Content marketing isn’t just an important tool that can help you promote and grow your business, it can be a way to engage directly with customers to transform your company.
Unlike traditional marketing techniques that pitch products and services directly to consumers, content marketing uses quality content to drive people to your company’s site.
This same content can be used to build a following, generate leads and boost product sales over time.
The benefits of content marketing training are numerous, yet many business owners hesitate to incorporate content marketing in their overall marketing strategy.
This is partly due to a lack of knowledge or training in the content marketing field. However, the basics of content marketing and how to create a content marketing strategy can be easily outlined.
Why Use Content Marketing?
Content marketing offers a number of advantages over traditional marketing methods and techniques:
Content marketing is less costly than traditional advertising as you won’t have to pay for advertising space. You can also publish on social media for free or boost content for a relatively small charge.
Depending on your business and personnel, you may need to hire a content development team or contact a content marketing company for help with the content itself.
By creating relevant, timeless content, you can benefit from the positive effects of content marketing for years to come. Once you post content online, it will hold value the entire time it’s on your site.
As you gain experience in content development, you can upgrade your marketing strategy to meet the growing needs of your business.
Content marketing can be easily combined into other strategies to enhance your marketing campaign. Its multi-functional services make content creation an effective and productive tool in your marketing strategy.
Learning the basics of content marketing before jumping in prematurely can result in a long-term solution, instead of a hasty decision.
Step 1: Create a Content Marketing Strategy
This will give you clarity in how to proceed with your content marketing efforts. Your statement should address such aspects as target audience, brand values and ideal outcomes of your campaign.
Step 2: Choose a Target Audience
What segment of society do you want to reach? Who would be most interested or benefit the most from what you have to offer? These are the people you’ll target with your content.
Specifying your demographics makes it easier to tailor content to their specific needs. It also makes it easier to get to know those you’re trying to reach. Knowing your audience – their likes, dislikes, interests, habits and mindsets – is imperative to growing your customer base.
Step 3: Identify Your Niche
What’s your niche? Be explicit. A unique niche could give you greater scope as a business, especially if your competitors are few. It also provides greater opportunity to establish yourself as a leader in your field.
Having a specific niche often goes in hand with a loyal customer base, as they believe that your distinct product or service has added value to their lives.
Step 4: Set Goals
What do you want to accomplish through your content marketing campaign?
Make a list of short and long term goals based on what’s best for your business. Then create content that will help you achieve your objective.
Goals set the direction for what needs to happen for your product or service to do well in the market and are the foundation of the plan you build to get there.
Step 5: Determine Brand Values and Voice
Your brand’s core values and voice help distinguish it from other brands on the market. Before developing content, determine what your values and voice will be.
Do you want your brand to carry a formal or informal voice? A casual or authoritative tone? Your content should align with your brand’s voice and values so people will know who you are.
Key Ingredients of a Content Marketing Campaign
Most content marketing campaigns are composed of key ingredients that help produce positive results:
A strong core blog can provide a good foundation for launching a content market campaign. Your blog can be used for posting original articles, images, videos, infographics and more.
You can experiment with different types of contents on your blog to see what resonates best with your readers. A blog is a good platform to introduce and promote personal brands, conduct surveys or have Q&A sessions with your readers.
Guest posting is a technique where you write for a website or blog that isn’t your own. The post can include a link to your own website, and possibly an acknowledgement at the end.
Producing guest posts for external sites will give you exposure in your line of expertise – they improve visibility for your brand and content.
Guest posts can spread information about your business and drive traffic to your website, while boosting your search engine performance.
Ongoing Marketing Strategies
By incorporating content marketing with other marketing techniques, you can maximize exposure and increase traffic to your site. Content marketing works well with a wide range of promotional strategies to include email, social media, SEO, paid advertising and others.
Social media can help you reach a larger audience in a relatively short amount of time. Knowing your audience enables you to direct your content to the sites they frequent most.
As publishing on social media is free, you save money while getting quality exposure that can help you develop a following. Social media’s also a great way to engage with your audience.
Marketing Team and Budget
Content marketing works best when done in teamwork. You’ll need to establish a team of dedicated marketers who are loyal to your brand.
This team could consist of talented writers, web designers, an editor, analyst, publishing manager and anyone else you feel could contribute to your marketing cause.
