Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. (Learn more about content marketing here.)
Many consumers have become blind to ads online, easily ignoring them or even avoiding them altogether with ad blockers. Content marketing provides a more effective way of reaching them by providing relevant, valuable information that is developed for a specific audience you are trying to reach.
By providing this content to consumers, you can educate them about a brand indirectly and help move them along the sales funnel, without directly selling to them. Use content marketing to attract, retain, and educate your target audience, fostering a connection between them and your company.
With 27 million pieces of content being shared every day, it’s important to be intentional in what content you create and how you share it. Follow these steps as a guide to your best content marketing strategy:
1. Identify Your Audience
Before you begin thinking about the content, you have to think about your audience. Invest time to get to know your potential and current customers and don’t fall into the marketing trap of trying to appeal to everyone. You need to know who is likely to buy your product so you can create content specifically for them.
In addition to general demographics, here are some things to consider: What matters to your audience? What problems keep them up at night? How can you help solve them? Use this information to build personas.
Take a look at both direct competitors and anyone else talking about the same subjects as you online. The easiest way is Google a few keywords. You can also use the keyword search function in Buzzsumo to do a search, which will show you content that contains the keyword, ordered by social shares.
Once you have identified some competitors, take a closer look at what they’re doing. Buzzsumo can come in handy again to help you do quantitative analysis, to produce things such as a word cloud and graphs about competitors (for example, how many links different sites are generating). Brandtale can also help by offering a more qualitative analysis of digital content and advertising campaigns from large publishers.
3. Analyze and Brainstorm
Now that you have done all that research, take a hard look at the data and analysis. Use all of it as a jumping off point for your team. Summarize what you have found into a brief and share it with your team prior to brainstorming for your own content plan. Then determine what channels you will create content for, the types of content, etc.
4. Content Creation and Promotion
It’s finally time to develop content. Keep all of your research about your audience and competition in mind as you do so. In addition, be sure to think mobile first and create content that will work well on any mobile device.
Once the content is created and published, be sure to spend just as much time on promotion as you do on the creation. Use your social media networks, website, email marketing list, paid ads, and any other channels at your disposal to reach your target audience.
5. Evaluate and Adapt
Set goals around leads, traffic, increasing conversion rates, etc. Use these to track your performance and evaluate what is working, allowing you to adapt your strategy as you go.