Whether you are interested in social media marketing or content marketing, it is important that you take some time to understand how these methods work. You will also need to learn from the pros so that you can avoid common mistakes that may easily cost you paying customers. This post looks at some of the best practices you should consider when it comes to content marketing.
Content marketing is the kingpin of demand creation. It is the link between brand awareness and lead generation. When done properly, it will help build familiarity, trust and affinity with both potential and current customers. However, this strategy is not as straightforward as people think. It requires a clear intention, careful planning as well as focused execution. So, how do you get started?
Get the support of the stakeholders
One thing you need to understand about content marketing is that it is a long-term commitment that requires continual collaboration as well as engagement in order to succeed. This is not something you get to do once and forget about it. The task will bite into your resources. It is for this reason that you must first speak to the executive team for approval.
Your content strategy will require funding. You will also need adequate commitment to see the strategy through. Whether you want to outsource the service or handle it internally, the most important step in initiating a content marketing or social media marketing strategy is to talk to your bosses and pay attention to the goals and challenges that your business faces. This is the best way to introduce the concept of content marketing in a valuable way.
Identify your audience
Content marketing is not all about selling, but it is more about entertaining, educating and informing readers with the aim of earning their trust. To be successful in doing this, you have to understand who your target audience is as well as what they need and want. This will help create content that is valuable to them.
Develop customer personas
This is definitely one of the best ways of uncovering who your audience is. This will further help you know which topics you need to cover and how you should cover them. Ask the following questions:
- Who are your business’ ideal customers and prospects?
- What gaps in information are your customers lacking that your content can easily fill?
- How do your customers decide how to make a purchase?
- What is their plight?
Map Content to your Buyers’ Journey
When crafting your content, make sure it is appropriate to a certain buying stage. This will help find important gaps to fill. A typical buying cycle includes need, learn, evaluate, negotiate, purchase, implement and advocate. Address these areas in your content.
To learn more about your audience, you have to make use of every means available to you. Start by studying your website’s analytics to get clues on your customers’ needs and interests. Investigating social media, focusing on industry research and conducting customer surveys will further help you identify your audience’s needs.
Choose the Best Content Formula
The main goal of content marketing is to help your prospective and current customers solve problems that are important to them. Your content should therefore facilitate conversations among stakeholders, influencers and decision makers. Failure to do this will cause your strategy to fail. There are two essential steps you should take to unveil the optimum content formula.
- Offer the content that your customers really want. Don’t invest in pushing your marketing messages but rather focus on offering information that is crucial to your customers.
- Deploy content across multiple devices and channels. Take some time to know which formats and channels your audience prefers then provide your content through these channels and formats. Don’t just offer PDF formats but also HTML based content through blogs, articles and social media sites.
Have an editorial calendar
To succeed in your content marketing endeavors, you will need a well-planned and proactive editorial calendar. The calendar will help you be more consistent and successful when it comes to publishing new content. The editorial calendar you create should:
- Itemize your user-centered themes; align your content with buying cycles as well as audience personas.
- Give clear details on when you will publish different pieces of content and where you will do so.
- Your calendar must also tell when different pieces of content will be created and distributed.
The purpose of having an editorial calendar is to ensure consistency. Needless to say, consistence is critical to the success of your content marketing strategy. If you are not consistent, you will lose your audience who will either be too impatient to wait for your next content or they will miss your next publication.
Create content that is SEO friendly
If your content cannot be found, your efforts will be worthless. You want to publish content so that it is read by prospective clients. This will not be possible if it is not search engine optimized. You want your content to appear on search engine results so that more people can find it.
To make sure your content is SEO friendly, you need to do the following:
- Target a keyword per every page. Select a keyword or keyword phrase that can be used to find your webpage or article. Optimizing a page for more than one keyword is not easy so pick a word that will resonate with your target audience.
- Add the keyword in your content. When people find your webpage through search engines, they want to find content that is related to their search. Make sure the keywords you use are related to your content. You should repeat the keyword at least 3 to 4 times in the copy. Don’t force the keywords; they should fit naturally in your content.
- Don’t overdo it. One fact you have to remember at all times is that you are writing the content for real people and not for the search engines. Don’t sacrifice user-experience for your SEO goals. It is the people who read and love your content that actually buy from you.
- Establish page length. The minimum length of content should be 300 words. This is a great target but you must make sure that you don’t fill up the word count with fluff. All things considered, you should let your message dictate the length of your page.
Promote your content
Search engine optimization will only do so much in making your content visible to your target audience. In order to get more people to your page, you have to leverage other promotion techniques. One of the best techniques you can use is that of blasting your posts through social media.
Every time you add a new post to your website, make sure you share it on several social media channels. It is also important to add widgets that make it easy for your audience to share your content on social media. The more people see your content the more successful your content marketing strategy will be.
Track your progress
Reducing your costs and increasing the profit margins is crucial in increasing both your sales and revenue. As you focus on content marketing, you should also take some time to track your progress in relation to decreasing costs and increasing profits. Developing Key Performance Indicators is highly recommended.
The 7 aforementioned practices will help you create an effective marketing strategy or help you fine-tune your existing strategy. These practices will help you drive real results.
A great content marketing strategy will help you establish long-term and trusted relationships with your customers; both current and future. Your goal must therefore be delivering content that is relevant, of high-quality and one that contains information that is valuable to your audience. In addition to creating customer loyalty, great content marketing strategies will boost your brand positioning and SEO.