If you are a content marketer focused on growth then you need to have a content marketing strategy. Having a content marketing strategy is proven to generate leads, increase sales, and build engagement with your customers. It’s not only marketing and advertising executives who’ve seen the benefits of a content marketing campaign. Small business owners need to stay away from scam companies if they want to see success.
If content marketing isn’t a part of your overall marketing strategy, you are behind the times. You should think about hiring a content marketer to help with content creation and content promotion. Blue Water Marketing can help with creating a marketing strategy to fit your goals, but we have also compiled a content strategy checklist to help you start on your own.
Content Marketing Definition
Content marketing is a method of marketing based on the creation of relevant content for the intended audience. I will include a specific call-to-action—usually to attract and retain customers. Content marketing has proven to be effective in attracting prospects and customers on a consistent basis.
The demand for valuable and useful content is greater now than ever before, but producing high-quality content requires a significant about of time. You will need to do extensive research, create quality pieces of content writing, ensure SEO is accurate, and of course upload it, especially when you don’t have a team helping you.
Whether you want to improve your social media influence, build a loyal blog post audience or achieve any other marketing goal, you should use this checklist to help build and measure your efforts.
1. Identified Target Audience’s Needs
Identifying your audience’s needs is critical to your success. Valuable content creation requires that you know what your customers’ needs are and produce content for them.
There are hundreds of millions of pieces of content out on a search engine. If you’re not speaking the language of your audience, they won’t read yours. You will need to research what type of content they respond to best.
Content that isn’t aligned with buyers’ needs is associated with a 44% failure rate of any marketing strategy. That’s why it’s crucial to fully understand the needs of your target audience prior to writing your first blog post draft.
Define Target Audience’s Needs
Create a survey: Surveys can be prepared online or offline. There are numerous simple tools for taking feedback and comments about a subject.
Know what your target audience is looking for or wanting to know, will help you grow your content and traffic.
2. Redefine Your Content Strategy
When you have a content marketing campaign it is important to have a defined content marketing strategy, complete with specific goals. When you publish one-off articles that are absent of a proper strategy-backed campaign, it is the equivalent of spinning your wheels. You will expend effort but get no closer to your goals.
Your content strategy should be developed and deployed based on the information about your target audience. You will want to attract, engage and connect with your target audience.
- Attract: There are a multitude of ways that you can attract your target audience
Data-driven posts (see below) are a powerful tool for building authority with your readers. You must be sure to authoritative data, and prove where you found the data. This is especially helpful for local businesses to gain that step above the others.
- Engage: Do not waste your time on content is merely attracting people to your page. You want to be engaging with them. If you are not engaging you might experience a high bounce rate and might even be penalized by Google.
Do not make the mistake many business owners do. You do not want to build a content strategy around producing a piece of content and not considering how the content will engage with readers and lead them to a specific action.
- Connect: Connecting emotionally with your targeted audience is another way to attract attention.
3. Create A Content Map
A content map will help you to stay focused on your goals as you start to plan your content. Think of it as a kind of Google map that keeps you on the right path. It will also immediately helps you retrace your steps if you get off track and unfocused.
Questions you should be asking:
- What should be the reader’s biggest takeaway, after reading this content?
- How do I make this appealing to my target audience?
- Where do I need to utilize media and what type of media?
- Do I create content myself or will I need help?
- Should I outsource, and if so, how much do I outsource or pay?
- How can I repurpose content?
If you are still needing help you can try the process of concept mapping. This is where related ideas and concepts produce a graphic image showing the connection between ideas.
4. Address Customers’ FAQ
In order to create a successful content marketing campaign, the best way is to gain customer insights and understand the needs of your target audience.
FAQs are a list of questions that your audience will most likely ask about what you’re offering, combined with your answers to those questions. An FAQ is used to reduce the number of questions coming into your team.
5. Site Readability
There is no point in providing great content if your users can’t read it. Some basic rules to give your customers a pleasurable viewing experience with your blog posts and content is to have it properly tagged and use the correct font.
- Tag properly: The main topic should be your first level heading or H1. Subtopics should be heading level two or H2 and so forth down to H3, H4 or H5.
