Yup, we said it. It’s not a “nice-to-have” in 2021 anymore. A content marketing strategy is an essential component of your business’s success.
And we know what you’re thinking: “It’s so overwhelming; I have no clue where to start!”
Today we’re going to share our juiciest tips on how to create a content marketing strategy so that you can achieve your goals, attract new customers, and build deep connections with your audience.
Oh, and the best part— a solid content strategy will skyrocket the ROI of your marketing efforts. Uhmm, yes, please!
Now, let’s get into the step-by-step details.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing valuable content consistently to attract a clearly defined audience to turn them into your customers.
But, let’s take it a step further. What exactly is valuable content?
Valuable content is educational information that helps your ideal audience solve their problems. Relevant content can be in many forms, including:
- blog posts
- Case studies
…and much more!
Content marketing focuses on the different stages of the buying cycle (sales funnel).
The goal is simple.
Provide the right information to the right person at the right time. In this way, you’re holding your potential customers’ hands saying,
“Hey! This blog would be helpful for you to read if you need [insert problem here]!”
Let’s look at an example.
Say you’re an eCommerce business that sells bathing suits. Maybe you do a round-up blog of the best bathing suit brands this year with a focus on your eco-friendly brand and why it’s the best. With this approach, you lay out all the cards on the table and let customers know why you’re the best choice.
An effective content marketing strategy builds brand authority
A content marketing strategy helps to create authority and improves your brand awareness. When you consistently produce informational content about products and services in your industry, then prospects and competitors will consider your opinions as genuine and credible.
In the content world, we refer to this as thought leadership. Whenever potential customers want to learn about a product, they will trust your content over your competitors because they see you as an authoritative brand.
Take HubSpot or Neil Patel for example. If it isn’t in their blog, does it really exist in the marketing world?
Content marketing is also a form of inbound marketing. Like a bee to a colorful flower, it naturally attracts prospects to your business by creating valuable content tailored to meet their needs. When this happens, they reach out to you first. Imagine that!
Other types of inbound marketing include organic social media marketing and SEO. The purpose of inbound marketing is to build strong connections with people who need your products or services to solve their problems.
The bottom line: Content marketing helps to ensure the sustainable growth of your business.
How to create a digital content marketing strategy
If you want a continuous influx of leads and customers, it’s time to craft your very own content marketing strategy.
The first ingredient?
You guessed it. Goal-setting.
Step 1: Formulate your goals
Creating content for content’s sake should never be your goal. Your content marketing needs SMART goals: goals that are clearly defined, measurable and time-bound.
Stating that your goal for content marketing is to build strong relationships with clients is vague. Instead, create a specific goal: “I want to have 10,000 active subscribers on my email list by the end of 2021”.
Go even deeper. Why do you want 10,000 active subscribers? How will that help your business?
Up next, buyer personas.
Step 2: Create buyer personas
When designing a content marketing strategy, define your buyer persona or your ideal customer. Treat your customers like you would a relationship with a friend or a partner. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions and dig into what their interests are. The more information you know, the better.
If you’re just starting out or need some fresh information, here are some strategies to use:
- For eCommerce brands: scour Amazon reviews to see what customers are talking about in your industry
- Pop by Facebook groups or through your email and give incentives in return for a completed survey
- Request interviews of some of your site visitors
Now we can focus on quantitative research.
Use Google Analytics to create buyer personas with marketing metrics. By doing so, you’ll track all types of helpful information about your website visitors like their demographics, interests, and types of content they prefer.
Step 3: Determine the appropriate channels
It can be easy to pour all your energy into the latest fads, like TikTok. But if your audience is mostly Boomers, then that channel won’t be appropriate.
Unless you have a marketing team, selecting one or two channels is critical so you don’t spread yourself thin.
Here are some more elements to consider when thinking about which channel is right for your business:
- What types of content does your audience enjoy? For instance, if they enjoy long-form, then a blog may be suitable for you.
- What are their demographics? If your audience is mostly women, Pinterest would work beautifully.
- How old are they? If they are Boomers, Facebook or Linkedin are the go-to spots.
- What is your budget? If you have some extra pocket change, ads may be something to test out, although we don’t recommend using ads solely as a long-term growth strategy.
