This article was written by Ian David as a guest post for PUSH.fm. Within this article you will learn about content marketing – what it is and why it’s important. You’ll also be shown some easy steps to define your own marketing strategy.
It’s easy to jump into writing content without any strategic forethought.
It might seem like an exciting, challenging way to start your journey into content marketing, but it could be a costly mistake. Just like jumping off the car and slamming it into drive without knowing the next stop light or speed bump, you’ll lead yourself on a chase instead of teaching yourself to succeed. But first, let’s define content marketing.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to profit from that audience.
Why content marketing?
You already know that your target customers are online. You know they’re spending time on social media. But you also know that most of the content out there isn’t very useful to them (or it’s even downright spammy). So how do you get your message in front of them?
Content marketing is the answer. It’s a strategy that can help you reach your target audience with information they want to see — not because they clicked on an ad or responded to some kind of sales pitch, but because they want to read what you have to say.
If you are thinking of starting your content marketing strategy, I want you to take a step back and ensure that you have a process. You might think content marketing is just another buzzword, but it’s not. This isn’t just something companies started doing because it sounds nice. Content marketing is a powerful tool your business can use to attract more customers and grow as a brand. But planning out your strategy isn’t something that should be taken lightly.
There are several approaches to content marketing. You can either start from complete scratch or use an existing strategy as a starting point. Or you can find a middle ground between these two extremes.
In this post, we’ll show you how to develop a content marketing strategy in 6 easy steps.
1. Define your content marketing goals and objectives
First, define your Marketing goals and objectives for your content strategy. What do you want to achieve? How will success be measured? What kind of content should be created? How much budget do you have for content? These are all critical questions that need answers before moving forward with your strategy.
2. Develop a content calendar
Once you know your marketing goals, you can start developing a schedule for creating and publishing content on an ongoing basis. First, identify the types of content needed to achieve your goals (blog posts, videos, infographics, etc.). Then create an editorial calendar that outlines when each piece of content should be published and how often it should be updated or refreshed with new information (if applicable).
3. Identify your audience’s needs
Before developing content, you need to know your audience’s needs and interests. Start by asking yourself these questions:
What do they know about your product or service? What do they want to know? What problems do they have with it? How do they currently solve those problems?
Is there enough information available online about what your company offers (e.g., product details)? If not, how might you create more of it to help them make a purchase?
Identifying what your audience cares about is important if you want to achieve a content marketing strategy that provides value to your potential customers.
4. Research your competition
Once you’ve identified your audience, it’s time to look at what other brands are doing in content marketing. Scan through their websites and social media profiles; figure out what things they’re posting and how often they post them. This will give you insight into what topics they think are important enough for their audience to see, which will help guide your decision-making process when creating future pieces of content.
5. Get help from marketing experts online
Your business needs a robust and consistent content strategy to help you reach your goals and build an audience of loyal customers. A good content strategy will also help take some guesswork out of what you need to do to succeed.
But if you’re like most start-up businesses, you don’t have the time or resources to develop your custom content strategy. That’s where marketing experts come in. They’ll work with you to brainstorm a custom strategy that fits your unique needs and goals, and then they’ll implement it—so all you have to focus on is ensuring your business runs smoothly.
6. Research keywords
Once you’ve got some ideas for topics ready, it’s time to research keywords that relate to those topics and find out which are most popular among both humans and search engines alike (because if humans aren’t searching for those terms, then there’s no point). Crossing your content marketing strategy with SEO and content intelligence tools will help drive your page traffic.
Do this by looking at statistics from Google Trends or keyword suggestion tools like AdWords Keyword Planner or SEMrush; both are free options!
Whether you’re a small business, a non-profit organization, or a large corporation, a content marketing strategy is something that you should strongly consider in your digital marketing strategy. Regardless of your size, the number and quality of your resources may vary—but the content is universal. It can be implemented by any brand with the foresight to recognize its power.
Whether you’re blogging on behalf of your own business or are creating infographics for another brand, the process behind developing valuable content is the same. The key is to start making several types of content, then measure which ones resonate best with your audience using analytics.
One way to think of content marketing is as a supply chain, with each piece of content contributing essential information to a product that the consumer desires. You need to develop and maintain this supply chain to get information about your company out into the world and reach new customers. The most successful strategies will have all kinds of links in the chain. Build it carefully, collect data and learn from your experiences and you will find that it pays off.
If you’re feeling a bit lost when creating your content marketing strategy, follow these six steps, and you’ll be able to develop something useful.
Ian David started his career in brick-and-mortar retail management, which quickly included eCommerce and digital marketing as well.
He is an avid reader and a self-taught expert in SEO and content marketing. He writes for several publications on a variety of digital marketing topics. Recently, his focus has been on using influencer and affiliate marketing to drive more conversions.