We all know that, these days, content is king! People are addicted to consuming content. They use the internet and social networks, search and read what interests or attracts their attention, and comment and share with their friends and followers.
And in business, if you want to outperform the competition you need to have a strong online presence and provide your target audience with relevant, quality content. The content you create serves three purposes:
It must communicate your message clearly
Inform and educate your readers about your business and how it will add value to their lives/business
Finally your content needs to persuade the audience to buy your product, or service, instead of your competition
But great content needs a great strategy, and that’s where content marketing comes in.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic approach that aims to create and distribute quality, fresh, current and consistent content created around the needs of your target audience.
Its ultimate goal is, of course, to attract your target audience and make a profit, but what everyone should strive for is to build a community from that chosen audience that achieves interaction and quality communication.
Content marketing is also an effective way to improve your online ranking and visibility on Google and other search engines.
When it comes to content marketing, according to Hubspot’s ‘Not Another State of Marketing Report’ published in 2020:
- 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing
- Video is the #1 form of media used in content strategy with promotional videos and brand storytelling being the most common videos created
- Facebook is the primary distribution channel and has the highest return on investment
- Photo and imagery posts are the most content type used to increase audience engagement
- Social listening is the #1 tactic used by marketers
- 33% of marketers use advertising to increase brand awareness
That’s all very well and good if you’re a big corporation with a whole marketing team working 24/7 on this, but if you’re a small business, or a start-up with big dreams and little or no budget how can you compete?
Content marketing strategy
As I mentioned before, content marketing is a strategic approach but to be successful in what you do, it is necessary to have a well-developed strategy, otherwise you are just wasting time.
Creating content is not an easy or simple job, it is time-consuming. And content that does not ‘reach out’ to, or have its own audience is completely meaningless and gets lost in the internet ether.
Cyber-space is awash with content, so your content must be high-quality, up-to-date and fresh, because there’s no sense in creating and posting content about something that’s “so last year darling!” That would be like me writing about the benefits Office 2020 has over Office 2010, it just doesn’t make sense.
So, how do you formulate a strategy that not only has you creating and posting consistently, but also provides you with the results you are looking for?
The 8-step content marketing strategy plan
These eight steps should help you prepare an effective content marketing strategy for your business:
The first and most basic requirement for planning a good content marketing strategy is to set a clearly defined set of goals, including the actions you want to achieve from the audience.
And whatever those goals are, it is important to strive for them, and the desire to achieve the goals drives you to action, work, planning and trying everything until you achieve them.
Create a plan
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”
To reach your goals it is necessary to plan. However, plans should be flexible because like life, things are always prone to change. If a plan fails, or proves to be not the best course of action, they can always be adjusted or changed to keep you on track to achieving your goals.
A quality plan and a developed strategy can make a loser a winner, and help you stand out from the competition.
And remember, you can change a plan, but never a goal!
The next step is identifying your target audience. In other words, the group of people who are you ideal customers. This is where creating customer avatars comes in handy.
Having a clear picture of your target audience on social media will help you in the creation of both relevant and useful content, which should help bring more traffic to your website and improve your search engine visibility.
By knowing who your audience is, you can research exactly what they want, which topics they find interesting and which type of content is the best form of communication.
Do you have a clear vision of what needs to be achieved?
When branding, it’s very important to define, at an early stage, what the company’s brand means and to think long-term and strategically about the possible development of the brand.
Your company should publish regular content about the services you offer, so that your audience can get a clear picture of you and shape their opinions.
Thoughtful brand development will help in the long run, while insufficiently or incorrectly developed brands may have to through a rebranding exercise further down the line, which is both expensive and inconvenient.
Previously I listed 10 positive effects that social media has on your business, and whether you like it or not your business needs to have a presence on one, or more, social media platforms, be that Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or one of the many others.
These platforms play a significant role in both expanding and promoting small businesses, so it’s important to include social media marketing in your overall content marketing strategy.
The most important thing is to choose the right social media platform based on your target audience. You do not have to be on every single social media platform out there, narrow it down to the top 2 or 3.
Once you have chosen your platform(s), and created a social media content plan, you should start publishing content regularly, or at fixed intervals.
My last blog talked about the importance of a business blog. Creating and promoting your business blog is a very important part of your content marketing strategy, as it can improve your online visibility and result in more followers.
Again, create your blog content with your target audience in mind, e.g., what are their pain points, what are their likes and dislikes, what do you want them to learn, etc. It should also be unique and relevant to your services.
Sharing blogs, and social posts created from your blog, on social media helps generate traffic to your website, which in turn creates opportunities to turn followers into customers.
The best thing about creating original, useful and relevant content, such as blog posts, is that it stays on your website indefinitely and will not lose importance over time.
Content that is shared on your website, such as a blog, video, or any other form is cost effective and an opportunity to generate more leads. This is because you can use recycle this content on social media.
It is advisable, however, to do thorough research before creating content, and also bear in mind the requirements and preferences of your target audience.
How many times have you heard: “It’s all about lists”?
If you already have an email list, great. If you haven’t, work out ways you can capture this information. Maybe, create a free pdf that you can get people to sign up for on your website. This is a very simple way to capture emails.
Once you have ‘a list’, sending a weekly, or monthly newsletter to your audience has always helped build brand loyalty. It’s also another cost effective way of content marketing for small businesses.
When sending your newsletter, you should always add social media icons at the bottom to allow your audience to connect with you more easily and quickly on social media.
A word of warning though, be sure to adhere to GDPR and other statutory criteria related to the protection of personal data when creating user lists.
Content marketing is a very effective way to promote your brand in a good way. It helps expand your business, attract new customers and strengthen your relationship with existing customers.
Now I’d like to hear from you
Do you have a content marketing strategy? If not, why not?
Would you add anything else to this list?
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.
Kook Content helps businesses with blogs and content transformation, the art of creating many pieces of content from one, to improve their brand awareness and online presence.
If you’d like support with your blogs and content, email us today.
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