Most companies, regardless of size, plan a content marketing strategy to boost their online traffic and sales. It is one of the best practices to utilise in the field of marketing. Developing a solid content marketing strategy can help build brand awareness in a competitive industry, bring more traffic to the website, improve customer reviews, target the right audience and ultimately, boost sales.
Whether you are new to content marketing, or you've been using the same approach for a while now, it never hurts to revisit your content strategy. You need to make sure it's innovative, up-to-date, and engaging for your existing and prospective customers, regardless of when or how they intend to buy. A solid and smart content marketing strategy is the first step to getting that all-important head start on the competition and to actively engage your audience.
If you are developing a content marketing strategy from scratch or just looking for some fresh ideas, we've created this guide to help you. Read on to learn more about content marketing strategies, why your business should have one, and how you can develop your own content marketing strategy.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is when a business develops and publishes a range of useful content for current and prospective customers. This content can include blog posts, case studies, eBooks, newsletters, social media, white papers, infographics, templates, videos, emails, and podcasts. When you do it right, this content demonstrates your company's expertise in a particular area and that you value the people you are selling to.
Essentially, this form of marketing is both the art and science of communicating with existing and potential customers without directly selling to them. Rather than just focusing on selling your products and services, you provide customers with helpful information to teach them about your product or industry. When you do it correctly, you will be marketing to your customers without interrupting their lives, and your reward is their business and long-term loyalty.
Why is content marketing important for your business?
Content marketing plays a crucial role in helping your business generate website traffic and new leads. Creating just one blog post with an embedded link to a free tool or eBook can continue generating leads for you long after it was published if the post gets a steady stream of traffic.
By establishing and nurturing relationships with your existing and prospective customers, your content encourages clients to think of your business as a partner concerned with their success and a valuable source of advice and information. In turn, this makes them more likely to choose you when it's time to buy.
Why create a content marketing strategy?
Creating great content isn't enough. You don't just want people to read your content. You want them to take the next step and convert into becoming customers.
When you have a good content marketing strategy, you'll know which keywords to target, the tone of voice to use in your content, how and when to mention your product or service, and how to deliver an irresistible call to action. You can use your strategy to set goals and tie in with your overall business strategy.
How to develop a content marketing strategy
The idea of developing an effective content marketing strategy from scratch may be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. For a content marketing strategy to be successful, it needs to be both manageable and sustainable.
Here are nine key steps to developing an effective content marketing strategy.
1. Define your goals
Start by thinking about what your aim is for developing a content marketing strategy. What is your purpose behind producing content in the first place? Decide what is most important to your business and develop a set of content marketing targets to support these goals. Doing this will help you develop a laser-like focus on what matters most to your business and increase your chances of achieving what you set out to do.
Your goals will depend on the specific needs of your business and where it currently is in terms of growth. Consider what is important to you right now. It could be to boost engagement, get more customer reviews, increase revenue, or build your business as an authority in your industry. Don't forget to ask your team to share their suggestions for growing the business. Their unique perspective could give you some ideas you hadn't considered. Once you have gathered ideas together, think about how these could potentially benefit your clients and, in turn, your business.
2. Decide how to measure your performance
The only way to know whether you are achieving your goals is to develop a set of key performance indicators, or KPIs, which will tell you whether your hard work is paying off. These KPIs typically measure shares, mentions, likes, comments, time on page, website traffic, newsletter signups, and revenue targets. When you track this data, you can develop your content marketing strategy much better, and it helps you gather the right information for producing a marketing report.
3. Research target keywords
Keywords are just as important as they've always been. Whenever a person types a search string into Google, they use keywords, even if they don't realise it. You must work out what keywords will appeal to your target audience.
There are several free keyword research tools, such as Ubersuggest, that can help you find keywords to target in your content. All you need to start with is one keyword then you can find long-tail keywords to add to your list to help you get more targeted traffic to your site.
4. Research and create buyer personas
To make sure your content is right for your audience, you need to know who you are talking to and what they need. Your content should be about the things your target audience would be interested in and written in a voice that relates to them. You can do this by creating buyer personas (also known as customer personas); profiles of your ideal customers, including their names, ages, locations and personalities of these imaginary people. You'll then be able to understand your customers better and create more useful content for them.
