Content marketing is your opportunity to tell your story the way you want people to hear it. You can show, not tell people about how your products and services solve customer problems and help them achieve their goals. But in order to accomplish this with content, you need a written content strategy that outlines your detailed plan for leveraging content to meet your business goals.
What do you want to achieve through your contact marketing plan? Some common content marketing goals include:
- Brand awareness
- Thought leadership
- Driving traffic to your site
- Generating leads
- Converting leads
- Up/Cross Selling
- Retaining Customers
Your primary goals guide you as you develop a content strategy that works. When you know what you’ll be measuring, it’s easier to figure out what you need to do and how you’ll do it. Identify the KPI’s you need to measure to understand how well your content is working toward meeting your primary goals.
Beware of vanity metrics in content marketing. These are metrics that seem like they matter, but usually don’t help business goals. These include things like:
- Number of followers/subscribers without considering how engaged they are
- Likes unless they are contributing to your overall strategy
- Website visits from bot activity
Your content strategy is only successful if it speaks to your audience. So, you must know who that audience is.
Research your target audience to learn what types of content they consume online and how they interact with brands to create the most relevant content for these potential customers. Who are they? What are their challenges and goals?
A buyer persona is a fictionalized representation of the perfect customer. Ideally, you’ll build it by compositing real customer data. Who are the perfect customers? These are the people who are most likely to buy your product, buy quickly, buy frequently, and tell their friends.
By focusing your content strategy narrowly on this group, you can deliver a more targeted message that connects on a meaningful level.
Before you begin creating new content, it’s critical to identify any content you may already have. In some cases, this content may already work into your content strategy. So use it. Or you may be able to repurpose existing content to meet your needs better. That saves you time and money.
This is also an opportunity to identify what’s not working in your current marketing strategies. Chances are you’re already using some content. So how can you use it more effectively?
If one of your content goals is to drive traffic to your website using search engine optimization (SEO), you need to regularly publish website content like a blog. You also need social media content which may take many forms. The types of content you create may also be dependent on your industry, strategy, and plan, but you’ll typically be creating several types of content to meet your goals, such as:
- Blog posts
- White Papers
- Interactive tools
You can certainly hit all of them, but you may spread yourself too thin. Instead, start with 2 to 3 important social media sites and grow from there.
Depending on your business, certain social media sites may be very important to you. For example, if you were a B2B SaaS company, then you probably need to be on LinkedIn and Twitter, both B2B heavy sites. If you’re a caterer, Instagram, Pinterest, and perhaps YouTube are smart choices.
And, as any Marijuana Marketing Xperts will tell you, certain platforms may restrict certain types of content on their platform for various reasons, so it’s critical to know the rules, so you can play by them without getting shut down.
You must publish consistent content for content marketing to work. So, before you find yourself wiped out of ideas, plan how you’ll generate these endless ideas and organize them from quarter to quarter on your content calendar.
If you run short on ideas, there are many SaaS tools that can help you identify which topics you need to cover first, like:
You can find a lot of free tools online to get started like
- Yoast Real Time Content Analysis
- Hemingway Editor
- Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer
As you grow, you may want to invest in paid tools that up your content game, like:
- Grammarly Premium
It’s one thing to know what your KPIs are and quite another to have a system in place to consistently and reliably measure them. You can start with free tools like Google analytics and free versions of tools like HootSuite to begin understanding content performance. But as you grow, you’ll certainly want to invest in paid SaaS analytics tools that will save you time and improve your performance.