The views included in this article are entirely the work and thoughts of the author, and may not always reflect the views and opinions of Regex SEO.
Content marketing can seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. At its very simplest, an effective content strategy has just five steps.
Your content strategy should be based on the wider aims of your business and aimed at solving particular problems or developing a specific part of your business.
These could be:
- Enhancing conversion rate
- Reducing bounce rate
- Improving click-through rate
- Advancing your brand presence
- Promoting your expertise through thought leadership
- Directly increasing leads and sales
While all your content marketing aims to impact your bottom line, it is about identifying the most effective ways to do that. You could base your content cycle around product launches or sales seasons, special events or anything you consider significant.
In the old days, you’d buy TV advert space at a premium rate and hope that the number of people caught in the net makes the investment worthwhile overall. With digital marketing, you have the opportunity to be more nuanced with your approach and aim for richer sales leads.
Selling is about more than just knowing your product. You have to know your customer and who else they might be considering. How far you delve into your research depends on your level of knowledge and your resources but you need to know two things about both your audience and your competitors:
The more you can learn about who is buying your products, their buying criteria and where you rank among your competitors, the better your chances of finding a niche.
Who are they? What is their budget? New or secondhand furniture? Renting or a mortgage? Apple or Android? Digital or vinyl?
The same research is needed for your competitors.
Are they selling the same brands as you? Are they high-end or for the budget-conscious? What is their brand image?
Your competition is an excellent source of information and you can learn from both failures and successes. There is a range of online tools that enable you to determine facts about other websites and provide insight into their SEO plan. AHREFS is one of the most well-known and powerful, and it will provide insight regarding their content, their keywords and their social media.
Where your customers research products and make purchases is essential too.
Are they mostly online or offline? This may sound like a strange question for digital marketing even in 2019, but not everyone is glued to the internet and on their phones all the time. There are some industries where you need both hands to perform your work and the internet is just another tool.
Having a significant social media presence is great but if the bulk of your ideal audience checks their emails once a week and still use their phones to make calls, it is probably not adding to your business. Understanding where to find the bulk of your audience is important to really get a good return on your content marketing investment.
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Content is one of the most challenging aspects of marketing to create. Of course, there is the allocation of resources – the time and energy to create content, but also there’s always an element of guesswork. Writing and marketing aren’t perfect sciences and while there are conventions and best practice principals to understand, it’s up to you to explain what is unique about your business and present it to the world.
Your content should aim at the people most likely to buy your product. Great content grows brand awareness and builds trust with customers. To do this, you need to create credibility around your brand by displaying expertise. In practical terms, this means writing webpage copy based on how your customers will search. Effective web content showcases your knowledge, products and experience as though your customers had written it themselves.
Another challenge is knowing exactly what to create.
- Case studies
- White papers
There are dozens of different types of content and most of it won’t be right for your business.
The questions you asked yourself earlier about your audience will inform the types of content you need. Will they read a 2000 word blog or is an infographic better? A webinar or a podcast?
If you’ve written a great blog or piece of original content then there is a good chance you can wring more value out of it. Sure, it’s good for your site to be full of great content but if you can find interest that takes it beyond your immediate network, then it becomes far more valuable.
Post and promote via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, but social media isn’t everything and there are many ways to reach an audience. Remember, it’s all about the people who use your products or services.
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) – HARO connects journalist with the sources they require to write upcoming stories. For websites and businesses, it can be a good way to put your content and brand in front of a wider audience, plus gain a valuable backlink.
Newsletters – it sounds old-fashioned but building and maintaining a high-quality mailing list is one of the best ways to distribute your content. With MailChimp and other mass-mailing platforms making it easier than ever, email direct marketing is within reach of even the smallest business.
Email outreach – contacting key influencers in your industry to get their seal of approval or endorsement can be a driver of traffic. This doesn’t mean an unemployed hipster, rather a trusted industry figure.
Guest blogging – guest writing is a valuable process that can pay dividends with brand recognition and contribute to your backlink profile.
Comments – useful and insightful comments on articles and blogs in your industry can gain you a worthwhile backlink. This can boost your site’s authority and relevancy on search engines.
PR releases – if you have a new product or a new service, an upgrade or any piece of news, a PR release can be an excellent way to approach local media outlets. Tie it to a current event in the news cycle for extra mileage.
Tracking the results of your work is just as important as the work itself. Luckily, there are dozens of apps and websites to help you create, track and interpret your results. Effective digital marketing strategies rely on data analysis and every platform, from Twitter and Facebook to MailChimp, WordPress and Google, will deliver and help you interpret yours. Once you understand what worked, what didn’t and why, you can replicate, refine and repeat.