One of the main reasons that content may seem like it’s not as important as some other more sales-oriented materials, i.e. copy, is because it tends to be focused at the top of the sales funnel – content is what you use for relationship building, brand awareness, and lead generation, rather than conversions.
First impressions can go a long way to long-term engagement and customer satisfaction, and that’s why, when it comes to marketing content digitally, no business or entrepreneur can afford to slouch. In other words, great conversion rates often start with a solid content strategy.
Content marketing campaigns always have been – and still are – effective modes of marketing for businesses of all sizes, as well as independent entrepreneurs. So, what does a marketing team truly need to have in place to produce effective marketing content? We’ve created this handy guide to help you stay on top of all your content marketing activities.
Before we go any further, we should clear up the fact that content marketing isn’t really about just blogging and sharing any old thing you think of. To do it well, you have to integrate a solid plan strategically.
Content marketing is important for lead generation, but effective engagement only works when you are educating and engaging your audience. You can build brand awareness via blogs and articles, offering solid, informational content to interested parties, with the result being that they continue to choose to come to you.
So, unlike traditional marketing, which is more of a ‘pushy’ sales approach, content marketing should be based on offering something to your target audience. This is, in part, because there is so much content and information out there that you must offer it to users in such a way that they are making a choice to notice you and come back around to purchase your products.
Consumers have never had so choice and access to products as they do now, and their decisions are increasingly being made at a quicker pace. That’s why digital marketers must use an approach that helps them to understand and engage consumers, rather than traditional techniques that aim to get them to buy.
Here are some common content marketing mistakes that people make when implementing a content management strategy:
If you’re just starting out here, the main thing is to keep it simple. It’s better to have one fantastic blog article and a few connected social pieces that are well integrated into a social and sales strategy than having lots of irrelevant or disorganized content that is shared thoughtlessly.
So, what does a successful marketing strategy look like? According to data reported via the Content Marketing Institute, the most successful content marketers share a few common traits:
Here are a six steps to creating and following a content marketing strategy that truly serves your business without taking too much time.
One of the reasons why content marketing can feel overwhelming is that content can essentially ‘do’ a lot. But in order for it to truly be effective, you’ll want to bear in mind that some metrics will be more meaningful than others. Here are a few examples:
Content strategists should always be thinking about four key stages of the funnel:
As you go through each phase of the funnel, you have a chance to get to know your audience. Understanding their core needs is crucial when it comes to knowing what you need to do to attract and retain more leads in future.
Content must not only be engaging but also be constantly revealing your brand story. There are a number of things that you can do to ensure that your customers can access your content and that it stands out amongst the clutter. Here are a few suggestions:
Some businesses may be sustained well by time-related content, and when you hit on a topic that’s trending, you can improve your chances of shares and overall virility with social and blog content. However, it’s important to always keep a ‘stock’ of engaging content handy so that you can reuse, repurpose, and repost.
To this end, you’ll want to understand your key topics ahead of time. To help determine some key topics, you can:
Content is a versatile and conversational way to essentially connect with customers, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different formats and even repurpose it now and then. Here are a few suggestions:
What can a content manager or managing editor do? A lot. In fact, they’re probably going to be key to helping you really get your content strategy up to par. There are so many things to think about, from creation to engagement and from social to scheduling, that having one (or a few) great content people can be a godsend.
These people not only have to understand how to create great written content that’s high quality and of value, they’ll also need to have a good understanding of how to optimize your content for SEO.
Here are a few examples of the tasks they can take over:
This is a huge job and while you may already have a solid grasp of it all, if your key role is running your business, you won’t have time to build an effective content strategy all on your own.
Everything about content marketing is really about data collection – and this means you actually have to learn how to see your content not only as stories but also as data. Search engines are really just looking at a whole range of things related to your content and website when they are figuring out ‘how’ to rank you, so you need to learn to ‘think’ like them.
Understanding content marketing thoroughly can be an uphill struggle. You have to always keep looking out for what’s working, and continually adjust your strategy based on analytics results and key performance indicators (KPIs).
Always keep an eye on what’s working and what’s not. You can easily grab reports from Google Analytics, for instance, that focus on your KPIs.
The landscape is constantly changing, and you won’t have it down from the very start – but that’s okay! Just remember that you will want to be constantly redefining and refining your strategy as you work through different levels of it.
Content marketing is both an art and a science, which is what can make it so fascinating but also frustrating. No matter what you do, you need to remember that marketing in any form is about telling a story not just about your brand, but also about the people you are selling to.
The more relatable and meaningful your content is, the more likely people will be to notice you and come back for more.