You’ll also need a realistic budget to conduct a quality content marketing campaign. Your budget should coincide with your marketing vision and goals.
Means of Measuring Performance
Every content marketing campaign should have a system of measuring marketing progress and performance. You need to know if your marketing plan and tactics are working. If not, you can see how to tweak your strategy to improve your results.
You may need to experiment with different approaches, content types, distribution channels and even team members before finding a strategy that works for you.
Content development will be the backbone of your content marketing strategy. By putting together a skilled content development team, you can ensure this job gets done.
Your content development team can be responsible for topic selection, production, editing, publication and distribution of quality content for your site.
Some things to know:
Quality content begins with selecting the right topics for your audience. Your topics should fulfill the needs of your target audience and provide valuable information within your particular niche. If you’re not sure what to write about, ask your readers.
Take a survey to see what your audience would like you to cover and how they’d like the data conveyed. Read through customer comments to get an idea of what’s resonating with your readers and what’s not.
Types of Content
There are multiple types of content you can work with to round out your marketing campaign. If you’re new to content marketing, you may prefer starting out with blog posts.
Blog posts are fairly simple to produce on a regular basis. As you gain experience, you can add images or graphs to your text or integrate interactive content like videos, live interviews, quizzes, surveys, etc.
By studying successful marketing strategies used by some of your competitors, you could get ideas on the types of content and topics people are most interested in within your industry.
Publishing content on a regular basis will help you build a following. Regular posting requires that you dedicate time and effort to develop the quality content your target audience needs.
Decide how often you want to publish – weekly, biweekly, monthly – and schedule your posts to make sure they get done.
Checks and Balances
Content development is a process that involves research, writing, editing, proofing, publishing and delivering the goods. Working as a team ensures every aspect of the process is covered with as little complications and delays as possible.
Teamwork also helps to reduce mistakes in your content that could diminish its value. By the time your content is ready to be published, it should be well polished and flawless.
It takes time for a content marketing campaign to show results. Having someone manage the promotional aspects of your campaign will help keep it flowing smoothly and on track towards accomplishing your goals.
Your promotional manager can research the best channels for distributing your content to give it maximum exposure so you can earn the maximum results.
There are other distribution channels, beyond websites and blogs, to get your message across:
Social media platforms are not only popular, they’re free (aside from paid posts), making them the number one choice of business owners when launching a content marketing campaign.
Rather than post on every site, however, you can narrow your choices to those most visited by your target audience. Social media can open a whole new world for your content by greatly expanding your viewers.
Email marketing may be more on the traditional side, but it’s still a viable means of getting your message across. A well-planned email campaign can be an effective tool in your marketing strategy.
Having an eye-catching title to begin with is sure to grab the attention of consumers for a higher open rate. An example being Shutterfly’s successful email marketing campaign, where they sent emails about previous orders – “Your Order #…”. They found that when email subject lines mention the order number, it becomes clear to customers that the email contains information important to them (LinkedIn).
Paid advertising can help boost traffic to your site so viewers can see what you have to offer. You can showcase some of your best work on a landing page and use pay-per-click ads to drive traffic there.
Word of Mouth
Word of mouth provides a personal touch to your marketing efforts and can be put into effect when conversing with customers on sales calls.
Creating an organic buzz around your business by doing something good or charitable can always create a positive impression on the target audience of your business.
For example, TOMS became a famous, massively profitably shoe company with the help of the viral popularity of their One-for-One business proposition. When you buy one pair of shoes from TOMS, one pair is also donated to a child in need of shoes. This was seen as a form of consumer-driven charity and, as a result, the company’s sales boomed.
Metrics for Measuring Performance
Content marketing is an ongoing learning experience that can open your business to bigger and better opportunities for the future.
With the use of key performance indicators (KPIs), you can measure the effectiveness of your content marketing training to make sure you’re progressing towards your goals. KPI metrics can indicate how you’re doing in different aspects of your campaign, such as number of followers, sales, conversions, etc.
KPI metrics, however, fall short when it comes to highlighting weaknesses in your campaign or showing ways to tweak your strategy to improve performance. By analysing the performance of content on an individual basis using metrics (such as Google Analytics), you can get a better idea of what’s working and what’s not.
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