Are you determined to grow your start-up or small-business but don’t know where to begin? Whether your goal is to launch a new product, increase sales or establish yourself as an industry authority, getting started can feel overwhelming. But – worry no more. We’ve got just what you need.
Why should you bother with content marketing at all? Well, as we continuously argue; your product can be amazing, but if it’s the biggest secret on the internet, you won’t find new customers. And they won’t find you.
We’ve condensed our years of experience and understanding into these seven key elements of developing and maintaining a successful revenue-oriented content marketing strategy. Just for you.
This blog will give you a good idea about the what’s and why’s of conceptualizing and developing a content marketing strategy suited to the needs and resources of your business.
1. Set your Goals
Research shows that marketers who plan are much more likely to achieve their goals.
Defining your objectives will allow you to better understand how to allocate resources, budget, and organize business operations.
2. Understand Your Industry, Understand Your Audience
In order to reach your marketing goals, you’ll need to think about where you want to fit in your industry. The two-fold process involves:
- (1) Time to tune in and listen to the needs of your potential customers. How? Research, research, research. Knowing our audience is the best way to make sure your content resonates with the right crowd in ways that draw leads and convert into customers.
So what exactly does this process entail?
- Identify needs and challenges. What keeps your potential customers up at night, and how can your product or service solve their problem? Offer practical, actionable solutions.
- How can you do this? Talk to your customers or audience. You can do this by reaching out to your network (making research calls, conducting surveys and collecting feedback).
- Once you’ve understood your customer base a bit better, you can generalize these into customer personas; semi-fictional representations of your typical customers (age, gender, job roles, pains, interests, etc.). You can use Google Analytics to unpack your website’s user demographics and get a data-based sense of who you’re going to be talking to.
- Read discussion forums, witness social habits and customer engagements on social media and other platforms (eg. Quora, Reddit). Notice how and when people interact with content.
- Finally: monitor feedback and customer engagements across all your platforms. It will help you ensure your approach and content stay connected to your audience.
- (2) Identify and analyze your competitors,collecting deep insights into what they do and how they do it. Pay close attention to their strategy when it comes to targeting their audience. What kind of content they share, what they value, how they get and keep customers? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Pay attention to the channels they use and how successful they are. And, importantly, ask yourself: what are they not doing? Think about where your opportunity to stand out truly is, and how you can become a thought leader in your industry.
3. Start Mapping Out Your Customer’s Journey
You’ve identified your target audience? Time to zoom in on their journey; from navigating the product market to finding their way to you and your product. Why? Following your customer’s experience means you won’t miss out on engaging your customers in every stage of your interaction. It will help you determine what you’ll need (tools, type of content, distribution channels) to guide them through the desired journey. And, of course, with favorable outcomes for your company.
Your customer’s journey divides into three stages:
- New discoveries. Capture your audience’s attention by showing that you not only understand their problem but also offer the (best) solution to it. Educate, then introduce your brand.
- Interested individuals. Once you have the audience hooked, they’ll want to know more. Position yourself as an authority by sharing in-depth information showing you can solve their problem.
- Converted customers. It’s time to convince your customers to make a purchase by providing value and consistency.
Once you have your converted customer, you’ll want to make sure you can keep them and, ideally, make them your advocate.
Establish customer feedback loops for every stage.
Based on the feedback you get, you’ll be able to create stronger, more personalized experiences. It will help you build deeper trust with your customers and audience. Let your customers know how much you appreciate them, and offer support.
4. Decide on Content types and Distribution Channels
Creating quality content that’s useful and actionable goes hand in hand with choosing the right content types and distribution channels.
For each stage of your customer’s journey, you’ll want to use different types of content; blogs, social media (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn), newsletters, infographics, instructional guides, vlogs or podcasts.
Remember that your primary goal is to provide value to the reader. Make sure your messaging is clear, relevant, and respects your readers’ time.
- When brainstorming content ideas, research the topics and questions your audience is looking up to make it relevant. Remember to check what your competitors are writing about. Then, take an angle that you feel hasn’t been explored yet.
5. Create Measurable KPIs
In the age of digital marketing and web analytics, it’s important that you understand basic metrics (KPIs; Key Performance Indicators) such as engagement and conversion rates. These will help you determine if your strategy is effective and, if it is not, where you should be focusing your attention.
We recommend several KPIs that will help you measure whether or not your content marketing strategy is getting you the results you want in our e-book. These include:
- Conversions. Your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action, be it subscribing to a newsletter or purchasing your product. The more conversions, the more customers, the more money.
- Leads. Possibly your most important metric, leads refers to any individual or organization who interacts with your brand (lands on your website). Once you analyze the leads, you can separate those who are an ideal customer from those who are not.
- Time on Page. What is the average time visitors spend on your website? See what changes you can make to keep users interested and stay longer.
- Shares. Be it social media sharing or referral traffic, shares track the relevance and hence effectiveness of your content.
- Downloads. Your audience will know you care if you choose to share information with them, whether it’s infographics or e-books.
Keeping (eg. weekly) track of your performance data will help you make informed decisions as you go along.
6. Create an Editorial Content Calendar
To stay organized and on top of your content planning and creation, set up a shared content calendar. You can use tools like Google Sheets, Asana or Trello to give your team access to schedule and planning details. This will help you stay on track and coordinate tasks.
The purpose of the content calendar is to keep an overview of what, where and when is being published, and how it all fits together. You can also use your calendar as a space to keep track of ideas, resources, references, contacts etc. on separate spreadsheets.
You’ll definitely want to include the following fields:
- Date the content will be published, title (topic), author of content, description, link, owner (who is to make sure the piece gets written), keywords and status (e.g. brief, draft, final etc.), stage (awareness, consideration, decision), type (blog, infographic, download, case study etc.).
7. Establish, Sustain and Optimize Processes
As you embark on your journey, you’ll find yourself re/examining and tweaking your strategy in the process of collecting data about the successes of your approach. This could mean having to adjust, change or scrape some choices you made in the beginning.
This is extremely important no matter how thoughtfully you think you’ll have set yourself up for success in the beginning. You’ll need to adapt your material as you go along.
Keep in mind that both the market and the digital landscape are ever changing. Part of building and sustaining a successful strategy is staying attuned to both.
It’s more complicated than that, you say? Absolutely. The goal of a successful marketing strategy is to connect with your customers in a way that builds credibility, reputation, and trust in your product or service. This involves a constant and complex process of engagement with your customers. It’ll be worth it, you’ll see.