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How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy

By December 10, 2018 No Comments

Content Marketing Strategy that Works

The data is continuing to show that yes, content marketing works.

Content marketing generates more organic traffic, increases conversion rates and produces higher quality lead than outbound and advertising.

Yet, many businesses aren’t seeing these results. They start with content marketing and creating thought leadership, but don’t have the experience of these warm inbound leads they read about.

A lot of factors go into success in content marketing. One component is simply time. Content marketing is not typically something you start and get immediate results from. The payoff is in consistency and building a content foundation over time.

How to Make Content Marketing Work

However, there are ways to see immediate results from your efforts with content. The goal for today is to walk through one prerequisite for any success in content marketing. A content marketing strategy.

The businesses who don’t see results typically start by generating a lot of content and then growing frustrated when the traffic and leads don’t come.

Like rolling out a product offering, you need to spend significant time planning and mapping before ever creating any content.

The following are some key steps you can take to build a strategic approach to content marketing and see results when you hit “Publish.”

Start With Your Marketing Strategy

When building a content marketing strategy, it’s important not to make this harder than it needs to be. You should already have a marketing strategy, and your content strategy is a natural outflow of what you are already doing to engage with prospects.

Let’s say you’re having success with outbound sales. That means you know a few things.

  1. Who is your ideal client?
  2. Define the buyers’ journey
  3. What is their audience?
  4. Determine call to action you want them to take

A great content marketing strategy starts with these same questions.

Your Ideal Client

You need to know who your ideal client is because your content is going to be answering questions they are asking.

A big mistake people make with content creating is failing to address a real person. Write as if you have a particular person with a specific problem in mind.

A helpful exercise is to build personas for your client so you get in the habit of writing to them in everything you create. Use this template from Hubspot to make building personas easy.

What is Your Buyers’ Journey?

In any good marketing it’s important to remember your buyer typically doesn’t just show up on your doorstep then pull out their credit card.

They are moving through a journey from awareness to interest to making a buying decision.

Content marketing is a catalyst for this entire journey. Today, more and more buyers are doing extensive research before any type of engagement.

Your content needs to have in mind what stage your prospect is in, so you can help educate them and move them to the next stage.

Your Call to Action

Before creating any content we want to start at the end. What action do we want our ideal client to take? If you are writing for someone who is in the awareness phase of the buyers’ journey, maybe the call to action is to download a guide in exchange for an email.

If you are creating content for someone who is familiar with you, maybe you look to create a case study piece of content so they can begin to see themselves interacting with your business.

A good content marketing strategy is a natural complement to your current marketing strategy. Knowing who your ideal client is and where they are is the first step in building an effective game plan.

Now, the next step will be to determine what content to create.

Keyword Research

The quality of your content and ability to distribute that content to your audience will be the greatest indicators of success in your strategy.

Having said that, there are some pretty awesome tools that make keyword research and optimization easy – which means a little research can make your content a significant traffic source.

Keyword research put simply means doing analysis and finding out what terms people are searching and how competitive those terms are.

The goal in your content is to find the sweet spot between high number of searches and low competition.

We recommend SEMrush as a great tool for keyword research and strategy. You can sign up for a free trial here and test it.

The beauty of keyword research is a few things. First, it’s good to know what people are searching for around your key topics. That gives you a general sense for what your audience is most interested in.

Second – the more obvious – this research gives you the chance to find topics where you can reach the top of the search engine rankings and get that sweet organic traffic going to your content.

Social Research

Once you’ve done keyword research, a great next step is to complement that with social research. The easy way to do this is with an easy tool, buzzsumo.

You can type your topic idea into Buzzsumo and immediately see other articles that have been written and how many shares/comments those are getting in social networks.

This is important because you can see which topics and angles people care about. It’s also great because you can identify other thought leaders in your space who you could quote or link to in your articles who could be a collaborator and help spread the word.

Make a Plan for Networking/Promotion

When you start to organize your ideas, you also need to think about the ecosystem surrounding your ideal client.

This is the most effective strategy for content marketing – getting shares and features from influencers in your ideal prospect’s network.

We won’t dive into all the strategies for co-marketing with partners in this article, but for now you need to keep a running list of thought leaders in your market who could be content collaborators.

As you build your content strategy, you need to think about who you could work with to put your content in front of their audience.

One effective strategy is to invite influencers to be quoted or linked to in your articles. When you do that and give them credit, you can then invite them to share your article. It’s a very simple step that should easily double the reach of your post.

Most content marketing ignores this step, and what ends up happening is a post goes up, gets shared once or twice on social and then just sits there.

You have to think of content like promoting a product. Just like you would use networking to generate conversations and revenue – you’ll need to have a network and connections to promote your content.

Next Steps

Now you’re ready to start building your 3 month content plan. We’ll walk through how to build your calendar in the next post.

For now, don’t be intimidated by these steps. The goal is to do some initial research so the content you create has a purpose.

Once you start doing it, these steps move pretty quickly.

To recap:

  1. Define buyer persona
  2. Identify buyers’ journey stage
  3. Determine call to action
  4. Keyword research
  5. Social Discussion research
  6. Ecosystem plan for collaborating

Download this simple template to map out a strategy for the next 3 months.

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