By now you’re probably well aware of the fact that content marketing is an essential strategy in any online marketing campaign. However, just because you understand that creating content helps to increase brand awareness, loyalty, trust and identity, and is vital in helping to create more leads, doesn’t mean that it’s going to do all that. A lot of factors determine whether or not your content marketing strategy will be successful. The following are five steps that you need to follow to ensure that your content does what it’s supposed to do.
- Figure out your buyer persona – This is the very first step that you should accomplish. How can you write content if you don’t know who you are writing for? If you don’t know who your buyer persona is, then you’re effectively writing for everyone, which basically means that no one will be reading. The buyer persona is a generalized representation of your ideal customer that includes things such as gender, age, income, education background and more. Knowing what your buyer persona is allows you to understand your customers better, thereby allowing you to tailor your content to them.
- Use relevant and effective keywords – Surely you’ve heard of the strategy of using keywords before. Anyone that has done any kind of marketing online is familiar with SEO — or at least its basics. However, don’t be misled into thinking all you have to do is stuff your content with keywords in order to help increase your content’s web ranking. That’s not how that works. Your keywords not only have to be relevant, they have to be high in quality. A vague keyword might bring in more traffic, but that traffic isn’t going to be very high quality. You want to attract potential customers, not just random visitors who may have no interest in your products or services. That’s why you should consider using more detailed, longtail keywords. For example, for this particular piece, “creating an effective content strategy” is a strong longtail keyword, whereas “marketing” is a vague, weak keyword. Knowing your buyer persona is also an important step to figuring out what the most effective keywords will be.
- Create relevant and varied content – No content marketing strategy is going to be effective if the content is poor. You need to focus on creating strong content first and foremost. Content should provide insight to your readers and relevant to your brand without coming off as promotional. The better your content is, the more authority you’ll build. A reputation for knowing what you’re talking about goes a long way in strengthening your brand identity. It also will help build trust and loyalty with readers who will keep returning to continue reading or viewing new content. Don’t just stick with a blog either. Videos, podcasts, webinars, email content and visuals (such as photographs or infographics) are all excellent forms of content. In fact, visual content is often more effective than written content. Vary your content and you’ll reach more of your target audience.
- Release new content regularly – There’s a fine balance that you’ll have to find here. You don’t want to release so much content that the quality begins to suffer or that readers simply can’t keep up with new content, but you also don’t want to release so few pieces of content that readers forget that you even exist. You want your readers to know when new content will be released, which means you should release it at the same time every day or every week. A steady release of content will keep your brand in the minds of your readers and will help build your reader base as well.
- Create exposure for your content – Even if you’ve been doing everything right in terms of creating the content, from researching your audience and keywords to creating high quality, relevant content on a regular basis, that doesn’t mean anyone is going to read it. Sure, your readership might increase a little bit due to the use of keywords, but you’ll need to kickstart your content in order for it to begin gaining more exposure. One way to do this is to always use links. Link to new content on your social media pages so that followers can not only read new content as it’s released, but share it with others in their social circles. Publish your content with social buttons so that content can be shared directly from your website. Link to your blog when you do guest posts on other websites.
Content marketing is something that every business should do, no matter what their size. However, knowing how to create a successful content strategy is an entirely different matter. Follow these five steps to create a content marketing strategy that works.