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A common misconception is that content marketing is just a fancy term for blogging, and that companies can pump their posts full of keywords and call it a day. That’s called sloppy, not strategy! The goal of a content marketing strategy is to start a conversation with your customers – a conversation they find interesting and engaging.
And garnering good search engine results and gaining site visitors is only half the battle. Once people find you through your inbound marketing efforts, how are you going to keep them coming back? People aren’t going to listen to you just because you’re on the first page of their search results. You have to show that you have a personality and a purpose. Another mistake companies often make is thinking of content marketing as a destination and not a journey. Your strategy isn’t a one-time solution. It’s an ever-evolving conversation. You’re probably wondering how to embark on said journey. Here are five content marketing strategy tips:
Step 1: Assess your content.
Chris Moritz of the Content Marketing Institute encourages content marketing writers to first assess the content they already have. Determine what’s new and unique and what’s outdated and redundant. From this information, create a content inventory. MaadMob.com offers a free content inventory template. Next, analyze the gap between the content you have and the content your customers need. Now you’re on the road to discovering your content marketing strategy.
Step 2: Look within.
Ask yourself: what makes your brand or company unique? What sets you apart from your competitors? What do you want to be known for? What do you want your reputation to be?
The answers to these questions will create the backdrop for your content. To keep organized, you can divide your content into categories. Moritz gives a great example of five main pillars that can be used to support your brand’s uniqueness: social proof, tools and utilities, rewards and incentives, thought leadership and instruction.
For example: If you’re a point of sale software provider, then you might want to be known for providing the most innovative systems in your industry. You might highlight the specific features your systems offer that others don’t.
Step 3: Think about your customers’ problems.
You’ve already thought about your customers’ needs in general in the first step, but now think about their specific moments of need. The third step calls for more questions -When, where and how do they find themselves struggling? -What are their “a-ha!” moments? -What do they have in mind while shopping for your product?
For example: If your target customers are quick service restaurants, they might find themselves struggling with their speed of service times, and specifically, they might feel they are wasting several seconds entering orders. Their ideal POS system would streamline the order-entering process with suggestive selling, etc.
Step 4: Figure out how to help.
So now, how should we show them that we can end their struggles? The key word here is ideal. First, you need to determine the ideal channel for your customers to consume your content. -No matter the channel, your posts should pop. Nielsen, a leading global information and measurement company, reported that visitors usually spend less than one minute on any site. Experts recommend creating content that can be consumed within that time frame. Use photos, videos, graphs, short paragraphs, bullet point, links and social media shares. Your visitors’ eyes should never glaze over while reading your content. -You need to identify their ideal call to action or offer.
For example: In such a fast-paced demanding environment, quick service restaurant managers most likely don’t have time to read blogs about the benefits of your product. They might have time to watch a 30-second video about your software and its features, though. Their ideal offer might be a free video tutorial or a free 30-day trial.
Step 5: Set goals for results.
Now that you know who you’re reaching, how you’re reaching them and what they need, it’s time to think about what YOU need. What results do you want out of your content marketing efforts? What are your content marketing goals?
For example: You might want to do a better job of reinforcing your brand or nurturing your leads; you might want to covert more customers; you might want to improve customer loyalty.
Once you have a goal, get specific. Think about the amount of new customers you want to gain, the amount of sales you want to make, the percentage of site views you want to garner, etc. so that you’ll know when you’ve reached your goal. When you’re finished creating your content marketing strategy, it’s time to measure, measure and measure some more. Every month, measure your amounts of new customers and of new sales. If you’re reaching the goals you made in the fifth step, your strategy is a success. If not, you can come up with a new one in just five steps!