Friday, September 5, 2014

3:21 AM

Create a Content Marketing Strategy

Create a Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing should be a core component of your marketing plan as it's one of the best ways to reach people on the internet while building your brand.

So many businesses, both B2C and B2B, are increasing their spend on content marketing and this shows just how demand is increasing for this kind of marketing.

What are your goals?

Before you begin planning your strategy you should consider your goals. What do you want your content marketing efforts to achieve?

Content marketing can benefit the following areas:
  • Brand awareness 
  • Social media 
  • Public relations 
  • Search engine optimization 
  • Directly converting to sales or leads 
Either your aim is to get your website to the top spot in Google within the next three months or if it's simply to reach more customers with your brand, content marketing can help.

What is content?

Content can be anything from a 5000 word eBook you give away to your blog readers (to show off your expertise and build your brand) or it could be a guest post on a well-known blog (for SEO and social benefits).

You need to make sure your content, whatever it is, fulfils your goals in some way. There's no point in putting out a fun article that's tenuously linked to your business when your goal is to directly convert sales – even if the article does get shared hundreds of times.

Content can also be media such as videos, pictures and audio clips. Again, this all depends on your type of business and the goals you're working towards.

Things to consider

Google is getting very good at identifying content that's been placed on other websites simply to manipulate PageRank. If SEO is your goal, don't try to fit specific keywords into the body of your article and don't try to employ all those little SEO tricks you may have learned over the last five years. The chances are, they don't work anymore.

Instead, write high-quality content that people will want to read and share. A link back to your website in an author bio is generally okay but don't try to be too clever with this. Where possible, also include a link to your Google+ profile under your name using the rel=author tag. Most websites will now do this as a matter of course but it's always worth asking when you submit your post.

You'll also need to do your part to share your content. When working out how much time you need to spend on content marketing, don't just think about how long it takes to create that content. You should also be sharing it across your social channels; creating accompanying graphics — where necessary; repackaging the content for social media; and promoting the websites the content is going onto.

In terms of repackaging your content for social media, you should consider ways to get your content to work really hard for you. This might be as simple as summarizing a helpful blog post into bullet points for Facebook or it might mean creating a tutorial video to go along with the how-to guide you've written.

What are your audience looking for?

You'll need to know your audience well and if you don't then now is perhaps the time to research your demographics and target market.

When you know who you're trying to reach you can see what kind of content they're interested in Are they the kinds of people who enjoy long gif-based articles on Buzzfeed or would they rather spend an hour reading the latest white paper on technological developments in their area of business.

When you know what kind of content your audience enjoys reading and is actively seeking out, you can work to create exactly what they're after. This ensures that someone who is truly interested in what you've got to say will see your content.

How to put the plan into action 

You need to realize that content marketing isn't a quick fix. It's not always easy to get content on a website and even when a site owner agrees to it, they may have a backlog of posts to put live.

Also, it may take some time for your content, once live, to really make some impact. Be patient, keep sharing and you'll get the response you're after.

Put a timeline into your strategy showing when different articles and media will go out. Liaise with the different departments who will be managing aspects of this and make sure they know what they are doing. Ask for feedback on a weekly/monthly basis to ensure everything stays on schedule.

You should also track which pieces of content are working hardest to achieve your goals as this will help you to refine your content plan in the future.

Rich Rankin is Head of Marketing at Crush Digital and has been an online marketing specialist for more than 8 years. With experience working both client and agency side, Rich is passionate about developing a brand’s online reputation and driving new business from the web.