Content marketing is different from traditional advertising because it does not directly promote the products or services your business offers. Instead, it involves developing and distributing informative content—such as blog posts, articles, and infographics—that is relevant to the needs of your customers. If you want to incorporate content marketing into your business strategy, start by creating a plan for building and distributing your content. Identify the needs of your clients so that you can target your content directly to them. Once you create some high-quality content, you’ll need to distribute and promote it so that it reaches your audience effectively.
EditDeveloping Your Marketing Strategy
- Create a business plan for content marketing. Doing content marketing effectively requires time, money, and skill. Spend some time thinking about factors like how much of a budget you have for content marketing and how many people you may need to hire or train to create and distribute your content. If you are not the sole proprietor or manager of your business, work with other members of your team to develop a strategy.
- Your plan should focus on factors such as what you hope to accomplish with content marketing, how you plan to achieve your goals, and what your projected budget will be.
- Identify the needs of your audience. Content marketing is only effective if it is directly relevant to the people most likely to use your products and services. Do some research to determine what kinds of content would be most helpful to your primary user base.
- For example, if your company sells children’s toothpaste, your audience is probably mostly parents who are looking for content related to their kids’ dental health and hygiene.
- Read industry reports about the people most likely to use your product or service and what kinds of information and content they tend to seek.
- Decide what story you want to tell with your content. The content you create should be relevant not only to your users, but also to the mission of your business. Think about what kinds of values and messages you want your content to embody, and choose a few themes that you’d like to focus on.
- For example, if you sell products that are eco-friendly, you might focus on creating content about how customers can go green and reduce their carbon footprints.
- Determine the best channels for distributing your content. You’ll need to ensure that your content actually reaches your audience in order for it to be effective. Do some research on your target demographic and the types of media they tend to consume.
- For example, younger consumers are more likely to use social media or browse informative blogs, while you might reach an older audience more effectively through email lists or even a print magazine or newsletter.
- Document your marketing strategy. Writing down your strategy can help you stay focused. If there are multiple employees in your organization, having formal documentation of your content marketing approach is also a good way to keep everyone on the same page. You might include specifics such as:
- The target audience for your content
- The key themes or stories you want your content to focus on
- Your strategy for developing the content (e.g., hiring writers or designers or working with a content marketing firm)
- How you intend to distribute the content
EditCreating Quality Content
- Build content that is useful and relevant to your clients. A funny listicle about celebrity facial hair or a series of cute cat videos might get plenty of views and likes, but they won’t do you much good unless they’re relevant to your business and to your clients’ needs. Instead, focus on content that reflects your core values and directly helps your target audience.
- For example, if you own a landscaping business, you might do a series of blog posts about how to stock a garden fish pond, or you could create an infographic about preventing soil erosion.
- Don’t just promote your product or service—that’s what traditional advertising is for. Instead, focus on providing something of true value to your current and potential customers.
- Make your content engaging. Content that is fun and interesting is more likely to attract and hold your audience’s interest than basic, stripped-down information. To make your content compelling, you might incorporate humor or find ways to appeal to your audience’s emotions. Content that is visually interesting can also grab your audience’s attention.
- For example, if you sell photography equipment, consider doing a video that offers nature photography tips and shows a professional photographer in action. Pick a breathtaking landscape and get some beautiful shots of your guest star at work.
- You could also add a human-interest element and connect with your audience on a personal level by having your pro photographer tell a story about what photography means to them.
- Keep your content substantive but streamlined. Consumers love content that’s rich in information, but concise enough that they can consume it quickly and easily. Look at your content and consider how you can condense it by using words economically, sticking to simple formats like bulleted lists, and using informative headings.
- Choosing the best length for your content depends on a lot of factors. For example, lengthier written content tends to show up higher in Google search results. On the other hand, mobile users tend to be looking for content that’s shorter and easier to digest quickly.
- Edit your content carefully. Content that’s poorly edited and full of mistakes will seem less credible to your audience. Go over your content and make sure that it’s coherent, well-sourced, accurate, and free of grammatical and spelling errors.
- Additionally, double check to make sure your content is formatted correctly and easy to read or view. Even if the content itself is great, bad formatting can frustrate and alienate your audience.
- Work with experienced content creators. If you don’t have a lot of experience with building your own content, consider hiring someone who does. Reach out to people in your professional network and see if they can recommend excellent writers, graphic designers, or publishing experts who are familiar with the type of work your business does.
