This guide explains how to plan a content marketing strategy and build an audience for your brand online, by using content to position your business.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing, as we will be using the term, means creating content which helps to market your brand and its products. This helps your customers find your brand and engage with it to learn more about your products, services, and other content, such as how-to guides and videos.
The types of content you create will depend on what you want to achieve – including sales and brand awareness. If you’re not sure, start small. Some of the best ways to create and plan a content marketing strategy for your business may be simple. Such as a weekly video recorded on your phone.
Blogging, maintaining a business blog, can also be an important part of your content marketing strategy.
How to use content marketing
Content marketing has the power to convert any business into a digitally connected business. It’s a key to your long term success. A highly-targeted audience helps to connect with them in the most effective way, including potential customers, readers, and fans.
When you write about a niche topic, or use social media platforms to share your insights and expertise with a wide audience, you give potential customers information to make their purchasing decisions easier and allow your business to be discovered by those who want what you offer.
Planning your content marketing strategy
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. You need to put the planning work in, so you can find a strategy that fits your business. Know what you have to offer and don’t just focus on the price. Think about how you can plan a content marketing strategy, and what you can offer that isn’t being done. This will help you frame your offering better.
Also, you should think about all of your existing customer touch points and how you can leverage them. You’ll want to pick a niche that you’re confident your brand can offer value in. Your unique selling point is the reason your customers buy your products or services from you.
Understand your audience
Your content marketing strategy will be based around a brief about your target audience and where your brand fits in. Consider who you’re targeting and who you’re communicating with.
Don’t just create content for your customer base, you need to reach a wide audience and provide value to those you’re marketing to.
Define your brand’s voice
The first step when you plan a content marketing strategy, is to identify and define your brand’s voice. The company you work for or for yourself can have a voice, too. Creating a brand voice means presenting your company or brand in a way that speaks to your unique product or service offering.
To begin, think about how you like to present yourself and your business to the world. You’re a writer? Write for your business or brand’s voice. You’re a media-savvy business owner? You need to market through blogging, videos, podcasts, videos, social media, email newsletters, and other media.
You’re an avid fan of a certain sports team? Blog, promote, and share articles and pictures relating to your team or your team’s role in your business.
Build your website
A good place to start is with your own website, or a website that you can set up for free to market your business. A website lets you: Define your brand. If your business is multi-faceted, your website should be too. So what is your brand? How do you position it?
What problems does it solve? Identify your target audience. If you don’t know your target audience yet, you’re in good company. Most businesses don’t know who their target audience is. And if you’re only in the market to sell something, you can forget about it.
Everyone in your market is selling something too. Focus on features, not features Make sure your website doesn’t focus on features.
Determine your content marketing goals
When you plan a content marketing strategy, the first thing you need to do is determine your goals for content marketing and determine which strategy will help you reach them. Look at your business and examine the types of information you need to share with your customers in order to accomplish your business goals.
If you’re a travel company, for example, you might want to share information on travel deals and hotel savings. The more people know about your business, the more your audience can help you achieve your goals.
With your goals identified, your next step is to develop a content marketing strategy. Once you have a plan in place, you can narrow in on the type of content you need to publish to reach your goals. Begin by considering a list of various types of content you could publish.
Figure out what the value of your content will be to your audience. Determine how you can position your brand to the best effect. Once you have decided on your strategy, think about who is likely to read your content, how you will get the word out, and what you need to deliver in order to build a business-specific audience.
Create a content calendar
Creating a content calendar can help you plan a content marketing strategy in advance. Your content calendar will outline a mixture of visual and written pieces, such your business blogging and ebooks. It’s a simple way to get inspired by all the different opportunities that you could take advantage of online to promote your business.
Research, research, research! It’s really important to research everything you can about content marketing to stay ahead of the competition. A good place to start is researching different content management strategies that others have used, which will enable you to get more updates on how content is performing online.
- Share your content on social media
Share your content on social media
Use your social media profiles to promote your content, so your target market can access your offers. Marketing across various social media channels like Instagram, Facebook and others is an excellent way to drive traffic to your website and increase sales or enquiries.
Once you get customers, it’s important to use them to promote your brand’s other products. That’s the best way to promote your content and business online, and increase your search engine rankings.
Engage with your audience
If you want to stand out from the crowd, engage with your audience. Interact with your customers on social media in an authentic way. A good way to increase engagement is to ask for feedback and answer questions.
Consider starting your marketing with customer service and education. Also consider content that speaks to your core audience, such as lists, case studies or a how-to guide.
Hire content writers
The best way to create content is to find the right people to write the content and hire them on a project-by-project basis. But, with time and money at a premium, you may have trouble finding the right people to work with you.
So, you need to take another approach, and hire content writers on a freelance basis. Once you find a content writer to work with, you need to keep an eye on the number of their clients and the amount of content that they create.
Measure and analyse your results
Once you have the strategy in place, you need to be able to monitor your effectiveness and build the audience. You should also work out what success would look like and how you will measure its performance. Will it be using Google Search Console, or keeping track of social media audience, Google Analytics?
This is important because it will show whether you’re on the right track and can improve your content marketing plan. You should continue to build and adjust your content marketing strategy based on results you have received to date.
Having a content marketing strategy is at the heart of brand awareness and engaging your customers on a personal level. However before you can create your brand’s online presence, it’s important to get a handle on the tools at your disposal and plan a content marketing strategy.
Using the right content marketing strategies can drive a surge in traffic to your site, increasing your conversions and generating sales. If you’re going to make content a regular part of your marketing strategy, you need to know how to successfully create it to promote your business.