Expert Secrets: How to Develop a Content Strategy

Competition in content marketing is now getting tougher each year. Surveys are showing that 70% of marketers are creating more content in 2017 than they did last year. This is a great time to developer a good content strategy if you are new to content marketing or just revisit your old strategy if you’ve been using it for a while. Staying innovative and up-to-date is more important than ever.

To ensure that you are one step ahead of the competition is to have a smart and rock solid content marketing plan that you can execute step by step.

In a nutshell, content marketing is a marketing program that focuses on creating and publishing content and it is aimed at your target audience. The audience is usually online and the main goal is to attract new customers. The main elements of content marketing are blogs, social networks, and content assets like eBooks, tools, and webinars.

Why Your Business Needs A Content Strategy?

Content marketing might seem like a lot of work for someone when compared to other marketing methods that provide faster gratification (like PPC). In a lot of cases, content marketing is used when a company finds that those other methods are ineffective or expensive. For example, you are using PPC as a main marketing method to generate leads for your business. Let’s say that you get 500 new leads each month for $5,000 ad spend. This might be fine but then you are stuck paying that much money every single month if you want to keep the leads coming in.

content marketing stats

You can compare this to blogging and content marketing where you make the post and then link to your product or service from that article. Visitors will come in and become a lead at, let’s say, 2% conversion rate. That means if 100 visitors read that post, you would get 2 leads out of it. The great thing about content marketing is that your job is done now. That same blog post will continue to generate leads year after year.

Now you can see how content marketing can set your business up for a consistent and cost-effective traffic that doesn’t require any attention or money to be kept going. You don’t want to completely stop all your other marketing activities and just switch to content marketing cold turkey. Content marketing should complement your overall marketing strategy and everything should work together synergistically.

 

What is Content Strategy?

Content strategy is the main piece of your marketing plan and it is basically the management of everything that you create. Content creation is one of the key pieces of content strategy but it needs to be well-planned and also executed the right way. Here are some of the things that you should take into the account when developing a content strategy:

  • The kind of formats you’ll be using
  • What problem are you going to solve
  • Who is your target audience
  • Where will you publish your content
  • When will you post your content

A good content strategy will help your business to prepare and plan for a cost-effective and reliable source of traffic that will generate new leads over time. Content marketing is so cheap and effective because you can create a single piece of content that is linked to your product or service and it will continue to generate leads for your business as time goes on.

You can leave your evergreen content and it will keep generating new leads for you and then you can experiment with other marketing strategies like PPC, social media, and sponsored content. Not only will your content attract potential leads and customers, but it will also educate and nurture future prospects which is an important piece of the puzzle. Good content will generate awareness for your brand and educate your prospects and solve their problem which will, in turn, make them become your potential customer because they now trust you and they see you as an authority in the industry. It’s all about moving leads through a funnel and stages which end in a recurring customer and good piece of content will make the entry of your funnel as efficient as possible.

Define Your Content Marketing Goal

The only way to know that what you’re doing is working is to measure the impact of your content marketing. You must have clearly-defined goals and without them, you might produce great content but it is little more than noise and it is not going to get you the results that you are looking for. Goals are usually highly individualized, but there are several goals that you should keep in mind when you are about to create and publish new content.

The first goal is developing brand awareness. This is where the audience sees your content and follows you back. A lot of businesses see brand awareness as a top priority and that’s because quality content shows your expertise. Admittedly, the impact of brand awareness is hard to measure. There are a few ways to show positive performance. You can use surveys on your customers where you ask them how they heard about you. Another way is to use your website traffic and check analytics. If you have Google Analytics installed, you can check “Direct” channel and it will give you a number of people who arrived at your website by using a bookmark, entering the URL into the address bar or used an email link. You can also look at search volume data in Keyword Planner and check if the volume of your branded searches increased over time.

website traffic

The second goal is driving traffic to your website. In this case, you should nurture the relationship with your prospects with valuable content and move the lead towards the end of the funnel. For this goal, you can publish videos that will send traffic to a landing page or post on social media where you link back to your website. You can also post articles where you’ll have a call to action button that leads the visitor to an opt-in page.

