How to Build a Content Marketing Strategy that Works
If you’re interested in marketing your business online, there is one thing you can’t escape hearing about, and that’s content marketing and what it means for the success and prosperity of your business on the web. From building a community of fans and followers to increasing engagement and traffic to your website, content marketing is absolutely essential to growing your business online, because let’s face it, marketing in 2015 is about building relationships and driving sales without resorting to traditional “hard sell” tactics.
Consumers these days own a DVR. They skip television advertising and it’s not hard to shut out magazine advertising. As for banners and ads on the web, people have become and are increasingly becoming quite adept at taking in information without a care for banners and buttons making them irrelevant.
However, content marketing is not a walk in the park. It’s a big task with many roadblocks. For a start, content marketers need to create enough content while simultaneously keeping the quality of the content they produce high. This in turn means generating an unending stream of interesting and valuable content ideas and communicating those ideas using the right words and language to resonate with your target audience. Content marketing therefore demands a huge commitment of time and resources. This guide should aim you in the right direction.
Content Marketing Starts with Building a Strong Foundation
Here is the deal: You can’t confidently plan and create content if you don’t know why you are creating content and what you hope to achieve with it. For example, are you creating content to generate leads or you are creating content to close sales more quickly? Are you trying to inspire an interest in your products or are you trying to become recognized as a thought leader in your industry? You also need to define what your core message is; your core message is the primary benefit you are planning to offer your customers.
All of the above serve to lay a strong foundation for your content marketing strategy. Other things that fall under this category include competitive analysis, deciding who your target audience is and a strategy for creating and publishing content. For example, do you want to publish one type of content or multiple types and do your followers want to receive information in the format you are deciding on?
Generating an Unending Stream of Clickable Ideas
So far, you’ve made some decisions that will help you create relevant content and achieve your business objectives. Moving on, perhaps the two biggest challenges that content marketers face are producing enough content and producing content that gets read. Both of these challenges are, in turn, related to a common roadblock of content marketing, and that’s producing an unending stream of valuable and clickable ideas. To generate interesting content ideas, here are some thoughts:
1. Keep up with trends. Keeping a finger on the pulse of your audience gives you a headstart in creating content that will get read.
2. Tap into the power of Google. As you type words into Google’s search bar, the list of suggestions Google makes is an invaluable source of inspiration for content creation. You can also perform keyword searches.
3. Visit and engage in forums in your core topic.
4. Plug in to the energy of your social media interactions.
Then start planning your content using an Editorial Planner, which you can also use to track the performance of any content you publish.
Optimizing your Content so it gets found in the Search Engines & Promoting your Content to your Followers
Once you’re done producing relevant, creative and engaging content that will actually get read, it’s time to optimize it so people can find it in the search engines. On-page optimization includes the following:
1. Deciding on what keywords you want your content to rank for
2. Optimizing your title
3. Using the keywords you chose naturally in the content
4. Link to other related pages on your website
Then you can also encourage comments and respond to comments in complete sentences incorporating keywords in your comments to optimize them. You can also consider guest blogging for external links but only guest blog for websites relevant to your core topic and only guest blog on high-quality sites.
And finally, the dirty little secret about content marketing is that it boils down to 3 things:
– Creating great content
– Making sure the content gets found in the search engines
– And promoting the content to your followers
We’ve covered the first two. Time to talk about ways to promote your content. Here are some ideas:
1. The day your content goes live
– Email it to your list
– Tweet about it 3-4 times
– Post about it on Google+
– Post about it on Facebook
2. Indirect promotion
This depends on your ability to build relationships with influencers of your industry. Technorati.com is a great place to find blogs in your niche. You can then ask for tweets or for a link. You can also comment on other people’s blog but you need to do so carefully, respectfully and thoughtfully. The point is to add value so you leave a positive impression that may inspire people to learn more about you and what you have to offer.