- Font face: Even though there are thousands of fonts available, you’ve got to be careful in choosing among them. You obviously want fonts that are really easy for the user to read, but also that are readily available on all devices.
6. Visually Appealing Images
Zabisco states that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. On top of that visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. Don’t use stock photos for your post.
7. Attention Grabbing Openings & Paragraphs
On average, the headline is read five times as often as the body of the post. Clearly, your opening paragraph, as well as the rest of your content plays a part in getting your valuable content read.
If you are looking at previously written blog posts that do not have attention grabbing openings, you might need to do a content audit. The content audit is just that. It is an audit of your content to see if it meets your new brand standards.
Some ways to open your post includes:
- Open with a story.
- Start with a confession.
Other points to consider as you create your search engine successful openings:
- Do not write misleading openings.
- Paragraphs need to be well spaced.
- Test varying paragraph lengths. A good rule of thumb is a minimum of two lines, with a maximum of eight lines.
8. Data-Driven Content Increase Credibility
Your piece of content will be deemed authoritative when it’s backed up with accurate facts and supporting information.
- Gather data from an influencer.
- Sign up for Google alerts. Stay abreast of trends, by signing up for Google alerts.
Whenever there’s news on a topic that you’re following you will receive an email from Google You can then bookmark these pages for future reference regarding content.
9. Optimize For SEO
Yes, you do. SEO’s importance can’t be overestimated.
While the tips listed will not automatically rank your post at the top of Google’s SERPs, they can increase the chances of your post being found on Google. Creating more organic search traffic to your content.
- Keyword research:
- On-page SEO:
- You should make sure to properly tag your posts and meta descriptions. Avoid stuffing your post with keywords, this helps you to stay clear of the “Google penalty.”
- Write optimized meta descriptions that include some of the keywords used in your post. Keep meta descriptions under 150 characters so they will appear fully in search engine results.
- Target long-tail keywords. You will have a greater chance of ranking highly on Google.
- Off-page optimization:
- Write conversationally:
- Conversational writing is a much more effective SEO practice. It is harder to stuff keywords when you write conversationally in your post.
10. Social Media Strategy?
You will need a social media strategy if you want to generate leads and customers. To get started you will need valuable content creation.
When you learn the top social media marketing trends, you can start with a very basic strategy. The trick is to find one thing that works and do it consistently.
Start a social media strategy, follow these simple steps:
- Open a small business account on the social media platform that your target market uses.
- Schedule posts and be consistent.
- Pick the best time to post.
- Encourage user engagement.
- Measure results.
It’s crucial to pinpoint the right time to post your content on social media. You want to make sure you are posting when your audience is active on social media. No point wasting efforts if no one is engaging your posts.
11. Set Metrics for Measuring Results
If you are not tracking your results, how can you measure your progress? Growth metrics in digital marketing begin at the moment when you make first contact with the customer. It will continue being measured right through their post-purchase experience.
The metrics you set will depend entirely on what you are trying to measure. The level of detail you require, the purpose of measurement, and the size of your business will all play a factor in your metric goals.
Metrics that you should consider tracking are:
- Conversion rate:
- Bounce rate:
- Targeted traffic:
Spend some time on Google Analytics and you’ll definitely come up with actionable data for decision making.
12. Content Marketing Campaign
When you want to start taking your content to the next level and increase your engagement, you have to create a campaign. The word “campaign” isn’t a new term to Facebook advertisers, Google Ads advertisers, or PR professionals.
A content marketing campaign is simply a coordinated series of steps that are aimed at producing bigger results. You can use your editorial calendar to plan out the steps, making it easier for you to produce results.
Attracting an audience of people who’ll believe and trust you won’t happen overnight. You have to continually learn how to be better at content promotion. The marketing world is constantly evolving, but the basic needs of your target audience will always remain the same.
Great content draws people’s attention. Content marketing is the most effective tactic for generating qualified leads and engaging with your audience. The rule is the same ― answer your customers’ questions and you will have a loyal customer.
Content marketing efforts should not be overwhelming. While there is a lot to do, having great team members in place can help. Blue Water Marketing has a team in place to help you reach your content and marketing goals. Contact us today to find out how we can help you reach your goals.