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Want to get the most out of your content marketing?
By now, we know that creating content is an essential part of a successful inbound marketing campaign, but unfortunately it takes a lot more than simply writing a few blog posts and hoping for the best.
A good strategy is an essential tool to help us achieve our goals effectively and efficiently – without it, things can easily drift off-course despite our best intentions.
After all, you wouldn’t consider climbing Mount Everest without a bit of careful planning first, would you? You’d want to map out your route, plan your rest stops, monitor the weather and have a back-up plan in case you ever got lost or needed help.
Content marketing is no different, as I’ve found out from many years of testing and analysing in the industry.
After all, your time is valuable, and you most likely cannot afford for all your hard work and marketing efforts to go to waste. I’d be concerned, too.
That’s why so many people ask me: ‘Kevin, what IS a content marketing strategy? You’ve made it work for so many businesses, but what does it actually involve?’ – which is why I thought I’d put together this blog post.
Essential ingredients for the perfect strategy
There are so many elements required for a good content marketing strategy – this is because your content marketing basically overlaps into so many other things, as such social media, and your overall inbound campaign.
Below are some of the basic ingredients you need to develop a solid content strategy:
1. Define your goals
The first step towards a successful content marketing strategy is to first determine why you need one – which goals can it help you achieve? Perhaps you’d like to generate more quality leads, faster. Or maybe you want to increase your revenue by a certain percentage.
2. Develop buyer personas
You may already have some relevant buyer personas, but if you don’t, it’s important to create them by analysing your existing customer data and pinpointing who your ideal buyer actually is. What do they care about and why? You should never shut the book on your buyer personas – you should be continually developing them as you slowly understand more about your audience/customers.
3. Research questions you need to answer
This will define the very heart of your content. Think about you and your team’s everyday experiences with talking to customers: what are the questions they ask you the most? What challenges or pain points do they face? These are the real gold that your prospects will be typing into Google search – you need to be the one to answer those questions.
4. Determine your keywords
Sit down with your team and identify which keyword groups you could ideally (and realistically) rank for, along with some relevant long-tail keywords you should be including in your content. Pinpointing these exact keywords could take a bit of research, but you could always try free tools such as KWFinder. Last but not least, always ensure you insert your keywords as naturally as possible within your content – Google’s algorithms are getting smarter every day.
5. Inventory existing content
Part of any successful content marketing strategy should always include taking stock of the content you already have. Is any of it relevant to your existing goals? Perhaps a few carefully added keywords or a clever CTA placement could make all the difference to that old content that’s otherwise just sitting there going to waste.
6. Create a content calendar
Now, it’s time for the real meat of your content strategy – planning out the titles and various types of content you’re going to produce, when it will be published, and the CTAs you’re going to use for each one. This should be in the form of a content calendar and should preferably cover the next three months at least. Use marketing automation software so that everything stays on-schedule and goes out to all the right channels.
7. Track content metrics and KPIs
Once your content has started going out, you can use that same marketing automation software to track various content metrics and KPIs, so you can find out what is working and what isn’t. You can use this as a tool to sharpen your keywords and overall effectiveness of your content strategy.
8. Analyse, test and optimise
Finally, inbound marketing is all about analysing, testing and optimising to ensure you’re getting the best possible results. Don’t be afraid to test new things out, but always pay close attention to what those metrics are telling you.
If you want to see the best results from your content marketing, you’re going to need a strategy in-place that will help you achieve your goals. Not sure what a content marketing strategy should look like? These are some of the essential ingredients you’ll need:
- Define your goals
- Develop buyer personas
- Research questions you need to answer
- Determine your keywords
- Inventory existing content
- Create a content calendar
- Track content metrics and KPIs
- Analyse, test and optimise