How to build an effective Content Marketing Strategy
Want to generate leads, rank higher on Google and other search engines, AND cut future costs?
Then it’s time to start building a content marketing strategy.
Paid advertising isn’t what it used to be, with more ads now than there is space for.
Mix this with the fact that 69% of people have no trust in the adverts they see, organisations must now build relationships with their audiences before they convert.
Content Marketing is a great way to get your organisation known and you need to be thinking about your content marketing strategy if you want to grow online.
What is Content Marketing?
In short, Content Marketing is a marketing technique of consistently creating and distributing relevant and valuable content that audiences will consume.
The aim is to help boost customer interaction and improve your industry authority, in turn resulting in an increase in your search ranking position and more sales being generated.
It sounds simple enough, but it’s a formula with many components that, over time, will bring you big rewards.
What problems does traditional advertising face?
Every day, we’re seeing digital marketing becoming more central to marketing activities, especially with the exciting growth of voice search, video and other technology.
Top businesses are bringing digital services in-house to cope with the demand of delivering speed and content, which needs pushing out on websites, apps and social media feeds for example.
In-house teams often become obsessed with data mining to optimise adverts, and consequently, the ability to produce meaningful, engaging content gets lost.
The sales funnel has changed and now consumers must be acquired through a journey that informs, interacts and educates prospects along the way, so customers are ready to convert when the time is right.
Sure, content marketing isn’t going to bring you instant results, but those glory days of digital are fading.
If organisations want to think about a long-term strategy that will bring down marketing costs in the future, and provide sales or leads, then it’s a content marketing strategy that you need to be looking at. A well thought-out content marketing strategy can do a lot for your business.
Firstly, there are so many ways your content can appear. The matrix below looks at these tactical pieces but, interestingly, it shows how prospects react to them and where they sit on the conversion scale.
From blogs to infographics and videos to podcasts, your content should relay your core or promoted message. Studies show that when consumers have engaged with your message 7 times, they are far more likely to convert.
If this isn’t enough of a reason to start a content marketing strategy now, then I’m going to walk you through my top ten other reasons:
1) Build Trust
Smaller businesses just don’t have the same levels of authority or pulling power as huge brands, and that’s mainly down to the difference in branding budgets.
A great way to catapult yourself up there is through the timely posting of relevant, valuable and digestible content. This demonstrates your knowledge within your industry and your commitment to shaping it.
Remember that your content can be turned into ‘micro-content’ so it has more of a reach to those who share the same values. This will bring even more people back into you content-sphere and, over time, will help you build trust and confidence in your brand.
Relationships are built with customers with exchanges of value, not just through transactions.
2) Build Awareness
When you’re starting out, or scaling up, chances are nobody is going to know who you are. And even if they see you placed somewhere, doesn’t mean they are going to jump up and buy from you.
Wouldn’t it be great if it was that easy? The trouble is it’s getting harder and harder to get noticed as there are more ads than there is space for.
This is why developing a content marketing strategy is a solid alternative to drive more traffic to your site. Create content that engages and is shareable and you’ll soon start hosting visitors who never knew you existed.
Shareable content is the key here. Any inbound links you get will be like creating a conveyor belt of prospects coming to check you out.
3) Great For SEO
Online content such as blogs offer an invaluable opportunity to pack out your website content with the keywords and phrases that your customers are searching for online.
Google loves to give the best results to users so that they keep using their search service. And search engines will only know if your content is useful by the way people engage with it on your site and on the wider web.
This includes everything from videos to podcasts and social media shares to reviews. Google actually uses 200 ranking factors in their algorithm, so make sure you take these into consideration when shaping your content marketing strategy.
Having more relevant sources talking about you will get you loved by Google and help you get rank higher much faster.
4) Generates Leads
Ultimately, most businesses are out to make money and they need leads to drive sales.
Pretty much everything marketeers do comes back to this point. The trouble here is that customers don’t directly respond to ads. They need to be nurtured first and only ever convert when they have made a decision to buy.
A Content Marketing strategy allows you to increase your brand presence in front of the right audiences, so they can engage with you and be left informed and inspired.
5) Attract the perfect fit
Content Marketing helps relevant customers find you, and the best bit is that most of the time they’re already interested in your products or services.
We know this because either:
a) They’ve found you based on key phrase searches, which means they’re specifically looking for something.
b) They’ve found your content through other means such as social media or another blog and still bothered to read it.
In the case of the latter, this can often mean they’ve genuinely bought into you as a brand, so your competition is never even an option!
