How To Create A Content Marketing Strategy
You want to know how to create a content marketing strategy, but what is a content marketing strategy anyway? In order to understand fully what a content marketing strategy is, we need to define “content marketing”.
Content marketing is a section or branch of marketing that is focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online. Content marketing means attracting and converting prospects into customers by creating and sharing valuable free content. The content should be relevant to the businesses area and category so that the audience will remember and make a purchase.
The purpose of content marketing is to help a business or company create a sustainable brand loyalty, and provide valuable information to consumers, along with allowing them to be able to purchase products in the future.
Different types of content marketing you can use would be, blog posts, videos, images, infographics, ebooks, case studies or guides.
A marketing strategy that is effective will identify what goals you want to reach, and how you are going to reach them. Do you want more sales, or more high value leads?
So instead of just randomly creating content from interesting ideas, an effective content marketing strategy will allow you to include long term strategies designed to drive specific, tangible results that you are looking for.
Here are some tips and ideas that should help you create an effective content marketing strategy:
1) Examine Your Niche
Probably the first thing you will want to do is understand where you stand with regards to the niche. You will need to consider your strengths and weaknesses, and the value you can bring to that specific market. So, try conducting a SWOT Analysis.
The SWOT method relies mostly on data, so you will want to use your analytics tools and data. You should be looking at things like bounce rates, new visitors vs. returning visitors, site behavior, and aquisition to determine where there might be room for improvement. This will help you see where you are now and where you are wanting to be, helping you bridge the two. Therefore turning weaknesses into strengths, minimizing threats, and seizing opportunities, you will be able to create more valuable content and get in front of your target audience.
Being able to analyze your competitions content is crucial. For one, their social media profiles can provide helpful information about your audience, helping define which social media channels are most popular and find content that is engaging within your niche.
And secondly, they help you gain an understanding of your competitions content strategy. This would include such things as, how often and what type of content they post, and what kinds of social media channels they prefer. The SEMrush Social Media Tool helps you analyze your own contents performance along with your competitions. It’s always a good idea to compare yourself with your competition to know where you stand.
2) Define Goals
Your content marketing strategy should be built around specific results you want to accomplish. In order to get those results, you need to define very clear and specific goals. Do you want to increase brand awareness, do you want to drive sales for specific products, or get more leads.
Once you decide what your goals are going to be, you need to define your KPI ( key performance indicators ). For example, if you want to generate more leads you can measure how many new leads signed up for your newsletter each month.
The SMART method is a popular way to define your goals and KPI. The SMART method requires that goals be Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Relevant- Time Based. Basically speaking, your goals won’t account for much if they can’t be measured, for instance ” I would like my readers to really love this content” is not a specific goal because there just simply is no end result that can be measured.
Or, you could say ” I want to increase brand awareness by increasing social shares by 200% in the next six months.” That would be a specific goal ( brand awareness ) with measurable metrics ( social shares ), can be attainable, is relevant ( 200% in six months is possible ), and time based ( six months ).
You can have many goals that you want to include into your content marketing strategy, but you should have a crystal clear plan for how you will go about accomplishing each one.
3) Establish Your Target Audience
To achieve your goals with content marketing you need content for each of your targeted audiences. It doesn’t matter which business you are in, there will be different audiences to reach and each audience will be influenced in different ways. Creating customer profiles is an effective way to help break down the type of content that each audience would need. Make sure to focus on needs, interests, locations and demographics.
Another thing to consider and pay attention to is your competitions social media interactions, content development and community in order to determine whether or not there is an audience you may have forgotten.
Now that you have established who you want to reach, you will want to have a look at who you are already connected with. Once you do, you can now get an idea of who your content resonates with and who you might have missed.
If you discover you might have missed a portion of your target audience, you can use Google Analytics to help determine what you missed.
4) Creating A Content Plan
So now, we will need to take a look at what trends are happening online and what your audience is interested in, and see how they combine with your goals. How can you use blog posts, infographics, and YouTube videos to sell more through teaching, as an example. At this point you can have a look at what types of content your audience is already interested in, do they prefer lengthy content or do they prefer shorter blog posts of only 500 words? Have a look at your competitions content and see what kinds of content they are getting the best results from.
