What is content marketing and how does it differ from social media and other forms of marketing?
Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves creating and sharing online material whether, through blog posts, social media posts, or videos and is used to attract and stimulate interest in various products and services. Some examples of content marketing include:
- Blog Posts
- Social Media Posts
- White Papers
So how do you get started? First off, a content strategy should be strong, fresh, and innovative and always offer useful and relevant information that is up to date and in line with the product or service you are promoting. When you begin to build out a content strategy for your business, you should consider the following:
- The audience the content is being created for
- The problem it will help them solve
- The content’s uniqueness – what format will you use and in what channels
- How you will manage the creation of the content
- How it is published
Finding the answers to the above questions will enable you to set the groundwork for a strong and successful content marketing strategy. It will keep you on the path to the content’s purpose and will make sure that you are reaching your target audience with the most relevant and up-to-date information. Here are five steps to creating a winning content marketing strategy.
5 Steps To Creating A Winning Content Marketing Strategy
1) Set Your Goals
Every content marketing strategy needs clear and focused goals. Is your goal website traffic? New email subscribers to your email list? New followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Once you have defined this goal, you will then see how much easier it is to make the content plan and stick with it.
Not sure what your goals should be? A strategic partner can help you identify and prioritize these goals. Strategic partners are critical, especially for businesses that are looking to grow in unfamiliar markets or they are trying to reach new customer segments. A siloed approach cannot offer as much experience, innovation, and resources that you can see from a strategic partnership with a social media or digital marketing agency.
2) Define Your Audience
Who are you creating this content for? Identifying the audience you are looking to target and mapping out their interests is also important when it comes to creating a winning content marketing as well as SEO strategy. Knowing your audience will allow you to better position your business as an authority and thought leader in your chosen industry. By doing this you will attract new clients by providing more informative content, and you will be able to attain more traffic from search engines.
Again, you can define more than one core audience and cater content to that specific audience. Think about your goals and the type of audience you’re looking to attract and create content that is best suited towards their behaviors and consumption habits. For example, infographics are a highly shareable form of content, while technical white papers are best suited for a technically inclined audience who may be reading for their own knowledge and insight.
3) Do Your Research
Take the time to do your research as you build out your content marketing strategy. What type of content will work best for your business based on your time and resources? For example, if you hate writing then maybe blogging is not the best for you. Or if you hate to be on camera then maybe video isn’t your thing (we encourage you to get over this if you can!). These are all important steps to consider, especially if you are new to a content marketing strategy because you want to focus on what you can do based on your time and resources, and outsource as needed. This is also where a strategic partner or agency can help you.
If you already have a previous content strategy, then we recommend reviewing your previous work and finding the areas in which you can improve. Refreshing the content, updating, and creating more content are all good steps to take. While doing so, make sure that the vision is in line with your overall content marketing goals.
4) Create Your Content Calendar
Brainstorming ideas for informational and relevant content is the next step when coming up with a winning content marketing strategy. Not sure what to write about? To make this process easier, there are several tools available online.
HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator is one tool you can use by simply entering the general topics or terms you would like to use for your content and then sit back while the generator does the work for you by coming up with winning ideas for content.
BuzzSumo is another tool that helps discover popular content and even uses social media to help determine if the content and information is popular and liked so you can get a better idea of what content ideas and topics would work the best.
Content Forest offers KeywordKiwi and ContentIdeator to also help find popular topics that can be used in your content creation. It pulls information from your competitors and helps find effective keywords while offering great content suggestions.
Three things that you will need to remember while coming up with content are
- Identify broad content pillars for your audience. These are not just about you product, but also unrelated topics that are important for your audience.
- Moments of relevance – The right time to push out content so that it gets shared or consumed.
- The right medium or format to use – Blog posts? Tweets? Video? Every medium achieves a specific objective.
5) Manage Your Content Creation Calendar
Once you have determined the type of content you will be creating, it is time to come up with a plan to manage that content. Using an editorial calendar and a social media content calendar are beneficial ways that you can use to manage and organize your content and then publish and promote the content.
Also, keep in mind the advantages of using timely content such as relevant information pertaining to the time of year or holidays so you can help generate even more interested traffic for your site.
Remember, you must measure the success of your strategy, re-work if necessary and measure again as a continuous periodic process.
Content marketing is an investment in your business, and the brands that are doing it well are seeing huge benefits. Don’t get overwhelmed by waiting until the last minute to start planning the content marketing strategy for your business. Following the above five steps puts you on the path to creating a winning content strategy that will help you gain more traffic, find strategic partners, build a larger following and eventually lead to growth and increased profit generation for your company.