One of the questions we’re asked most often is, “What is a content marketing strategy?” This is usually followed by “Do I need one?” We at Trueline love to answer both of these questions. A well-conceived content marketing strategy is the best thing a company can do to build brand awareness and increase sales.
Content Marketing Strategy 101
A content marketing strategy is an approach to marketing that utilizes fresh, relevant content to attract (and retain) users that can ultimately be converted into customers. To put it another way, it leverages your website’s content to build brand awareness, grow followers and make sales.
Clearly defined goals and thoughtful planning is key to a successful content marketing strategy.
Where to Begin
Now that you know what a content marketing strategy is, where should you start?
The first step in developing a successful content marketing strategy is defining who you’re speaking to. Who is your target audience? Who is most likely to not only appreciate your content but will share it with others?
To understand your customers is to know where they are on the buyer’s journey. From awareness to decision-making, providing content that speaks to each stage of the buyer’s journey ensures your site offers something for everyone.
Next, create several “personas” that represent your ideal customers. Think about where they come from and what types of content they find interesting. Some people go so far as to give these personas names and personalities to make them seem more real. No matter how in-depth your personas become, they’re a great way to climb inside of the heads of your users.
Now you’re ready to set some goals! What do you want people to do when they come to your site? For many the answer is simple; make a purchase. But there are other types of goals that can help your company get to the next level. They’re all interchangeable and no matter what kind of website you have, you’ll want to track these metrics. These may include:
- Contact: When someone reaches out, you now have their contact information. This provides you an opportunity to speak directly to your consumers. Ask them how you’re doing or how you can improve your processes.
- Email Sign Ups: If someone visits your site and likes what they see, give them an opportunity to sign up to receive your email. They may not be ready to make a purchase today, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be in a month. It’s likely that email is the only platform that will never become obsolete, so don’t ignore it.
- Downloads: Providing free, downloadable resources like whitepapers are a great way to add value to your brand. Additionally, they allow you to show off your expertise in a chosen field or topic.
- Views: Sometimes you want to get the word out. Videos are a great way to track engagement levels on your website, and will keep people on your site longer.
- Shares: Sometimes you’re after that sweet social media love. Depending on your business, it could be the number one source for conversions.
Tracking goals allows you to gauge how much value your visitors place on your content. This is useful data that helps determine goals. It should also shape the types of content you create and where you promote it.
Types of Content
Different users digest information in different ways. This is why marketing for video games is vastly different than marketing for arthritis medication. The demographics interested in each are very different from one another. Understanding those differences informs the decisions behind each marketing campaign to make them more successful.
One of the most accessible ways to create engaging content that speaks to multiple audiences is by utilizing a blog. We’ve talked at length about the benefits of having a blog, but that’s just because it really does work. A blog lets you easily create different messages tailored to different people. Nowadays most website platforms have blog functionality built in. It’s likely that adding a blog to your existing site would be less expensive than you think. What’s more, blog posts are easy to link to and easy to share. So, what’s stopping you from using a blog to build an audience and engage with users?
Another way to create engaging content is by using multimedia. YouTube offers a free platform to post videos, gain followers and initiate a dialog with viewers. The obvious downside of video is the technical know-how it takes to shoot, edit and post an original video. The upside is that video offers nearly limitless potential to create viral content that resonates with users. A podcast is yet another way to add multimedia content to your website.
You can utilize a podcast to position your company as a thought leader while discussing topics that users find engaging. There are a variety of resources online offering tips and tricks on how to record your podcast. Social media and email newsletters offer excellent means to promote your efforts. If you have the skills—or can afford to hire someone who does—multimedia is a compelling way to tell your story and gain consumer confidence.
In addition to blog posts and multimedia, on-page SEO improvements to your website make sure its content is communicating as effectively as possible. On-page SEO ensures your site is speaking in a language that search engines understand. Proper optimization makes it easier for Google—and by association—your audience to find your content.
Smart, well-defined calls to action (or CTAs for short) give your users something to do once they reach your site. A contact form provides an easy way for them to initiate conversation. A newsletter signup allows you to build a list of engaged individuals. Typical CTAs include language such as “Apply Online”, “Contact Us”, “Get a Quote” and “Buy Now”. Calls to action allow you to create goals, track engagement and inspire your users to act.
Where to Share
If you don’t already have Google Analytics installed on your website, we can’t recommend it enough. It offers insight into your users and their behaviors that can be used to determine how people are finding your site.
When logged in to Google Analytics, navigate to “Acquisition”, “Social” and select “Overview”. From here you can see what social media channels users are using to find and share your web pages. With this information in hand, you can make more informed decisions on which social networks are worth targeting.
By defining who your audience is, determining what goals you want to accomplish and knowing which social media networks to focus your energy on, you have the basis for a killer content marketing strategy.
Do I Need a Content Marketing Strategy?
The short answer is yes. No matter the size of your business, it’ll benefit from a coordinated effort to grow awareness and share content. The most important aspect of your strategy is measurement. By documenting your strategy, it’s easier to monitor your return on investment. Analytics help you track your progress, but nothing provides better feedback than your users.
Trueline is a full service marketing agency, and content creation is our sweet spot. We don’t just hire freelance copywriters who work on your project for a day or two. We have a team of seasoned writers on staff who will craft your story in the most compelling way possible. If you need help evaluating your existing content or developing a content calendar that aligns with your needs, Trueline can help.