Consistently delivering compelling and valuable information to attract and retain your organization’s target audience — that’s what content marketing is all about. Here are seven steps for creating a content marketing strategy that engages prospective customers and keeps your company top of mind when they’re ready to make a purchase.
What Can an Effective Content Marketing Strategy Do for Your Organization?
By having a marketing strategy that consistently delivers high-quality content, you’ll get the word out about your company to attract potential customers and successfully expand your business. There are people looking for your products/services, and content marketing can help them find you. An effective content marketing strategy can help your organization:
- Grow brand awareness
- Build trust by providing relevant information that helps prospects and customers make a decision
- Influence product preference and increase sales
- Generate more quality leads by driving traffic to your website (keep in mind that search engines reward websites with quality content)
- Educate prospects and customers, providing the foundation for a healthy lead-nurturing program.
A regularly sent email newsletter is a great example of a content marketing tactic that many organizations use successfully. Email newsletters a valuable source not only for generating new leads, but also for providing relevant information to prospective customers during the pre-purchase phase. Then, once your prospective customers are ready to make a purchase, your company is top of mind.
How to Develop an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
There are several major goals of every content marketing strategy:
- Defining a critical group of customers
- Determining what information customers want and need to convince them to convert
- Delivering the right information at the right time to maximize the impact.
The following are seven fundamental steps to help meet these goals, as well as for planning, writing, promoting, and optimizing an effective content marketing strategy for your organization.
1. Determine your goals. In other words, what is the primary purpose of your content marketing? Some examples include:
- Generate qualified leads
- Increase sales
- Educate and keep customers informed
- Build brand loyalty.
2. Research your target audience. To create quality content that best meets your prospects’ and customers’ needs, this step helps develop customer profiles for your primary target audience and includes:
- Determining customer demographics (e.g., age, gender, income level, geography)
- Examining customer psychographics (e.g., values, interests, lifestyles)
- Developing user personas (e.g., fictional characters representing primary target market groups to help determine what guides their decisions to choose your products/services)
- Conducting keyword research, which can be used to uncover what information is being consumed in your market vertical.
3. Establish your organization’s unique selling proposition. This is a critical step that helps develop content that is valuable and relevant to your prospects and customers. Looking at your top competitors’ products/services and their online content marketing efforts can help determine what sets your company apart from them and why potential customers would choose your products/services over theirs. This step includes:
- Reviewing competitors’ websites and published content
- Conducting a search engine optimization (SEO) assessment (e.g., relevant keywords, search engine ranking factors)
- Auditing social media to determine what information people are sharing, questions they are asking, and the topics driving the most engagement
- Evaluating your current customer feedback, market research, and analytics
- Determining content gaps.
4. Take a content inventory. The primary purpose of a content inventory is to determine what copy, if any, can be leveraged for future content marketing efforts. For example, a website’s blog or product/service updates may be included in a monthly newsletter. In this way, you may not have to create entirely new content exclusively for an email newsletter. In addition, other proprietary articles may be repurposed to create a white paper or an e-book as an incentive to drive sign-ups for your email list/newsletter.
5. Develop a plan for content delivery. In this step, determine the overall content strategy to ensure that all of the many types of content work together to meet your primary goals. This includes determining:
- Broad strategic groupings of content
- Specific topics to be covered
- Channels of delivery — the places content will be published and how they’ll be published (e.g., as a newsletter feature, for download with a form, blog post, webinar).
6. Create an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar is the heart of an effective content marketing strategy. It’s the guide that coordinates all the content that your organization publishes. So this step involves determining the schedule of topics and features to be covered in all areas of your content marketing, including email newsletters, website blogs, infographics, webinars, white papers, e-books, and social media entries (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest).
In addition to using the information collected in the previous steps, also consider the following to help ensure that the editorial content is relevant and timely:
- Your organization’s marketing themes
- Industry events
- Planned product launches
- Holidays and seasonal promotions
- Sales events.
This step also establishes:
- Who writes the content
- When the content would be published
- Deadlines for copy to be completed.
7. Determine and set up the analytics. This step establishes all the performance metrics you’ll use to measure and continually optimize your editorial content. Depending on what content is being measured, these metrics could include:
- Open rates
- Click-through rates
- Conversion rates
- Total sales
- Web page views
- SEO rankings
- Facebook likes
- Twitter retweets
- Pinterest pins
- Inbound links each article receives after publication.
Content marketing goes beyond just making a sale. It involves establishing an ongoing, relevant conversation with your target audience and creating content that your prospects and customers want and need — even when they’re not in the buying cycle.
Could your organization use a hand in developing a compelling content marketing strategy? FulcrumTech has the experts who can help. Email us or give us a call at 215-489-9336 and get started today.