Content marketing is the strategic planning and execution of highly valuable content to build brand awareness and gain traffic for profitable customer action. It’s the pillar to many a marketing campaign and is a mainstay in the online marketplace that ultimately bridges the gap between brand identity and sales.
The coolest aspect of content marketing is how synergistic it is. High value content builds awareness, which builds trust, causing consumers to go to your brand when they have an intent to purchase. Therefore, the more content you produce, the more ammo you’re giving consumers (your audience) to advocate for your brand via social sharing, thereby building awareness, which builds trust….you get the picture.
Done well, content marketing can be a total linchpin in any online marketing campaign, and generates strong leads that are profitable for your bottom line. These content marketing best practices will explain just how to strategize and execute a strong campaign across all platforms.
Content Marketing Strategy Best Practices
1.Write For Your Audience
Content marketing isn’t all about selling. It’s about providing solutions to your audience’s pain points, administered by educating and informing them with your expertise. To better understand who your audience is, create avatars or personas for your audience by asking questions such as:
- Who are my ideal customers?
- How do they make buying decisions?
- What are their questions? Pain points? Objections?
- What information are they lacking that my content can fill?
Use a customer centric approach when creating your content. Make sure you understand what your audience needs from you based on the information gaps that need to be met. In a nut shell, solve their problems. Write what they need to hear, not just what you want to write about.
2. Meet Your Audience Where They Are
Meet your audience where they are online. Suppose your brand sells camping gear in an online store. Most likely, you will be a B2C company, and must therefore understand where your consumers hang out online. Are they moms and dads looking to purchase gear for their family camping trip? They might hang out on Facebook. Maybe your audience in the coveted 18-34 age range and you want to sell more trendy, cutting edge gear. Your audience is probably on Snapchat and Instagram. Perhaps you are a manufacturer of camping materials looking to connect with retailers. Your audience might be on Twitter or LinkedIn. Find where your audience is online, go to the appropriate platform, and engage with them.
Part of meeting your audience where they are entails producing the right type of content. This means creating a variety of original and curated content that offers high value to your client base. Remember to take a customer centric approach when creating your content and only push out pieces that are helpful and informative. It’s helpful to study website analytics, social [media] trends, and industry and market research to understand what information your audience is gravitating toward. This will help you identify the type of content they are seeking.
Another aspect to successful content marketing is engagement. Engagement is the amount of likes, comments, shares, etc. your content receives from your audience on any given platform. Not only should you produce relevant content that spurs engagement, but you should be interacting with your audience across all appropriate platforms, as well. This produces organic views to your brand and is a way to get your name out there without shouting, “Hey! I’m here! Read my sales copy!”
Ignite conversations with your audience, as well as spark and facilitate conversations among your audience to become an influencer in your field. The engagement will generate authority and credibility, but most importantly brand awareness. It is in the customer engagement that you gain trust, giving your audience the confidence they need to make the next step and ultimately make a buying decision.
Content Marketing Execution Best Practices
1. Create An Editorial Calendar
Developing an editorial calendar is key to the actual execution of any content marketing strategy. It’s a documented regimen with a cohesive narrative of the content you create for your audience, displaying exactly what, when, and where you want them to find you. You probably won’t follow your calendar to the T, but if it exists, you will be far more consistent and disciplined in publishing content on a regular basis. Social media posts go hand in hand with other content, so your social strategy should be included and aligned with your editorial calendar.
A good editorial calendar should:
- Create a “content narrative,” aligning content with appropriate audience personals and buying cycle phases
- Clearly state the date each piece of content will be developed and distributed
- Outline when individual pieces of content will publish and on what platform
2. Get The Most Mileage Out of Content
One of the biggest challenges to content marketing aside from consistency is creating the volume necessary to make an impact. Creating original content is hard work and time consuming, so how is one supposed to create enough pieces to spread across multiple platforms?
Use the Rule of 5. Try to use one piece of content in five different ways, extending the life of your content across multiple platforms for use in multiple formats. When you know in advance that you need 4 additional content assets from any given project, you can produce your content with that in mind.
Let’s say you host a podcast. One episode can help you create:
- a transcript as blog post
- a filmed version of the podcast for YouTube
- a couple of scripts for slidecasts (LinkedIn)
- a white paper for a webinar on the same topic (with the original podcast episode as a bonus)
Additionally, you can take stills, sound bites, and transcripts to create social media assets.
Maximizing the visibility and scalability will reduce resource overhead while increasing volume and still providing value to your audience.
3. Measure Your Work
A content marketing strategy can’t be successful without measurements of growth to see what is and is not working. Develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are tied to the profit value of your content marketing strategy. These can include:
- Unique Visits
- Bounce Rates/Time Spent
- Page Views
- Comments/Social Sharing
- Mobile Use
- Conversion Rates
Leverage these best practices to create and implement a successful content marketing campaign. Your brand can really bolster down brand positioning and SEO while establishing long-term, trusted relationships with potential and current customers by delivering consistent, relevant, and high-value information to your audience.
Tell me what you think. How do you drive results with your brand’s content marketing program? Be sure to comment below or reach us on Twitter at @eleven_online.