Before we get into the process of creating a content marketing strategy, it is important that both you and your team fully understand what content marketing really is. It simply refers to the use of informative material – written or spoken – to capture the attention of a particular audience without directly selling to them. In other words, it is creating, selling, sharing or curating information resources to help indirectly market a business. It may be accomplished through articles, videos, newsletters, social media posts, infographics, podcasts, case studies, magazines, webinars, quizzes, competitions, and events. In short, you can create content in various forms and distribute it in many ways.
Though content marketing goals will vary greatly, its main objective is to attract customers and prospects to the knowledge resources of your business and eventually have them reward you with their purchases and loyalty. When customers find themselves consistently watching or reading a business’s content, they begin to see that business in a new light – in terms of likability and credibility.
The True Purpose of Content Marketing
The purpose of content marketing is to attract and retain customers by regularly creating and updating relevant and valuable information with the main intent of improving your customer’s lives. It is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without promoting or selling the product. Instead, you are delivering information that makes your target audience more informed. The basic part of content marketing is the belief that if brands deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to consumers, they ultimately reward such brands with their loyalty.
The idea of teaching rather than selling is exactly what makes content marketing different from traditional advertising. Remember, even when you are marketing educational content, you’re just marketing the content, not your products or services. For this reason, if you do not have a well thought out content marketing strategy, you will not be able to get the right content in the right format out to the right people at the right time.
So what should your strategy look like? Here are five steps in creating content marketing program your customers will love.
1. Brainstorm Topics
It goes without saying it is hard to figure out what your target audience wants to hear. It is even more difficult to offer content they will connect with and respond to. Effective content marketing begins with great content but you cannot be effective when you do not know where to start. To do this, first, you need to know your audiences. Understand them like you understand your closest friend. And keep in mind you are not your audience.
Then start by picking your keywords. Determining your keywords is very crucial to the success of your content. It is recommended to use Google Keyword Planner to get an idea of what consumers are searching for. These keyword phrases become your guiding light throughout this process.
You will then want to identify your niche. What niches do you want to cover?Follow that by determining what your target audience is already reading. Content should never be about you or your business. So make sure you create something that appeals to your current target audience. Find out what your competitors are doing. What is useful to them can be helpful to you. Don’t forget to pay attention to trending news and content in your industry in real-time.
2. Create a Content Calendar
Everyone knows how important it is to be consistent. Delivering content on a regular basis is crucial in brand building, generating good SEO, and ensuring your audience remains engaged and educated. The consistency, value, and quality of your content can set the foundation of your whole business and the relationship you have with your audience.
An editorial calendar can help keep content consistent. It will give you and your team the discipline you need for building quality and valuable content day after day. A content calendar can be as simple as an Excel Spreadsheet with titles and key dates.
3. Write the Content
You are writing for your business – to show off your expertise and drive web traffic. Go ahead and just write for your audience and forget about Google. In 2016, gaming the system does not work anymore. Google now rewards quality content that actually responds to a searcher’s query. Writing for search engines means you are prioritizing keywords at the expense of the overall quality of the content.
But you are not the only one creating web content. So how do you stand out in the crowded content marketing world and get people to read your content? If you are part of the crowd, you got to step your game up and get noticed because competition has become tight.
Here are a few tips to make your content stand out from the pack. First of all, educate, do not sell. You will want to focus on creating content that is relevant to the positioning and function of your products. Beyond that, you will want to know who you are creating content for and create content for that specific audience.
4. Publish and Share
The good news is that you don’t need to have a website in order to publish your content. Even so, you need to publish your content where it will have the most impact. There are many cheap or free options available to you, such as WordPress blogs, Tumblr, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Publishing your content is not enough. You need to promote your posts by sharing them on various social networking sites and other places where your potential audience will see them.
5. Get Your Readers to Take Action
You’ve to spend a great deal of time writing your latest article or blog post. You have a killer topic and great promotional strategy to reach thousands of people. But that can be a waste of time and resources if you do not include the one essential that makes your content marketing matter – your call to action. You do not want your readers to take action later; you want them to take now. For example, ask them to download your eBook or give them the opportunity to read additional content by linking to relevant articles. Perhaps simply suggest they follow you on social media.
When all is said and done, the principles of content marketing are constantly changing and if you know the basics well, then you will find the changes easier to cope with.