Are you looking to implement an effective content marketing strategy that generates more leads for your business?
Perhaps you want an innovative and stronger approach that’s more effective than your competitors. If so, then you are headed in the right direction.
According to a 2018 report by Content Marketing Institute, 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing for lead generation. It’s clear from this statistic that people view content marketing as an effective method of lead generation.
However, it’s equally apparent that you will be competing against a lot of businesses for the same target keywords.
Image: CMI Report
It is clear that with such stiff competition, you need to implement a content marketing strategy that will outperform the competition. In this article, we’ll dive into ten critical steps for creating an updated content marketing strategy and how to integrate them into your business today.
1. Identify Your Current Position
To assess where you stand, you should first conduct a content audit of your current content. You cannot equate content created at one time to another. A content audit will help you figure out whether the content strategy you are using to grow your blog is working. You should do this across all of the marketing channels you are utilizing to promote your business be that social media, website, podcasts of Youtube.
For social, the way you determine your objectives will determine the success of content. If you aim to generate reach, then your benchmark for success may well be the number of likes and engagement a piece of content generated. However, if your benchmark for success in sales, you’d be better off tracking clicks to your website, a metric that you can access through Google Analytics.
You can analyze on-site content in a couple of complementary methods. One of the best ways to start is using a website crawling tool like Screaming Frog or SEMRush. These that can help analyze page titles and descriptions, find duplicate content, examine your SEO strategies, and crawl internal URLs and backlinks where possible.
You can find an example of how we used this method to untangle the website architecture of a site with 500,000+ pages of content. In addition to utilizing a web crawler to analyze your content and do a sitewide review of metadata, you should also analyze data provided through Google Search Console.
You can use a combination of Google Sheets and custom formatting to rapidly identify content on your site where the rankings could be improved. Once you have completed this analysis, you can assess the SEO value that your content brings to your audience.
As you analyze the content, try to identify what your audience engages with the most. This information can be used to come up with ideas for future articles. Through this review, you will also identify content that needs updating, or you can delete.
2. Establish your Campaign Goals
Identifying your campaign goals is crucial in content marketing. Clear business goals will help you set concrete plans that align with your business objectives. Set one overarching content marketing goal. Then define a couple of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that you can track to see if you’re on the way to achieving this target. Your main company goal could look something like:
- Get 200,000 unique monthly visitors from Google
Achieving this goal might be accomplished by:
- Publishing two long-form articles a week targeting relevant keywords
- Writing five guest posts a week for sites with a Domain Authority of 50+
- Writing one guest post a month for a website with a Domain Authority of 85+
You can then track these KPI to see how it aligns with your target of getting 200,000 unique monthly visitors to your website. You should review and adapt the KPIs to make sure that they align with your goals.
The goals that you set for your content marketing should align with the overall business goals of the company. So for example, getting 200,000 unique monthly visitors a month might align to generate $30,000 in Monthly Recurring Revenue.
It’s important to set clearly defined business goals. Without these, your marketing team is likely to jump from one short term goal to the next.
3. Identify Your Target Audience
There’s a good chance that you have already created a target persona for your marketing campaigns. If you have that’s great, but there is no harm reviewing your assumptions. On the other hand, if you haven’t identified your target audience, you need to.
You can start this process by creating demographic data on your email subscribers, blog readers, and social media engagements. Analytic tools come in handy in showing the audience age, gender, education, residence, level of income, and interests.
It’s also good to set up surveys to get feedback from your audience. You can gain insights about how they feel about your product, their current problems, and most urgent needs at the moment. You could do this through interviews as well.
Cumulatively the information you gain can be used to help develop your content marketing strategy. For example, if you have a clear understanding of common customer pain points, you could integrate this into an email marketing campaign that links to relevant content on your site. Your email marketing campaign will help you warm your leads, which will subsequently help with conversions.
4. Decide on the Best Marketing Channels
By now, you have already set your goals and created a buyer’s persona. With these, you can quickly tell where your target audience hangs out and the content that they prefer. You will have many ideas and desires. But it’s good to stay focused on one platform at a time.
Google Analytics is an excellent resource for finding out about the right marketing channels to use. Navigate to the Acquisition » Social » Overview section; you’ll see where your content is commonly shared.
Buzzsumo is also a great resource to find out the content shares by network, content type, and length. Using this information, you’ll know the content to share on your channels, and the main content types preferred.
With Buzzsumo, you can also identify the people who commonly share your content. It is a handy tool as it enables you to figure out who to engage with. Identifying relevant social influencers will help you as you develop your social marketing strategy, which should complement your content marketing strategy.
