Who made content king, anyways?
Simply put, producing content that attracts potential clients is a great alternative to repeatedly sinking your money into ads.
That said, you might still be figuring out how content marketing is effective for your business.
Maybe you barely dipped your toe in the water, assuming your product or service isn’t exciting enough to build buzz around.
Or maybe you jumped right in, blogging here and there, blasting random messages on social.
Sooo…is that working for you?
Without a clear content strategy or a systematic method of tracking your progress, I’m guessing it’s not.
So if you’re drowning in the murky waters of unguided content spurts (my apologies for getting overly poetic here)…there are some fundamental things you need to do, to make content work for you.
Because if Content is King, you should be its Emperor…here’s how:
Know Your Audience
Detailed personas are one way to establish your ideal customer. The more specific you can draft these profiles, the better you will be in tailoring your content.
It may seem counterproductive, as you will only be targeting a small section of your potential market. The reality is, the more you can specialize, the better it is for your business.
Spending time thinking about your ideal customer doesn’t limit you. Rather, it will allow you to create a unique voice and a particular image for your brand. You will become THE expert for THAT group of customers, and your conversion will increase considerably.
Here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself to discover your perfect customer:
- What are the gender, age, and ideal socioeconomic background of your customer base?
- Urban or rural?
- What about the income bracket and education level?
- What do they need, and how will you fill that need?
These questions are a great starting point for starting any marketing campaign. Hubspot has an excellent free build-a-persona generator, that helps you round out your dream client even more.
2. Set Measurable Goals
As content marketing is relatively inexpensive, there are plenty of opportunities to tweak your approach as you go, learning from your mistakes, making changes to better fit your audience.
Thanks to analytics from Google and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it’s easy to review the statistics of your content consumers. If you set things up the right way, you can determine how many leads your latest marketing plan has turned into conversions.
But none of this means anything if your content marketing strategy doesn’t include measurable goals you can track with those analytics, thereby creating content that gets increasingly engaging.
Make use of analytics in your marketing strategy, but ensure you’ve put a plan in place, to keep yourself on task.
3. Familiarize Yourself With The Ins and Outs Of Social Media
Of course, you know that your content marketing strategy needs to go beyond social media to stand out. But you should still have a plan for how best to handle social.
The three major social media platforms are Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. But think about what would best suit your company and its values. Maybe it’s Pinterest where you need to focus on or YouTube.
Go back to your core customer base personas, and tailor your content to better suit them. And try not to cross-post too much. Each of your platforms should have a distinct personality and flavor, which feeds into the overall tone and style of your brand.
If you’re promoting your business through influencers (which is a whole different ball game with its own challenges), your content should fit them as well. Which brings us to my next point.
4. Reach Out To A Wider Readership
As I’ve explained above, niching down to a specific buyer persona is important. But with content marketing, it does not mean you should be “always closing”.
As described here by Robert Rose from the Content Marketing Institute:
“Audiences are not just buyers.”
Not everyone who consumes your content will become a buyer. But they can engage with your brand in a way that will give you new leads. They can be influencers that will amplify your reach.
This is why your content shouldn’t just be focused on sales. You should create it for an audience that will share your content because it is valuable in and by itself.
In short: while you are targeting a specific niche, you should refrain from one-sided, “sales-y” broadcasting.
It’s a good idea to have a blog and website, and use these to build a platform and sense of community for your brand. But if you want to increase your reach, follow the 80/20 rule.
Only about 20% of what you publish should be promotional. Any more and people feel like they’re being sold to, and get bored. This is not a strict rule for all brands, so make sure to measure what the effect is of your output.
There other benefits to making it more than about you: Keep your followers engaged by boosting other organizations and companies in your field. This can help you create valuable connections and relationships. Not only can it expose you to their customers, but it helps you to create a lasting relationship with other bloggers or content marketers, and can cement your reputation as an expert in your field of business.
Your content marketing strategy can’t stop at social media and blogs.
There are several avenues to take your strategy, including visual content marketing, ebooks, videos, and even online courses, to build your brand.
The placement and type of content depending on your target persona, your product or services, and other factors. Find out which forms resonate most with your persona, and where they spend most of their online time.
Offering freebies on your websites, such as an online course, a short ebook, or access to a special newsletter, will also increase the reach of your content marketing strategy.
Comment and reply to others in your industry, and to customers and clients when you’re mentioned. Provide linkbacks to blog posts on social media, and links to your newsletter or online marketplace where they’re visible and easily accessible.
6. Don’t Get Too Hung Up On SEO
In the early days of online marketing, ranking high in Google was fairly easy.
Now though, it’s more common for the top-ranking Google searches to be paid for by ad spaces, and SEO practices change so rapidly that no sooner are they written down somewhere, then they’re out of date.
And we are living in times more media-savvy than at any time in history. As we’ve already mentioned, people don’t like being sold to or pitched to constantly. Create content that fuels people to interact with your content, by asking questions, offering opportunities like giveaways.
Avoid keyword stuffing and overtly sales-y language. Instead, focus on meeting a need or answering a question, and keep that content coming.
Boost it up by receiving backlinks naturally or by guest posting, from relevant, quality sites, and you’ll gain long-term benefits. For an excellent start, check out the guestpost database from Outreach.buzz.
7. Hire A Copywriter
As a busy entrepreneur, you probably don’t have time to relax, to let those creative juices flowing for that EPIC article. So how will you be able to produce the amount of needed content on all your platforms?
For that, you might want some outside help. Hiring a freelance copywriter is as easy as visiting a content website, and hiring the writer who best meets your needs. As long as you have a clear strategy and can translate those into effective content briefs.
Different copywriters work in different ways, have different expertise, and different workflow, so the more information you can give them on word count, your audience, and tone, the better they will be able to help you.
Writers aren’t just a handy way to round out your blog. They can help you create a cohesive voice across your social media platforms, website, and newsletter, as well as providing product descriptions, crafting pitch decks, and creating the perfect tagline for your company, among other things.
This frees you up to focus on the company itself, and give you time to analyze if your content strategy is paying off.
8. Consistence, consistent, consistently!
Even if you only post something somewhere every once in a while, do it consistently.
If it’s high-value content, at the right timing, sniper-like targeted and boosted by your ambassadors and backlinks, there will be a positive effect.
But to measure an effect over a period of time, to test out different tactics, you need to experiment in a systematic manner.
A consistent content schedule helps you get an audience who learn what to expect.
Consistency establishes you as a reliable source and tells you what’s working, and what’s not.
With the importance of social media marketing, newsletters, and other digital content, your content marketing needs to be effective and engaging. It will form your company’s identity and build a loyal customer base. To do this, you need to understand much more than keywords and analytics.
If you’re strapped for time and other resources, simplify your marketing and target a small section of your market first. Test the water by minimal, but optimized content. Learn from there, calibrate and build up as you go.
Following these tips can help you ensure your content marketing strategy is a powerful tool, both when it comes to reaching your desired audience, and, when the time comes, to expand.
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Don’t try to fool “Google” by posting content that you’ve copied from somewhere else or that lacks substance or is of poor quality. That’s not the way to covert prospects into customers. And if Google notices that your website has a high bounce rate, indicative of people landing on your site but leaving quickly, your site will be demoted to a lower ranking.