Content Marketing for Business Results – Content is King!
Nearly all marketers are doing it, but it’s easy to wonder whether content marketing is really worth it. A lot of marketers are creating and sharing content without really knowing how effective it is and whether it’s generating business results. However, if you approach content marketing with a clear strategy, you can run a highly scalable and successful content marketing campaign.
So, let’s start with the basics.
What is content marketing?
We’ll kick off with content. Content is the foundation to a lot of marketing activity. Think about SEO. Search engines reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content – without content, there’s nothing to optimise. Social media marketing literally lives off content. And a good story is what drives PR.
But what exactly do we mean by content?
Content marketing is the process of creating and sharing content that is purposeful, consistent and informative. It is a marketing technique aimed at a specifically defined audience, with the purpose of driving leads and sales.
Ian Lurie has hit the nail on the head. We can overthink content, but it’s simply any form of communication with our customers, from landing pages and case studies to video and infographics to social media posts and public speaking.
Content marketing, then, is the use of that content to help meet your marketing and business goals, such as building brand awareness, driving website traffic, lead generation, customer acquisition and, of course, retention of existing customers.
Building a solid content marketing strategy
Like all good marketing, delivering a successful content marketing campaign starts with a solid strategy. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 63% of B2B marketers don’t have a documented content marketing strategy. And, unsurprisingly, respondents who have a documented content marketing strategy report higher levels of success from their content marketing compared with those who only have a verbal strategy or no strategy at all.
Developing a content marketing strategy might sound daunting, but it shouldn’t be if you follow a simple process:
Set your goals
As with any marketing strategy, your content marketing strategy should be aligned with your business goals, but you need to set more specific goals for what you want your content to achieve too. Think about what the purpose of your content is. Who are you writing for? What does your audience want to get from your content and what will they do when your content works?
Define your audience
If you haven’t already carried out audience research or you haven’t done it in a while, developing your content marketing strategy is a good excuse. Take the time to build profiles of the different types of individuals you want to target with your content. This includes demographics, personality attributes, behaviour, aspirations as well as buying motivations and challenges.
Determine what types of content you’ll create
Once you have your customer personas, you can identify what types of content each one prefers. It’s important to refer to your budget here because some content formats are a lot more costly to create than others. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a list of ideas:
Curate your content
Depending on the size and nature of your business, it’s unlikely you’ll be solely responsible for creating everything. It’s good to involve different team members (each will have different areas of expertise and communication styles etc.) as well as bringing in guest contributors, who can complement your work and help to widen your reach. You also need to consider who will manage and execute the campaign. All this information should be brought together into a live content calendar that can be accessed and edited by the whole content team once the campaign is in full swing.
Choose your channels
Now for the most important step – amplifying your content. Great content is useless if it isn’t properly promoted. Choose your channels carefully – you need to use the channels where your customer personas spend most of their time. You also need to think about whether you want to use advertising to promote your content or stick to organic methods. Need some guidance on this? Read our blog on how to choose the right channels of communication to grow your business.
Measure your content
As with any marketing activity, you need to track your campaign’s performance, evaluate its impact and implement means for optimising results. Return to your goals – which metrics indicate each of your goals and where will you find them? Before your campaign live date, create a template report and processes for optimisation, then make sure you set up and test all the analytics platforms you’ll be using, so you can measure your campaign from the outset.
Developing a content marketing strategy significantly improves your chances of achieving business results through your content. So, put a hold on any content creation for now and give it a go – you’ll definitely notice the difference.
If you’d like to read more on strategic marketing, check out our blog which takes you from marketing to strategic marketing in 9 steps.
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