Many marketers are so eager to get started with their big, lead-driving programs that they overlook the importance of crafting a content marketing strategy. For all of those lead gen and nurturing programs to work, you need to have the kind of great content that readers demand. As marketers, instead of thinking about our prospects, we hurriedly put words down that aren’t researched, tailored or optimized in an attempt to fluff our overarching marketing strategy. We assume content has only a small role to play in our overall marketing goals.
The amount of information (on brands similar to yours) available to prospects is so cosmically large that you have to produce excellently executed content in order to even garner attention. Not only do you have to ensure your information is visible, but also that your messaging resonates with potential customers. Getting content discovered and read isn’t magic; it’s a well-thought-out and meticulously executed plan.
Once you’ve completed a buyer persona and have a better understanding of who your customers are, what information is important to them, and how to give it to them, you’re ready to focus your attention on content. Here are three steps for kick starting your content marketing strategy.
1. Craft Targeted Content
It’s time to create. Need inspiration on what to produce? Use the information you’ve gained with your buyer personas to tailor the information to be valuable to them. What pain points did you determine they experience daily? What’s holding them back from considering your solution?
By addressing these key points, you’re able to provide prospects with content that explains:
- What your product is
- Why it’s valuable to them
- How they can get more information
Don’t be afraid to:
- Be creative: Use different types of content like videos, emails, blogs, landing pages, etc.
- Be personal: Personalization comes back to understanding who your prospects are and what’s relevant to them-and it gives that extra zing.
- Be educational: Chances are, those viewing your content are there for information. Make sure you’re answering their questions.
- Be hyper-aware of the buyer’s journey: Where are your target customers in their buyer’s journey? You’ll need to tailor content appropriately. For example, a thought-leadership piece would be beneficial to someone top-of-funnel, while a feature comparison piece would be beneficial to someone further along in the buyer’s journey.
2. Publish Your Content
Almost as important as having good content is placing it properly. What kinds of sources do your target customers’ use to find information? Do they primarily rely on search engines or social? Publish your content on different platforms and utilize your marketing automation platform to incorporate your content into existing campaigns, whether that’s email, PPC, social, etc. As explained above, prospects demand timely and relevant information. Another powerful tactic to consider is implementing a marketing automation platform. By doing so, you can understand your prospects’ engagement and deliver content based on their actions or interests, which are tracked or organized within the platform.
Search is another powerful method, which is not to be overlooked when it comes to publishing content, especially when you want new eyes on your content. Be honest, you likely Google everything, but when was the last time you went to the second page of Google? As a content marketer, the second page of Google is both an enemy and a beacon of hope to be discovered through SEO optimizations. SEO should be a major part of your content strategy–meaning good SEO techniques shouldn’t be an afterthought.
This means you should be:
- Conducting keyword research
- Using headers properly
- Putting thought into your linking strategy
- Tracking keyword and page ranks
3. Measure and Optimize
You may call us melodramatic, but measurement and optimization are too often overlooked, just like content. You write a great piece, publish it for search engines to crawl, incorporate it into your marketing campaigns, and you wipe your hands of it. You’re ready for it to start influencing decisions, but what if it’s not? Following up on performance using an analytics tool is essential.
Understand which sources are driving content consumption. Metrics to consider when evaluating the performance of a content piece are bounce rates and time spent on the page. Have you uncovered which topics your prospects are most interested in reading about on your site? Where do visitors drop off on a blog post? If you have no idea, then you won’t know what’s working and where to focus your content efforts.
Who Said Content Marketing was Easy?
Successful content marketing takes a lot of work. As an overlooked element of marketing, it takes a unique approach that requires you to be analytical, strategic and creative. Understanding the necessity of crafting well-researched content that is relevant to your target audience is only half the battle. The other half is ensuring that content is visible and has a running-chance of being found on search, shared socially, or implemented in high-volume marketing campaigns with your marketing automation platform.
While content marketing is no easy feat, implementing the above three steps is sure to help you tell your brand’s story and effectively reach prospects. Don’t forget, coffee goes great with content writing and planning… Lots and lots of coffee.