Developing a content marketing strategy? Switching your marketing focus to content over product is definitely the correct choice, however, there are several factors one must consider before making the transition.
Do you have the manpower?
Content marketing is more than joining social media, writing some words on a blog source and email blasts. Your team must be capable to engage, interact and attract your audience on social media which requires hourly monitoring. Blogs need hours devoted to writing, research for posts, multi-media channel sharing and monitoring for comments and followers. Depending on your strategy you will need a team not only to implement, create, build and distribute your content but also, attract an audience for your content.
Do you have a solid strategy?
Create content, how hard could it be? Content marketing is all about educating and attracting your audience. To successfully do this you must know your audience. Some basic questions to start with are;
- What is your goal?
It is important to define and communicate your goals within the entire organization. You can build your strategy with specific goals in mind. Setting your goals up front will allow for budgetary needs, employee hours, benchmarking and what direction you should go with your content.
- How will you measure these goals?
Google Analytics is awesome for measuring your goals plus Google always updates for the best in analytic support. Knowing your goals will allow you to choose which analytics to pay most attention to and monitor closely. Google analytics will help you improve your conversion rate, better analyze your content and find ways to improve your content to attract a larger audience.
- Who are you targeting?
Research your customers and fins their interests. This is the best way to find who you should be targeting for existing businesses. Create personas to identify and create a strategy that caters to each audience, identify their interests, attract them and relate to them not as a customer but a person. If you are a new business your business plan will allow you to create personas from your target audience with a little more research. Knowing who to target and how to appeal to your audiences will allow for a smoother transition and higher success.
- What can you teach the audience?
Content marketing creates the perception that your business is the expert and that in turn creates a sense of trust to build business. Before you start writing you must know what your business can do for the customer or client and then build your foundations for more in depth, long form content. Content is king only when your business can actually support the image you portray.
- How will you gather information?
Obviously, you will need to begin gathering data that allows you to attract you audience. Your data should represent your own perspective of your industry. You could interview customers, perform surveys, create polls on websites and social media, ask industry authorities, or use information from other people’s data. Beware that using others data can cause distortions in perception and lower your attractiveness and uniqueness. If you are going to use perviously collected data, do so by repurposing the data. Repurposing can extend your reach and even attract the original author who may share.
- Determine how and when you will you distribute your content?
Once you know your goals, budget, target audiences, and the information you can provide immediately, you can begin planning what channels to distribute on and how often for each channel. Blogs, social media outlets, contributors are all factors in determining your channels. The most important factor in content marketing is determining when and how often to deliver your content. Creating an editorial calendar that details when and what content will be published is the best way to stay consistent and on track. If you don’t have an editorial calendar, you don’t have a content marketing strategy.
- Who will contribute to developing content and what content should be developed?
There are hundreds of blogs and resources for help on content creation. You should ensure that all of your content is created by someone in that is a professional in particular channel; bloggers, social media experts, copywriters, designers, etc. Your content must coincide and reflect your overall marketing strategy.
- How will content be distributed?
One of the biggest problems with content marketing is that pieces are being isolated on a single link. Distribution is everything in content marketing so you have to have a plan to distribute on as many channels as possible to reach your target audience. you have already researched your target audience and know their interests. Social media, press releases, your website, partners and vendors, anywhere that your target audience can be attracted to read your content. The content job doesn’t end when you hit “publish” you must spend an equal if not more time making sure it gets seen.
- Implement your SEO strategy
Getting your content published on your target websites may not be enough for SEO. People may publish your content and forget to add links to its original source so you will need to keep a close eye on the websites that publish your content. Set up Google Alerts so that whenever your blog is published or your company is sure to be mentioned. There are numerous sources and services to track mentions. If someone forgets to back link to your site just send a simple email asking for credit, most people want to give credit where credit is due.