you are wondering where to get the best cake for your party, once you search for bakeries on Facebook, it throws up so many pages of businesses with the best cake flavor combinations that you can choose for your special day. So, you see that content marketing not only answers your queries, it helps in building trust with your customers and this leads to conversions and better relationships. Before you delve into the steps of creating a successful content marketing strategy, let’s first look at what content marketing is?
“The reason we struggle with content marketing is because we haven’t started with ‘Why?’ Customers don’t care about your vanity metrics. Ask them, ‘How can I help?’ – Kristina Halvorson
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing involves creating content and sharing it across all online platforms to promote your products and services. Basically, the goal of content marketing is to make your business more noticeable and profitable. So generally, the promotion is done indirectly to get the attention and interest of your customer toward your brand and your products and services.
The content you create can be shared through a variety of formats such as videos, infographics, images, e-books, email marketing, and webinars. The best part about content marketing is that you can employ so many tools and be as innovative as you want and that too without investing big bucks that are much needed for traditional advertising.
How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy
Not only is it important to create good content but your customers should also be able to access it so that they can make an informed buying decision. This is where having a content strategy helps you. A content strategy is basically a structured plan on the content you create, how to distribute it across different platforms, and how to measure the results so that your business goals are met.
A great content strategy is important to attract and retain your customers. It also helps in improving your SERP rankings on Google so that more people can discover your brand. The key here is to have good content that engages your audience and boosts your rankings. Here’s how to develop a content marketing strategy that helps you achieve your business goals:
1. Set Your Goals
The first step in your content marketing effort is to know what your goals and objectives are. Do you want to inform your prospects about your products or services? Are you looking forward to target people who have already shown interest in your brands? Do you want to convert your leads into customers? As a marketer you should know which part of the buyer’s journey you want to focus on and accordingly you can create the required content that will drive your goals.
The objective at the top of the buyer’s journey is to create brand awareness. You want to spread the word out there and attract people so that they become familiar with you as a brand and also about your products and services. At this stage, you need content that has a broad appeal to strangers so that they are directed to your website and get to know more about you.
Once people get interested in your products and services you need content that directly speaks to them as they are your target consumers. Now your content focuses more on the needs of your customers and also toward building a relationship of trust. This is what is referred to as conversion driven content. The aim of conversion content is to convert your visitors to customers.
When your prospects finally become your customers, you want to continue to impress them so that they refer you to their friends and also come back to you for repeated purchases. Let’s look at how Adobe delighted its B2B users. Adobe has wide base comprising customers and businesses and the brand had a lot of content generated by the B2C customers that share pictures, videos, infographics, reviews across social media. In an attempt to leverage user generated content from its B2B customers the brand encouraged businesses to showcase their creations on Adobe’s Instagram page. So, the business users were delighted to share content from their latest marketing campaigns. This a perfect example of how companies are coming up with content marketing startegies to impress their customers.
2. Know your Audience
Anyone who may be interested in your product or services is your target audience. You must know who your buyers are and what are their characteristics. As a content marketer you should be familiar with the type of people you are communicating with, the problems they face, and their likes and dislikes. The next step is to use this information to create a buyer persona, which is basically a fictional character based on particular user type who would use your products or services. The goal is to create content that focuses on the needs of the customers. This will happen if you provide something valuable to the customers so that they benefit from it.
By giving your audience the content that they require you will help in engaging them with your brand. A business that has done this successfully is Charmin, the American toilet paper company that leveraged their understanding of their target audience to generate interest and to engage with them. Charmincame up with an app called Sit or Squat that created a lot of buzz. They focused on one of the major problems that their customers faced routinely and that was dirty public restrooms!The customers used this app to find out whether the local restroomin their area was clean or not. Charmin also designed a social media campaign around this app to spread awareness about their products.
3. Evaluate Your Existing Content
Audit the content on your website to know what works and what doesn’t. A content audit requires you to analyze the existing content on your website to know the gaps that can bridged in future content marketing efforts. The content is evaluated based on the Key Performance Indicators that you have selected. A Key Performance Indicator is a value that helps you measure the success of your marketing efforts against the goals and objective that you want to achieve.
After a successful content audit answers the following questions:
- What type of content is attracting more visitors to the website?
- What topics strike a chord with the audience?
- Is there content for each stage of the buyer’s journey?
- Does the content address all the buyer’s profiles?
4. Determine the different Types of Content you want to Create
A few years ago, when you uttered the word content it mainly referred to articles, case studies, newsletters and other form of written content. However, times have changed and these days different content formats are becoming popular. Blogs are one of the most effective ways of increasing organic traffic followed by videos and infographics that help at different stages of the buyer’s journey such as creating awareness, keeping the audience engaged, and helping them in making the buying decision.
