In the age of information, content is in abundance.
Scroll through social media and you will be spoilt for choice: every company worth its salt pumps out content to win over the hearts and minds of prospective customers.
Sadly, it doesn’t always hit the mark. When the ‘Likes’ are low and the average time spent on the page is not marrying up to your expectations, it might be time to go back to the drawing board.
Whether you have yet to devise a strategy or you want to revisit your plan, we’ve put together a step by step guide to help you win at content marketing.
Get to know your audience
Often, we spend so much time involved in our own products and services that we fail to see the real issues our customers want to hear about.
The outcome? Complex, jargon-filled content that our target audience has no real need for.
If this sounds familiar, take a step back to map out your buyer’s persona. Instead of taking briefs from an ops team, ask your salespeople to give you the lowdown on the conversations they’re having with prospective clients.
What genuine problems do they have that your content could solve?
By taking the time to understand their unique interests, pain points and motivations for choosing a particular solution, you will form a strong starting point from which to build your content marketing strategy upon.
Establish your KPIs
Your goal is to create a content marketing strategy that attracts a steady flow of on-target traffic to your website. After all, without a strategy, the performance of your content is a matter of luck. As with all marketing activity, your efforts should never be random, nor should they be derailed by something shiny.
(“Shall we do a blog post about…” and “I’ve seen so and so doing a podcast” are perfect examples of how not to plan your content. Don’t chase a bandwagon – start your own.)
The best way to achieve goals is to make them measurable and to tie them into wider marketing KPIs. Content-specific performance indicators will help you stick to goals by giving you clear milestones to tick off that prevent you from getting derailed.
Content KPIs will vary depending on your wider objectives but could include form-fills and conversions, page views, time spent on a page as well as social media metrics and email campaign results.
Mix up your mediums
Once you have identified and set-out a thought-cloud of topics to fuel your content, consider the medium they will best respond to. Written content is a classic – as well as conveying the expertise of your company, it can enhance visibility across search engines given the right research.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t step outside the parameters of your business’ blog to engage your audience. Research from Cisco projects that global internet traffic from videos will make up 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2021 – and you don’t have to be Spielberg to tell a compelling story through video.
Concise and captivating video content can be as simple as your CEO answering a frequently asked question. It also presents an opportunity to showcase a snippet of your employer brand to the outside world. Charity events and team days out can make for clickable content that acts as a window into your company culture, and all it takes is a phone with a good quality camera to get started.
Beyond video, helpful content such as short slide decks and eye-catching infographics can help your brand to stand out in a crowded space.
Allocate the right resources
Now that you have laid the foundations of your content marketing strategy, the next step is to ensure you can deliver on your intentions.
Without an individual or team to take ownership of your strategy, the task often falls to anyone with free time. Of course, time is money, and when urgent issues take priority, content slips back down to the bottom of the pile until – yep, you guessed it – someone sees something a competitor is doing on LinkedIn and asks:
“Why aren’t we doing that?”
More often than not, it comes down to a lack of commitment.
Simply put – if you want your business to be a leader in content marketing, it must be a top priority. As such, it should have ample resources behind it. Hiring a dedicated team or even just one specialist is far more effective than leaning on the sales team to throw something together when they have a spare moment.
Build a content marketing calendar
A winning content marketing strategy is often best executed with the help of a content calendar.
Because a big behemoth that comprises of several mediums and messages can make for a daunting task. By breaking it down into smaller blocks that chunk off particular themes against set times in the year, the plan becomes a lot more manageable.
A reliable content calendar can be organised on a weekly or monthly basis, and helps keep track of all content being produced and published, whether that means upcoming articles, whitepapers, case studies, webinars, or promotional event updates.
As well as saving considerable time, a content calendar keeps the momentum going to prevent infrequency and encourages regular audience engagement.
Top tip: Before putting an editorial calendar together, we recommend undertaking a content audit on your website to determine which pieces can be re-used, re-purposed or re-shared throughout the year.
Continually tweak your strategy for success
Just as every business is different, so too are your audiences. While there are certain mediums and channels that help boost engagement and increase reach, there is no off-the-shelf solution that works for all.
Analytics are your North star – they should help guide you in the right direction by identifying what is working and what is not. Don’t hesitate to make changes on the fly: if a particular style of content isn’t resonating as you thought it would, do some digging to discover the reason.
There will nearly always be key takeaways that can tell you more about what went wrong and what to action in the future to improve performance.
Need a hand on creating a content marketing strategy? We’re here to help. Drop us a message or give us a call to find out what we can do for you.