Content marketing is the key to successful online initiatives and engaging with an audience. For many businesses, content marketing provides an effective way to reach new customers and stay engaged with existing ones.
Whether you are just starting out in content marketing or have a lot of experience, it is important to review your strategy regularly to stay ahead of your competition.
Last year, research from Hubspot shows that 70% of businesses are engaging in content marketing. As a result, it’s increasingly important to increase visibility on SERPs and stay current with industry trends.
However, you need a successful content marketing strategy if you want your campaigns to be successful. Here is a list of seven steps for creating a successful content marketing strategy that will help you engage more customers and generate more leads:
- Set Clear Objectives
- Define Your Target Audience
- Identify Keywords
- Run a Content Audit
- Choose The Content Type You Will Use
- Publish & Create Content Calendar
- Monitor & Measure Your Results
Set Clear Objectives
Before you embark on creating any piece of digital content, it’s important to identify your objectives and goals for each individual campaign or longer-term strategy. Ask yourself what do you want to achieve?
Aim for S.M.A.R.T goals – be SPECIFIC, make sure they’re MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, REALISTIC and TIME-BOUND! When you have a clear vision of your desired outcome, the path to get there becomes easier to navigate!
To achieve an increased rate of generated MQLs, focus on increasing the publishing rate of gated content. Alternatively, to enhance SERP ranking take the relevant measures.
To optimize your content for Search Engine results, consider researching techniques such as keyword optimization, meta description editing, headings with H-tags, and backlinks. It is important to understand the customer journey in order to be able to provide relevant content that meets their needs.
Identifying the goals and objectives of your content marketing strategy will ensure that the content created is aligned with those aims.
Creating digital campaigns without clear objectives can lead to wasting resources and months of work only to find out that the engagement rates of your material are very low compared to what was expected.
Define Your Target Audience
Marketers often generate content for multiple target audiences. Hubspot states that three is the average number. Content should be tailored specifically to the needs and interests of specific people; it’s fundamental to understand who these people are and what they require.
Market research and the creation of buyer personas can provide a valuable insight into one’s target audience. Buyer personas are constructed to depict your desired customer base and the objectives you have for them.
When developing personas, marketers normally include demographic aspects like age, job role, gender and income, customer pain points and touchpoints, issues encountered and behavioral motivations. This information is then used to understand how to reach their desired customer base and supply services according to their requirements.
Identifying your target audience will make it simpler to create content that is both pertinent and beneficial, leading to improved outcomes.
Have you taken a peek at your website and social media analytics lately? Any trends to keep an eye out for?
How do people behave on your site or profile?
Personal research should be conducted regularly, as experienced marketers may recognize changes in the target audience or the decision to extend into different markets or targeting new demographics. Interferences from external factors, such as market changes or societal trends, can cause changes in the business environment which are beyond your control.
This step should help you narrow down the target audience, so it’s easier for you to research relevant topics and create content tailored specifically towards them.
Generating content that is not in line with the values of your business or the products/services you are offering will not be beneficial.
Content that is innovative, insightful, educational, or entertaining may draw an audience to your website; however, if those visitors have no interest in the product or service on offer, then the effort put into creating that content will not be rewarded.
Start by outlining your business through the products or services you offer.
Keywords and related topics should be carefully selected when planning out content, as this will allow for improved visibility in SERPs and make sure that the correct audience is reached.
It is important for your target audience to understand the value your business can provide and why it is preferable to its competitors.
Ensuring that your content is aligned with the solutions your business offers will provide a better understanding of how customers perceive your brand and will help to ensure that the content you create is pertinent, advantageous, and easy to find by those searching for solutions.
Run A Content Audit
A content audit involves analyzing the content that has been developed and published. The purpose of this is to determine the content that performs optimally.
Conduct an audit of your content to get an overall understanding of what is working, where there may be weaknesses, insights for improving future content, and to pinpoint any information needing updating, rewriting, or removal.
Tools such as Screaming Frog, SEMrush and Google Analytics can be used to conduct a content audit. These tools provide data on topics like the most popular pages on a website, user behavior, page visit duration and SEO-related information that can be used to improve the site.
Content audits provide a range of benefits, such as aiding content design and planning, increasing SEO and website traffic, and serving as a roadmap for marketers.
Choose The Content Type You Will Use
After outlining your objectives, pinpointing the target audience, recognizing relevant keywords, and conducting an audit, it is necessary to decide the kinds of content you will produce.
