Five Tips for Creating an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
Content Marketing– it’s the hot buzzword in the marketing world, but what does it really mean? Simply put, content marketing is the creation and dissemination of informative, engaging and valuable content that communicates who you are to your target audience without selling yourself. Businesses use content marketing to provide their audience with information and tools they can use instead of sales pitches that often make people tune out. An effective content marketing strategy is one that engages your audience, builds trust and brand awareness.
Think about it- Which messages resonate most with you? Are they often the ones you seek out? Do you click delete on marketing emails in your inbox before you even open them?
Now think about the blogs you read or the people you follow on Twitter. You’re seeking out the information these individuals or businesses are providing, most likely because it’s information that’s relevant to you. These people or businesses have made a positive connection with you and you are interested in what they have to say and information they have to share. Now, that’s effective content marketing.
When developing your own content marketing strategy, consider these five important tips:
1. Know your audience. Know who your target audience is before you start developing content. You need to understand who you’re communicating to and what your messages are in order to be effective. Do some research on who is visiting your website or using your product and services. Gathering demographic information like gender, age, socioeconomic status, location, etc., is just as important as knowing what your audience’s interests are so you can tailor your content accordingly.
2. Create a plan. Now that you know who you’re communicating with, it’s time to develop a content plan, or editorial calendar, so that you can develop consistent content. Start by identifying your key messages. Then, create an editorial calendar for a six-month period that reflects how and when you’ll be communicating these messages. For example, break down your calendar into tactics like blog posts, social media content (Facebook status updates, Twitter feeds, etc.), articles, and emails. Define the frequency for each tactic and establish deadlines and distribution dates.
While developing a content plan entails some work upfront, it sets the tone for your entire content strategy and ensures that communication with your target audience is well defined and consistent. Keep in mind that content plans should be fluid to allow for changes in tactics or messaging as necessary.
3. Write, write, write! Now that you have a content plan in place and you know who you are communicating with, start developing your content. Whether it’s for a direct mail campaign, e-newsletter, website, or social media, developing engaging and valuable content across all of your content tactics is important for building and maintaining positive relationships with your audience.
Make sure that your content incorporates your key messages. You want to create strong content that provides people with information and engages your audience so they will keep coming back for more!
4. Be Social. It’s one thing to have great content on your website, but if no one is reading it, it’s not helping anyone. Spread the word. Share your content across multiple mediums. When your latest blog post or article is live on your website, Tweet it, and use Facebook and LinkedIn to share it through status updates. Do you have an email list of contacts? Send the link of your new content to your email contacts. Using social media to share your content helps to engage and to start conversations with your audience and professional networks.
5. Measure and Evaluate. Make sure to measure the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy on a regular basis. You can do this several ways: monitor traffic to your website; keep track of social media likes, retweets, comments and shares; and, if you have an e-newsletter, monitor open rates, unsubscribes and forwards to a friend. Evaluating the effectiveness of your content marketing plan will help you determine if it’s working well, or if some things need to be changed.
Remember, the ultimate goal of content marketing is to create brand awareness, while building relationships and trust among your target audience. You want to continually engage your audience, and providing people with relevant and valuable information is a giant step in the right direction.
Has content marketing changed the way you market your business?
Until next time…thanks for reading!