A sound content marketing strategy will your products or services to the right audience, generating traffic, enquiries and sales. But the best content strategies are informed and organised, meaning that every decision is made for a reason and every piece of content created to plan, as well as being well scheduled and resourced.
The following is a suggested approach to content marketing strategy.
Creating a content strategy
The below suggestions are an ideal scenario. However, you don’t need to implement every aspect of this strategy – some businesses may not have the resources to do so. In any case, use this as a guide to ensure you are aiming for best practice.
- Identify your objectives
- Identify your audience
- Identify content sources and channels
- Schedule and implement
- Review and improve
1. Identify your objectives
Content can help you achieve a number of outcomes and it’s important to identify what it is you want to achieve. This will impact the types of messages and channels you use.
Some of the most common content objectives include:
- Building your brand and reputation: Targeted content that is well written and answers questions has an important branding role to play. You’ll be informing and educating your audience, building credibility and subtlety pushing your company to the top of their minds.
- Increase website traffic: Traffic building is one of the most common goals of content marketing. Targeted content will drive traffic to your website and a sound content strategy will contribute strongly to search engine optimisation.
- Improve website conversion: Getting customers to your site is only part of the challenge – you still need to convert them to customers or generate enquiries. The goal of a content marketing strategy is to convert your visitors into customers. Too many websites have poor content and layout, which create barriers to conversion. Considering most business websites convert at a rate of around 1-2%, achieving only a 1% increase in conversion rate could significantly improve your bottom line.
2. Identify your audience
There is no doubt about it: the key great content is understanding your audience – their goals, values, fears and habits. With this information you can address your customers directly, talk to their needs and wants and tailor your solution to them. Without this information you risk creating content that doesn’t reach your audience, is not relevant and creates no desire to act. Knowing your audience also informs content planning, by helping you understand what is important to your audience and what information is lacking.
How do you gain this type of insight? One of the most effective ways is to use customer persona profiles, which summarise your customers into broad groups, helping you to actively and accurately target them.
If you or your staff have a great understanding of your customers or audience, you can use this intelligence to create on or several persona profiles. It’s important no to make assumptions however, so you may need to take an extra step and speak with your customers directly. Read more about persona profiles in our blog post.
3. Identify content sources and channels
One of the killers of any content strategy is not being able to identify relevant and timely topics. Planning ahead can help you overcome this obstacle. The best thing is many topics can be scheduled to be repeated on a regular basis, helping you to fill your editorial calendar quickly.
There are two major types of content – Newsworthy content and Evergreen content.
Newsworthy content is based on timely events and is therefore not predictable, however can generate short term traffic to website. For example, a sunglasses retailer may make mention of the type and style of glasses seen on celebrities recently, while a pest control company may latch onto news of termite outbreaks, promoting the importance of their services.
Evergreen content provides information your audience will want to read at any time and is written to generate site traffic over a long period of time. Following the examples above, the sunglasses retailer might provide information on polarisation or materials, while the pest control company might produce articles talking about the best way to get rid of rats or cockroaches.
Evergreen content is important because you can plan and create this content well in advance, posting it immediately to your site or scheduling it to be posted or used as advertorial. Some further broad examples of Evergreen content sources include:
- Product features
- Service information
- ‘How to’ posts
- Historical information
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Industry resources
- Glossaries of terms and phrases
- Customer profiles
- Complementary products or services
- Industry information
- Statistical information.
As well as creating your content you need to ensure you you reach your audience. There is the choice of channel – articles, blogs, paid advertising or advertorials, social media, videos, white papers and more. The choice of channels will come down to your audience, budget and industry.
4. Schedule and implement
Scheduling content is best done with an editorial calendar. With an editorial calendar you can objectively plan your content weeks or months ahead of time, ensuring you are prepared and have the resources to implement what you intend to. You can also time content to match business changes, product launches, industry events and other predictable happenings. Some content relies on timely news that is not predictable – so you can leave gaps in your calendar to pick up these topics as they come to light.
A content strategy also necessitates having the resources in place to create and manage content. Depending on how extensive your content plan is, you’ll need to research, create, edit, publish and optimise content weekly or even daily. Reviewing and improving your content also takes time and should be done by a dedicated resource. You may need to make decision about whether you take on these tasks in house, or outsource to professionals
5. Review and improve
One of the most important aspects of a content strategy is that it can be measured, even with free tools such as Google Analytics. We can help you work out how long your visitors spend on targeted pages, rates of enquiries, sales, exits and bounces. You will have the information you need to assess whether content is reaching and compelling visitors to act, or whether you need to refine your messages.
Want to learn more about how a content strategy can help your business?
Talk to us about creating a content strategy for your business and make the most of your online presence.