And if they’ve already shown enough interest to end up on your website, there’s every chance of them signing up to your mailing list to get their hands on even more of your golden content – so make sure to prompt for notification or email subscriptions.
If you get your content marketing strategy right, your content becomes a lead generation machine that even includes a built-in spam filter.
6) The importance of user journey: more traffic, more conversion
Creating fantastic blogs, videos or podcasts is a great way of bringing extra traffic to your site, especially if your piece answers a common question amongst your customers.
This is how it works for us. We produce some content explaining how to rank higher on Google.
Phil has been wondering how to get his business to appear higher on Google, so he searches ‘How to rank higher on Google’. There was a lot of information to consume, so he left it for now.
The next time he went to YouTube, he saw one of our pre-roll ads which target based on users Google searches. Phil is now learning some quick tips from us and decides to head to our site.
From there, he uses our FREE SEO tool to check his quality scores.
So far, we’ve given him free advice and our SEO checker. Over the next few weeks, we automatically email him more useful resources to build up trust.
We know he’s found the content valuable because we can see he’s been back to our site and for some length.
Now, through using the same automation, we drop Phil more about how we can help or an offer to help covert this lead into a sale.
This is a typical transaction and was only made possible through the useful content that was shared with Phil on his customised, but automated, user journey.
Phil is now my newest customer, and it’s all down the power of a good content marketing strategy.
7) Share your content
The great thing about the digital world is that it provides a global audience. One thing I always tell clients is to write about their own experiences.
If you’ve solved a particularly tricky problem, there’s a good chance that countless others in the same industry have faced the exact same problem around the world, and that makes for some VERY shareable content.
If you have a great piece of unique content, be sure to reach out to leading platforms or publishers within your industry and offer to share your insight with them.
This will increase your audience and boost confidence in your brand by acting as an endorsement from a reputable source.
Social Media can be a powerful tool within an effective content marketing strategy too.
Write content that’s both entertaining and of value and you never know, the right piece posted at the right time could soon pick up some traction and even go viral.
One of the awesome things about Content Marketing is that there are so many outlets available to us, so don’t forget to refer back to my content marketing strategy matrix that I included earlier.
8) Engagement and loyalty; leave readers itching for more
Think of the first time someone reads your blog as the start of a new relationship.
As we know, the strongest relationships are built on trust, and every piece you write will only serve to build that trust even more.
If your content offers real value and answers then you’ll soon turn that one-time visitor into a repeat reader and become their go-to resource.
The goal for any content marketer should be to build your own online community for who you’re the default source of information.
A great way of doing this is to tease people back to your site by releasing weekly insights and expert tips on a weekly basis.
9) Build Authority
Your content is what differentiates you from everybody else, and what makes your content stand out so much is you.
Through your own experiences and the challenges you’ve faced, you’ll have gained knowledge that nobody else has access to – and that makes your content unique and irreplaceable.
It’s worth noting too that there’s no harm in reinforcing certain things to your readers and sharing your content through different mediums (such as blogs, vlogs, podcasts etc).
This will just make your content available to different audiences and strengthen your position as a leading figure or brand within your industry.
In fact, many say that a person will only begin to engage with you they’ve seen your content 7 times.
Not everyone will want to read, watch or listen to your amazing content the first time they see it.
Micro-content is where you take longer form content and cut it down to snippets, soundbites, gifs and inspirational quotes to place emphasis on the best bits.
Maybe you can highlight a key point and take a snippet for other social media channels, or make an inspirational quote for Instagram.
The purpose of micro-content is to lead you back to the main piece, so your audience gets to know who you more and what you stand for.
Remember, this is a cycle that involves listening. Take the time to see what audiences are reacting to or read their comments and see what stuck out for them.
You can use this to create more of the content they want to see and even churn out more of the micro-content that will spread to similar audiences.
Content Marketing is invaluable for increasing brand authority, trust and awareness, as well as helping you to boost your search engine ranking. Remember, a long-term strategy secures a long-term future – so don’t expect instant results.
Once you’ve created killer content that’s relevant, consumable and of real value to your audience, it’s time to start spreading the message.
Be sure to repurpose content for different platforms, post on Facebook, Tweet your best tips, share your knowledge with professionals on LinkedIn and pitch to influencers and bloggers to further expand your audience.
It’s also a good idea to feature your latest piece in your newsletter and pages on your site that get a lot of traffic.
You can even reference your content on other sites, forums and blogs by engaging in the comments sections and leaving a link.
There’s a whole world out there of people asking the questions that you’re answering, so just keep reaching out and success will follow.
If you’re still in need of some advice on how to shape your perfect content marketing strategy, don’t hesitate to get in touch.