Is your company using social media? Does it have a blog? Then you are already producing content with a purpose - i.e. you have a content marketing strategy, of sorts. Content Marketing is the art of promoting your business online via content. Crucially - it is marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online; and sits under the wider umbrella of Digital Marketing.
Digital Marketing helps businesses leverage digital channels - like search engines and email newsletters as well as their own websites - to connect with current and prospective customers. It markets products or services using tech - mainly on the internet but also on mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium.
So. Your content marketing strategy is manifested through digital marketing. Here are some ways to make your strategy more intentional and effective.
- Analyse your data. The first thing you should do is analyse your current data using Google Analytics. It's a terrific resource for showing which marketing channels are bringing in the bulk of your traffic and which aren’t carrying their weight. Think about using a survey - like Survey Monkey - to see what customer's think of your brand and website.
- Document your Strategy. If you want to get the best results from your efforts, take the time to write down your strategy - it needn't be very involved. Hubspot have a great Content Planning Template, as does Buffer in its Content Marketing Strategy Template. We use the services of both companies to plan sales and social strategy in our own agency.
- Have business goals for your content. I'm sure all of us have said that some fundamental business goals are to "increase sales" or "increase brand awareness." But think about specifically how you're going to do this. Perhaps it is better to have a goal or reaching X people in X space by X time. This is where analysing your metrics comes in (see 1).
- Have a content distribution plan. Instead of creating content and hoping for the best, have a plan for how, when and where you're going to promote and distribute each new piece of content you create. A google ad? A sponsored Instagram post. The devil is in the detail.
- Use a consistent ROI calculation. The only way of knowing if your content marketing is successful is if you have a calculation in place to measure content across marketing costs and revenues. Investopedia have a good guide on how to do this. Only by doing this will you know if your efforts are actually worthwhile or not.
- Make changes, amend and move on. Content marketing is a constantly evolving thing. The key is to track your audience - reacting to changes and switching up your game plan to fix ineffective marketing techniques that aren't getting enough cut through with them. Experiment.
- Be persistent - don't loose faith too soon. Sometimes a technique might take a while to gain traction with your customers, but keep at it until it's clear it's not working. Things can take time. If you're trying to establish a presence on social media - then be consistent with posting, analyse what posts aren't working as well and interact and engage more with your audience. See what works, then follow that - but don't be put off by the duds. No one is perfect.
- Never forget who your audience are and what their needs are. Look at who your target audience are, and ask the questions that they would ask. Put yourself in their shoes, and create content which they want to engage with or that is useful to them.
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