People come to the Internet to find whatever it is they like and want. They come for content. If you are not supplying the content your target audience wants, they have no reason to visit your site. If you aren't providing fresh content on a regular basis, they have no reason to return. You need a comprehensive content marketing strategy that will help you gain the audience most suited to whatever it is you are offering.
Here are 7 tips for your content marketing strategy. Put these tips into play and watch your traffic, leads and conversions grow over a short period of time.
Before you begin working on a specific piece of content, it is important to define and communicate your goals. This is particularly important if you need to justify your budget investment to your company’s executives, as it will help you quantify your results later on.
You can also build your content strategy with specific goals in mind — for example, increasing your number of Facebook “likes” or growing your database of email addresses. By setting your goals right from the start, you can then focus on building your content in a way that will increase the chances of meeting those benchmarks.
Tip: While it may be tempting to analyze the direct influence of content to sales and make this one of your key performance indicators (KPIs), in reality, your content efforts probably will not function this way. Instead, decide on goals that will align with your other marketing strategies, such as improving your social media presence or harvesting email addresses for future email marketing campaigns.
Once you have decided on your goals, you need to work out how you will track and measure your performance against those metrics.
Google Analytics is great for recording goal completions, and Google is always adding to its available measurement features and functionality. If your desired goal is getting readers to take an action, such as tweeting your post or signing up for a newsletter, make sure you are tracking the results for each of these events. This information will help you to work out your conversion rate, as well as allow you to better analyze the success of each content effort and identify areas for future improvement.
Most successful content does one of two things:
Whichever way you do it, you will need to begin gathering data that will provide value to your target audience. This data should offer a unique perspective of your industry and could be gathered through interviewing customers, discovering the success rate of a particular initiative, finding out satisfaction rates — anything that will offer a valuable insight into a particular sector.
This may be data you gathered from scratch or existing information; but this process will dictate the success of your entire campaign.
If you decide to collate your own data, you may want to use services like Survey Monkey, which are helpful for creating and delivering questionnaires which could go out to your email database. They can also be placed onto a page on your website, and you can use incentives such as discount codes to encourage site visitors to fill them in.
You could also create polls of your own customers or website visitors, or utilize social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to ask questions and compile data on a subject.
If you are looking to repurpose other people’s data, look for independent industry authorities who are known for collecting relevant information. For example, online marketer Sean Revill has produced a comprehensive list of resources for data gathering efforts.
There are pros and cons to using other people’s data vs. collecting your own. If you use other people’s previously gathered data, you can lose the immediacy of producing something unique and newsworthy. However, by repurposing data, you can help expand its reach to new audiences — and if the original content author likes what you’ve done, they may even promote your content in return.
Once you have your data, you are free to create your content in any way you like. You aren’t restricted to one piece of content either, as you can create a wide range of content depending on what you are looking to do with it.
For example, you can compile the data into an infographic that you display on your website, and then write a blog post to go with it that discusses the infographic in further detail. The information can then be worked into a press release that promotes this content on your website, or you can even create a guest post on a relevant website that discusses the data from a different angle.
The topic of content creation is worthy of a number of posts all of its own, but for the purposes of designing your strategy, you should ensure that every piece of content is professionally created by someone who specializes in the particular content format you are working with. For example, press releases should be written by copywriters, and designers should be responsible for infographics.
Regardless of who creates your content, though, you should also dedicate sufficient time to headline writing, as this will play a big role in dictating the success of your campaign.
Your content also should be created in alignment with your overall marketing strategy. So, for example, if you are trying to promote yourself as an industry authority, the types of content that you produce should all be aligned to benefit this aim. Write press releases and produce media packets targeted at relevant news websites; create graphical interpretations of your data that you can approach bloggers with; and make sure that you dedicate a section of your website to your subject: If you’re using external content to promote yourself, it is likely that you will see visitors to your website looking for more information on the subject, and you could lose their interest if you have not aligned your on-site strategy with your off-site goals.
One of the biggest problems encountered with content marketing is that once content pieces are produced, they can exist in glorious isolation on the website on which they are hosted. Distribution is everything, so you need to make sure that you forge a clear path for those you want to engage with your content.
To do this, look at your existing routes to market, and analyze the weaker areas. Can you utilize social media, the press, or your existing visitors? Can you leverage industry authorities to share your content through their own networks? Could you approach the authors of your data and encourage them to promote it?
The work is not over once you hit “publish,” you need to make sure that you spend the same amount of time and effort that you did in creating the content when you go about marketing it. For example, think about who you want to read your content, and consider where these audience members are likely to be.
You also need to consider the image you are trying to portray. If you are looking to boost your authority as a financial thought leader, for example, you will need to target esteemed financial publications, rather than smaller, less authoritative blogs.
Even if you have run a successful content piece that has been published by all of your target websites, you might still have to do a bit of housekeeping to ensure that you receive all of the SEO credit.
Many people may publish your content but not include any links back to your website, so you need to keep as complete a list as possible of the websites that have run your content.
This can be done by setting up Google Alerts that email you whenever your blog title is published or your company is mentioned. You can also use services such as Followerwonk to track social media mentions.
Once you have compiled a list of websites that have published your content, you can analyze each one and make sure they have linked back to your website. If you have produced the content then you certainly deserve the credit.
If you find websites that haven’t linked back, simply drop them an email or a tweet and request that they include a link to your website. If they have used your content, most will be happy to do so.
Also, don’t worry too much about the anchor text used in the link. If they are coming from authoritative sources, you don’t need to be concerned about what the anchor text says.
We hope these 7 tips for your content marketing strategy have helped. Most business owners we talk to realize they need a solid content marketing strategy to drive more and better traffic to their sites and offer pages, but they often don't have the time or know-how to pull off an effective strategy. If you find yourself in that situation, give us a call. We can do all the grunt-work for you so you can take advantage of the best way to marketing your business online today. Call us and let us help.