Okay, roll up your sleeves and pour yourself a cup of joe… it’s time to create your calendar.
Step 4: Create a content calendar
Your content calendar is like your skeleton. It provides you with a structure so that you can, well, function. Your content calendar guides the way and breaks down large projects into snackable bites.
It also allows you to plan for important content marketing events such as promoting or advertising on your website or social media channels.
We like to create using pillars or keywords. Use 3-4 main keywords and break them down into granular topics.
Say you’re a podcast expert and you want to help others start a podcast. Your overall concept for a month might be “how to start a podcast”.
Then, you’d break that down into:
- Basic tools needed to start a podcast
- Marketing for podcasts
- How to get sponsorships for your podcast
The only part left to do is create the content!
Step 5: Monitor your progress
Evaluating the progress of your content marketing strategy is crucial because it’s how you learn if what you’re doing is working.
There are multiple digital marketing tools to monitor your progress, but we swear by Google Analytics. It reveals the behavior of your site traffic, including the pages they visit, how long they stay on your website, and the bounce rates. With Google Analytics, you can instantly notice which strategies are not converting and replace them with effective ones.
Step 6: Optimize your content
Part of content marketing means you’re continuously monitoring and tweaking what works and what doesn’t. With information from the Google Analytics software and other digital marketing tools, you can learn the pages with high bounce rates and formulate solutions to reduce the bounce rates.
You may also continue using strategies that make your site visitors stick to your pages for longer periods of time. Optimizing your content helps to provide the right information to your audience and consequently helps you achieve your conversion goals.
Step 7: Scale your content production
As your content strategy begins to bring in more results, you should consider increasing your content production to keep up with the growing need for information by your audience.
Scaling your content production may require you to outsource to agencies and freelancers, like editors and writers. You may also have to redefine your audience and segment them based on their individual needs.
At this point, personalization is key when addressing your audience.
Yay! You did it—you created your very own content marketing strategy.
But, because you stuck to the end, here are five more content marketing tips to enhance your brand.
5 content marketing tips to boost your business
Content marketing is one of the most effective, useful, and authentic forms of marketing. To achieve the best results, here are a few tips to keep you on the right track.
#1 ROI-focused Marketing
Your content marketing strategies need to be specific if you intend to have a high return on investment (ROI). You need to define your primary content marketing goal – do you want higher website traffic, to rank for a keyword, or to grow an email list? – and then focus on fulfilling it.
Remember ⇨ the more specific, the better!
The result is content that is easier to consume and your audience acting on the intended conversion goal faster. Also, more profits for you!
#2 Video and Live Streaming
Consumers are increasingly expecting video content from their favorite brands. In fact, 80% of the people prefer live streaming compared to reading a blog post. People want to be spoon-fed entertainment and information, so why not give it to them?
The best way to use a video or live streaming content marketing strategy is to create video user-generated content featuring customers using your products. These videos act as influencers for your brand and help you attain new customers.
You can use platforms such as your website, TikTok, Instagram, Youtube, Linkedin, and Vimeo to encourage your customers to produce user-generated content.
In fact, 86% of businesses used video as a marketing tool in 2021 compared to 61% in 2016, so customers are becoming more accustomed and open to jumping on video too. All you need to do is ask.
#3 Conversational Marketing
Conversational marketing allows you to engage with your clients in a more original and real manner. Through conversational marketing, you learn about the individual needs of each prospect, including their intended goals without them filling out a form.
It’s a good idea to invest in tools that enable you to have real-time conversations with your site visitors. These tools should be able to function in the exact way the visitors expect them to.
A great example is a chatbot that helps begin a conversation and redirects to the appropriate customer service agent to answer further questions.
#4 Personalized Content
Your audience doesn’t like receiving the same information that all the other consumers are getting. As the need for highly personalized content increases, so too does the demand for tools that enable personalization. Whether you are sending an email or on-site, there are ways in which you can provide content that is highly relevant to each customer.
The number of podcast listeners has tripled in the last decade and it is projected to continue rising. Furthermore, podcast listeners are likely to complete all the episodes of their favorite shows. These stats reveal that podcasts are highly engaging and can be an appropriate content marketing channel to attract potential clients.