Long forms of content such as How-to guides, Case studies, white papers, and e-books provide the necessary information to the customers and also help them in understanding how your brand can improve their lives. Other interesting content formats include social media posts, webinars, podcasts, and interviews.
However, there is a no single format that guarantees success but from the content audit you know which formats have resonated well with your audience. So, it makes sense to have a content mix comprising popular formats so you have something for everyone. Also, be open to trying out new formats once in a while and analyze the results to see how they have affected the traffic on your website.
Here are some content types that are suitable for the different stages of the buyer’s journey.
5. Create a Content Outline
A content outline is essentially a blueprint of content on your website. It is basically a skeleton that has the content ideas in the form of bullets. Creating a content outline is important before execution so that you can straightaway focus on what content you need to create. Once you have the clear picture of the idea you can build upon it so that there are no confusions in terms of angle that you are going to follow for a particular topic and the different aspects your audience would be interested in.
For instance, if your broader topic is about “SEO Techniques” then you can conduct a quick search on a website such as Ubersuggest that helps you come up with different ideas for your strategy. So, when you key in the keywords “SEO techniques” it throws up the most popular articles along with the number of visits and backlinks. Here are some search results that cropped up on Ubersuggest.
- 3 essential techniques for SEO success
- White Hat SEO Techniques: It’s Not About Gaming Google
- 5️ Techniques to Lazy-Load Website Content for Better SEO & User Experience
- On-Page SEO Techniques: The Actionable Guide to Rank on First Page
- 5 SEO Techniques You Should Stop Using Immediately
Once you know what your audience likes to read and based on the different search results you can choose what angle you will cover on the particular topic. So, if you decide to cover the SEO techniques that drive the traffic away, you can google up this topic and see what your competitors are covering and also how you can add your insights and create more value to the content that has been covered already.
6. Have a Content Promotion Plan Ready
It would be wishful to think that once you have created good content you can share it on your social media platforms and it will go viral. Content promotion needs careful planning so that your content reaches a wider audience and that too without burning a hole in your pocket. It is good to post the same content multiple times in a week. Yes, you heard it right. There is a chance that your audience might have been busy when you posted a video and they did not see it. So, posting it again the next day increases the chances of more people stumbling on it online.
Another trick is to create more formats from the same content. For instance, if you have created a blog post you can come up with interesting infographics using sites such as Canva and Piktochart as people find visual content more appealing. Pinterest and Instagram are great platforms to attract new customers through infographics and illustrations.
You can also make an informational video explaining the content in your blog post. According to HubSpot, a video increases the organic traffic from SERPs by 157%. You can also create slide presentations and share them on LinkedIn’s SlideShare platform to generate more leads. So basically, you can produce great results by coming up with new content formats without having to create new content. Remember that as there is no one content format that works best every time, similarly there is no one channel that will work the best for you. You need to post re-post content on different social media platforms to get the best results.
Having a content calendar will organize your promotion plan. You can make an excel sheet which has all the details about when and where you are going to publish your content. You can also download some free templates available online. A typical calendar includes your content repository and the updates according to each platform where you are publishing your content.
7. Measure the Success of your content marketing campaign
Once you have created amazing content based on your audiences needs and promoted it across different social media channels, it is now time to get feedback. Your audience will give you a clear picture of what they like and don’t like and accordingly you can come up with relevantcontent in the future. Moreover, you need to analyze if your content has met the goals of your content strategy.
There are four key indicators that fall under content metrics and each of them is crucial to know how successfully have you promoted your content to your prospects and customers. The first category is user behavior that informs you about how a user interacts with the pages on your site. It helps you know the number of users that interact with your site, the pages that pull them to your site, and the most popular pages on the site.
The next category is engagement that shows how actively the users interact with your content. On your socials these engaged customers like, comment, and share your content. On your website you determine engagement by the bounce rates on your landing pages, average time spent on pages, scroll depth and average page views.
SEO results are another crucial indicator of your brand’s performance. It is analyzed by the organic traffic on your website, rankings for the targeted keywords, the quality and quantity of backlinks, the Domain Authority of your website, and the Click through rate.
The last and the most important indicator of the success of your content marketing campaign is company revenue. After all the content has been targeted toward different stages in the buyer’s journey and the final step of which is the decision stage. Here they make a purchase decision with the help of the information you provided them. So, the revenue is measured by the indicators such as conversion rate, number of leads, and the return on investment (ROI).
Start Creating and Promoting Great Content
Good content drives the web and it always will. Even an effective video and audio is dependent on great content. Remember that successful content marketing strategy is all about creating and promoting content that serves your audience and solves their problems.