Content Marketing: A Comprehensive Strategy and Implementation Guide
It’s tricky to get your digital marketing efforts on their feet, though. It makes sense, considering the fact that you’re busy running a business and you might not have any experience with it.
So, what is content marketing? What are actionable ways that you can start seeing improvements to your site and your business?
We’re going to answer these questions and more today, giving you some insight into what you can expect as you start working on your campaign.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is an effort made to draw in and engage audiences through the production and spread of various forms of content. That could mean videos, blog posts, podcasts, infographics, or any other form of media. Through this approach, a brand can present its expertise and promote itself in such a way that they come to mind when a user needs their product or service.
You can tune your marketing campaign to create leads, generate sales, target users at specific points in the sales funnel, and a lot more. Most businesses use a combination of a few different elements in their content marketing strategy.
Note that there are more options available than the ones we’ll describe.
As a foundation, businesses tend to use SEO. SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and it’s a way to tune your website and its content to meet the search engine algorithm.
When you do this well, your web pages will rank at the top of the page in Google results. High Google rankings are free of cost and they’re very good at drawing customers.
Social media is another important vessel for content. If you can develop a great social media presence, your content will have a wide and receptive audience.
Further, companies often use PPC advertising to round out their campaigns. PPC stands for “pay-per-click” and allows you to place advertisements in prime locations on the web. You can use those ads to push sales offers, content, subscriptions, or whatever else your metric of success might be.
It’s tough to round all of those things together into one strategy, though. Let’s look at a few key steps you should take as you form your content marketing plans.
Types of Content
There are numerous kinds of content that you might create. The content you choose will dictate the specifics of how you market, as well as how you choose the focus of the subject matter.
The most common type of content used in marketing strategies is an article. Blog posts and articles are one and the same in most cases, and they’re a great way to convey information to individuals at different points of the sales funnel.
Further, the article is a malleable piece of content and can be adjusted and optimized to fit particular needs. You might also create a great infographic that delivers information in a new and exciting way.
Hiring a graphic designer or other professional to make you a good infographic is always a good choice. Further, you can invest in producing a video or video series for your business.
All of these forms of content come with their own pros and cons, so none of them is worth ruling out right away. Just because you’ve heard that a series of articles works doesn’t mean that a video wouldn’t be the right move for your business.
Why It’s Important
Content market has been proven to work time and time again. It gives businesses a leg up on their competition and leads to more interested buyers.
A blog generates significantly more leads for your business, and that effect increases your rate of growth. It’s also important to note that most individuals look at a few pieces of content before contacting a business or making a purchase.
By getting your content out there, you enter into the mix and put yourself in the running.
How Does Content Marketing Work?
Content marketing is an excellent way to reach your target audience at every stage of the sales funnel. An effective content marketing campaign will address the audience in a few different ways.
For individuals in the awareness stage, you can address them with general pieces of content that answer their basic questions or introduce them to a concept.
For those in the consideration phase, you can create content that’s supposed to help the individual make decisions like the ones needed to choose your business. For example, if you run a lawn care business, you could create a blog entitled “10 Things to Consider When Choosing Lawncare.”
For the customers in the closing stage, you can produce content that helps to highlight the advantage of your business, specifically. This is the stage where you promote yourself and prove why you’re the right choice.
Offering content for people at all stages is a great way to optimize your sales funnel.
1. Identify Your Target Group
The whole process starts with finding the people you’re marketing to. Without that knowledge, your efforts won’t be very effective.
This is because the internet and all of its platforms comprise a lot of space. It’s like an ocean of different groups, interests, desires, and unique individuals.
You can’t just drop a line anywhere in the ocean and expect to catch a particular kind of fish. Similarly, you can’t market yourself at random and expect to grow your business.
So, do some target market research and see where to put your effort. Find out who you’re marketing to, then you can start deciding where to market your content.
Further, knowing who you’re reaching helps you to curate the tone of the content. You can plan your content better and adjust it to the needs or behaviors of the group you’re trying to reach.
Your “target audience” information should include demographic pieces of information like age, gender, education, social class, geographic area, and purchasing trends.
2. Choose Your Platforms
Use your target audience to determine the most effective spaces to market yourself online. Find out where they are, and follow.
Maybe your audience is most active on Pinterest and Facebook. Maybe they’re more an audience that buys their goods on Amazon. Alternatively, your users might get their information straight from the search engine results pages.
A well-chosen platform to market on will draw a lot of attention and sales to your business. Plus, you’ll know that there is a receptive audience to approach.
