When we talk about the greatest cornerstones in today’s digital marketing landscape, content marketing immediately comes to mind. In a competitive online marketplace, the quality of our content can either put our company in the spotlight, or relegate us to the bottom of the pile.
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience- and ultimately to drive profitable consumer action.”
But, surprisingly, 55% of organizations don’t know exactly what that looks like. If you’re a little unsure, the following steps will help you craft an effective content strategy to augment your digital one.
Step One: Clearly Define Your Content Marketing Objectives
The wrong approach here would be to simply churn out heaps of content, throw in some keywords, and hope for the best – just because everyone else is doing it.
The smart way to do it is to formulate your objectives clearly with questions like these:
- What is my revenue target?
- What does that equate to in terms of prospects and converted sales?
- In order to achieve this goal, how can I align my content strategy with my company strategy?
- What metrics can I use to track my progress?
- What perceptions do I want to foster?
- What kind of content will achieve this?
- What kind of content will not achieve this?
Break it down further until you have a clearly defined objective. For example:
“We need to generate $1.5 million in new revenue by attracting 5,000 new qualified leads from our niche. To do this we will offer useful content via newsletters and social media to drive the perceptions of customers to see us as the market leader in terms of quality, expertise and sustainability.”
Step Two: Understand Your Audience
The most successful content strategies are those that are carefully targeted at the specific pain points of prospective customers.
Blogs, newsletters and video content that answers the right questions, solves the right problems and offers the right insights will convert. To get there, use the following methods:
- Create a detailed customer persona.
- Research social media to find out what questions need answering, and which problems need solving.
- Conduct interviews, ask lots of questions, or create a survey.
- Find and follow market influencers to stay up to date.
Step Three: Speak the Right Language
Remember, content marketing is about building trust, a reputation, and establishing a brand identity.
You have an idea of what you’re going to say, now you need to consider how you’re going to say it.
It’s important to come across as approachable, understanding and knowledgeable. Complex ideas need to be simplified.
Step Four: Evaluate and Re-Align
As you develop your content, you will notice that certain topics and kinds of content generate more interest and leads than others.
This is where technology is most useful. You can identify which approach should be pursued, and which ones should be dropped. You will discover which channels work, and you can focus your efforts there.
The online landscape is an ever-changing one and your strategy needs to be adaptable. When approached and executed on in the right way, content marketing can help you realize your marketing goals. Do you have a content marketing strategy in place? If not, you may be leaving money on the table.