Have you made content marketing a priority yet?
Content is a key way to promote your brand and content marketing can help you to increase web traffic, generate leads and make sales! However, you need a watertight content marketing strategy to get there. In this guide, we’ll give you the details on everything you need to know about content marketing as a beginner, including what it is, what it requires from you and how to avoid wasting your time.
Let’s get started!
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is exactly what you’d expect it to be: marketing your business using content.
The definition is the simplest part! There is quite a lot that lies beneath that basic description. Content can include blog posts, articles, and videos. Where the marketing part comes in is how you write your content in a way that convinces your target audience to become your customers.
In short, content marketing is about creating and sharing quality content that provides your audience with what they want. It shows your brand off in the best light and ultimately converts leads into sales!
What are the aims of content marketing?
Content marketing is focussed on creating content that is relevant and valuable to your audience. Good content is designed to help you:
- Attract your target audience
- Introduce them to your business
- Engage and inform
- Generate leads
- Transform your audience into customers!
To get there, you need to start with a content marketing strategy.
Creating a content marketing strategy
A content marketing strategy is the crucial first step when considering content marketing for your business. Your content marketing strategy will help to guide your content efforts, so you know what you’re doing, when you’re doing it and where you’re going!
First you need to set your mission, goals and KPIs (key performance indicators).
Your content marketing mission defines who your audience is, how you intend to reach your audience and what your audience will gain from your content.
Your content marketing goals are what you hope to gain from content marketing. This might be boosting sales, increasing traffic to your site or generating more leads.
Your content marketing KPIs will be how you measure success. Examples of KPIs include visitor number targets, revenue targets, numbers of email subscribers or improving your search ranking.
As well as your mission, goals and KPIs, you also need to know who you will be marketing to!
Defining your audience
To have a great content marketing strategy, you need to narrow down who your audience is. Content marketing is most effective when it is relevant to a particular demographic. If you don't already know your audience, try these ideas as a starting point:
You can find this information using analytics eg. Social media analytics, or you could collect the information from your customers directly. The easiest way to do this is using a pop up customer survey on your website.
The information you collect on your target audience can be used to define your content marketing mission and goals and create your content strategy.
Planning your content marketing process
Part of creating a content marketing strategy is also planning your process! You will need to choose who in your team will take responsibility for content creation. This includes writing or producing content, maintaining and updating content, your publishing schedule, the approval process for content and your content workflow.
Your process has a lot to do with allocating roles within your company or content team. This will largely depend on the size of your company and if you are outsourcing content production.
One example of how your content process might look would be:
- The CEO has final approval over content and the content strategy
- The marketing manager (in-house or freelance) is in charge of creating the content marketing strategy and managing the content team
- The content team (writers, editors, video producers) create content according to the content strategy
Your content strategy will also need to include when you want to publish your content. A content calendar helps you to schedule your content clearly and easily. One of the simplest ways to do this is using Google Calendar or a similar tool. You can plan your content and include the due dates. You and/or your team can then refer to the calendar to know what content needs to be produced.
Once you have your content marketing strategy in place, you can begin to create your content!
With any content you produce, try to bear in mind how it will add value to your audience. You might need to do some research to see what’s out there. Your aim is to offer your audience information that is not already available or present it in a new way.
One of the best ways to do this is to see the kinds of questions your audience are asking. Answer The Public is a great tool for this. You might also like to use discussion style websites like Quora and Reddit.
No doubt you will have heard SEO bandied about by marketeers, but how do you use it in your content?
SEO is all about optimising your content so that it appears in search results that are relevant to your business. This means it is easier for people to find you! When you’re creating content, you should be looking to include keywords that you want to rank for.
Big brands are able to rank for the most obvious keywords so you will need to find keywords that are more niche. These are called ‘long tail keywords’ and they tend to be very specific. Specific is good for you because keywords with fewer searches often convert better! Those people know what they’re looking for and they’re keen to find the business that can help them. You can find the best keywords for your site using tools like Google Analytics and SEMrush.
Once you’ve settled on your keywords, you can include them in your content! That means using keywords in your headings, subheadings and body text. Just be careful that you’re not ‘keyword cramming’. Whilst you want to repeat your keywords in your content, you also want to provide value to site visitors so make sure your writing is still informative and makes sense!