Today’s post on how to build a content marketing strategy for your business is a guest post by Sam Poyan, an SEO freelance writer from the UK.
Everybody knows content marketing is important — and that it has the potential to grow your business exponentially. But how do you come up with an effective content marketing strategy?
And how do you avoid the risk of spending hours on creating content that nobody reads?
If you would like to find out, keep reading this article on building a content strategy for your business.
What Should Your Content Do?
On a most basic level, content should either educate or entertain. Those are the only two functions of content, and if it doesn’t do either — The content probably sucks and is a bunch of useless waffle.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t cross over between these two functions. Even if you’re in a quite formal industry, you can educate and entertain your audience, which may be a good combination.
Below, I’ve shown some examples of both entertaining and educating content, so you can get a better idea of where your business fits in.
Examples of Entertaining Content
In most cases, entertaining content is definitely more popular in the B2C space. When the average consumer is browsing social media, they probably don’t want to think and learn – Instead, they want to chill out or have fun.
As a business, you can capitalize on this and make your customers feel more positive towards your brand. Plus, you can also reach new customers through your funny content being suggested on your potential customers’ feeds.
Paddy Power is a British sports betting company, and their content is made for entertaining their customers. Take this blog post, for example:
Obviously Ronaldo didn’t really say this, and the whole article is a joke.
Aldi UK was getting sued by Marks and Spencers (M&S) over a design of a caterpillar named Cuthbert. Here’s what their social media team came up with:
Wendy’s is probably the most known example of entertaining social media content:
Examples of Educating Content
Educating content is definitely more popular in the B2B space.
However, in certain industries like skincare, health, or environmentally-friendly products, it’s also effective because consumers want to educate themselves.
Ahrefs uses its blog to educate its readers on link building.
Legiit uses its blog to educate its readers on freelancing and related topics.
Healthline has endless content that educates its readers on health and related content.
How To Build a Content Marketing Strategy For Your Business
Now that you have a basic understanding of what your content should do, it’s time to look at your strategy in more detail. Below, I’ve explained each step with instructions so that you can build your strategy.
1. Set Your Goals
Besides educating or entertaining your audience, what do you want your content to achieve? What are the primary goals?
Who is your content made for? How should it benefit them?
What impact should it have on your business?
Questions like these will help you dig deeper into your goals. And by setting these targets of what you want to do, it will be easier to find content ideas that help you achieve them.
2. Research Your Audience
The audience is the heart of any content strategy.
But to produce content that they enjoy and engage with – you need to research them.
If your primary goal is to educate, you need to research:
- Their needs
- What they want to achieve
- The problems they are facing
If your primary goal is to entertain, you need to research:
- What type of emotions engage your audience (Humour, interest, etc.)
- What causes these emotions in your audience
- Other successful content creators like to watch
Besides researching these points, you should also look into their demographics – This means their age, gender, location, and income. Doing so will also help you produce content that reaches the right people, which will lead to your growth.
3. Find Topics
4. What Makes You Different?
Before you move on, it’s important that you know what makes you different. If you’re pumping out content that’s the same as everyone else’s, your audience is less likely to find yours. And even if they do, there won’t be any reason to stay.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to be completely different from everyone else and re-invent the wheel. However, it would be great to have some personal experiences that you can share with your audience.
Or, it may be a unique personality trait displayed in your content, which nobody in your industry shows.
For example, you might own an Asian restaurant in your local area. While all your competitors are just posting boring pictures of their food, opening times, etc., you choose to add a sense of humor. This could be posting fun facts or puns with the Asian dishes, food names, etc.
So, what makes you different?
5. Understand The Stages of The Funnel/Awareness Cycle
This point applies more to if you are trying to educate your audience, but it can still affect entertaining them. When producing content, it’s important to guide your audience toward solving their problems.
However, if you don’t understand where your average follower or reader is in that journey – there will be a big chance that you get it wrong.
For example: If you are producing content on organic skincare, there are different cycles in which your audience is:
- They could not be aware of organic skincare.
- They are aware of organic skincare but don’t fully understand the benefits
- They understand the benefits and are considering to purchase
- They’re a loyal organic skincare supporter
If you’re producing content for people in stage 4, all your content is tailored toward people in stage 1… It’s going to cause a disconnect, and your engagement will suck. Of course, there may be parts of your audience that are in different stages.
However, having a broad idea of where your audience is at right now is important. This will allow you to produce content that they actually understand, engage with, and enjoy.
If you haven’t started producing your content yet, you’re in luck because you can plan it much better now. However, if you have then that’s fine too – you’ll just have to find out where most of your audience is right now.
The way you find out where most of your audience is at, is by looking through:
- Where/How they found you
- Which of your posts performed best
By analyzing the following two points above, you should get an idea at which stage your audience is at. From there, you can move them through the cycle by educating or entertaining them further with relevant content.
