Content is a significant part of digital marketing. It is one of the critical parts of your digital marketing strategy. Creating a content marketing strategy is an essential part of positioning your business for growth.
A study conducted by Kapost concluded that content marketing produces three times more leads per dollar spent when compared to paid search marketing.
According to Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less but generates three times more leads when compared to traditional advertising.
This is not surprising since another research by Stratabeat shows that business owners and executives prefer to learn about a business through an article rather than an advert.
Coca-cola now spends more money on content marketing than they spend on television advertising. Furthermore, 88% of B2B marketers in North America use content marketing as part of their digital marketing strategies.
Uses and Importance of content marketing
Content marketing is a marketing strategy where a business builds a profitable relationship with their target market through the production and distribution of content that is relevant to their target market.
Useful and relevant content allows the target market to trust a business. Also, they see that particular business as an expert in the industry. Therefore, when those target market wants to make buying decisions, they will prefer to buy from a trusted source with which they have built a relationship.
Content marketing can be a way of
- Creating awareness: It can help to put your business in the face of your target market
- Building relationship: Consistent relevant and useful content will help to nurture a good relationship with your customers
- Generating leads: Quality content can be a way to generate leads for your landing page.
- Closing sales: Good copywriting will help you to turn your leads into customers.
Steps to creating your Content marketing strategy
Define your overall digital marketing goals
Content marketing is not a stand-alone marketing strategy. It must align with your overall digital marketing goals which are part of your overall marketing goals.
Before you can create a content marketing strategy, you need to have your digital marketing goals well defined and outlined. The digital marketing goals will form the foundation for your content marketing goals.
Digital marketing goals can relate to revenue, profit, leads, traffic, customer relations, customer retention, retargeting and remarketing, product diversification and market diversification.
For a particular period, let your digital marketing goals be apparent. The goals must also be SMART- Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
Define your content marketing goals
The content marketing goals will link up with the overall digital marketing goals. If your digital marketing goal is to enter into a new market, your content marketing goals can be producing 50 in-depth articles or starting a podcast or creating a whitepaper that will show your expertise in that particular niche.
If your digital marketing goal is to increase website traffic by 200%, content marketing goal can be: writing 10 Quora answers every day, producing two comprehensive SEO guides every month or submitting every blog or article to five directories or guest posting in 5 high DA sites every month.
Content marketing goals must also be SMART just like digital marketing goals.
Perform a content audit across all channels
You will probably have some content already if your business is not new. If so, the next step to take is to audit your content across all channels: Website, Facebook, etc. Do the content you have already published relevant to your content marketing goals? Is there a way to repurpose that content to align with your content marketing goals? Can I update the content with additional insights that will make them useful for the current content campaign? Can I use the existing content to brainstorm content ideas for the new content marketing goals?
Define your content marketing channels
The scope of your content marketing is the channels you will be using to engage with your target market. Some of the popular content marketing channels include:
- Business website
- Facebook Page
- LinkedIn page
- Guest Blogs
- Article directories
- Blog commenting
You must define the particular channels that will best align with your current content marketing goals. You might choose to focus on some of them or run with all of them. It will depend on the size of your content team, the relevance of each platform, the nature, and diversity of your target market.
A critical decision must be made at this juncture. It will not be too good to start using a channel and abandon it halfway except it is not helping you to achieve your content marketing goals.
In this kind of situation, less can be better.
Determine the types of content that will align with your goals
There are different types of content that a business can produce as part of content marketing. Each of the content performs better with a particular channel than another. Therefore, the choice of content and the choice of a channel are intertwined.
The type of content you choose and the type of channel you work with must flow naturally from your content marketing goals, the nature of your product or service, the dynamics of your target market and your buyer persona.
Defining your target market, market segment and buyer persona is part of the digital marketing strategy process. It is therefore expected that such information must be available and well-defined at this stage.
Some of the types of content that you can use for your content marketing goals include:
Blogs are text-based content published on your business website. They can be short form or long form content. Blogs can be informational or explanatory. They are essential for SEO purposes because they provide a great opportunity for your business to be on Google’s first page for your most important keywords.
According to Tech Client, blogging gives you 434% higher chance of getting your business on search engines. Even though the aesthetic appeal of videos is high, people use text to search for information and products on search engines. That makes it essential. Moreover, businesses with a blog get 67% more leads than those that don’t have a blog.
E-books have been working as lead bait for many business owners. They are very effective for growing your mailing list. If growing your mailing list is an important content marketing goal, it is essential to consider producing e-books as lead baits.
E-books provide extensive information that is relevant to the audience. They will be willing to give you their email addresses in exchange for an e-book that is so relevant and important to them.
Videos are especially important for those in the fashion, health and beauty industry. If you sell products that need a lot of visual demonstration, videos are very important. Videos can work across various channels including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and your business website. They are the most shared form of content on social media. Social media users are 40 times more likely to share a video than other forms of content.
The world today is a visual world, and quality videos can make a lot of impressions.
A podcast is like a Radio or TV channel particularly dedicated to your business. It is a platform to produce interviews with experts in your niche, interesting conversations, and commentaries on the latest news in your industry.
63% of Podcast listeners have bought a product advertised in a podcast, and 45% of listeners have visited the website of the sponsor. A Podcast is a great way to achieve brand popularity, website traffic and build a large following. It is also interesting that the average podcast listener salary ($63,000) is higher than the average American salary ($53,000)
Infographics provide an opportunity to present facts, figures, statistics, and important information in a visually attractive way. Infographics are appealing and they help to consume a lot of information without wading through chunks of texts.
