From a high level approach, content marketing is a well-planned and organized marketing approach focused on producing and disseminating valuable, relevant content both online and offline to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, and ultimately help to achieve business goals.This guide is here to help give you a "from the ground up" start at building your own content marketing strategy. Let's get started.
What Are The Steps Of Content Marketing?
1. Come up with a plan:
Determine the goals and objectives for content marketing, identify the target audience and their persona, conduct thorough research, and create a blueprint for your strategy.
Understand what you are trying to achieve with your content marketing strategy. Establish goals for your campaign and metrics to measure your achievement.
Define your target audiences, understand their personas, and recognize what would be of interest to them.
Do research in four steps. First, conduct thorough research on your audiences. What types of content are they currently engaging with and sharing? Second, conduct thorough research on your website. What online metrics are you currently tracking and how are they performing? Third, conduct thorough research on your current marketing assets. What existing content do you have on your website, and what marketing efforts are you employing offline? Fourth, conduct thorough research on your industry. What is your focus market, and who are the influencers?
Create a content execution blueprint for your strategy. Plan out the what, when, who, where, how. What type of content will you be producing? How often will the content be generated? Who will be responsible for the creation and the distribution of content? Where will the content be syndicated? How can you amplify your content marketing with SEO and other marketing channels?
2. Develop your content:
Listed here are some examples of the content types you can utilize in your marketing strategy. Evaluate the different types and choose the ones that can be accomplished by your internal team, that are valuable for your audience, and that can help you achieve your goals.
Articles are great for creating a blog on your website. They are valuable assets that can be linked to by others and shared on social media, and they create wonderful opportunities for internal linking as well.
Infographics are visual representations of information and data. They are eye-catching, engaging, easily linkable, readily shareable, and they have a great potential to go viral.
Videos are capable of conveying a message in a more succinct and memorable way than written materials.
Interviews are primary sources that can provide unique information not found elsewhere.
Demos serve as useful tools for your audiences and can help establish authority in the industry.
Newsletters (print and digital) are ideal for you to engage your audiences and keep you on their minds. You have a lot of freedom with newsletters, but do keep in mind to make it more educational than promotional.
Webinars are terrific opportunities for you to impart your industry expertise, build more visibility online, and provide thought leadership on a consistent basis.
Apps can be a valuable addition to your mobile content marketing strategy; your app can feature in-app offers, social sharing options, event and push notifications, interactivity, and more.
User-generated content such as forums invite your audiences to be active participants with your marketing strategy.
Case studies make the perfect opportunity to showcase what you have to offer and how it has helped others.
White papers can illustrate your expertise and can be useful to a wide range of people in addition to your target audience.
Podcasts are good ways to spread your messages farther, and they allow your audiences to engage with your content during their morning commute.
Once again, when it comes to choosing content types to employ in your strategy, select the ones that best suit your resources, audiences, and goals. Some categories of content need to be produced and syndicated on a consistent basis, while other types are not held up to the same expectation when it comes to frequency. Determining the ideal timeline for content release may be a trial and error process, but initiatives such as blogs, newsletters, and podcasts should follow a regular release schedule.
3. Optimize your content:
Ensure the quality, usability, and discoverability of your content.
Quality control: Check and double-check your content to make sure that it is free of error.
User-friendly: Make it easy for your audiences to discover and navigate through your content, which should load and display properly.
SEO: While it is paramount to have great content for human audiences, you also need to make sure that content is optimized for search engines.
4. Distribute your content:
Utilize both online and offline channels to syndicate and publicize your content and engage others to help share and promote for you.
Influencer marketing involves presenting your content to influencers and asking them to disseminate your content with their networks. This is particularly valuable for building brand visibility and awareness.
Search and display ads are efficient ways for promoting content that is capable of driving conversions.
Email marketing can be great for keeping your audiences in the loop and for sending your content and important announcements directly to them.
Social media platforms must be leveraged to help publicize your content. Make sure that the format and style of your content is fitting for the social media channels you select.
Conferences, meetings, and networking events are fantastic offline opportunities to present and promote your content.
Traditional marketing initiatives such as print ads and publications can also play a role in your content distribution and promotion strategy
“Viral” is a term that’s used when your content begins to circulate widely and generate a large amount of links and social shares on its own. Content can go viral either because it is exceptionally good/funny or because it is exceedingly terrible.
5. Measure the impact of your content:
Identify metrics and key performance indicators to determine the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy. Tools such as Google Analytics, heat maps, social sharing widgets, and Buzzsumo can help you measure the reach, engagement, and reception of your content.
Reach: With the proper tracking code in place, tools such as Google Analytics can help to break down how many people viewed your content within a time frame, where these people were geographically when they came across your content, and what type of device they used to access your content. Use this data to optimize your content.
Engagement: Bounce rate and session duration on Google Analytics are good indicators of how long and to what depth users engaged with your content. Heat mapping tools such as Lucky Orange provide an even more comprehensive understanding by tracking the audiences’ click patterns.
Reception: Buzzsumo and social sharing widgets can both provide an overview of how many times your content is liked, retweeted, or Pinned on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. This data, along with the comments and editorial reviews you receive pertaining to your content, can give you an idea of your audiences’ sentiments toward your content.
Goal completion: Some content initiatives are designed to prompt an action from the audience such as an email signup, a form completion, or an actual purchase. With this in mind, define goals within your analytics to measure the percentage of completions.
Measuring the performance of your content marketing initiatives will largely be dependent on the initial goals you set for your campaign. The key performance indicators are used to help you gauge the success of your efforts in relation to your objectives. If you are not getting the results you are expecting in order to achieve your goals, consider making adjustments and improvements to your content or making your goals more realistic and attainable.
Why Is Content Marketing Important?
Content marketing can increase traffic to your website, generate awareness, engagements, leads, and conversions for your business, and build the visibility and trustworthiness of your brand.
Looking for examples of entire content marketing strategies? Check out our guides on Resource Centers (#link to future resource center guide) & Blogs (#link to future blog guide)!