An accomplished content marketing strategy goes a long way in making your brand an authority in its niche. There’s the opportunity to sell people on your brand, and at the same time, establish yourself as an organization that’s all about providing meaningful insights to the target audience.
But oftentimes, you need a push to get the ball rolling. This is much harder than many people assume.
If this situation rings a bell and you still haven’t quite figured out how to go about your content marketing approach, here are 5 quick tips that will come to your rescue!
1. Start with Keyword Research
Keyword research is the crux of any given content marketing strategy. Trends may come and go, but thorough research will perpetually remain a constant in the marketing world and search engine optimization.
It is essential for both novices and seasoned marketers to target keywords/phrases and strategically include them throughout their optimized content. You can get started by using tools (free or propriety) that can help you identify relevant keywords and their competition. While it’s completely up to you to select the tool, you can definitely give these popular ones a try:
- Google’s Keyword Planner
- Moz Keyword Explorer
Once you’ve picked your “weapon of choice,” make it a habit to conduct frequent keyword research with the help of these pointers:
- Evaluate the Keyword Based on Search Volume:Nose-diving straight into targeting high-volume keywords can go wrong in more ways than one. For instance, these will have immense competition, and therefore, ranking for them is going to be a steep uphill battle.
- Find Related Keywords with Less Competition: When the keyword you choose is highly competitive, the alternative is to target similarkeywords and settle for less crowded SERPs. This can increase the chances of ranking and showing up on the prized page one.
- Combine it with Search Intent:Search intent refers to the particular information that a searcher wants to find by typing any keyword into the search bar. You can do a bit of manual snooping by inspecting the SERP and trying to understand the information users are seeking, what types of content gets displayed in the results, what sort of snippets show up for a given keyword, and so on.
These three-step exercise should give you a great start and serve as a launching pad for your content strategy.
2. Create Customer Archetypes
Once you’re armed to the teeth with relevant keywords in your niche, the next step is to create customer archetypes, or personas.
In the psychological context, “persona” refers to a “model of a particular type of person or personality.” By creating these personas, you will be in a better position to craft unique and focused content for your potential customers.
This is in accord with a crucial lesson from the hugely popular show Mad Men, that says– ‘target the buyer and not the user.’
Also, by creating audience archetypes, you can make your content more powerful than ever, because in the end, the custom messages will resonate with their wants or needs.
Furthermore, by using the right language and promising the right solutions, you’ll be addressing customer pain points. In essence, that’s the stepping stone to achieving high conversion rates.
Some of the essential questions that will help you ascertain your customer archetype can be along the lines of:
- What are their demographics?
- What is their occupation?
- Which industry do they belong to?
- How do they like to spend their idle time?
- What is their mobile usage statistic?
- What motivates them to try a product or a service?
- What stopsthem from trying a product or a service?
Why should they choose you and not your competitor?
Once this is taken care of, create the personas visually. At the same time, you also need to ensure that you come up with at least 2-3 concise personas to work with. Moreover, be sure you are using real empathy and combine it with existing data from your customers.
Pro tip: Customers are dynamic and change with time. This is why it is important to keep updating the archetypes regularly.
3. Look into Web Monitoring
65% of marketers have difficulty understanding which types of content are truly effective. This issue can be solved with web monitoring for trending topics.
Finding topics that are being discussed helps you understand the type of content that is going to grab eyeballs. There’s no fixed way of doing this. At the most, you can subscribe to the best online publications in your niche so that you get the latest happenings of the industry delivered straight into your inbox. An alternative to this is using some tools to get real-time, handy information.
You can use tools like BuzzSumo to get a list of relevant topics, or opt for Google Trends and Google Alerts to stay on top of the latest buzz. Similarly, just by spending a few hours on Facebook Trending and Twitter Trending, you’ll get to what people are talking about. Moreover, if you have the time, you can go non-conventional and seek industry-related conversations on community platforms like Reddit and Tumblr!
4. Consider Where Content Will Fall in the Buyer’s Journey
Creating content is not just about writing a few strings of text, giving it a catchy headline and publishing it on top platforms at the appropriate time. Your messaging needs to be properly aligned with the buyer’s journey. For this, you can base your content on a three-stage sales funnel consisting of:
- The top –This will be the awareness stage where the buyer will seek answers, information, opinions, resources, and other similar data. This is where you need to educate the buyers.
- The middle – This one is the stage where the buyer is evaluating and comparing products and services for the best solution. This is your opportunity to shine and establish yourself as a credible source of information with high-quality, laser-focused content.
- The bottom –This is the last stage of the funnel and the point when the buyer will be nearest to taking a call-to-action, or making a purchase. You need to pull out all the stops and use your content to make it abundantly clear that you provide something no one else does.
When creating content for the buyer’s journey, keep in mind, a good content strategy is not restricted to just one format or platform. Don’t be afraid to experiment with things like live video, webinars, podcasts, infographics, and more.
5. Identify the Most Important Metrics to Track
Content marketers face an existential crisis when they can’t answer the question of what exactly defines success in their content strategy. Prior to launching any sort of content, you need to know the metrics that provide an in-depth evaluation of its performance and assess how it translates to your goals.
For instance, if your primary goal is to boost awareness, Google Analytics will help you measure the total number of unique visitors on a page of your website, their demographics, habits, etc. Furthermore, the engagement metrics can help you measure the success of your content marketing strategy. These include the average time spent on a page, new versus returning visitors, bounce rate, number of sessions, referral traffic, etc.
On social media, metrics include number of shares, retweets, re-pins, etc., depending on the platform. They also include comments, engagement with the posts, and follower/fan count growth.
If email plays a role in your content strategy, the trackable metrics should include (but are not limited to) open rates, clicks, sender score, subscriber growth, and of course, conversions.
Due to the fact that there are seemingly endless amounts of metrics to be taken into consideration, prioritizing them becomes the order of the day. For this purpose, you should ask yourself questions like:
Other than sales, which metrics are most pertinent to aiding the bottom line?
What are your best methods for engaging people in conversations?
What type of content typically gains the most traction?
The answers to these types of questions will help you zero-in on the proper metrics and use the insights to tailor your approach accordingly. In the beginning, these answers may not be crystal clear. The key is experimentation, refinement, and consistency.
Successful content marketing is never too far for any marketer who’s willing to put in hard work. Seek and you shall find ways to take it from nay to yay in no time. Hopefully these pointers will be helpful in your content endeavors.
Have more tips to share with us on the topic? Feel free to let us know in the comments!
Jack Shepler is a Marketing and Search Engine Optimization expert. He founded Ayokay, award-winning marketing, and web design firm in Indianapolis, Indiana that has built brands, increased sales for businesses, and helped nonprofit organizations fulfill their missions since 2011. He uses his decades of experience to educate through the Ayokay blog and through public speaking. You can follow him on LinkedIn.