Content marketing has allowed marketers to make a shift from traditional ‘push’ advertising like TV and radio to more consumer-friendly advertising where consumers decide on their own what they want to be exposed to. We talk a lot about these types of ‘pull’ forms of advertising and how they put the power in the hands of the consumer.
As more brands adopt content marketing strategies and spread their messages across multiple outlets there still remains to be some confusion as to how to go about the process of getting content marketing to produce a favorable ROI. Below we outline 13 content marketing strategies that will help your brand find the balance between hard work and a winning payoff.
1. Create a Content Calendar
When you prepare for content ahead of time it gives you a better chance to improve upon your ideas and takes the pressure off of coming up with last-minute ideas that need to” go to press” in a few short hours. The creation of a content calendar allows you to plan all of the content you will be publishing during a calendar month and helps you to outline important things like topics, titles, dates for publishing and sticking to important deadlines.
2. Focus on Topics Related to Your Products/Services
The goals of content marketing can range from helping consumers understand your role as a thought leader in your industry to informing visitors about topics related to your products or services. Regardless of the type of content you are producing – blogs, white papers, infographics, video, etc. – all of your content should inform your visitors as to your expertise in your industry while indirectly reminding them that you offer products/services that will improve their life.
Ex. American Express’s Open Forum blog provides free insight on money, marketing, technology and other topics that are important to small business owners while subconsciously reminding them to utilize AmEx for their credit card services.
3. Invest in High Quality Writers
A huge part of content marketing is the creation of textual content. Companies who consistently produce the most informative, well-written pieces are the ones who earn the most attention, get the most social shares and attract the most natural links.
When implementing your content marketing strategy don’t skimp on the content writers or the content marketing agency that is helping you to improve your credibility with consumers and with search engines.
4. Set Goals for Content Quality Internally
The content that you produce should be created with content quality guidelines in terms of lead generation but also overall value. In regards to lead generation consider setting content goals that address how your content will help you to:
- Improve website traffic
- Acquire new customers
- Maintain existing customers
- Increase conversions
Overall value goals should address the sharabiilty of the content, its inherit value to consumers, its lifespan and how it stacks up against comparable content from your competitors.
5. Diversify Your Content
Research content outlets that will have an effect on your content marketing goals. Blogging and videos alone may not be the sole outlets in which to reach your customers and you should be aware of the other content marketing outlets that you can reach potential clients. Diversifying your content means that you will be able to reach different consumers in different places as well as reach the same consumers in all of the places they consume information.
6. Create Buyer Personas
Buyer personas exist so that brands can identify the types of people who will be purchasing their products or services. When creating a buyer persona you are answering the question: who are my consumers? This information may contain relevant facts about gender, age, race, education, income, interests and geography.
7. Use Analytics to Understand Success
Google Analytics and more robust website-based data software can help you to determine what types of content are working best for you. Take a look at the blogs on your website that drive the most traffic, the referral sources that are contributing to your traffic as well as the engagement you are getting from you social media channels. Once you figure out which types of content result in more traffic determine why they were so successful and try to duplicate your efforts again and again.
8. Perform a Competitive Analysis
Knowing what your competition is up to is a great way to get ideas and to decide how you will one-up them. Take a look at your competitor’s blog, see who ranks organically for your keywords, and see who is engaged with their social media networks. The more you know about the successes of your competitors the more you can implement them into your business.
9. Ask Your Readers What they Like
It never hurts to get feedback from potential or existing customers and software services like Qualaroo can help you do just that. Qualaroo provides behavior insight surveys so that you can learn more about what your website visitors want, expect or dislike about your content.
10. Team Up with Thought Leaders
It is likely that there are other influential people (or companies) in your industry and likely that they have substantial influence. Teaming up with these thought leaders to produce content can help you to get more exposure on social media networks as well as reputable, high traffic websites. Learn how to network with social media thought leaders.
11. Segment Social Media Strategies on each Network
Each social media network can have slightly different types of users and it is important to recognize their interests. Where your Facebook users might enjoy posts on discounts or specials your Twitter and Google+ followers might be more interested in industry news. Do some research on social media content strategies within your social networks so that your brand can have a plan for each network.
12. Define Expectations from Content Marketing
Content marketing is a strategy that takes consistency and months and months of hard work. Brands that expect content marketing to work overnight often shut down their content marketing departments before they make any real impact on sales. Understanding how many times a customer must interact with your content before making a decision is an important metric that will give your brand a better idea of what to expect from content marketing.
Ex. SEO and inbound marketing software company Moz states that a customer usually visits their website seven or more times before signing up for a free software trial.
13. Understand this is a Long-term Investment
The investment to create meaningful content on a day-to-day basis is something that every brand has to understand. Like SEO, content marketing takes time to gain traction but once it does it can be very helpful in creating brand awareness on search engines as well as social media networks. However, the ROI on content marketing may take months before it starts to work and this is something higher-ups need to understand before they give the thumbs-up.
Content marketing is a great strategy for companies who understand the process and the opportunities for success. Implement the above strategies into your content marketing campaign and enjoy the positive returns it will create for your brand.