Your content marketing strategy has a significant impact on the influence you create online in your niche. From blogging to social media publishing, videos, podcasts, and email, content marketing is the best way to promote your brand and get in front of your audience. With more people leveraging the Internet to shop, search and socialize, it’s crucial that you position your business to “show up” when your audience is searching for you.
If you’ve struggled in developing a content marketing strategy that works, the following outlines four steps to creating a successful plan to begin driving more visitors to your website, engaging followers, and boosting lead and sales generation from your efforts.
Step #1 Understand Your Audience
The essence of your content marketing strategy lies in having a clear understanding of your target audience so you can share content that relates to their interest. You see, the goal is to publish content that offers solutions, educates, informs and inspires your market. As a result, you will position your brand as an expert and leader in your niche. Therefore, it’s important you have a deep knowledge of the people you intend to serve to produce content that will attract them to your brand.
The best way to understanding your audience is by developing buyer personas. This process of painting a clear picture your ideal customer will save you time and frustration in your content strategy. You’ll come up with winning topics for your blog articles, write better social media posts, know the keywords they’re using and more simply by establishing your personas.
Step #2 Brainstorm and Map out Content Ideas
Each of your prospects will be at different stages in the buyer’s journeymeaning you have to create content that best aligns with wherever they’re at so it resonates with their interest. For example, someone who has become familiar with and trusts your brand will be closer to the buying decision versus a prospect who just found your article on Google.
Having content topics and formats that appeal to each stage increases engagement and effectively moves people to action. Taking the time to brainstorm content ideas based on keyword and market research along with what’s working today will solidify your strategy.
To get the ball rolling, here are the three stages to the buyer’s journey and the content formats that generates the best engagement from each one:
- Awareness – The key here is to grow your brand awareness and showcase that you’re a solution provider. Blog posts, social media content, infographics and whitepapers perform well with this stage
- Consideration – Prospects are actively seeking solutions, therefore you want to capture leads as they land on your content. Consider using video series, guides, product webinars, and case studies
- Decision – Your prospect is closer to the buying decision. Make this an easy transition by offering free trials, implementation (how-to) guides, and live demonstrations as your content types.
Step #3 Content Creation
Now that you have a solid idea of your content topics, it’s time to craft your content for everyone to see! There’s an art to publishing remarkable content that captures attention, improves your search ranking, fosters engagement, and gets viewers to become subscribers.
The good news is it’s not hard to create winning content that generates results. Consider implementing the following tips when publishing content to your blog, social media pages, videos and ad campaigns.
#1 Long-tail keywords – Keyword research is necessary to discover what your audience is actively using in search. Find these phrases and build your content topics around that
#2 Intriguing headline – The title determines whether your visitor will read your content…or not. Make it compelling and exciting by sharing the benefits readers will gain. How-to’s and numbered list make for excellent headline ideas
#3 Include SEO techniques – Be sure to optimize your blog post content to improve search engine visibility
#4 Use LOTS of visuals – Images, videos, infographics, slideshows, GIFs, and audios are known to enrich website experience, increase engagement, and boost socials shares. Use them to your advantage!
#5 Aim for long-form content – Blog posts with 1,500+ words performs extremely well for SEO and social media shares. You have the opportunity to showcase your expertise in your subject and maximize on your keyword. Shoot for this word count when producing content
Step #4 Promote Your Content
You want to get as many eyeballs to your content as possible to boost brand awareness and increase chances of leads and sales. It’s not enough to simply publish your content. A syndication or promotion strategy assures that you generate the traffic and exposure you desire that creates results.
Therefore, have a checklist in place that you follow whenever you publish blog content (especially long-form). Here’s an example of what that would look like:
- Social media – Keep in mind the audience of the platform you’re posting to when writing for social media. Whereas Facebook is a more family/friend environment, LinkedIn is a professional site. Your promotional content should reflect the network’s personality
- Email list – Did you know that email subscribers are 3 times more likely to share your content via social media than visitors from other sources? They should be the first to know about your content. Encourage them to pass it along too
- Video marketing – Create a mini-video series of your post. Live-streaming video is also a great way to boost engagement and interact with your followers in real-time
- Google AdWord – For whitepapers or eBook, create display campaigns to raise awareness and remarketing campaigns to retarget abandoned visitors
Improving your content marketing is a realistic and doable goal utilizing this guide. The final thing to note is to ensure that you consistently test your results to discover what’s working with your audience…and what isn’t. Fine-tuning your strategy is necessary to creating the perfect formula for your brand. In time, however, you’ll have a winning plan that generates desired results.