Content is a critical factor for determining your brand positioning. It is essential to develop and execute a well-thought-out content marketing strategy.
Content forms such as blogs are commonly used by businesses of all sizes. However, a variety of content forms exist, each providing different opportunities. Here are some popular and effective forms of content marketing:
When it comes to creating a successful content marketing strategy, blog posts can be one of the most effective tools in your arsenal. Blogs allow you to reach a wide audience and create engaging, informative content that can help build your brand’s reputation and drive more customers to your website.
Digital guides are typically distributed in PDF form and are an excellent tool for providing detailed and branded content for lead generation. They enable the demonstration of thought leadership and knowledge of an issue or topic.
Podcasts are digital audio files which can typically be accessed through apps or websites. These files may consist of a series of episodes, featuring multiple speakers in an interview format or a single narrator telling a story or providing information.
Podcasts have gained significant traction in the past few years, reaching 24% of the US population (68 million people) who listen to them on a regular basis. Podcasting is an affordable and convenient content strategy for marketers and efficient to consume for audiences.
Video content is highly adaptable for different purposes; for example, animated videos, explainers, interviews, how-tos, snack videos and extended guidelines can all be created.
Additionally, the visual nature of video can help it be more engaging than other formats as many people prefer to visualize what they are learning. Therefore using a visually pleasing format to deliver your message could be effective.
Pillar pages are comprehensive pieces of content covering a single topic. They may be new to some, but they’re worth understanding due to the rapid evolution of search engine algorithms.
Content topics can be focused on by having other content pieces such as blogs, infographics, and videos. These are known collectively as topic clusters.
Pillar pages are beneficial for brands and marketers, as they contribute to building authority on a specific subject. They also provide an opportunity to create thought leadership but also content that is search-engine friendly.
To further enhance the quality of your pillar page, make sure to include valuable, concise, and contextually relevant information in it, as links from high-quality sources may strengthen its authority.
Infographics offer marketers a cost-effective method of relaying information to their target audience in an eye-catching and succinct format and often used to demonstrate facts, statistics, lists, and processes due to their relative ease in creating them.
While it may be challenging for infographics to achieve prominent search engine optimization (SEO) ranking, they can still be shared effectively through social media platforms to convey interesting information.
Case studies are beneficial for demonstrating overall customer experiences, providing customers with more information on a business’s products and services. They can serve as a form of ‘word of mouth’ marketing, where customers can provide their authentic testimonials.
Publish & Create Content Calendar
Content marketing success is contingent on knowing what to publish and when, and through which platform. Content or editorial calendars can be used by content marketers to help them organize and schedule their content creation in order to maintain consistent output.
There are various formats of content calendars available, ranging from physical calendars to spreadsheets and apps such as Monday.com or CoSchedule. They allow you to monitor the content types that you wish to create, the titles, authors, and publishing dates/times – meeting deadlines ensures progress.
Certain brands may utilize social media content calendars to help guide the publishing of content for their corresponding social media channels.
Ultimately, content calendars provide a means of planning, organizing and scheduling content and marketing campaigns in an efficient manner.
Monitor & Measure Your Results
Analyzing the performance of your content can help you understand which types of content most engage your audience, allowing you to make informed decisions about future pieces.
Utilizing tools like Google Analytics, social media analytics, and marketing platform or CRM software analytics allows you to achieve a comprehensive understanding of your audience’s behavior, desires, struggles, and communication points.
This data will provide you with clear insights into what appeals to your audience, which can help you create interesting content.
Content metrics are often grouped into four categories.
1) User Behavior
- Pages Per Session
- Unique Visitors
- Traffic Sources
- Bounce Rate
- Likes & Shares
3) SEO Results
- Dwell Time
- Organic Traffic
4) Leads & Revenues
- Conversion Rate
- Number Of Leads
- Existing Leads Effected
Additional tools such as Moz and Mention can be employed to analyze data more in depth; Moz providing domain authority analysis and Mention delivering real-time alerts when specific keywords related to your company are mentioned online.
By analyzing audience data and evaluating the effectiveness of content, you can create engaging, valuable, and imaginative material for existing and potential customers.
Content marketing provides businesses around the world a range of benefits, from attracting new customers and increasing customer retention, to generating leads and converting them, as well as helping with SEO and reinforcing the credibility of your brand.
User preference may change rapidly, but the fundamentals stay the same: content that is interesting, useful, educational, entertaining, trustworthy and well-focused will help you reach your content marketing goals but follow these seven steps to gain success.