Today, content marketing is the ‘pivotal point’ or basis of everything you do online, the key to achieving better visibility, higher search engine ranking, and brand recognition. Every company with a presence online, whether B2B or B2C, must have an effective content marketing strategy in order to compete and experience success on the Internet. What is content marketing, how do you develop a strategy, and how can you measure the results of your efforts? These are a few of the questions we will address in this article.
Content comes in many forms, from text-based articles, website pages, blog posts, and ebooks/reports and white pages to videos and webinars. Ultimately, content marketing is the technique of creating content that is relevant and valuable to a clearly defined target audience, content that is engaging and works to attract potential leads/customers and is distributed to relevant websites and networks where the content will be consumed, shared, and linked to.
The objective of creating unique, engaging content is to attract and acquire prospective new customers through the distribution of compelling content that communicates the value of your company, product, or service to your target audience.
It’s important to note that content marketing is NOT spamming via article directories, creating hundreds or thousands of blog posts, videos, or infographics that are short and boring for the sake of creating content.
Regardless of whether the goal of your content is to educate, inform, or increase curiosity, it must be designed for the purpose of consumption by those in your industry or niche. By continuously creating content that is meant to further inform and engage your target audience, relationships develop and trust in your company grows.
Before jumping into the creation of content, it’s essential to have a game plan. A few questions you should ask yourself to help you determine the direction to go with your strategy include:
What is the most important goal you hope to achieve?
Perhaps you want to generate new leads, increase conversions, or build traffic or brand awareness.
Who is your target audience, and where do they congregate online?
What is your budget in terms of time and money, and what ROI do you expect at certain intervals, such as two, three, or five years?
Have you identified your KPIs (key performance indicators)?
KPIs could be building backlinks to your website, increasing visitor engagement, even increasing the SEO value of your website or blog.
Once you have determined your most important goals, where your target audience is, and their biggest need/pain, develop a content calendar. Creating fresh content at regular intervals is essential in reaching success through your content marketing efforts. In addition, every piece of content you release should have a very specific intent or purpose. Will it be used to generate leads, increase awareness of a new product/service, to generate trust in or awareness of your brand, or simply to further help or educate existing and potential customers?
Without measuring and analysing your efforts, it’s impossible to know which aspects of your content marketing are effective, what can be improved upon, and what may be a waste of precious time and money.
Social media is an integral part of every content marketing plan – or at least it should be. For many businesses, a large portion of their target audience participates in social media. So, given that promoting your content via social media and using various networks as distribution channels helps you reach a wider audience, it just makes sense you would leverage the insights and analytics social media has to offer. Some of these include:
These are just a few examples. In terms of analysing the traffic on your website or blog, there are many tools that are effective for this including Google Analytics. The point is, it’s vital to determine which pieces of content are generating the most interest, which are getting the most “shares” and “re-tweets,” an overall view of how your efforts are engaging your target audience.
When you can measure which types of content are engaging your audience and generating the most interest, you have essential knowledge that works to help you create more of the content your readers want. Content marketing is key for every type of business and industry today; are you participating?