Marketers around the world are embracing content marketing and investing more time and money in producing content. With 2014 tipped to be the biggest year ever for content marketing, now is the perfect time to look at what makes a great content strategy.
Great content will help you build long-term relationships with your current and potential customers, as well as boost brand awareness, improve SEO and drive demand for your product. Here are our top tips for ‘reloading’ your content marketing strategy.
1. Identify your objectives
There’s no point creating content for the sake of it. It’s going to take time and cost money so you need to be sure you’re achieving something tangible. Are you trying to generate business or build relationships with customers? More importantly, how do you want your audience to behave, and what action do you want them to take?
Once you’ve clearly identified what you want to achieve, you can start planning your strategy.
2. Think and write like your audience
The best content strategies start with a deep understanding of your audience. Who are you creating this content for? What questions are they asking? What problem do they have that you can solve?
It’s important to map the content to the buyer’s journey. Are people looking for information or are they ready to buy? This is your opportunity to really target your content, discuss topics that impact on your customers, solve problems and build strong relationships.
One of the brilliant things about content marketing is that you can afford to take a conversational tone with your audience to really build rapport and tell a story that shows how your product will positively impact them.
3. Get creative with your format
A strong content strategy focuses on providing genuine value to your audience, in the right format, at the right time. Blogs and infographics are the foundation of a strong strategy, but don’t limit yourself to these formats. Take the opportunity to stand out from the crowd and try video, podcasts, ebooks or slideshares. There are hundreds of different formats you can experiment with.
Not only is this your chance to get creative, but you can delve deeper into your understanding of your audience and use a format that will truly speak to them.
4. Create a content calendar
Once you have the basic structure of your strategy, it’s a good idea to create a content calendar to help you keep track of what you plan to publish, when and where.
It doesn’t have to be fancy, a simple spreadsheet will do the trick. Make sure you include important dates for your business and your customers, as well as major holidays and events that you want to link to. The key is to focus on producing targeted content at consistent intervals.
Bluewire Media have created this terrific spreadsheet that you can download from their website.
5. Be SEO friendly
More and more, search engines are rewarding quality content that offers real value. This is perfect because not only will quality content be found more easily through search, it’s much more likely to resonate with your audience.
Of course all the usual rules still apply. Don’t try to target too many keywords in one piece of content, and don’t include those keywords too many times.
Include relevant links in your copy, particularly from credible websites to boost the authority of your content. Don’t forget to use images to tell your story and break up your text. Just be sure to name your images properly and use alt text descriptions.
6. Tell the world – well your target audience at least
Now that you’ve got a shiny new piece of content, make sure your audience knows about it. Ideally you should spend as much time promoting your content as you did creating it to really maximise your return on investment.
Promote your content across your social media channels and eDM campaigns. Depending on your objectives you may even consider using paid advertising, particularly on Facebook.
Encourage your audience to share your content with their networks. Social sharing is a key indicator to search engines that your content is relevant and high quality. Use sharing icons on your blog, highlight ‘email to a friend’ buttons and use a call-to-action that encourages your audience to share.
7. Evaluate and innovate
With so much freely available data, tracking the success of your content strategy has never been easier. Use a variety of metrics to measure the effectiveness of your content across each of the objectives you set for your strategy.
Google Analytics will give you great insight into the number of times your content has been viewed and downloaded. Delve a little deeper and you’ll be able to see whether your content has converted into leads or sales. This will require a little set up initially, but over time will prove the value of your content marketing efforts.
Social media metrics from Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube are also great indicators of how your content is being consumed and critically, how your content has been shared.
The best content strategies deliver consistent, targeted, relevant content that offers genuine value to your audience. There may not be a magic formula for the perfect content strategy, but a little planning and a dash of creativity goes a long way.
If you would like assistance in developing a customised content marketing strategy based on your unique goals and objectives, please contact us today.