Developing Your Content Marketing Strategy
You used to be able to build a site overnight, lacking in any kind of aesthetic or attention to user experience, publish it, build thousands of simple (what would be considered today to be low value) back links to a site and it would dominate the rankings.
It used to be that on mediums like Google AdWords and Facebook you could buy clicks for literally pennies.
Well those days are gone. Today, the online landscape is, as we all know changing on a daily basis. So it becomes the responsibility of the teams behind brands everywhere to truly add value to the web.
Since the web is comprised solely of content – marketing your brand through compelling content is a logical choice.
While admittedly, content marketing is quite a buzz word; for the purposes of differentiating this newer age intent of sharing information with a niche audience from traditional marketing tactics like billboards, radio ads, brochures… we have to call it something.
Let’s take a step back and discuss what content marketing is and isn’t.
- Is the creation and publication of entertaining, educational or just timely resources for consumption across the web.
- Can come in virtually any form. Infographics, videos, blog posts, social media comments, news articles, interactive tools, studies … the list goes on.
- Means creating content that is on brand, and ensuring your target audience can easily discover it.
- Is taking an editorial approach to your messaging, investing in every word or image or video to make it the best you and your team can possibly deliver. If you don’t think publishing content is worth investment of your resources, neither will your target audience.
- Finally, content marketing is partnering with others across the web to collectively target a common audience.
- Sometimes this Partnership comes in the form of links, social sharing or good old fashion cross promotion to reach a common goal!
Content Marketing is not:
- Creating a mass quantity of boring, short blog posts, infographics or videos.
- Spamming the world through article directories.
- Starting a blog and hoping others will find it.
- Something you should undertake if you cannot invest the time and money needed to do it right.
The Foundation of any Content Marketing Strategy:
Whether your content is aimed to make people curious, laugh, cry or generally feel something it must be designed for niche consumption. If it is delivered via text, imagery, video or a dynamic web page it must be designed for niche consumption. Basically everything you share online must be designed for niche consumption.
No matter what you call it, the idea of content marketing is nothing new. As a society we consume information all day, every day. The hard part is encouraging your potential customers to discover, consume and continue to consume your information. Content marketing done well allows you to start building a relationship with your brand over that of your competitors.
As content creators, the weight we hold in the grand scheme of the internet is immense. What’s more is that several multi-billion acquisitions have taken place over the years strictly for platforms which connect a community of content creators with one another and the outside world.
More and more we are seeing a compelling connection between truly relevant, well designed content; the social nature and life that content takes on and the results the brands that publish this content receive within organic search and social mediums.
Steps to Getting Started. Strategy Planning:
There is nothing like creating cheesy analogies to drive a point home. The below tree illustrates the major steps to building any successful content marketing strategy.
Important Questions to Ask Yourself:
Before jumping into any new endeavor, you need a game plan. Answering the below questions will help you to start thinking through your content marketing campaign from start to finish. Hopefully this will also emphasize the importance of running campaigns by the numbers!
- What is your primary goal? (traffic, brand awareness or direct conversions like newsletter sign ups, lead generation)
- What ROI do you need within 2 years? 3 years? 5 years+? and what budget (time and/or money) can you invest to get you there at each interval?
- What micro-KPIs will you measure and how will you measure them to determine if your strategy is moving along on track?
- New inbound links?
- Press/Blogger mentions?
- Traffic increases?
- Time on site increases?
- Opt-ins to automated marketing programs?
- Social share increases?
- Google Analytics? Social Analytics? Google Alerts?
- Who is your target audience and where do they live online?
- Who are the influencers amongst your target audience? How can you Partner with them and make it mutually beneficial?
- What tactics can you use to draw new members of your target audience to your collaborative content?
- What experiments can you run with your new found audience to optimize your results at each step?
As you flush out your content strategy it will be extremely important to work out a content calendar. This will be your guideline for frequency of releasing new content, adjust for seasonality within your market and help you budget from an annualized perspective.
With each release event on your calendar, the intent of the content should be clear. For example, is your post in January going to be aimed at building links or generating awareness?
Differentiating the two is important. To tag on with what an influencer is passionate about to attract their attention, will require a different approach than helping to solve a specific problem your target audience may be experiencing.
Director, Client Marketing
Dan lives and breaths all things marketing and all things tech. He has spent the last 10 years helping B2B focused organizations startup, expand and scale. Dan and his team at Neumarkets help B2B companies ramp up customer acquisition and customer lifetime value in order to achieve their next level of growth and set the roadmap for continued success. After hours you will normally find Dan experimenting in the kitchen or out exercising with his wife and pup.