Your content marketing plan might take the form of a calendar. Your calendar could allow you to determine how often you want to post ahead of time, and when you want to post. If your content happens to perform better on Mondays and Thursdays for example, then you will want to make sure your content is going live on those days.
A content calendar may also help you map out a series of posts, making it therefor easier to see how they are related to and tie in with each other, thus making it easier to optimize for your goals.
5) Create An SEO Friendly Content Framework
This is something we have all done, and I am pretty sure will continue to do. How many results do you look at when searching for something on Google? Fact is, most people won’t even get past the first page before they find what they are looking for. If your content isn’t optimized for search engine results, chances are that your targeted audience won’t even find you in their searches.
SEO and content marketing go hand in hand, each helping the other. Search Engine Optimization can dramatically increase the reach and visibility of your content. And since social media helps you get to your target audience, an SEO strategy’s goal is to help your pages become more visible to those looking for content and products or services similar to yours.
Choosing keywords carefully will help determine where your site will be located in the search results, so beyond what might make sense. The words customers, or someone doing a search uses will often be different from what a business might use, so always take into consideration audience knowledge of the topic, interests and needs, keyword popularity, and keywords used by your competition.
The SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool is an awesome resource when researching keywords for your blog and can be helpful in identifying your competitions best keywords. For best results, a balance of keywords that have higher search volumes and lower competition terms are what you should be looking for.
After you find the keywords you want to target for your content, you can check out the SEMrush SEO Content Template. This tool analyzes content on Googles top 10 ranking pages for your target keywords and gives you a template that recommends how to create SEO friendly content.
6) Create And Apply Content
Only after following the last five steps should you now consider getting started with creating content. Your content should be molded and shaped around the five previous steps. Your content should be created with your audience and relevant keywords in mind, but always remember to avoid any kind of keyword stuffing.
Your content needs to be optimized to achieve the goals you are focused on. For example, if that means sales you can include small bits of product information in your posts. Lets use FitBit as an example, if FitBit was writing a blog post about the health benefits of water, they might include a tip about using their smart water bottle, that automatically tells you how much you are drinking.
Here are some examples of how to do this:
- Use CTA’s ( calls-to-action ) at the end of every bit of content to optimize for your goals.
- Place ebooks that are relevant to your content at the end of a blog post or video and let readers and viewers know they can “Learn more in my free ebook” which also works as a great lead magnet.
- Place social sharing and “Click To Tweet” buttons on your posts which will prompt users to share your post.
Create content that people just have to read:
- Create content that covers all topics with enough detail so that it stands out as the most authoritative post or page available. Remember, it’s all about quality not quantity.
- Create something that has value to your readers, things such as tutorials and data-driven informative content provide instant value, increasing the chances that they will share and come back.
- Content of any kind needs great headlines, which are interesting and to the point and tell users what they can expect when they click.
- Use as many different kinds of media for maximum impact such as, video, infographics, text, and images.
- Always answer as many questions as you can from your readers and viewers, this creates value quickly.
7) Plan Your Delivery
With over 2 million blog posts published each and every day, there is no guarantee your audience will find your’s, so you will need to have a delivery/distribution plan that will enable you to find them.
Your plan should determine how and where you will share your content and get it in front of your target audience. Some of those methods could be:
- Weekly or monthly email newsletters to subscribers featuring top content.
- Social media shares, PPC campaigns, such as Facebook Ads, YouTube Ads, and Promoted Pins.
- Use publishing and distribution sites like Medium, or LinkedIn posts.
- Try using the SEMrush Brand Monitoring Tool to find blogs and media outlets that are already writing about your brand. Check to see if they are talking about your competition.
You should always use detailed analytics data, such as data that comes from Google Analytics, to help identify and track your most valuable sources of aquisition. Knowing which sites and channels are sending you the most amount of traffic, and optimizing for them should be a crucial part of your content marketing strategy.