Talk to many marketing experts nowadays and they’ll tell you that ‘content is king’. It’s a well-worn phrase but an important one. Unfortunately, it is also one which many businesses and organisations find difficult to come to grips with.
Great content is designed to keep your existing customers focused on your brand, improve loyalty, generate leads and direct sales, as well as create awareness in new, potential customers. It’s cheaper and more effective than other forms of advertising:
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional advertising and creates 3 times as many leads.
- 77% of internet users read blogs and it is one of the proven ways that marketers utilise nowadays to improve SEO.
Creating a strong strategy for great content, therefore, is vital to success. Too many businesses get into the habit of throwing as much content as they can at their digital wall, hoping it has the desired effect.
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A well-thought out strategy is required if you want to increase the power of your content, reduce the time you spend on producing it, and send out the right messages to your audience.
We’d be delighted to help with your content, so please feel free to contact us for a chat. But to get you started, here are 6 things to think about as you put together your first content strategy.
How to do content marketing
- Nail your brand and goals
In the world of content management, a firm understanding of your brand and understanding what your specific goals are is vital.
- Understand your audience
Effective marketing is all about understanding who your buyer is.
- Map your buyers journey
The type of content you will need to produce will depend on what stage of the buyer journey someone is on.
- Develop a content plan
Developing a content calendar is important and sets out the road map ahead for the next 6 months to a year.
- Measure your performance and be prepared to change
Any marketing activity, including your content, will need to be measured.
- Don’t produce content for content’s sake
Finally, it might seem obvious but you should only look to produce meaningful content.
1. Nail your brand and goals
First of all, you can’t run before you learn to walk. In the world of content management, a firm understanding of your brand and understanding what your specific goals are is vital.
Start asking yourself the questions that count, such as why you exist in the first place. Explore your core values and, more importantly, how these translate into your goals:
- How do you want to engage with potential customers?
- What is the message you are trying to get across about your company and your product or service?
Your brand and goals are the compass that will guide your content creation and set the standards for everything from blog posts and video advertising to social media engagement. In short, they will help you keep on track.
2. Understand your audience
Effective marketing is all about understanding who your buyer is. There’s been a lot written online in the last decade or so about buyer/audience personas and a lot of it can seem pretty complicated.
Unless you have a particular audience in mind, however, it can be nigh-on impossible to produce good content for them.
Of course, most businesses don’t have just one persona that matches to their product or service. They’ll have several. Building up your audience profile can take a lot of hard work and thought but those focus groups and surveys are all well worth the effort. The deeper you can drill down into your audience personas, the clearer the path will be for creating content tailored for them. Creating a profile includes:
- What are the challenges your customer faces and what are their needs?
- What are they really interested in and what do they care deeply about?
- Where do they hang out and spend their time online and what sort of content do they prefer?
3. Map your buyers journey
This can be a difficult area, particularly for starter businesses where the buyer profile isn’t that well fleshed out. The type of content you will need to produce will depend on what stage of the buyer journey someone is on. Creating awareness about your product or service on social media is going to be different to sealing the deal when someone is taking a closer look at what you have to offer on your website.
What you produce will depend on where you are posting content. You will undoubtedly write or produce content specific to your website but you may be producing something more generic if you are posting on another site. You need also to look at usability for each piece of content – how it looks on mobile, for example, compared to a laptop.
4. Develop a content plan
A good content plan requires you to think ahead. It also requires bringing the right team together in the first place. That can include UX experts as well as talented copywriters, SEO professionals and video producers.
For each piece of content you need to know:
- Why are you producing this content?
- Who are you creating it for?
- What message are you sending?
- Where is it going to be posted?
- How is it going to be presented?
- When is the best time to post it?
Developing a content calendar is important and sets out the road map ahead for the next 6 months to a year. You can plan content for new product releases, to pair up with annual holidays such as Christmas or Easter, sporting events or a whole host of other things that are happening in the world.
In some instances you can be proactive and plan campaigns in great detail in advance. Some of your other content might be reactive, however, produced in response to a recent news item that impacts on your product or service, for example.
5. Measure your performance and be prepared to change
Any marketing activity, including your content, will need to be measured. The good news is there are plenty of analytic tools around nowadays to give you a strong insight into how everything is performing.
The data is all-important and will enable you to discover what is working and what isn’t – but you need to be willing and prepared to change when the evidence is there.
This is one of areas that businesses (both B2B and B2C) have trouble dealing with. Having too many measurements can lead to confusion. Make sure that you get sensible KPIs together and choose the appropriate metrics to support these.
6. Don’t produce content for content’s sake
Finally, it might seem obvious but you should only look to produce meaningful content.
It can be easy to throw things into the mix especially when we have so many platforms to post content onto. That leads many businesses to take a devil may care attitude without understanding how sloppy content can affect perception of their brand.
They may have a spur of the moment idea and write something down without really going through the checklist of how that content is going to be perceived and where it fits into the global content strategy. Others panic that they have to produce content on a regular basis, run out of ideas and settle for any old content that dilutes their brand message rather than enhances it.
Always go for quality over quantity and don’t be afraid to put off posting something if you don’t think it’s quite up to the mark.
If you’d like to have a conversation about your content strategy, please feel free to contact us.
Content marketing is the practice of building rapport with potential business customers by creating website content that engages that audience. Good content marketing should build your brand credibility and create trust between your business and your potential customers.
Both B2B and B2C consumers are now so bombarded by advertising that they often subconsciously block it out and ignore it. Content marketing is a way to get the attention of your target audience by sharing useful information.
To do successful content marketing, you should define what you want to achieve, make sure you understand what your potential customers want, and then come up with a content plan to publish useful, high-quality articles on those topics.
A content marketing strategy is the wider strategic approach to your content marketing plan. A content marketing plan is the end result, but the strategy is the planning that enables you to successfully execute the plan.
Content marketing, when done well, should begin to provide a steady stream of warm leads to your website. To ensure that you maximise on these opportunities, your website should be optimised for conversion, so that a high percentage of these visitors make contact with you.
B2B means “business to business”, i.e. one business selling products or services to another business. So this is is content marketing aimed specifically at business customers, rather than general consumers (which is B2C).
Follow our 6-step process! But in a nutshell: understand the wants and needs of your target audience, and then create useful, high-quality content which will be of interest to those potential customers.
Content marketing is proven to have a high ROI when executed correctly. It’s one of the best ways to spend marketing budget because it achieves lots of things at once: builds brand credibility, builds trust with your audience, establishes you as a thought leader in your sector, and of course, generates quality sales enquiries.
You can measure content marketing ROI in a couple of different ways: the first is to record how many sales enquiries you get through your website as a result of the content, and then it’s a case of calculating the “cost per enquiry”. Another way to measure content marketing ROI is to add up the total sales value of those enquiries, and then you can easily calculate content marketing spend as a percentage of sales growth.
This will depend a lot on the scale of the project, and how much involvement you want from the content marketing company. On the one end of the scale, you might want help with the entire process, which could cost £1,000 to £10,000. On the other hand, you might want to do most of the work yourself and just hire a copywriter, which often costs £100 – £500 per article.
If you want to make sure that your content marketing also boosts your SEO, you should make sure that your content plan contains high value search terms which show buying intent. For example, if someone does a Google search for “how to make an app” then there’s a good chance that the person is interested in commissioning an app development company.
If you’re working with a content marketing agency, they will likely have a standard format for writing briefs, so you should ask them for a template. But if you want to write the brief yourself, you can use our 6-step process and format this as a series of tasks for your content writer or your marketing team.