Creating a smart content marketing strategy is crucial to success in any sales or marketing profession. Sounds like a cliche, doesn’t it? But, it is the truth, and you cannot afford to ignore the plain truth.
The most successful marketers use proven strategies that increase an audience’s interest in their product or content. This is why the ads you see online contain catchy titles and eye-grabbing visual components. If you’re looking to increase the audience for your content, you’ve come to the right place.
Why is it important to have a content marketing strategy?
You might be wondering why it’s necessary to create a proper strategy, as opposed to simply posting your content. It seems like a lot of extra work, doesn’t it? As technology continues to develop, more and more content is uploaded to the internet every day. Without a strategic approach to marketing, your content is much more likely to be washed away by a flood of new material being uploaded every second.
Since 2011, the number of internet users has increased from 2 billion to more than 3.4 billion people. This may sound encouraging, as more the audience size, more likely it is that your content will be viewed, right? Wrong.
This isn’t how things will work unless you are strategic with your approach. If you don’t have the right content marketing strategy in place, the 400 hours per minute of YouTube videos, 2.5 million Facebook posts per minute and 4 million Google searches per minute will likely make your content as hard to find as a needle in a haystack; that is, if you don’t create a proper strategy.
Here are some tips for creating the best content marketing strategy possible:
1) Establish your goals
Establishing your marketing goals will prevent you from wasting time on strategies that won’t lead to your success as a content producer. Just like any project, having a clear understanding of what you intend to accomplish will pay off in the long-run.
In order to establish your primary goals, ask yourself:
- What do I want my content to market?
- Why do I want to create this content?
- What kind of content do I want to create?
- Who is my target audience (Ex: age, gender, profession, interests)
By establishing answers to these questions, before you begin developing your content marketing strategy, you’ll have a much clearer idea about how you should market your content based on your personal goals and the interests of your audience.
If you are having trouble deciding on one type of content to create, remember that many popular content marketers produce a variety of different types of content to appeal to a wide range of viewers. You can write blog posts, post videos, conduct quizzes, or publish e-books. If you are a writer, posting an occasional video will help your audience put a face to what they’re reading, which is almost always going to benefit you as a content producer.
Take your time coming up with answers to these questions. This step is the foundation of your content marketing strategy, so develop it fully and properly before moving on.
2) Research your target audience
As a content producer, you need to know everything about your target audience. The best marketers not only know the existing interests of their target audience but are also able to think ahead and produce content that will become interesting to their audience. For example, health and fitness bloggers often create new food and exercise trends by researching, discovering, and creating content that they know hasn’t “caught on” yet, but will appeal to their audience based on past popular posts.
The characteristics you need to research will relate to every aspect of your target audience’s interests. What issues are most important to this population (Ex: environmental, health, art, wealth)? What kind of education will your target audience have? These questions will give you a solid understanding of both the content that will appeal most to a certain group of people, as well as the writing style you’ll need to adopt. An academic writing style on a blog that targets an audience looking for an easy-to-read post will be detrimental to your success in the long-run.
3) Decide on your content management system
The next step is to choose a content management system. If you’re an experienced content producer, you likely already have a platform that you post content on. Sites such as WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr are good resources to get you started. Of course, the content management system that works best for you will depend on the type of content you produce. If you create videos, using resources such as YouTube will be much more beneficial than WordPress or other blog sites designed for written content. Tumblr and Pinterest are sites where visual content finds a huge audience. So, the channels you choose depends on the kind of content you produce.
4) Brainstorm ideas
After you’ve established your goals, audience, and the platforms, you’ll need to establish some clear, cutting-edge content ideas. To do this effectively, search popular blog posts that have been catered towards your target audience. Use these posts as a reference for how to design your own posts. Then, ask yourself how you can provide something more to blog posts that are already popular. Producing content that’s been done time and again won’t give you the edge you need in order to be successful. Resources like Feedly and Buzzsumo are a great way to explore popular topics and increase your chances of having your content viewed.
5) Post your content
Now the next step is to write, film, or create your content. Before posting, there are a few steps you should take to ensure you’re putting your best content forward:
- Create organized content
- Use SEO keywords
When readers come across grammar or spelling issues, or poorly edited videos, they’ll take the content and the content producer much less seriously, and your credibility drops. If you’re hoping to find success by producing content, take editing very seriously.
Creating a structure that’s easy for your audience to understand is another way to optimize your content. My most popular content uses clear sections for easy readability. For example, blog posts with no subtitles and long blocks of texts won’t appeal to readers as much as short paragraphs with clear headings. Have you ever searched for a recipe online? The last thing you want when you’re cooking or baking is a wordy essay. This is why the most popular recipes online have bullet points with easy-to-read instructions.
Finally, make sure your content is search engine optimized (SEO). Viewers will be more likely to find your content if you include strategic keywords and catchy titles. To get started, take a look at the keyword planner on Google AdWords. Subtly insert keywords into your writing to make your posts more search-friendly. In doing so, you’ll direct significantly more traffic to your page than by not using keywords.
Effective content marketing involves a lot of pre-planning and revision. But, don’t let it get tedious, stay patient and sip on some nice cool lemonade as the results keep pouring in.
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