6. Choose Channels Strategically
When it comes to the content channels, you should be strategic with which ones you put your effort into. It’s easy to say you’re just going to do them all, Instagram, run a blog, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook groups, email, etc., you name it.
However, it’s even easier to get burned out and forget about them if you’re doing that many. And it’s always better to do one marketing channel well if you do it properly.
- Which social media platforms your audience uses the most
- Whether they like to read blogs, watch YouTube videos, etc.
- Which content channels have been successful other creators in your industry
For example, if you’re in a less visual industry like SEO, you’ll probably find that Instagram won’t be the most effective channel. Of course, some people are doing it, but most SEOs or clients are probably hanging around on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Whatever channels you use, it’s often quite effective to pair them with email marketing as this will help you convert the traffic you’re generating.
After your research, you should be able to decide which channels are most effective for you. Of course, make sure to consider your time and budget too.
7. Research The Tools You Need
There are endless content marketing tools out there that will make your life easier.
Some of the types of tools you want to look at include:
- Scheduling/Publishing tools
- Research tools (Keyword research, BuzzSumo, etc.)
- Content creation tools (Canva, Photoshop, video editing software)
Of course, which ones you use will depend on the platforms you’re targeting. If you’re like me and not good with Photoshop, I suggest using Canva for your social media images as it’s nice and easy to use. Plus, it also comes with a library of templates for pretty much any type of social media post there is.
Besides, if you are blogging, you will want to use a keyword research tool, which we’ll discuss later.
Of course, do your own research though to find tools that suit your needs.
8. Create a Content Calendar
Once you know where you’re going to publish your content, creating a calendar will be very helpful. It will allow you to keep a structured publishing schedule and make planning a lot easier.
Depending on the channels you’re going to publish on, it may even be easier to do this in two separate calendars or even three.
Because on the editorial calendar for your blog and YouTube channel, having additional information such as the keywords would be helpful. And you’d have way more social media posts than you would YouTube videos or blog posts.
There are free templates for content calendars out there created by Hubspot, Banklinko, etc. – so just pick the one that suits your content best.
9. Keyword & Hashtag Research
Finally, before creating content, you’ll need to research keywords for blog posts and YouTube videos and hashtags for social media posts.
There are many options out there for the keyword research tools, but they all do a very similar thing; show you data on search terms.
Some popular ones include:
- Keywords Everywhere
- Long-tail keyword finder
Some of these options do a little more than show you keywords, but you can decide which is best for your needs.
For hashtag research, many of the scheduling tools have tools built-in, but there is also a range of others like:
- Twitter’s advanced search
Also, always keep in mind that hashtags work slightly differently on all platforms. So, make sure that your research is based on the platform that you’re targeting.
How To Track Results of Your Content Marketing Campaign
Pumping out content is great, but if it’s not working well and you’re not making adjustments… Then it probably won’t change in the future.
Therefore, you’ll want to track results using your key performance indicators (KPIs).
Some common KPIs for a content marketing campaign is:
- Email signups
- Social Media Engagement
- Google Search Positions
- Your revenue
Rank tracking (For Google Positions)
Many of the keyword research tools we covered earlier have rank tracking tools inside of them. However, if the one you’re using doesn’t, there are endless rank tracking tools out there like SERPWatcher.
Ensure to track the most important keywords for your blog posts and improve them as you go along. You can see big spikes in traffic by improving your blog posts that are “almost on page 1” of Google.
So, this would usually be page two or three – Improving them can shoot you onto page 1, and as most people never visit the second page, you’ll get a lot more visitors.
How To Make Improvements To Your Content
I also wanted to discuss how to make improvements to your content as you go along. This is something you should be doing. Otherwise, the content will get outdated and you won’t see any improvements in results either.
Making Improvements To Your Blog Posts
Your blog posts can rank on Google and have links between them. This means they have a way larger lifecycle than social media content does, for example. Therefore, you’ll want to update your existing pages now and again to keep up with your competitors and ensure the info is updated.
So, check out your competitors and look at what they have that you don’t. Or, you can also improve the optimization if you haven’t optimized your content well enough in the first place. You can also build backlinks directly to your blog posts, which can also help their rankings.
Making Improvements To Your Social Media Content
With social media posts lasting around 18 minutes (Twitter) to 4 months (Pinterest), there isn’t much point in updating your old posts. However, you can still make improvements going forward.
That’s why you should always track which posts are performing well to create similar ones going forward. Of course, you can try something new, but knowing what your audience likes will definitely help create future content.
That’s it! I hope you have enjoyed this article on how to build a content strategy for your business. Just remember to find content topics that your audience actually wants to read or watch. And from there, stay consistent in publishing.
If you do those two things, research keywords and hashtags, your content marketing campaign should succeed.
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