4 Steps to Building A Perfect Content Marketing Strategy
According to a Content Marketing Institute study conducted in 2014, approximately 59% of business to consumer (B2C) companies planned on increasing their spending on content marketing throughout the year.
This number has undoubtedly grown as Google and other search engine algorithms have evolved throughout 2014 and continue to shy away from link building (as opposed to link earning) as a dominant SEO strategy.
Connecting with your customers through good content pays off big, not only in better search engine visibility, but also by increasing your company’s brand trust and opening new doors on the web through which new customers and leads can enter your site.
A well-written or produced piece of content that ranks well for a keyword or two can be extremely effective in terms of return on investment too.
You might pay a freelance writer $100 to write a blog post and land several new clients who found your post, read it, and made a buying decision (or at the least a profitable action) based on your demonstrated expertise.
The big trick for business owners is developing a content marketing strategy that works for their company. It has to be cost effective, scalable, and yield results. Otherwise, why bother with blog posts, YouTube videos, or landing pages?
The key is planning your content marketing strategy early and setting out with a plan. Spending the time it takes up front to think everything through will save you headaches, lost productivity, and improve your competitive edge by getting it right early and stumbling through the errors less.
Whether you’re a small e-commerce company, dental practice, or large local retailer, here are four easy steps to build a content marketing strategy that works for your company:
Understand Your Company
It sounds simple, but many business owners start trying to create content before they really understand what their business is all about.
Content marketing should amplify your company’s message, display your expertise, and serve the informational needs of your customers or clients.
If each piece of your content isn’t furthering one of these purposes in some way, you’re merely treading water while your competitors gain the edge.
Don’t just check the boxes and hastily create a blog post or two for your site.
Before you even decide what type of content you’re going to create, spend some time really digging into your brand, understanding your customer, and articulating your company mission. This might require conducting surveys, holding a few extra meetings, or revising some old company statements.
These actions and any time you spend on this step should help you build the framework for each type of content you create in the future.
Decide What Content You’ll Create
Make a decision early about what types of content you’ll begin using in your marketing initiatives. Unless you’re able to hire a big SEO firm or an expensive boutique marketing agency, don’t try to tackle everything at once.
Pick out one or two things you want to do, such as YouTube Videos, a blog, or an email newsletter, and get really good at doing those things. Corner them; make them your niche. Figure out what works and what doesn’t and carry what you learn forward to new forms of content marketing when you’re ready.
Master the Tools of Promotion
One of the best things about marketing your business online is the relative ease with which you can spread your message, often at no additional cost. Through social media tools made available by giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can develop social media-specific messages that target specific audiences.
The better you get at tapping into these powerful resources, the more return you’re going to get on any monetary and time investment you make in content marketing.
As you develop your content marketing strategy, take the time to learn the ins and outs of the social media you’ll use to promote your content, or consider hiring an in-house employee or freelancer to help out with this part of your overall business strategy.
Assessment, Assessment, Assessment.
No content marketing strategy is complete without a plan to assess its effectiveness. Your return on investment can be calculated in different ways depending on what outcomes you want to achieve.
You might simply want a blog to bring in more visitors to the site, which can be measured with free tools like Google Analytics or WordPress blog stats. Or you might want to know how many people entered your site through your blog and ended up making an appointment.
Assessing a campaign shouldn’t be seen as the end stage either. You should be constantly assessing a campaign to see what is and isn’t working.