If you’re producing content in order to raise awareness and visibility of your brand, or to engage your audience and convert prospects into customers, the key to success is to plan your content marketing strategy.
Planned and executed correctly, your content strategy is an effective vehicle for calling your prospects to action across a variety of marketing channels. Failure to plan what your content says, where your content is seen, who reads and shares it, and above all, what you want your audience to do next, will make your content ineffective and quickly forgotten.
A long-term content strategy will help your business to become competitive relatively quickly, and should result in:
- Greater visibility of your business or brand
- Better visitor to buyer conversions
- A solid and loyal client base
Successful content strategies maintain the value proposition of a brand to a well-defined target market at all times; the job of a content marketer is to ensure all the unique features and benefits (USPs), are always there to entice new customers. The content you create helps to qualify your audience in or out – they will quickly identify what your brand stands for and why they should (or shouldn’t) engage with and invest in you. Your language and tone says more about your business and brand than you may think; consider whether you should be authoritative and informative or humorous and friendly. The most effective content is usually a mixture of these; engaging and entertaining your audience whilst educating them – but never offending them.
Set Out Your Objectives
Make sure you establish your business objectives before you begin. What you’re trying to achieve for your brand and how you measure success will go a long way to accomplishing your mission. Brands usually invest in content marketing to:
- Rank higher in search engine results
- Create trust and loyalty in your brand
- Generate interest in your brand and convert more web traffic into customers
Every brand will have a different set of objectives that are often unique to them and each will require a different course of action; instead of focusing on just one overall goal for your content strategy, break this up into smaller sets that are easier to measure for success. Smaller, more manageable objective-sets will help you to develop your own unique content strategy and make better informed decisions on what content you produce, who it’s aimed at and where you share it.
Be Relevant, Be Memorable
All brands that invest in digital content marketing have the same ultimate goal: to drive more sales. Increased visibility, coupled with greater credibility will result in greater profitability
So find out what interests your target audience most, what makes them engage and why they make purchasing decisions. For many buyers, content that’s delivered (shared) socially by their peers will be the most important influence on these buying decisions. Social media listening tools such as HootSuite and SproutSocial can provide great insights into how your audience searches and consumes your content; these are extremely valuable in keeping tabs on conversations, helping you to effectively engage with them. Take a look at the content your competitors are producing; find out whether, where and how this is being received and/or shared and establish whether their content fulfils their demand for information and conversation. Look at the online communities your target audience appears in, (LinkedIn groups are an excellent example of where you can share content that is entirely relevant). Producing unique content that satisfies these audience’s interests or that provides them with valuable information will quickly bring you front-of-mind and increase interest in and demand for your brand.
Build a Content Marketing Schedule
Your strategy should involve a schedule for producing and publishing your content. Think about your audience and how accepting they are of tweets, posts and updates on social platforms such as Google+, LinkedIn or even Instagram, decide on the most effective regularity for pushing out blogs, news items and EDMs (Electronic Direct Mailers) and so on. Take the guess-work out of your schedule by prioritising your goals then producing and publishing the appropriate content designed to attract, engage and convert.
Measure Your Success
You won’t be able to measure your results instantly, content marketing takes a little time to take effect; the volume of content you produce, the number of platforms you post it to, the size of the audience you share it with and it’s relevance to these audiences are all factors that will impact the success of your strategy. However, after a short period of time, you will be able to assess how your strategy is performing. Google Analytics will show you which content has the greatest impact on your website traffic, the number of new (and hopefully valuable) contacts you make via your social platforms, the levels of interaction you enjoy with new prospects are all metrics you should consider.
Are you planning a content marketing strategy?
Do you have any content marketing tips you’d like to share?
How has your content marketing strategy performed?
Peter Stephen is a Surrey based freelance creative copywriter to hire, call 07917 36 01 01 or email firstname.lastname@example.org