For a heck of a lot of businesses, content marketing strategy is the answer. Many business owners and marketing teams understand that. And yet they still don’t embrace this new form of marketing because they believe it’s too complicated and will take too much time for them to grasp and execute correctly.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Content marketing is, in fact, quite straightforward. Here we’re going to explore how you can execute it simply and effectively. In fact, you’ll find that it is a natural extension of things that you’re already doing.
Start by formulating an overall goal.
The first step to having an effective content marketing strategy is to have an overall framework. This will give you several advantages.
- You’ll know what is relevant to your content marketing strategy and what, in fact, doesn’t have anything to do with it at all.
- If you’ve got several people working together to create content and to market it, everybody will be able to work in the same direction.
- It will be easy to know when you veer off course and start working at a tangent to what you’re supposed to do.
Okay, so that’s all well and good. The question, of course, is how do you arrange such a strategy?
The best way to proceed is to work with the three Ws. These are ‘why’, ‘who’ and ‘what’. If your strategy answers these three questions effectively and in a clear manner it is easy to keep your strategy on track.
Why are you choosing content marketing?
Now if you answer ‘to market my business’ here then you’re not going far enough. Yes, we all know that’s the overarching goal, but you should really get a little more specific. There are six basic reasons why you can content market. These are branding, community building, public relations, market research, customer service, and lead/sales generation.
Now obviously your strategy can accomplish several (or all) of these goals, but that doesn’t change that you need to pick a focus so that you can concentrate on achieving that objective. Then, when you feel that has been achieved up to a satisfactory level, it’s always possible to switch it up and pursue a different strategy.
Who are you trying to target?
A lot of people think that the best answer here is ‘everybody’. There’s only one big problem with targeting everybody and that is that you don’t end up really drawing in anybody. Why is that? That’s because not everybody is interested in everything. That means that in order to tweak everybody’s interests some of the time you’ll not end up tweaking anybody’s interests all of the time.
And that’s not effective content marketing.
After all, content marketing isn’t about creating lots of semi-interested fans. That doesn’t get you very far as they’re not all that likely to share your content or end up engaged with your brand. Instead, what you’re trying to do is create a group of real fans who check back on your brand regularly and share what they like with their friends and family.
In this way, they will help multiply your message and get your product and your words in front of a far wider audience.
To effectively do this, you’ve got to know who your audience is (and who you want them to be). That means doing research on them to discover their interests, what motivates them and how you can engage them.
What content do you produce?
Once you know who your audience is you can focus on what kind of content you want to produce. Admittedly, in part, this is a process of trial and error. It isn’t in its entirety, however. You can learn a great deal about how you should approach your audience simply by figuring out how other people that they’re interested in create content.
There are several ways to do this, but one of the easiest has to be by way of Facebook. If you click on your ad manager, clicking on the three lines in the top left corner and then hitting ‘audience insights’. With this tool, you’ll be able to specify your audience and their interests. This will allow you to figure out what websites they like and from there you can then find out what kind of content sparks their interests.
Then it’s just a matter of copying and trying it out until you hit upon a combination that works.
Don’t go overboard.
Content marketing isn’t something that you’re going to get correct right off the bat. It’s something that you’ve got to learn and understand. For that reason, don’t try to hit the ground at a thousand miles an hour by – for example – trying to put up a post a day or more.
Instead, focus on getting the right ground game and scale up from there. That means, understand what your audience wants to see, creating outstanding content, getting better at producing high-quality content (by getting better at content creation, attending writing workshops and more) and generally getting to grips with the field.
Content marketing is a long-term strategy. That means that for a time it should work together with whatever other marketing strategies you have in place. Why is that? Because it takes the time to build up a following and convince people that coming to your website to check up on matters is worthwhile.
Similarly, it can take several months before Google starts to rank you highly enough that you’ll get people directed your way by the search engine. In that time you’ll obviously struggle if you’re not bringing fans into your business in some other way.
Join the two together.
In fact, there is plenty of room for content marketing and more traditional marketing to work together. For example, instead of pointing people straight to your site and your product, you can start experimenting with pointing people to your content instead. You don’t even have to do this all that big, at first.
Instead, simply start some small campaigns on social media to direct people to your content and see from there.
To make this strategy more effective, make sure that you benchmark your normal marketing campaigns. What you want to know is how much click-through you’re getting when you’re marketing your content directly as well as how much of that traffic, in turn, converts and buys your product.
In this way, you can find out which strategy is more effective (as well as what you need to tweak to make them work together even better).
Content marketing is a different way of doing things. There is no denying that. For that reason, there’s no reason to jump straight into the deep end. Instead, learn the ropes, get to grips with what you’re doing and then scale up.
This will make it far more likely that your campaign will be effective and that you won’t end up wasting any money. What’s more, by the time you’ve figured it all out and you’ve really got an effective strategy going, you’ll be able to slowly scale back your more traditional marketing campaign and rely ever more on your content marketing. When you’re doing that you know your strategy is successful.
Eliza Medley is professional marketer and ambitious blogger. She is a creator of workshop for writers. Her articles are related to the marketing, blogging and and self-developing. Follow @ElizaMedley on Twitter.