You might want to generate sales leads with your content marketing and this is where you convert blog traffic into leads. This is usually where a lead fills out some form or opts-in in order to gain access to your content. This is where you use case studies, eBooks, white papers, and show solution demos of your product.

The two main KPIs to look for are the number of generated leads and the conversion rate of landing pages. You can track conversion rates in your Google Analytics account by going to “Goals” and adding one. You need to select “Event” because it can identify specific actions on your website. You can check out the tutorial by Google on how to set up event goals here.

goals

The last goal could be converting leads into customers. This is where you should really focus on the quality of your content. This is where you already have the lead in the funnel but now you have to try to generate revenue from those leads. You are basically nurturing those leads and trying to close the deal. Some of the relevant content, in this case, might include trials, case studies, retargeting ads, infographics, and value-driven content.

You should be looking at the conversion rate for each content campaign and perhaps how long do you need to close those leads. Your content should be sending leads to a high-converting landing page or maybe trying to get them on the phone so your sales team can close them. You can use the same goal tracking as described above.

Generate New Content Ideas

One of the best ways to come up with ideas for your content marketing is finding out what’s working for others. Many people are tracking their competitors’ content and checking what works and what doesn’t. When doing research, you should look at:

  • What content is getting backlinks
  • What is trending
  • What type of content are the big brands using
  • What keywords are earning the most money
  • Who follows whom on social media

If a lot of people are linking to a specific piece of content, then that probably means that it is worth sharing and linking to. You can use sites like Majestic or Ahrefs to see which pages are getting the most links and from where are those links coming from.

This way you can steal the topics and types of content that are working really well and attracting a lot of traffic and shares.

To check what is trending just head over to Google Trends. There, just type in the keywords that you want and see which one is trending.

google trends

You can easily track brand mentions with Google Alerts which will help you see when their content is earning attention around the web. This way you can also easily find link opportunities.

Use Similar Web to see the keywords that your competitors are using to get traffic and what their referring sites are. You can use this info as a seed for the content you can create. Head over to Followerwonk and see who your competitor is following on Twitter. You can use BuzzSumo to see what content is popular on social media. Another trick that you can use on Facebook is to type into the search bar “Pages liked by people who like (brand)” and you will find a bunch of pages and interests that those followers may like.

Decide Which Types of Content You’ll Use

If you think that content marketing is just about writing blogs, then you are wrong. When you implement new types of content, you will see the difference right away – targeted visitors, fresh traffic, and better SEO. Different types of content suit different brands differently so don’t think that you have to try out all of them. If you never published a specific type of content then don’t be afraid to try new stuff, just start small and work your way up. There are many types of content that you can use and we’ll outline just a few below.

Infographics

Infographics present information in a visual way. They get viewed and shared more than other content types and, with it, you can present your information in a beautiful and visual format. You can use infographics for pretty much anything and there are no limitations on ideas or concept that you can present in them. The key to making a content with infographic work and even go viral is to make it really good and shareable. This is not an instance where you should be cheap.

Videos

Videos can be very persuasive and there’s no limit on what you can do with it. Videos communicate a message in a memorable way and people love them. You can make videos in so many ways – an explainer video, an office tour, or anything else that you want but keep in mind that videos aren’t supposed to be very long so keep them about 2-3 minutes long. Be sure to put it both on YouTube and Vimeo. Making a good video is not cheap so just start small.

youtube

Guides

You can use guides to create a long piece of content. It must go beyond a usual blog post in terms of style and length. Guides can become your most popular piece of content so make sure that you put the effort in. It all starts with a good idea on what your audience want and the writer needs to be able to produce great content so make sure that you hire the right person for the job. You can also collect email addresses in the blog by asking people to subscribe to your email list in exchange for the entire guide or something else. The last key component is the visual side. Get a capable designer on your team because the readability, layout, and presentation is very important.

CONCLUSION

Content marketing takes time, creativity, and organization. You should approach content marketing from a perspective that puts your customers and their wants and needs before your own. When you do this, you will show people that you care about them and people like to support people they like and companies that they view as an authority.

It’s easy to talk about your company later on once you build a connection and a relationship with your audience. If you do content marketing right, people will be drawn to you and will support you. Nobody said that content marketing is easy but it is well worth your time and investment. With it, you are setting yourself up for success and with tips in this article, you will be off to a fantastic start.