55% of B2B marketers say they are unclear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like. This stat absolutely blows my mind. Content and a content strategy, is one of the most important pieces of any successful digital marketing strategy. We consume hundreds of thousands of pieces of content online every year. From tweets to ebooks to infographics, you have probably stumbled upon some piece of content in the last hour. Content is everywhere and if you want your business to be relevant online, you need to be contributing and not just consuming.
My new clients often tell me they struggle with sticking to a content strategy. Sometimes my new clients are employing my all-time favorite content strategy known as “winging it.” As someone who avidly followed that strategy for years, I can tell you that it is the fastest way to feel like you are wasting your time creating content if you are just doing it when you have time or when you feel inspired.
If you have a business online and want to grow more of your online leads, customers and brand awareness, then it’s time you built out a content marketing strategy. If you want to get started right now with content marketing, make sure you know these five things and include them in your content marketing.
1. A goal for your content.
What exactly are you doing writing blog posts and recording podcast videos? Why are you doing it? What do you hope to get it from it? Like everything in business, you need to have a goal for your content and that goal will be different depending on your business, the stage of business and your business model. I have two content strategies because I have two goals for my content: increase leads from my website and become an industry expert in content and social media marketing.
2. Understand your audience and their personas.
Not every small business or entrepreneur has the tools and data to really create strong “buyer personas” but you should know who your audience is, what they want and how you can help them. This is rule #1 in marketing. Marketing content aimed at the solopreneur is different than content aimed at the CEO. Who is your audience? Where do they hang out? What can they learn from your content? What content will compel them to act?
When I was a kid and I’d play games with my brother, I never wanted to keep score. He would always used to say to me “Why play if we don’t keep score?” and now I feel the same way about measuring my marketing. Why do something if you can’t measure it? The internet has given you hundreds of ways to measure the effective of your content: traffic, shares, followers, likes, profile views, etc. etc. Pick a few. Measure it every week.
4. Types of content
What types of content will you create? Blogs, email newsletters, videos? Use what you know about your audience to answer this question. Don’t just think about the types of content but also the content in the content and what your audience needs for the stage they are in and the goal you have set. Content for audiences in the attraction stage are often blogs, thoughts pieces or infographics. Content for audience in the conversion stage would be case studies, instructional videos, demo videos.
5. Amplification ideas
This is one thing I’ve been learning on my own journey of marketing a marketer. You need to have a plan to amplify your content. You can’t just write it and leave it. You need to really push it out there. Sometimes that means tweeting it multiple times. Sometimes that means posting it in many different places. A content strategy is not complete with a plan and tools to amplify your message.
Once you have these things in place, you can start building out your content strategy. You will want to brainstorm different topics by researching keywords and listening to your customers. You will want to determine the timing of your content, the promotional tools and the measurements for each piece of content. Write all of this down in a document and write due dates, promotional dates and information about each piece of marketing content into your calendar so you can stay on task.
Content marketing is not going anywhere. If you want to really see results from yours, create a strategy for it.