Infographics are becoming a huge part of blogging. Even when blog posts are published, business owners ensure that the blog post has an infographics that summarize the whole blog content.
Whitepapers provide a platform where you can establish your business as a thought leader in the industry. It is a way to share technical information, advocate a viewpoint, provide in-depth information on important industry topics and help readers to make more informed decisions. They include text, charts, and graphs.
Whitepapers are regaining their popularity, especially with the Blockchain technology industry.
25.3% of business owners find whitepapers extremely valuable and important to their business success. 76% of buyers are willing to share their contact information in exchange for a whitepaper.
- Case studies
A case study is a form of testimonial. A business can use the experience of one of their customers to create a case study. Case studies can be in the form of an e-book, a blog article or a video. It helps to answer buyers’ objections and give them more confidence to purchase your product.
Ninety percent of buyers look out for product reviews before making a purchase. Moreover, case studies are currently the fifth most popular content type which is favored by 63% of marketers.
Webinars are also becoming a well-known content strategy. A webinar is a digital equivalent of a conference presentation or an open day.
A webinar can be an important traffic generation and lead generation tool. A webinar gives people information on a particularly important topic in the form of a live presentation with audio, slides and Q&A platform.
At the end of the webinar, there is a lead bait that directs people to your landing page.
73% of marketers believe that email is important to their business. Many people spend a lot of time checking and reading their emails every day. Email is more important than social media when it comes to customer retention. McKinsey thinks it is 4o times more effective than Facebook and Twitter.
Email gives a personal touch to marketing. Leads nurtured through emails are 50% more sales-ready. 49% of marketers say email is linked directly to their primary source of revenue generation.
Email newsletters can be used to nurture leads and improve the traffic to your landing page.
Generate general and specific content ideas
The type of content to use and the channels to feature them is the most important decision. But after that, you need to brainstorm content ideas on that content type.
If you want to create whitepapers, you will need to brainstorm hot industry topics around which to create content. If you want to host a webinar, you will need to determine the topic of interest that will fly. Perhaps, you want to produce blog content; you will need to know the types of blog content that generate the highest engagements.
Content idea generation is a continuous process. It is not necessary you get everything tidied up when creating your content marketing strategy. You can include general ideas and generate specific ideas as you go along.
Some platforms that can help you generate content ideas include:
- Quora: One of my favorites. Go to Quora.com. Search for your industry and niche. Follow the topic that best aligns with your industry. When you follow the topic, you will get to see the questions people are asking in your industry. Look for the questions that have the highest interactions (views, upvotes, and answers) and find the ones you can create content around.
- Buzzsumo: Buzzsumo.com is another valuable resource. When you type your topic of interest, you will see content that has been written that perform best in terms of engagements. You can read the first five to get some ideas you can craft content around. Look out for the missing pieces in those content and close the gap with your content.
- Feedly: Feedly.com is an RSS reader. It also includes blogs, publications, tweets, and YouTube channels. It can help you to keep a tab on the latest news and the trending topics in your industry and niche. Those topics can give you ideas for all types of content.
- Survey Monkey: surveymonkey.com allows you to create surveys through an easy drag and drop system. You can administer the survey to your target market and get real insights into their pain points. Creative questions can help you get into the mind of the customers to know the type of content that will be most relevant.
Define the regularity of your content
How often will you produce the content? Go through each of the content types you will be using. Decide on the number of content you will produce for each content type and the regularity of content production.
Regularity is important to keep up with your readers. If it is once in a month that is convenient, stay with it. Irregular updates will make you lose a lot of potential followers.
Whatever channel or content type, define a regularity to which you can adhere.
More is not necessarily better and less is not necessarily better. The important thing is to know your audience: what they need and how often they need it.
But whatever you come up with it, let relevance be the key. There is no point in updating your blog every day if you can’t give your visitors valuable content every day. There is no point in sending a newsletter every two days if it won’t be relevant to your email subscribers.
Outsource or in-house?
An important part of your content marketing strategy is deciding on your content team. The first decision is whether to do all the content work in-house or to outsource to professional writers, graphics designers or video producers.
The key factor is whether you have the in-house capacity to meet with those content needs or if it will be economical to employ content producers or outsource the work.
Searchengineland.com has a comprehensive article that will help you make the decision.
Zerys.com has six decision-making factors to consider:
- Time: If you have the time to devote to the content creation project
- Budget: If you have the budget to outsource the project
- Talent: If you or team members have the skills and expertise to handle the content creation project.
- Love vs. hate: If you or team members are interested in doing it.
- Complexity: if the content format is simple or complex
- Company vs. Industry: If the content ideas will require broad industry knowledge or specific company knowledge
The ultimate decision lies with you. Whatever choice you make, ensure you dnt sacrifice quality. Quality content is still the king.
A good content marketing strategy is an essential part of your digital marketing strategy. Creating a content marketing strategy involves some essential steps that include defining your goals, performing a content audit, deciding on content type, channels, and regularity as well as deciding how to meet up with content needs.
Your content marketing strategy should be detailed and comprehensive. It will give you direction going forward. Content marketing is so important, and a content marketing strategy is a good place to start reaping the benefits.