Content marketing is more than a buzzword. It is an essential part of today’s marketing mix.
Successful brands recognize the value of great content and understand how to leverage content marketing to grow their businesses.
So, what can content marketing do for your brand? It can help you:
- Build your brand’s online presence.
- Get people to trust you and see you as a thought leader in your industry.
- Drive more traffic to your website.
- Improve your search results rankings.
- Generate new and qualified leads for your business.
- Increase conversions and sales.
- Build backlinks.
Content marketing is indeed a reliable, cost-effective, and successful tactic to grow your traffic and boost conversions.
However, for your campaigns to be successful, you first need to formulate an effective content marketing strategy for your brand. Make sure that you have a solid marketing plan in place.
#1. Define your goals and KPIs
The best way to start with any new strategy is to define what you plan to achieve. In content marketing too, you first need to set your goals and define the metrics that will help you measure success.
Do you want to:
- Improve your search results rankings?
- Drive more traffic to your website?
- Position your brand as a thought leader in the industry?
- Improve your brand’s authority?
- Attract and engage a new audience?
- Generate more qualified leads for your business?
- Make more sales?
Once you figure out your goals, it will be easier for you to formulate a strategy that can help you achieve those goals.
Associate your goals with specific and measurable key performance indicators (KPIs). This will help you track, monitor, and further optimize your strategy for better results.
For instance, if you want to attract and engage more people, you can associate that goal with getting a certain number of new subscribers or social media followers. You can also measure engagement in terms of mentions, shares, and comments on your content.
#2. Understand your audience
For a successful content marketing strategy, you need to know who your audience is. Clearly defining your target audience will help you create content that is relevant to them.
You need to look for a number of parameters such as:
- Work position
Once you know who your audience is, you can easily understand their needs and priorities. You can then address their problems with your content. When you produce content that is valuable to them, they will be more likely to read, engage with it, and convert.
#3. Perform a content audit
Like a majority of businesses, you have likely already been creating content. This may include blog posts, social media content, videos, and so on.
Before you create a new content strategy, it is important to review and assess the results of your current content marketing initiatives. Auditing your current plan can help you figure out what you can do differently to achieve your goals.
Many successful brands use gap analysis to raise the performance of their marketing plans.
Gap analysis helps you understand the gap between where you want to be and where you are now. And see what steps you can take to close that gap and meet your goals. You can learn more about gap analysis here.
Conducting a content audit can also help you identify strategies that have worked well for your audience and the ones that haven’t. You can discover which topics get the most reads and shares. Or, is there a specific content format that drives more engagement?
You can use content marketing tools such as SEMrush’s Content Analyzer to see how your content is performing. You can get a complete analysis of your content including your titles, content length, backlinks, social shares, and so on. This makes it easier to compare the performance of different content pieces too.
All of this information can help you formulate an effective content marketing strategy for your brand.
#4. Conduct a competitive analysis
Along with assessing your own content, you should also check out what your competitors are doing. Take a look at the types of content they create, the topics they cover, and how their content is performing.
This can be a good opportunity for you to identify what type of content performs better for your audience. At the same time, you need to ensure that the content you create is unique, and different from that of your competitors.
#5. Conduct keyword research
When we talk about content marketing, keyword research is important. It helps you identify keywords that generate the most traffic and leverage them to engage more people.
Image via Ubersuggest
You can target a mix of both competitive and non-competitive keywords. Focus on long-tail keywords to narrow down your audience and attract more qualified leads.
#6. Brainstorm content ideas
Once you have created a list of keywords that you want to target, it’s time to come up with content ideas.
Analyze what your audience will love to read about. Create clusters of topics and associate them with relevant keywords. This will help you produce and publish content pieces related to a specific topic each month.
BuzzSumo can help you discover popular content ideas in your niche. All you need to do is enter general topics or keywords you’d like to write about. BuzzSumo will help you analyze which kind of content ideas would do well.
You should focus on topics that cater to your audience’s needs, points out their problems, and helps to overcome them.
#7. Determine the types of content you want to create
The next step is to think about the types of content you want to create. There are a variety of options you can choose to opt for.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular content formats that brand are using to engage their audiences.
- Blog posts
- Guest posts
- Case studies
You should leverage multiple types of content to engage your audience.
While long-form content such as blog posts is important, you should not miss out on the power of visual content too.
#8. Create the content
There is no substitute for great content. Make sure that the content you create is unique, authentic, relevant, and it provides value to the readers.
Do your research. Include valuable statistics, examples, and case studies to make your posts more insightful. When creating content for social media, optimize your posts for each platform.
You should optimize your content not just for the readers, but for the search engines too. You can make your content rank well in the SERPs if you leverage the best SEO practices. This will help you generate more exposure and organic traffic for your posts.
For better SEO results, make sure that your content is well-optimized for relevant keywords and focus on link building.
Every content piece you create should align with your brand’s voice and messaging. Your audience should be able to resonate with it.
#9. Distribute and promote your content
Creating great content is not enough. You also need to promote your content on social media, community forums, other content syndication platforms like Medium, and so on.
It is important to increase the reach and exposure of your content. Also, many of the content pieces you create are likely to be evergreen. So don’t forget to promote them again months from now. Similarly, promoting content on trending topics the right way can help you gain great traffic.
You can leverage all-in-one social media monitoring and publishing tools such as Mention to schedule your content. This will help you streamline your content promotion process.
It is also a good idea to leverage important days and holidays to gain extra traction for your content. You can create, publish, and promote content relevant to niche holidays if your audience finds it interesting.
You can use email marketing to update your subscribers about any new posts you publish. Collaborating with influencers in your niche is another great way to amplify your content’s reach.
#10. Track and measure results
Last but not the least, you should consistently track, monitor, and measure the success of your content marketing strategy. It is important to assess whether or not your strategy is working well for you.
For this, you’ll need to return to the KPIs you set initially. See what you were able to achieve. Did you meet your targets? Did a few posts or any specific content format fail to generate engagement or sales?
Monitoring your progress will help you tweak your strategy at regular intervals and optimize it for better results. This will help you successfully unleash the true potential of your content marketing strategy.
Summing it up
Creating a content strategy that delivers great results isn’t rocket science. But it can be quite challenging and time-consuming.
Whether you are new to content marketing or you have been using it for a while, it is always a great idea to reconsider your content marketing strategy. You should audit your current content plan, identify what’s working and what isn’t, and optimize it for better results.
The step-by-step process that we shared above can help you formulate an effective content marketing strategy for your brand. If you have any other tips for content marketers, please feel free to share them in the comments below.