What’s your approach to promoting your business online?
Maybe you’re big on social media marketing; your business pages on Facebook and Instagram are showcases for your products and services, and you even use paid ads on those platforms to get more views, likes and click-throughs. You might be keen enough on emails to have a sizeable list of potential customers who you shoot business-related mails to on a regular basis.
There are many ways to get marketing on the web. But reaping satisfactory returns from these channels depends on how well you’ve planned and executed your operations with them. Without a defined, well laid out and trackable strategy for online content marketing, you’ll very likely have more misses than hits on that front.
In simple terms, your business needs a content marketing strategy if it’s going to achieve success at capturing audiences through its content.
But it’s possible you’re not even certain what content marketing is, let alone what a strategy for it should look like. Here’s a very brief primer to get you up to speed.
What Content Marketing Is & why it matters
Content marketing is creating and distributing material for the web that isn’t obviously promoting the brand that made it, but just has enough in it to pique its viewer’s (reader’s or watcher’s) interest in that brand’s products. Such content includes blog posts, videos, photos, infographics, and podcasts.
An example of content marketing would be an automobile company publishing a sponsored post about car maintenance on a popular blog; or an online documentary about a tourist location in Nigeria created by a travel agency. These might contain some sort of reference to the content creating or sponsoring company, but wouldn’t explicitly showcase their brand.
The point of subtlety in content marketing is that it works better for today’s audience. Plain old in-your-face product promotion just doesn’t cut it anymore; consumers have become accustomed to tuning them out. Instead of hawking your goods before them at the first time of asking, it’s better to give them something (useful information, entertainment or trivia) which is nevertheless connected to your business. Because you’re giving them something valuable, they’ll be more open to your brand’s offerings.
There’s more on the importance of content marketing in our article, Why Your Business Needs Content Marketing.
Whatever content type (or types) you deploy in your marketing campaigns, you should have them planned beforehand. They should communicate a coherent message, be in line with your company’s brand, target a clearly defined audience, and specify measurable success criteria for content marketing. A properly fashioned content marketing strategy ticks these boxes.
Steps to creating a content market strategy
- Know why you’re marketing
You might be using content marketing to for a number of reasons. Maybe you want to keep your brand in the view of your customers, or want to expand to other markets. It could be that you might be looking to drive more traffic to your website, or trying to get people to attend your business’s upcoming event.
Whatever your reason for using content marketing, be sure that your planning is consciously directed at achieving it. It should determine what media is used, how your content is framed, who gets it, and how its performance will be evaluated.
- Define your target
This is important for any marketing effort that’s intended to yield the greatest possible results from minimal resources.
What useful information about your intended recepient of your marketing content can you gather? Where do they live? What are their occupations, interests, or preferences? And how do these characteristics determine the sort of content they’re likely to take more than one glance at?
Define your target audience’s demographic and psychographic make up, and take note of this information when crafting your content. Find out how to do this in our article on implementing target marketing.
- Decide what type of content you want to create
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding what type of content you want to put out. These include the intended recepient (which is why you would want to define yout target, as explained above), your message, the result or impact you expect it to deliver, your budget, and the availability of the tools and expertise required to create it.
We’ve mentioned a few types of online content you could use. The hard part is making them communicate what you want them to, in the exact way you prefer that they should. But the first step of this portion of content strategy is to grasp how different content formats deliver the information you want to get across to your audience.
- Have a content management plan
The whole process of content creation, sharing and tracking should be mapped out. Each point on this conveyor belt needs to be handled or overseen by someone (or a group of people). Responsibilities and accountability systems should also be specified.
- Gather ideas for content
You might have bright ideas, but you’ll probably make your reservoir richer if there are contributions from others who are knowledgeable about content creation and marketing. Of course, the first port of call for ideas (apart from yourself) should be members of your team. If they have an active role in drafting the strategy, they could have some useful suggestions to make.
You can also hire a content marketing expert to help out here. They could think up something brilliant for you- because it’s what they do.
- Create and share your content
Having decided what you want your content to look like, the next step to take will be to have it made. Here, you’ll need the services of content writers, videographers, digital photographers, content editors, and other specialized content creators, depending on the type of material to be made.
You can have your content shared on your blog, another website, your social media page, and via email.
- Track performance
You’ll have to set two things in place before doing this:
- The indices you’ll be looking at as markers of the success of your content marketing.
- Ways to measure these indices.
The indices and measuring rule you’ll employ depend on the nature of the content created and the channels used to distribute them. The success of your marketing efforts may be judged by the number of email signups, views, shares, downloads, and site traffic trends they generate.
Evaluate your strategy periodically, and make adjustments to it where they’re found to be needed.