A successful content marketing strategy can drive thousands of targeted visitors to your website, help you generate leads, brand yourself as an expert, and help you sell services or products.
There are so many different, conflicting opinions about content marketing out there. Everyone has a different opinion and it can leave you wondering which strategy is best for your brand. Unlike recruiting or building a product, there aren't hard and fast rules or guidelines when building a content marketing strategy.
However, having one is often not enough. What it takes is having the right kind of strategy for the right kind of goal you have set up for your business.
Let's look at some ideas for making your content marketing strategy work for you.
Get Some Clarity
Most companies want their content marketing to drive sales or conversions. However, the best content marketing strategies don’t start there. They start with the top of the funnel (TOFU) and work their way down.
A TOFU strategy is most effective when your company is new or you are introducing a new product or service. The goal is to build brand awareness, so people recognize you and your company when they are ready to buy a product or service like yours.
The most common type of middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) content is a blog post or an article that gives someone useful information or advice related to a topic your target audience cares about. Think about the questions people ask about your area of expertise and write articles that give them answers.
Your bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content should focus on making sales and conversions. This is the time to become very direct in what you tell your readers, viewers, and listeners.
Every piece of content you create should have a clear objective in mind. Do you want to generate leads, create brand awareness, or make a sale?
One way to do this is by creating content for different areas of the funnel —TOFU for brand awareness and BOFU for leads and sales.
You can also segment your ideal customers into personas. Create different content for each persona depending on where they are in the buyer's journey.
Creating content without a purpose is a surefire way to waste time and money on content that doesn't help your business grow.
To start building your content strategy, answer these questions:
- What problem does your target customer have? How can you solve it with your content?
- What stage of the buyer's journey is your target customer at?
- What types of content do they enjoy consuming?
Measure And Optimize, All The Way
How can you tell if your content marketing strategy is working?
The best way is to measure your content marketing success against your objectives. What were you hoping to achieve? For example, did you want more traffic to your website, or to build awareness of a new product or service?
If you need help with your measurements and metrics, here are some key ones:
- Time spent creating content vs. output (in terms of leads, revenue, etc.)
- Overheads of producing the content (e.g., salaries of writers) vs. output (again, in terms of leads and revenue)
- Number of posts compared with the number of leads generated
- Cost per lead — divide marketing costs by the number of leads generated to get this figure
Content marketing is a long-term strategy — it's not just about making sales today. It's about building your brand, establishing authority, and providing value to your customers.
When you're setting goals for your content marketing, remember that you're trying to create an ongoing relationship with a customer. You want them to keep coming back for more information and advice from you. That may take several interactions — so don't expect a single blog post or infographic to get people calling you tomorrow.
Content marketing can pay off in two ways: You can either optimize for lower overheads (fewer staff hours spent creating content), or for higher output (more leads, more conversions).
By lowering overheads you will be able to produce more content with the same budget. And that's especially important if your margins are already tight and you can't afford to increase your budget.
If you have a budget to spare, optimize for greater output as well. The way to do this is to test different platforms and pieces of content. You could use a tool like BuzzSumo to see where similar content has performed best in the past.
Let's say that you want to lower overheads.
You can do so by choosing the following:
Use a paid tool to do the heavy lifting — Yes, I know that Google Analytics is free, but it takes a lot of work to understand it fully. Paid tools like KISSmetrics and Mixpanel are easier to use and usually offer more data than Google Analytics.
Outsource your content production — while you may be an industry expert, you may not always be the best writer. Professional content writing services can help flesh out your content ideas into engaging content that delivers results. .
Know Your Content’s Place
As you create your content marketing strategy, you should know that each piece of content has a place in the customer journey.
Some articles are meant to introduce consumers to your brand; others are designed to convert them into email subscribers or paying customers.
Before you create any content, identify where it will fit in the process, then make sure the piece actually helps move your audience along.
As you create content, it's important to know how it connects with the rest of your site.
For example, if you are an eCommerce store selling skin products, and your marketing plan should be about communicating the benefits of sunscreen. Your landing page should be your sunscreen listing page (or particular product), not a generic product listing page.
You also need to consider how different pieces of content interrelate.
When one article leads into another, or when one article is written as a follow-up to another, the two pieces must seamlessly continue each other's storylines and use similar tones and messages.
In terms of keyword research and SEO optimization, remember that you may want to break out individual articles into separate blog posts or web pages. This allows you to target different keywords with different posts and focus on specific topics with more depth than would be possible on one page.
Repurposing Is The Key
The goal of content marketing is not just to build a brand. It’s also to get potential customers excited enough to become paying customers.
To do that, you need to speak their language. You need to address their issues and challenges with highly specific content that they can relate to.
To that end, a solid content marketing strategy should go beyond just your blog. While it’s a great place to start, there are plenty of other ways to create valuable content that your customers will enjoy — and share.
One way to reduce overheads and increase ROI is by repurposing your content into multiple formats — ebooks, blogs, Instagram posts, and so on. For example, an ebook could be split into a series of blog posts, or recorded in an interview format for a podcast or webinar.
That’s the theory anyway. The practice can be more challenging. It takes time and effort to create high-quality content in the first place — even more so when you want that same content tailored for different formats and platforms.
But cleverly repackaging your existing content is an effective way of creating new assets without spending extra money on creating something completely new.
Track, Fix, And Repeat
Content marketing is a long-term strategy. It's not just about creating a blog or eBook, sharing it, and hoping it does well. You need to be constantly monitoring and analyzing the results.
Figure out your goals for each piece of content you create. Are you trying to boost organic traffic? Social shares? Lead generation? Nail down what you want the content to do, then identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help measure whether or not it's achieving those goals.
Track these KPIs carefully over time using analytics tools like Google Analytics and social media dashboards. Create an editorial calendar that includes important data points on traffic, engagement, conversions, and so on. These are things you'll want to review regularly to see what is resonating with your audience and what isn't.
Once you've collected this data, identify the factors that have contributed most to the success or failure of each project, and use that information to inform future projects. If one type of format seems to outperform others consistently, ramp up your efforts in that area. If one month of content performed particularly poorly, look for opportunities for improvement in your process.