And Why do You Need One?
There’s a lot of buzz about having a content marketing strategy. But what does that mean? And why do you need one?
What is Content Marketing?
According to Mailchimp, “content marketing is the development and distribution of relevant, useful content–blogs, newsletters, white papers, social media posts, email, videos, and the like–to current and potential customers.”
Neil Patel says that content marketing is “just a form of storytelling.” But not just a story. Your content should also provide something of value to your consumers. In other words, the purpose of your content should be more than getting something from your readers, i.e., sales or appointments. Your content should also give something of value to them. This will strengthen the relationship between your consumers and your brand. You want them to come back for more.
More Than Telling a Great Story
But telling your story is not enough. You must get it out there into the digital world where it will be seen. As the Roman philosopher Ovid said, “Writing without someone to listen is like dancing in the dark.”
It’s not enough to upload great content to your website or blog and leave it sitting there. You must market it. Otherwise, you will not reach your audience. For this, you need a content marketing strategy.
Building Your Online Reputation
If you want to build your online reputation, you need to produce a lot of content. Managing your online reputation is important whether you are an established company or brand, are rebranding or launching a startup.
The only way to strengthen your brand identity is to create awesome, informative, consistent, and engaging content about what you do. And then market that content across all the digital channels that make sense for your overall corporate strategy.
And, by the way, it doesn’t matter if you are a B2B or B2C company; you need a content marketing strategy.
What is Content?
Articles, email newsletters, white papers, case studies, e-books, videos, podcasts, and social media graphics are examples of content. It should reflect your corporate values, mission, and the services you provide.
In other words, your content strategy should reflect your branding strategy.
Your content will also serve as a platform for establishing you as a thought leader and expert in your industry.
While articles, white papers, e-books, and infographics are the mainstay of content, video and live streaming, have become more reliable platforms for reaching your consumer audience. As a result, you will want to be sure to include these elements in your content marketing strategy.
A HubSpot survey found that 54% of consumers want to see video content from the brands and businesses they support. And don’t think that video content marketing is limited to only YouTube or TikTok. Video is killing the metrics on Facebook, and it also performs well on Instagram and LinkedIn.
Don’t Forget About Your Website
Facebook Live and Instagram Live may be one of the best ways to engage with your current customers as well as extend your organic reach. But don’t forget about your website. Video and live streaming are great for improving your SEO ranking, as well as keeping consumers on your website longer. Statistics show that the longer a reader stays on your website, the more likely they will subscribe and become customers. So all the great videos, podcasts, infographics, and other content you create should be on your website.
Your Content Marketing Strategy Needs to Evolve
A well-thought-out marketing strategy allows you to target the delivery of your message. Unlike costly broadcast ads on television or newspapers, content marketing helps you reach the consumers you want to draw to your brand or business.
An important component of content marketing is developing content that your target audience wants. This means you need to know your audience. It is an evolving process, though. Times change, and so do the interests and needs of your consumers. Monitoring their needs will help you create and market trending, useful, and engaging content.
Keeping close tabs on developments in the online world is also important. You might need to adjust your distribution channels as digital platforms evolve, and new ones become mainstream. You want your knock-out content to be in all the places where your audience is.
A Strategic Plan for Your Content
The first step in developing a content marketing strategy is to identify your goals.
Do you want to:
- Improve Conversions?
- Build brand recognition?
- Establish yourself as a thought-leader in your industry?
- Increase the number of visitors to your website?
Once you know your goals, then you can develop a winning content marketing plan.
Do You Have a Blog?
If the answer is no, then you should start one. Corporations and brands need a blog page too. Blogging has evolved, and so should you.
Your blog provides a platform to build engagement and strengthen the relationship between you and your consumers. Don’t limit yourself to articles. Your blog can include videos, infographics, and other non-narrative forms of material.
The content you post to your blog should be focused on your goals. Ultimately, you still want the reader to do something that meets your overall objectives. Your blog is an opportunity to establish yourself or your company as a leading player in your industry. Articles should be newsworthy, current, factual, error-free, and, most importantly, engaging. You want your readers to come back again and again and ultimately be funneled into your marketing strategy.
How Do you Figure out What to Write About?
For this, you need to do a bit of research. Remember, the goal is to give your audience what they want, valuable, current, and engaging content. Here are a few questions and considerations to guide your content themes.
- Who is your audience?
- What kinds of issues and questions do they have?
- Identify the search habits of your audience.
- Check out what the competition is doing.
- Conduct keyword analyses.
There are lots of platforms out there to help you find the answers to these questions. Quora, for instance, is a great platform for identifying the trending topics and questions consumers are asking. Google AdWords and UberSuggest are also good resources.
But That’s Not the End of the Story
Be sure to include CTAs (call to action) with your content. But don’t just leave it at that. Interact with your readers. Respond to their comments and questions. Use the comments and questions as guideposts for future content creation. Ask your audience what they would like to hear about. This will build brand loyalty. Be sure to include sharing buttons so your readers can become mini ambassadors for your brand.
Market, Market, Market
And we return to the original topic: content marketing. You have identified your target audience. You’re creating engaging, useful, creative, and trending content of various forms and are putting everything up on your website. Great. But don’t just leave it sitting there. Market your content!
Take snippets from your articles and post them to Instagram and Twitter. Link all your blog posts to your Facebook page and LinkedIn profile. Open a YouTube channel and upload your videos and podcasts. If you have a younger audience, consider marketing your content on TikTok. If your brand is very visual, open a blog board on Pinterest.
With the billions of content floating around in the digital world, if you don’t implement a content marketing strategy, all your great work will go unnoticed.
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