It can be very disheartening when you’re not sure whether you’re even spending money on marketing to the right people. If you know they’re out there, you know there are things you can do to draw them in.
If you’re not sure where to start, you can look at the habits of your biggest competitors and see where they’re marketing their content. If a competitor has a large following on a platform, that means there’s a market for you on that platform, too.
3. Choose Content Format
Different platforms require different kinds of content.
In a lot of cases, the most effective method is to create blog content. Blogs are great ways to produce information that can be spread through your social media pages. Further, optimized blog content tends to rank the best on Google.
That said, if all of your customers exist on TikTok, a blog won’t do much good. In that case, you’d need to brainstorm ways to make TikTok content that your audience would enjoy.
So, before you start fleshing out your process, make sure you’ve chosen the right content formats or a combination of formats that will work.
4. Find Your Content Marketing Tools
Optimization, ad creation, data monitoring, and keyword research are all things that require some tools.
You could try to manage all of those things on your own, but it’s very difficult to do if you don’t have any experience with content marketing. Tools can streamline the process, keep you updated on how you’re doing, and give you useful pointers and what you should be doing.
For example, optimization plugins give you real-time insight into how your writing stacks up against the best practices in SEO. They let you know if you’re using too many keywords, too few links, and alert you to numerous other issues you might have.
The same goes for other aspects of content marketing. An intuitive application that lets you monitor your website traffic is a huge help. These tools give you insight and direction on where to turn based on the numbers you’re seeing.
5. Create a Content Schedule
There are varying ideas on how much content to put out, but more tends to be better than less. You should look to create multiple pieces of content per week on a fairly regular basis.
A content schedule helps to tighten your routine and keep you dedicated to the strategy. When you’re not someone who enjoys making content or has experience with digital marketing, it’s easy to push creation off.
In those moments when writing a blog post is the last thing you’d ever want to do, your schedule can help to keep you in check. It’s also important to note that all pieces of content help to uplift the rankings of the rest of your site.
Further, you don’t always have to produce a whole new piece of content to get more marketing mileage. You can strip down and change pieces of existing content to different forms and use them to promote.
For example, you can take the most salient quote from an article you’ve published and tweet it. You can take an infographic and optimize it to rank better in Google image searches.
You could also break up an existing video on your page and turn it into multiple YouTube videos.
6. Set Measurable Goals
Another thing that holds a lot of businesses back is a lack of achievable goals.
Most people just try to “increase sales” or “get more followers.” True results come from a much more complex set of metrics, though. Plus, it might take some time for you to increase sales or start seeing a significant amount of followers.
Page visits, click-through rates, rankings, and engagements are all factors that need to be taken into account as well. Don’t focus so much on the end results as you do the factors that hold up those results.
Make sure your goals are measurable and related to how you’ll see your sales and followers increase. For example, set the goal of getting to the second page of search rankings in two months. After that, your goal will be to get onto the first page in another two months.
There are numerous ways to track these goals as well. For example, you can use UTM codes to monitor where your traffic is coming from and how well particular campaigns are looking for.
UTM codes are extensions to a web page’s URL that let Google Analytics know a lot more information about each isolated site visit and where it’s from. This can help you optimize and understand your paid marketing campaigns.
7. Create Optimized Content
Now it’s time to start creating the content you’ve thought so hard about.
Note that you will get a lot better at producing content as time goes on. It can feel pretty clunky at first, and it might even feel like your efforts aren’t doing anything for your business.
This is only natural. It takes a little bit of time for things to start picking up steam. Instant results aren’t even possible, considering that Google crawls sites to update them every couple of weeks or so.
Give it a few weeks, maybe even a month before you can start to reflect on your results to see if something needs to be changed. That said, the first few weeks are just about getting into the habit of producing content and putting it out there.
Get a feel for the workload, the nuances of content marketing, and how you think those things will fit into your existing responsibilities.
Content automation can take care of many pieces of your marketing strategy. It simplifies your process, saves you money, and saves you a whole lot of time.
If you’re not happy with the way things turn out the first go, you can adjust and edit the material as you like. That said, you can even have a content automation system that creates and posts material for you on a regular schedule.
That reduces makes the whole thing very simple and easy for any business owner.
There’s a lot more to learn about starting a great content marketing campaign. We’re here to help fill you in on all of the details you might not be sure about.
Explore our site for more insight into the benefits of content marketing, examples of content marketing, and resources for automated campaigns.