Ever since the invention of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, marketing companies have become obsessed with content. So much so that there are now positions available with titles like “Content Creator” or “Social Influencer.”
In reality, while these can be helpful, they represent a small part of what is considered a content marketing strategy. When done correctly, content marketing can be a game-changer for your marketing campaign.
Whether you have intentionally begun a content market strategy or not, you likely have begun to get involved with it in some regard. With this article, we want to show you how to step up your content marketing strategy in order to get the most out of this emerging trend. With these 4, easy-to-follow steps, you can reduce customer churn and come out the other end with a much more loyal and dedicated audience. Let’s get started.
The power of content marketing
Now, let’s first take a look at the ‘why’ of content marketing. Many small businesses may not be where they want to be, but maybe hesitant to invest in content marketing without proof of their effectiveness. Not only does having a sound content marketing strategy generate over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less, but small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without.
When you stop to think about it, this makes sense. Content marketing by its very definition is geared at providing images, videos, and blogs to help customers get the most out of a product or service. If you are able to gear your own content marketing strategy toward improving the interactions your audience has with your brand, why wouldn’t they be more interested in working with you?
Steps to improve your strategy
With a better understanding of the power of a content marketing strategy, let’s now take a look at 4 easy steps that you can take to improve your own campaign. Keep in mind, these steps are most effective when done together and used continuously to optimize and improve your strategy. First up, finding and developing your team.
1. Focus on developing your team
When you start to put together your content marketing team, you should treat each person like they are a player on a baseball team. You likely wouldn’t hire a catcher to play right field and you wouldn’t want 9 pitchers as your team. The same goes for this. By choosing a team with diverse talents and experience, you are able to create an environment where new ideas can grow.
Before you begin, you should understand the goals that you have for your team. Then, as you start to look through the list of tasks that need to be accomplished, you can see what you will need from your team members. Once you have this, you are ready to start the selection process and find the right team for your needs. Speaking of goals, let’s talk about the goals of your content marketing strategy for a minute.
2. Have specific business goals for each piece of content
As you start to analyze your audience and figure out what content they would be most interested in seeing, make sure that there is a specific goal in mind for each piece. Even if that goal is simply to increase SEO rankings by targeting a specific keyword (which is recommended), there should always be a solid, actionable goal associated with your content.
By having specific goals or needs that you able to fill for your customers, you position yourself as someone who is adding value to their lives. Ultimately, this is what any effective marketing strategy seeks to do in 2018 and content marketing is no different. Try your best to think forward to how the content you are making will benefit your audience and if it doesn’t, you may need to reconsider your strategy.
3. Know which metrics you will track
Part of setting specific goals is understanding the metrics that you will use to track whether or not you are being successful. These should be laid out and decided upon early in the process so that you can tailor your content with these goals and metrics in mind. According to Jay Behr, there are a few metrics all content marketers should follow, including:
- Consumption metrics: Pageviews, downloads, visits, etc.
- Sharing metrics: How many times is your content shared on social media?
- Lead generation metrics: How often do visitors opt-in to your list, submit a form or request a quote?
- Sales metrics: How often do leads turn into actual sales?
While the metrics you track will vary depending on the content you create, these are a good benchmark for creating your own plan. Unless you can point to solid data that shows improvements across various metrics, you will never understand how effective your content marketing strategy really is.
4. Understand your audience
Finally, the last step in improving your strategy is to understand your audience inside and out. Since the main aspect of content marketing is creating content for a specific audience and customer base, without a firm knowledge of who you are writing or creating for, it will never be fully optimized. Thankfully, along with the metrics and tools we have mentioned earlier, there is a lot you can do to better know your audience.
However, when you are first getting started, you may want to write content for your ideal customer instead of your actual customers. Tools like customer personas and segmentation can help you deliver personalized content right into your audience’s hands. Anything you can do to further this, including surveys and feedback forms, will only continue to enhance your campaign and strategy.
As you begin to set up your content marketing strategy and roll out content for your audience, you will soon see why each of these steps is necessary for creating a comprehensive strategy. If you are able to follow our guide, you will soon have a wealth of content to choose from in better serving your customers.
Our last piece of advice is simple: have fun with it. Although so far we have talked about the business benefits of content marketing, customers will always relate and engage with a brand more if you are able to spice things up, so don’t be afraid to take risks in the name of engagement. We hope that you are now prepared to take this challenge head on and we look forward to seeing what content you come up with!