Content is the lifeblood of search engines. It’s important to understand that content drives search engines, businesses and the people who visit the search engines. An optimized strategy using content marketing is vital for connecting to audiences and accomplishing your business goals. Here are six steps to identify and build your content marketing strategy.
Identify your objectives. Understanding what you are trying to accomplish within your organization is essential to determine what type of content and what type of content marketing strategy you should employ. Understanding your key performance indicators such as generating leads, increasing search traffic or building your social reach, will help determine the choice of content that you want to create. If you are a B2B company that is looking to generate leads, your approach will be drastically different than a B2C company that is focused on generating traffic and page views for display ads.
Identify your customer personas. The research that you begin with will be identifying your audience. Most digital marketers work to create customer personas, which help them visualize and create content for a particular person or group of people. Knowing what causes pain, what motivates, and what alienates this audience will ultimately trigger the value of the content, and more precisely, what you should be creating to help these customer personas.
Create your content plan. With your objectives and your ideal customer crystallized, you can now identify and determine the relevant content and content areas that you want to work with. Any content marketing strategy begins with thought leadership in the form of articles, blog posts, e-books, or any other copy-based materials.
If you’re able to determine your personas in the proper fashion, you can then utilize those pain points to create a content plan that not only speaks to those readers, but is available in the proper channels. For example, a female audience 25 to 34 may be more inclined to consume your content via social media or their mobile device. Therefore, you’ll need to make sure that your messaging is translatable across these digital channels.
Developing a promotion plan. With your content creation program in place, it’s now time to consider how you’ll get the message out to your audience. Your end users will often receive your messaging through drastically different channels. Consequently, each piece of content that you create needs to be promoted across all viable channels. Even more important is identifying the influencers in whom you will share your messaging first to help begin the process of promotion.
Engaging your audience. Since the process of content marketing is never-ending, you’ll want to have a plan of building your audience in parallel with building your content. Identifying social networks and building your community by listening, participating and sharing your thought leadership insights will help establish this process of engagement. Having a disciplined and detailed process is essential in order to create and build your audience engagement.
Measure your results. After creating all of this information, identifying your audience, and building an engagement strategy, a final vital component will be measuring your results. Knowing what resonates with your audience via your analytics, is the difference between old school marketing and digital marketing. Since we can track response and engagement of every communication that’s created, it’s critical to have a process of measurement in place that not only collects this data but creates usable insights that the marketer can leverage.
Once you collect your data it’s time to identify whether your objectives are being met. From this comes a consistent commitment to optimization throughout the content marketing chain. I often tell clients that the only unsuccessful content marketing plan is the one that is not testing and optimizing for results.
You can always learn from any piece of content you create. It’s up to you to establish a repeatable process so that you can mine your content for the clues that your audience is providing and for the key to the successful attainment of your objectives.