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Content Marketing Strategy: How-to, Why, Who, etc.

Let’s get things straight as a quick introduction: if you want a content marketing strategy that works, you need to think about your goals first and foremost. Otherwise, you won’t be able to create content that will help your business grow. Use your business goals to drive the strategy that will help you create relevant content, attract new visitors and support existing customers. Give your content proper visibility online. A strong content strategy will help you increase the organic traffic to your site. It’s basically all about finding ways to make your content work harder to support your marketing efforts. 

What is content marketing strategy?

The content strategy makes it possible to base the positioning of a company on specific themes. In plain English: a content marketing strategy lets you set the foundation to your online marketing. It can mean optimizing content for search engines, using content to help you generate qualified traffic and leads. Deploying a relevant content strategy ensures consistency between all communication media: website, social media, etc. It also means delivering the right content on the right medium at the right time.

What does a content marketing strategy look like?

Well, that’s a bit tricky. Most of us want to see with our own eyes. Except that good content, done well, doesn’t necessarily get a bit Hollywood sign. If you need a solid template for your content marketing strategy, keep on reading!

If you still want to “see” good content strategy, here are a few brands that do it well in my opinion:

  • Shopify
  • Hubspot
  • Yoast SEO

Ask any questions in marketing or SEO and these folks will show up. Important notion, I have chosen examples that use content to support their company services. It’s important to keep in mind that bloggers are a bit different. They use content strategy to make money but their content platform is their primary source of income. There are other websites that do content marketing strategy quite well in every niche. Keep an eye out when you read content online to see what you find useful and content formats other websites use.

How does content marketing strategy work?

You need a strategic approach to reach your business goals. A content marketing strategy is much more than simply creating, distributing and sharing content. It’s not list of items you must do in order to gain more traffic, generate more leads, improve your branding or any other marketing goals Content marketing is much more than creating, distributing and sharing content in order to engage audiences, generate leads, improve branding, and other marketing goals you can serve with content marketing. Developing a process that enables you to scale your efforts will help you be more efficient. Once you start producing content and promoting it, here are the things that often happen:

  • You get more traffic from social media platforms where you content is shared
  • You get more traffic from search engines that show your content to users
  • You get more traffic from other websites that link to your content
  • and many more things 🙂

How to create a solid content marketing strategy?

Steal this content marketing strategy framework

There’s no magic…you need a process, checklists, templates, KPIs and all manners of fun things! So read on to see how to get started with your content marketing strategy.

1. Define your goals & metrics

This one is obvious, but, you must reflect on what you want to get out of your content marketing. Creating content and hoping for some sort of online marketing salvation. Slow and steady wins the content race when it comes to online content marketing. Do not aim for “viral” content creation. Instead, opt for clear goals that can measured concretely. What do I mean by that? Well, here are a few examples of what some of your goals could be: 

  • Increasing organic traffic.
  • Increasing the number of unique views
  • Increasing the number of leads generated.

How do you define success and how do you measure it? Apply the same mindset to content. Try to steer clear of vague performance metrics. Here’s what I mean by vague performance metrics:

  • Content frequency. A large number of daily posts may seem like a strong indicator of growth, but consider the resources expended. Posts cost time, money, and personnel, and if there is not a clear purpose to this content you risk squandering these resources simply to fill “space”.    
  • Brand Awareness. Awareness is an incredibly difficult KPI to measure because it is not necessarily a tangible thing. Sure it sounds great and it is important, but there are far too many services offering different and expensive ways to measure your brand’s awareness for this to be a hard science. Look at simpler metrics for gauging your brand’s reach. Use keyword queries, direct traffic growth, lead generation, and other affordable metrics you should already have in your repertoire. Save the expensive services offered by others for when you want a specific and well defined understanding of your brand’s awareness and for when you have clear strategy of how to use that information.   

2. Investigate the Competitive Landscape

Who out there is doing what? It is a simple question that can become complex, however this question is always relevant to your content marketing strategy. Make sure you can answer the question: what are your competitors producing and how is that content performing?

There are many tools you can use to analyze the posts and articles created by your rivals. BuzzSumo is one that will highlight your social media marketing including shares and likes, links, and page views. See who is looking at your competition or other industry leaders and see where those potential leads are coming from. Remember you have many tools at your disposal for different jobs. Ahrefs and SEMrush are two tools that offer organic traffic analysis, competitive intelligence, and highlights of industry trends.

3. Find Out What Content Has Worked Best for You

One problem with content marketing strategies can be getting lost in the data. There are so many different tools available even basics such as Google Analytics can send people running for cover. Remember the best response to fear is education. Learn how to use these tools because they will tell you what content works best for your.

