By now, we all know that they say content is king, and we're here to confirm, whoever "they" are, they're right. Content marketing is the foundation of a healthy marketing strategy. And while it isn't the end-all-be-all, it's pretty close. But not all content marketing efforts are created equally. Just like anything in life, you get out what you put into the process. Indeed, throwing some words on a page and thinking that customers and leads will magically start pouring in is a little naïve. That's why today, we're breaking down the four major steps to a killer content marketing strategy, starting with your audience.
Step 1: Know Your Audience
Before you begin drafting your actual content, you need to know who you're preparing it for. If you've never really created a profile for your audience, there's nothing like a content marketing strategy to force your hand. If you skip this crucial step, you might as well just call it then and there. Without specifying who your message is for, you're talking into the wind, which wastes your time and money.
It's important to note that while factors like age, gender, and location are important, you also need to understand that your audience goes much deeper. You want to ask questions that relate to their motivations, such as: what are their values? What are their pain points? What do they care about? What will they refuse to sacrifice? All these questions help you develop a more in-depth, well-rounded picture of your buyers. By answering these kinds of queries, you can target their buying motivations directly to make a connection that sells.
Step 2: Create Your Content
OK, let's say you've done the first step and are ready to get going with your content. Before you start cranking out piece after piece, it's important to have a general strategy. You'll want to figure out what topics are most beneficial for you to write about, what keywords you need to consider, and what kind of calendar you want to stick to.
For example, let's say you're a local physical therapy clinic treating a vast majority of athletes. You may decide you want to focus on nutrition, exercise tips, and tutorials, as well as some locally focused content, like best gyms in town, best outdoor hikes, or five new fitness classes to try. Having these buckets established first will help you to generate topic ideas without getting too scattered.
Once you've created your content buckets, it's time to generate each piece of content. Make sure your writing isn't overly dry or stuffy. Instead, talk to your audience as though you were trying to connect in person. Be sure to include keywords relevant to your content, and that you are continually asking yourself, "how does this benefit my potential buyer?" to ensure you're serving them.
Step 3: Distribute Your Content
Once you've written each piece of content, it's time to figure out your distribution. One of the most important things to consider when crafting your distribution strategy is how you can get the most leverage out of each piece of content you've written. For instance, writing a blog that you post to your website, where someone has to find it to engage, isn't a great use of your content.
Writing a blog post that you also introduce in an email is a much better use tactic. Taking things a step further and posting about that blog two or three times on your social media using different pull quotes is an even better use of your effort. Be sure to promote your content enough that customers keep you top of mind, but not so heavily that they'll be scrambling for the unsubscribe button. Think about some of your favorite content you get from companies and search through your email of their name to study their send rate.
Step 4: Analyze, Analyze, Analyze
So, you've made it to step four in your content marketing strategy. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back; you deserve it! But don't get too relaxed because you're not quite done.
Now that you've put in the work, it's time to analyze how it went. Without analysis of your content marketing endeavors, how can you know if it was worth it? It's time to look at what worked, what didn't, what got the most engagement, and what you need to adjust moving forward. Without this step, you're still talking into the wind. Maybe your content didn't get the response you were expecting. You'll never have a concrete plan of action to address why without analyzing your data. We know that no one's favorite part is the pool of data you can comb through to make sense of your success, but we can assure you that it's better than throwing darts at a board of topics to decide what content your audience likes better arbitrarily.
Do you have a content marketing strategy? If not, what's the hardest part that's keeping you from it? Tell us in the comments below; we'd love to help! Contact us today and let us help you deliver great content to your audience.