Spend time gathering data on various factors like key demographics (gender, age, income, education), interests, preferred social media channels, and problems, for example. You can get this data from the existing analytics your company uses. Customer reviews, feedback, and surveys are also useful ways of gathering information that will help you build your buyer personas.
5. Review where you are now
Now you know your goals, the key metrics to track, and who your customers are, you now need to look at where you're starting from. Carry out a content audit by looking at what content you already have, such as your blog posts, videos, guest posts and newsletters. How effective has this content been so far? How does it compare with your competitors? Are there any gaps in the content marketing that you could fill?
Think about what you would like to improve, whether that’s increasing the number of shares, internal links, backlinks, or your keyword ranking. This will help you to identify where you can make improvements and how you can broaden your content horizons.
6. Determine your content channels and content types
You should now have a better idea as to who your audience is and what their needs are. With your ideal customer in mind, do you know what type of content they prefer and which platforms they use the most? If your top demographic is young women aged 16-24, then consider producing content for a social media platform such as TikTok or Snapchat. While certain trends come and go, blogging should remain a key part of your content marketing strategy as you can keep people coming back to your website with high quality and useful content.
7. Identify and allocate resources
A content marketing strategy only has value if you deliver the goods. That means there's no point in spending time creating a detailed plan if you don't end up delivering on it. Therefore, once you've developed your content marketing blueprint, you need to plan how to deliver it.
Here are a few things you need to consider:
- Who oversees creating and maintaining the content?
- What resources will you need?
- What will the workflow look like, and is it manageable?
- Are there any tools that could help to simplify and streamline this workflow?
8. Create a content calendar
A key step in developing a content marketing strategy is the actual planning of the content. This means taking a far more strategic approach than simply putting together a few content ideas into a spreadsheet. First, decide how frequently you want to publish your new content and what channels to use for marketing it. Once you have this nailed down, you can move on to planning precisely what to create and when.
Start by gathering your content ideas by looking at your notes, brainstorming, reviewing customer feedback, looking at keyword search terms, asking colleagues, or reviewing your FAQs. Then you can schedule them into your content calendar. This will go a long way in helping you to reduce stress, stay ahead and be in a much better position to achieve your content marketing goals.
9. Produce a publication and promotion schedule
Once you have identified what content you will create, it's time to decide how often you want to publish it. Just keep in mind that consistency is more important than frequency. For example, if you publish new content each Monday, your audience will know when they can check back to read your last piece. Publish once a week or every day, but try to ensure you always publish content on consistent days and times.
You might find it helpful to schedule your content promotion. Sharing your new content on social media, then sending a message to people mentioned in your content can greatly impact the number of people your content reaches. With certain social medial publishing tools, you can also schedule your content in advance to help you stay organised. Facebook, for example, lets you schedule your content so it is automatically posted at different times.
Building a content marketing strategy can be complex but any investment you make at this stage pays off significantly in the long term. Work through these steps, and you will create a robust content marketing strategy that gets you results!
Content marketing – the highlights
Here are some quick tips to help you on your way to developing a solid and effective content marketing strategy:
- Keyword research: Create an extensive list of keywords related to your brand, products, or services. Regularly update this list to include new keyword ideas.
- Content goals: Know what you want to achieve by publishing your content. Each piece of content may have a different goal, such as converting leads or establishing your brand as an authority for a particular topic.
- Target audience: Every item of content you create and publish should be targeted at a specific section of your target market.
- Style guide: Style guides ensure that every piece of content has a consistent tone of voice and appearance. Ensure it includes such details as spelling, capitalisation of brand terms, and number of subheadings to use.
- Content length: Think about how long you want your content pieces to be. Long-form content often gets a better ranking as it's more thorough. However, only create content this long if the topic warrants it, otherwise stick to shorter content.
- Writing and editing: Develop a proofing system, so that every piece of content you create is checked by someone else before it's published, making sure it is of high quality.
- Non-text content: Consider creating different types of content alongside your text-based content, such as infographics, videos, and other interactive content. You can then embed them into your articles.
It takes time to build and develop an effective content marketing strategy. But by taking an organised and creative approach to your content marketing, you can create a content strategy that is up-to-date, innovative, and engaging for your customers regardless of how or when they intend to buy.
To find out how Feefo can support your content marketing strategy and help you grow your business, get in touch with us today.