Content marketing is becoming an increasingly important tool for businesses looking to share information about their brand, expertise, and products or services with their target audience. According to Hubspot:
If your business doesn’t have a well-developed content marketing strategy, you’re missing out on a crucial opportunity to expand your customer base and grow your brand. Your content marketing plan defines the philosophy behind your content development, allowing you to more effectively manage the process and maximize the ROI on your efforts.
A successful content marketing plan will help you maintain a cohesive message that conveys your brand and explains to your audience what makes you truly unique. Without a well-thought-out strategy, your content efforts are likely to be haphazard and fail to deliver the results you desire.
Developing an effective content strategy requires a systematic and methodical approach. The following steps will help you get this process right and set your marketing team up for success:
Developing a content marketing strategy starts with defining your goals. What are you trying to achieve with your content creation efforts? This specific purpose should guide every aspect of the process. Every decision you make regarding your content strategy should relate to achieving your stated goals. This point can’t be emphasized heavily enough.
In all likelihood, you’ll arrive at multiple goals that you want to achieve with your content efforts. These may include:
Keep in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive, and yours shouldn’t be either. You’ll need to prioritize 2-3 core goals that will help you achieve your business objectives. If you try to focus on too many goals, it will become more challenging to establish a cohesive plan.
Great content addresses the needs of your audience. In order to truly understand what your audience cares about, you first need to know who you are trying to target. Then you can identify specific challenges and pain points they’re looking to address.
The most effective way to get to know your audience is to create buyer personas. These personas allow you to break down your target audience into segmented groups based on demographic information such as:
For each persona, you’ll want to create a robust, three-dimensional profile that helps you to better understand their behavioral motivations. This should include:
Once you know this information, you’ll have a better grasp on the kind of content your audience will respond to and the specific messaging necessary to connect with them.
Unless you’re a brand new business building your web presence from scratch, you most likely already have content circulating on the Internet. It’s important to evaluate the effectiveness of this content in order to determine the best approach to take moving forward. This is accomplished by performing a content audit that logs all of your existing content, assesses its success, and identifies gaps that need to be addressed.
Your content audit should help you determine:
This information will allow you to focus your efforts on what has proven to work best. There are a variety of online tools you can use for your content audit. The right one for your business will depend on your specific goals and budget.
Now that you’ve evaluated your existing content, you need to determine which content types will most effectively achieve your marketing goals. There are a wide range of content types available to leverage when implementing your content plan, and each one achieves a different purpose.
Think of each content type as a different tool available to you. You may find that different options resonate with each of your personas. You may also find that a more diverse content mix allows for more engaging social media content that can help spread your message.
Using a variety of content types will also allow you to repurpose the same piece of content in multiple formats in order to target different members of your audience. This will help you get the most out of each piece that you create.
Some content types you may want to consider incorporating into your plan include:
While it’s important to have a well-rounded mix, you shouldn’t plan on using every content type listed above. Instead, identify 4-5 options that you believe will be most effective for your audience and focus your efforts on these specific types. Over time, you can test additional content types and incorporate the ones that achieve your desired results.
The first four steps have laid the foundation for your content marketing strategy. Now it’s time to actually create your strategy. This involves:
You can use this information to develop a cohesive strategy that will utilize the different content types you’ve chosen to connect with your audience and address their needs. As part of your content marketing plan, you will need to determine:
Now that you’ve constructed your content strategy, you need to create a plan that will outline how it will be implemented. The most effective way to do this is to create a content calendar. This will provide your content marketing team with an outline of the plan and ensure they stay on task.
The simplest way to manage your content calendar is to use a spreadsheet. Make sure it contains all information necessary for your writers to effectively implement your strategy. For each piece of content included in the calendar, make sure to include the following items:
If you’re creating a large quantity of content, you may find it helpful to use an online content calendar tool to manage the process.
You’ve done a tremendous amount of legwork by now, and it’s time to sit down to write your content. If you’ve created a content calendar, you’ll have a clear action plan to guide your efforts. This will make the job of writing your content much easier to manage.
Keep the following points in mind when creating your content:
Provide value – Simply posting content on your website won’t help grow your business or achieve your goals. Your content must provide value to your audience. As you’re writing, always prioritize information that will provide value and build trust.
You can produce amazing content, but it won’t be of any use to your business unless others can find it. Therefore, it’s crucial that you promote your content in order to make sure it reaches your audience.
Your promotion strategy should include both organic and paid promotion. If you’re working with an SEO specialist, it will significantly improve your chances of ranking well on organic search. However, you may want to consider supplementing these efforts with paid search (PPC), especially for important pieces of content.
In addition, you should always promote your content on your social media profiles. This is an important way to reach your audience. Organic social posts are important, but also consider sponsored posts and paid ads on social media platforms to boost the visibility of your content.
When appropriate, you may also want to consider building relationships with influencers in your industry who can help your content reach a wider audience.
It’s important to track the performance of your content to make sure it’s achieving the goals you identified earlier in the process:
You can use a platform like Google Analytics to track a variety of performance metrics that will help you evaluate the success of your content. This data will help you make any necessary adjustments to your content plan moving forward. This is a crucial part of the process. Constant evaluation of your content’s performance will help you to continually improve your efforts and achieve a greater ROI on your content marketing.
Webolutions provides comprehensive custom website design services to help grow your business. We’ll work with you to understand your company’s goals in order to develop a well-rounded content strategy that builds your brand and addresses the pain points experienced by your target audience. Our team uses a wide range of content types to provide a diverse content mix that will resonate with each segment of your audience.
Our approach to content marketing is based on the following five pillars:
Please contact Webolutions today to learn more about your content marketing options. We serve clients nationwide from our offices in Denver, Colorado.
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