5. Decide on the Content Types
The content marketing strategy that you develop should include different types of content. You want to create a range of content that engages your audience based on where they are in your marketing funnel. At times people prefer long-form articles and blog posts, original research content, videos, infographics, podcasts, whitepapers, or sales letters at other times. If you do decide to wade into the waters of podcasting though, be sure to start by doing your research, learning about the gear and choosing the right podcast hosting to get your show on the airwaves.
For example, you might decide to write five pieces of long-form content that you want to rank on Google. These articles might be 2,000 – 3,000 words long. A lot of your offsite content marketing strategy would involve building backlinks to this content.
Your content calendar might include 15 short articles that are 1,000 words or less. This content would be created to share through your social networks. It’s also good content to link to for people on your email list who are looking for a concise answer to a problem, or immediate insights.
To engage your audience, you might choose to create a short information course. A course is a good way of creating a connection with your audience. You can use the course to establish expertise in your niche. You can also use a course to generate leads to your business.
6. Create Engaging Content
By now, you have gathered enough resources, ideas, and information to create the right type of content for your business. Perhaps you want to start with blog posts to update your readers, listicles, or maybe a long-form article. The processes for creating all content types are similar.
First, you need to determine what type of keywords you want to target. You can use Google Keywords to find keyword volume. Alternatively, Keywords Everywhere is a useful tool for finding search volumes.
Once you have come up with good keyword ideas, you need to validate the search intent. Understanding search intent involves looking at the kind of content that is already ranking on Google. Reviewing this content will help you understand what type of content people want to read.
For example, if all of the articles on the first page of Google are short sales pages, you know the user intent is to purchase something. If you write a guide about the keyword, it won’t rank. The opposite could also be true. By repeating the process listed above, you will come up with a list of ideas for content you could publish in the future.
7. Establish a Publishing Calendar
As you put your content ideas together, you should then organize them into a content publishing calendar. It’s good to try and create an editorial calendar that will allow you to group your content thematically. You can see how StartupNation does this with one theme a month.
Keep in mind that you might end up with multiple content calendars. You could have a content calendar for emails that you send to your list, for your social content, and for the articles you publish to your blog. You can use Google Calendar to establish the publication dates for easier tracking. Alternatively, you might prefer to use a project management tool like Trello.
8. Identify and Allocate Resources
Now that you have figured out who and where you are going to market yourself, it’s time to create the content. Creating content is the most crucial part of the content marketing strategy.
- First, you need to allocate people to content writing tasks. You should have a versatile group of writers and editors working together to create and edit the content for publication.
- Next, find the necessary tools where they will be working together. Trello, nDash, Workzone are some of the standard tools that you can use. Here, you can assign tasks to people and conform to your content creation calendar for your channels.
- Ensure to provide ample instructions to the writers and editors while assigning proper timelines for each.
These simple steps will help you create the right content and ensure a steady flow of topic ideas. You’ll also save on your finances by working on the necessary content types at the right time.
9. Distribute and Market Yourself
Once you have created your content, you need to publish and distribute the article. It’s good to develop a content distribution plan to ensure success.
Here’s a simple guide to distributing and marketing your content.
- After creating a publishing schedule on social media and blog, ensure to follow up and find out what your audience has to add.
- Create lead magnets to capture the readers’ emails. You can use short courses or simple guides and eBooks.
- Create new content to answer your readers’ main questions about your products and services.
- Always notify your followers on upcoming events. This way, your readers feel engaged in your activities.
You should regularly review your content marketing strategy to see what marketing channels are most effective. If you are spending a lot of time on a channel that isn’t getting results then stop using it.
10. Audit the Content
Once a quarter, review your content marketing strategy. Your content audit will be a repeat of everything you did in the first step of the guide. You can use Google Analytics, SEMRush, and similar content audit tools to check your performance on search engines.
This audit is your chance to improve your position based on data-driven insights. It’s an opportunity to identify problems with your website, but also areas where things are going right for you. It’s through this process you will slowly increase traffic to your website and generate more revenue for your business.
Final Thought on Creating a Content Strategy
Creating a content strategy is straightforward, though not at all easy. Depending on the space you’re operating in, you could have many competitors that excel at content and organic acquisition, and some of them will have big budgets behind them
Still, with the right framework and some hard work, you can still make content a huge ROI channel in 2019. This article provided 10 steps to doing so, but let us know in the comments if there’s anything you’ve done that has worked well.