Content marketing is the creation and sharing of relevant, interesting information to engage a target audience. Although compelling content can attract the attention of your target audience and give you the opportunity to promote your services, Content marketing is not about making a direct sales pitch. At its best, content marketing is a form of storytelling. (Think of it as the difference between a news story covered by NPR and a report from headline news.)
Using a content marketing strategy to promote your business is a win-win. People value content that speaks to their interests and search engines value websites that provide a better user experience by offering quality content. Vehicles such as blogging and social media allow you to have a conversation with your audience and earn their credibility and trust.
Although content marketing offers many benefits, doing it effectively takes a creative and consistent approach.
How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy
1Define your goals
Identify exactly what goals and objectives you are hoping to achieve through content marketing. Common goals include building brand awareness, nurturing leads, converting leads to new business, increasing customer loyalty, upselling, or selling a specific product or service.
2Define your target audience(s)
Create profiles of your target audience(s). Consider your past and existing clients. Do your products and services serve a niche market or solve a problem for your potential customers? Take a look at this article from KISSmetric about How User Persona Can Improve Your SEO Strategy
3Develop your brand message
Make sure your brand message is aligned with your overall marketing strategy. The look and feel of your content should be in keeping with your brand, while your tone and voice may vary depending on the type of publication you are creating. An example of brand messaging can be found in Geico with content featuring everyone's favorite British gecko and its ever present tagline, "15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance."
4Choose your content marketing vehicles
How will you publish your content and attract your audience? Publish in a variety of formats (see blue box below for a list of popular outlets) that put your message where your target audience will find it. Also consider ways to re-purpose your content across multiple channels to fully get your word out. For example, the script from a video interview can be used as a blog post and a post on Google+, while data from the interview can be used to create an infographic.
5Create a content calendar
This is one of my personal favorites! A content calendar lists the who, what, where, when for each day that you plan to publish content. Strategically layer your message across various channels. Being consistent is one of the greatest roadblocks to effective Content Marketing. It's easy to stick to a plan at first, but content writing is a long-haul proposition. Using a content calendar keeps you on track!
6Develop and optimize your content
Once you're comfortable with your goals, target audience, brand message and content calendar, the next step is to develop your content and optimize it for best practice SEO. Brainstorm and research information related to your content. Include some form of call to action with your content as a subtle reminder of your company's products and services. Remember to create content that addresses different parts of your buying cycle.
7Measure Your Results
Analyze your data and assess what's working and what isn't. Use tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and email marketing statistics to monitor how well your various content vehicles are performing. Try to assess which content hit a home run with your audience and which fizzled. Pay attention to the day and time that you released your content. Could that have impacted the success or failure of your content?
Analyzing your results is an important part of the process, so don't try to save time by skipping this step. Cutting corners here could negatively impact your long-term results.
DeVore Web Solutions can create and manage your Content Marketing to maximize your success.