Using Google Analytics you can easily find which of your pages generate the most organic traffic. You can use the “Search Analytics” report in the Google Search Console and then take using that report take a tool like BuzzSumo to analyze your content’s performance.

4. Learn About Your Audience’s Interests & Needs

Information is the driving force of content marketing strategies and your audience produces information in droves. See what your audience is searching for online using some of the aforementioned tools. Other tools include Answer the Public which sifts through Google’s auto suggest search queries and Twitter Audience Insights which allow you to see what content is consumed specific to your industry.

5. Create an Amplification Plan (Promotion is Key)

You content is ready. It’s not only ready, it’s been published! What now? Sit down and watch customers roll in? I wish it were that easy. You need a promo plan after all of this. You need to give your content some exposure. Here are a few more steps you can take to make your content marketing strategy resonate and generate more traffic, better leads, and higher sales.

Why should you think about promotion? Well, because for one, there’s barely any organic (read non-paid) visibility to be had on Facebook. Paid Ads on Facebook or other social media platforms are a low cost investment that can reach a large number of people. This is not traditional “mass” advertising because Facebook allows you to attach keywords to your ads.  Go back to your lists and incorporate the keywords your strategy has already generated. Remember your “ads” can be more than just text and images. Use video or multimedia arts to make your message pop!

Outreach

Talking to your customers, partners and even competitors can generate positive gains. You know that old saying “your network is your net worth”, well, there’s a bit of truth to that when it comes to online content marketing. I don’t have a clear roadmap on how to unlock this bonus step though. Here’s a few points to get you started:

  • Start by listing out everyone you want to get in touch with beforehand and create a spreadsheet with their contact information, position, and a note about why you are contacting them.
  • You usually want to find sites and articles similar to your own. Use some of the aforementioned tools like BuzzSumo to help you out. Once you have your list of sites start reaching out.

Why would you want to contact these folks? Well, it could be to:

  • Share your content via email
  • Get them to link to it
  • Get them to use it in an article or a report
  • etc.

Next step? Get in Touch!

You’ll find contact forms on most blogs and it will be straightforward to compile a list of them that you can mass paste into. While easy, do not expect too much of a response rate. On the flip side remember to always check your own contact forms to see who has reached out to you.

You can also use tools such as Hunter.io, Findthatlead.com, and Slik.ai to find and organize email addresses.  A great thing about email is you can see if what you sent was actually opened and can follow up as needed. Other tools such as Yesware, Mailtrack, and Mixmax can help you see if your messages are being read, so make sure you do not simply send and forget.

Please note, you can’t just bombard folks with your content. It has to make sense in their world. I hate it when people reach out to me saying they used my article in their blog post…when it’s a lie and they just want me to promote their content.

Using Social Media Channels for Outreach and Content Promotion

If you are in a B2B industry, keep in mind a few basic etiquette rules to make the most of your budget. People who work with you don’t necessarily want to see your content pop up in their personal space. Platforms such as Facebook are not necessarily seen as professional platforms. I want to shout that they are NEVER seen as professional platforms. Except that it would be a lie. I have met many people who prefer to interact via a Facebook Messenger window. It’s very hard for me to understand that but it’s a reality. Which means that you shouldn’t necessarily rule out Facebook if you do B2B content promotion.

Here’s where the etiquette portion becomes important: if you reach out to the personal page of a firm’s member they may not respond positively. Instead refocus your efforts on Facebook groups as you’ll be able to reach a more specific but still widespread audience.The same goes for LinkedIn groups. Make sure that your posts do not appear spammy. Never share a link to your content without writing a short introduction. Keep a template post that you can copy across many groups, but make sure you personalize each one to the audience you want receiving it.

LinkedIn and other professional networking pages are better to reach out to individual industry professionals and content producers. This is particularly effective when combined with other forms of outreach such as email. Twitter is also an effective platform for outreach. Use a tool like BuzzSumo to find a list of users who have shared your content or content similar to yours. Then you can reach out to those specific people to make strong, relevant connections.

My Promo Advice: Go Bold and Stay in Your Lane

  • Use a diversity of tactics.
  • Use platforms that make sense.
  • Respect basic social etiquette.
  • Do not waste people’s time.
  • Go with groups.

Conclusion

Congratulations, you can now build your own content marketing from scratch! However, you must keep in mind that the winning content strategy has been in your heart all along. Just kidding. You just need to shift the way you think about content. Your approach to content marketing is what will help you bring in the traffic, get new leads and convert those into customers.