According to Hubspot, 55% of marketers claim content creation to be their top inbound marketing strategy. Wordpress data indicates that on average, 80 million blog posts are published every month.
Content marketing offers something of value to people and it gives prospects and clients an opportunity to build a deeper connection with your brand or company.
If you don’t have a strong strategy behind your content marketing activities, you may be making the costly mistake of using a tactical approach instead of a strategic one which will generate more leads, sales and profits in the long run.
What’s important is to design a clear strategy for your content marketing and plan your content in a way that matches the marketing and business objectives.
Content Marketing Pre-Preparation
Before beginning a content marketing strategy, it’s important to examine the website to ensure there aren’t any major technical or design issues which can impact the credibility of the brand.
Prioritise fixing these before developing any content is important, not only from a branding point of view but also from a search engine optimisation point of view.
Look for broken links and ensure internal and external link structures are in place.
Once any technical errors have been fixed, you can focus on content creation.
What to Remember When Crafting Content
One of the first challenges content creators face is topic selection. Here are some ways to over this obstacle and beat those blank page blues:
One of the mistakes business owners make is to create content which focuses on themselves or their company – what they do and how great their company is.
People don’t really care that much about you or your company. What they care about is, their problems and how you can help solve them. So one of the key things to do is to take a look at your content to see if it’s too focused around you or your business.
For the most part, your content should focus around your customer; their problems, challenges and how your product or service will help in solving these.
There are many ways to find out what your customers’ pain points are. The simplest is to ask them by conducting an online survey.
Pay someone to mystery shop your customers to find out what their challenges were before seeking help from your business and how you helped them get to where they are now.
You can also look at online forums related to the industry and follow the conversation which is going on in these.
While there may be many pain-points your business can help customers to overcome, the topics you select should also be around what your prospects are actively searching for on the internet.
You may think of creating a number of blog posts, videos, podcasts or infographics around some typical problems your product or service overcomes, however, these should relate to what people are actually searching for.
You can do this by using the Google AdWords keyword planner tool and use keywords to find out how many people are searching for the phrase or term around which you want to base your content.
It makes no sense to build content around an important solution your product or service provides if nobody is searching for it.
The other tool you can use to find topics your audience is searching for is BuzzSumo which gives you topics with a high volume of shares on popular social channels.
So if you use a keyword phrase like back pain, it will give you a number of articles that have to do with back pain and how well those performed in social media.
You’ll be able to get a good idea of how much traction articles relating to your keyword phrase is getting so you can create content around similar keywords.
It takes time and effort to build valuable content and most businesses fail to get the most value from what they create by repurposing it in different formats.
For example, a long blog post can be broken down into a series of videos, micro pieces of content for social media or an infographic. The same process works in reverse too. A video or podcast can be converted into an article or social media post.
Some businesses have several presentations with useful content that can be used to create content, rather than constantly thinking of fresh content.
The 3 C’s of Content Marketing
When using content to market your brand, products and services, there are a few important factors. These can be condensed into three important factors, the three C’s, which you should use as a guide when creating content.
Once you begin to roll out quality content, your audience will expect you to drip out additional content, giving them a reason to revisit your channel. This is important to maintain top-of-mind recall. Your prospects may still be in the research stage of their buying cycle and if they’re consistently consuming your content, your product or service will become an automatic choice when they are ready to buy.
To ensure you publish content consistently, use a content calendar and decide on what content you can post at different times of the year. If you are an e-commerce business, you can consider using content around holiday promotions and offers to boost sales and profits.
In an attention-deficit world, content that is drab and lacks insight gets passed over. Your content needs to catch the attention of readers and be easy to comprehend.
Instead of just stating facts and statistical data, you can add value by providing your insights to trending topics and recommend an implementation plan which will result in a monetary or other benefit to the reader.
Every piece of content should have a call-to-action so that whoever is consuming the content can go deeper into the subject and make use of the content to gain knowledge, solve a problem or satisfy an unmet need.
A call-to-action does not necessarily have to be a link to a product, although this may be appropriate for an ecommerce business. You can link to a related article, video or other content. You can also invite readers of a blog post to subscribe to a newsletter.
Think of what your prospects need and link to content which provides them with a solution.
When you put these three C’s together, you will begin to get results.
What a lot of business owners do is publish one piece of content out and wonder why nothing’s happened, instead of building a content library over a period of time.
Distributing Content to Reach a Wide Audience
When you’re trying to build familiarity and credibility with an audience, you need your content to reach them where they spend the most of their time. Some people spend the majority of their time on Instagram, others on Facebook and some on YouTube or other popular online portals.
To reach a wide audience, you need to grow all these different channels and distribute your content across many different platforms so that you can achieve a viral spread for your content and also avoid putting all your eggs in one basket.
For example if you rely primarily on YouTube, and they change their algorithm one day or they delete your channel you could lose access to a huge audience that you built up, so when you have it spread equally you will not be too affected if YouTube or another platform decides to limit you or to cut you off completely.
Distributing your content across many different content channels and networks will make your brand stronger and also allow you to reach a broad-based audience.
For instance, if you have a 15-minute video on YouTube, you can use the content to produce 15 one-minute videos and distribute these through Instagram using their hashtags. This will help you reach a whole new audience inside Instagram that you wouldn’t have normally reached by using YouTube alone.
Every time you publish content, send an email to your database so they are kept informed and don’t feel left out. It’s also a powerful way of engaging with your email subscribers so they don’t forget about you and begin to look elsewhere for actionable content.
Expanding You Influence by Guest Posting
Aside from posting content on your own blogs, you can also reach out to publishers who generate a large volume of traffic to their blogs and are always looking for contributors who can provide them with fresh content to publish.
The more content you can distribute to established publishers such as Forbes, the better it will be for you to grow your brand credibility and position yourself as an influencer.
Another advantage of guest posting for established publications is that their target audience is actively looking for content they can use to solve a problem. If they find your content insightful, they are more likely to engage with your business.
In the ever-changing world of online marketing, it is important for you to revisit your content marketing strategy and assess whether it has been delivering results or needs to be adjusted.
Successful marketers understand content marketing is more than just link building or producing a large volume of content to post on digital channels. Using a data driven approach, helps marketers in creating targeted campaigns to help their businesses as well as attract, engage and retain clients to generate more leads, sales and profits while establishing authority and building their brand.