- If you don’t have the budget to hire content creators full-time, consider working with freelancers or a content marketing firm.
- Look at samples of any potential content creator’s work to determine if they’re a good fit for your business and the kind of image you’d like to build for your company.
- Improve your content based on how it performs. Creating good content is an ongoing process. You’ll need to keep an eye on how your content is performing and make adjustments based on what you see. In addition to looking at basic metrics like how many visits, shares, and likes your content gets, it’s also important to consider what your audience is actually saying about it. If your content isn’t performing the way you want it to, make changes based on the feedback you get and keep checking for signs of improvement.
- If audiences seem to think your content is stale or boring, mix it up and try something new. Look at popular content from other successful businesses for inspiration.
EditGetting Your Content Out There
- Make use of social media promotion tools. Simply creating good content is not enough—you need to make sure it gets seen. Social media marketing is a great way to get your content out into the world. In addition to using paid services like Facebook’s “Boost Post” tool, you can also promote your content by:
- Sharing it in relevant spaces. For example, if you’re a wedding planner, share your blog posts in discussion groups for brides-to-be.
- Tagging it appropriately. Proper use of hashtags can make your content easier to find and help it show up more prominently in web searches and on social media sites. In addition to using general tags (like #weddingideas), choose more specific ones as well (such as #cakeinspiration).
- Promoting your content on multiple platforms. Don’t just stick to Facebook and Twitter—share it in as many places as possible. Depending on your clientele, you might also make use of sites like Tumblr, YouTube, LinkedIn, or Reddit.
- Use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to bring in visitors. When people do web searches for terms related to your content, you want your work to appear as close to the top of the results as possible. You can hire an SEO agency to optimize your website for you, but there are also things you can on your own do to improve search engine results. For example, you can:
- Get links to your content from other relevant, popular, and authoritative websites.
- Give your content pages unique, specific titles (e.g., “FishWorld Inc.’s Ultimate Guide to Keeping Loaches”).
- Provide clear descriptions of your content in the meta tags, link text, alternative image descriptions, and headers.
- Incorporate structured data code to improve the way your content appears in search engine results.
- Keep your URLs simple and descriptive.
- Engage directly with your audience to build meaningful connections. Your customers (and potential customers) will feel a more genuine connection with your business if you interact with them directly. Instead of just throwing your content out there into the void and waiting for shares and likes, take time to respond to people’s questions and comments. You can even invite comments on your posts or offer prompts to get a conversation going.
- For example, if you’ve made a video on how to bake vegan cookies using your line of organic ingredients, end the video by inviting your viewers to share their favorite recipes in the comments.
- If your customers use your comment section as a place to complain or vent about their dissatisfaction with your product or service, offer a sincere apology and invite them to work with you to find a satisfactory solution.
- Tap into your business network to promote each other’s content. Connecting with other professionals in businesses adjacent to yours can help you tap into each other’s client bases and mutually increase the visibility of your content. You could tag a fellow expert in your field in an article, share their work with your own audience (if you think it’s relevant), invite them to be a guest poster on your blog, or volunteer to write a guest post for them. If you engage in this way, others in your network are more likely to reciprocate and help you promote your own content!
- Other ways to engage with fellow professionals in your network include commenting on their content and honestly reviewing their products.
- Keep your content feed active, even if you don’t have new material. If you go for a long time without producing new content, your audience may lose interest and stop paying attention to what you’re doing. Keep things going by interspersing new content with older work and even relevant content shared from other sources. That way, your customers will always have something to look at.
- Reposting some of your best work can help revive interest in it and bring in more views. This can be especially helpful if your audience or client base has grown a lot since you initially posted the content, since newer readers or viewers may not have seen it before.
- Create links between your content pieces. Using internal links is a great way to draw additional attention to your content. If you have a particularly popular piece of content, sprinkle it liberally with relevant links to your other work. This will encourage visitors to explore and discover more of your content.
- For example, if you own a pet store and you have a popular article on caring for goldfish, try linking it to a video you just did about setting up a coldwater fish tank.
- It takes time and commitment to see results from content marketing. If your content doesn’t get a lot of attention right away, don’t give up. You may need to devote a lot of time to creating and distributing quality content before it starts to catch on.
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