A Step by Step Guide to Content Marketing Strategy

Before I drag you into the vast entity of content marketing, allow me to be crystal clear – content marketing is not easy and anyone who says that they have mastered the dynamics, is a liar. It is not all scientific with streamlined concepts and results but is a powerful art that includes creativity that can realign the fabric of human behavior to lure attention. 

You might have heard the popular phrase ‘content is king‘, even if it is quoted every now and then, the fact is, be it social media marketing or SEO, content is the only thing that forms the foundation.

In this blog, we are going to discuss strategies to strengthen the foundation. Whether you are a newbie experimenting with the content marketing approach or an experienced player, a revised content marketing strategy with innovative ideas is always fruitful.

So, what is content marketing?

Content marketing is the tactical management to any extent of perceptible media – audio, visual or documented in order to drive in traffic, gain popular backlinks and increase the brand/service awareness.

The goal is to achieve good organic ranking in a search engine and drive popular links to your website.

How to do that? CONTENT!

Every link earned, every keyword searched, every landing page and every product description, all these redirects you to a content. Be it blog posts, pdfs, forums or videos – everything you display on your website for your audience is counted as ‘content’.

Beginning with the content marketing strategy…

You must keep in mind, the content you create is not primarily for ranking, but the audience. Who’s the target audience of the content? How many audiences are you targeting? No two audiences are the same. Just the way you have a variety of audience, your content library needs to have variety.

Some audiences are not readers, so they opt for visuals while some like to read; your target is to provide for them, relevant and valuable information. Why? Because a satisfied reader will talk about you, mention you, this way they’ll promote traffic and increase the chances of backlinks.

Here I have elaborated 5 broad steps to effective content marketing:

Step 1: The Research process

Jumping straight into creating ideas is fine and might as well work. However, I would always recommend being prepared before jumping into the brainstorming process.

To allow your business to thrive you will need ideas specific enough to provide the right framework for the company as well as the audience; also, agile enough to flex and change with the changing circumstances. When you know your audiences and you have the idea of what they are looking for, you can strive to provide them better.

However, creating unique ideas every single time is not possible and the truth is that there is no such topic completely untouched. Hence, the research process is crucial for delving into existing ideas to inspire yourself. 

Another part of the research process is keeping an eye on your competitors – there’s a chance that they have similar products or services like yours, so how to let the potential customers know that you’re different, why would they choose you? Well, to do that you need to prove why you are worth listening to.

When you have researched enough, you already have an idea about the popular topics and discussions on the web related to your business, or which keywords to target. 

You can use certain tools like ‘SEMrush’ and ‘Ahrefs’ to search a competitor domain or a keyword and get a complete data of which contents are getting shared the most and how many backlinks they are generating. All this research creates a brief for you and the team with the right amount of information to walk into the session.

Now that you have placed your foundation stone, let’s move on to the next step…

Step 2: Idea Establishment

Quality content does not just come up like a ‘Eureka moment’… you need to hone your mind to process ideas. And when you say, ‘ideas just come up’, you overlook the process that allows you to reach the point. And as a popular quote goes ‘ideas are bulletproof’, they make you unique and allow your business to grow.

The research process brought you to this point – now you have an idea that requires proper shape. However, the idea is not for you but for your audience. When you validate your idea, you must keep these 5-key points in mind:

  • Simplicity: Coming up with an idea nobody understands is of no use. Your ideas must be easy enough to comprehend. The motive should be communicating the idea through the headline.
  • Unanticipated: Even though the idea you have come up with is inspiring, it must have that surprise element in it.
  • Precision: There should not be any place for ambiguity. The idea should be precise enough to be devoid of any misinterpretation.
  • Reliability: The idea should have credible data, an author and a company behind it.
  • Story: From childhood till today, we get engaged in stories and it piques human interest.

It is easier to establish your idea based on these key points as the framework. An interesting content in a story structure has a higher chance of getting success.

Step 3: Study your Audience

As I have mentioned earlier, your contents are primarily for the audience and not for ranking. You’ll need to have a clear vision for whom you’re creating the content for.

If you are new in the market, you’ll need to have content relevant enough for the audience. To begin with, you’ll need complete information on what people are searching and what ‘keywords’ you need to focus on.  For instance, you are a blogger, and your target is to attract more traffic to your blog. I would suggest you try Google Trends.

Google Trends gives you a complete list of trending searches. You can also custom search keywords you’re working on to get a search density result.

Now, if you are already in the marketing business, allow your content to be metamorphic to promote cross-platform interaction. Probably yours is an e-commerce business or technical services provider, there are two things you need to do:

  • Collect Demographics – Collect the demographic details of your visitors, subscribers and social media followers. Web analytics gives all the details of your audiences you need – age, gender, education, and occupation. Web analytics tools like Google Analytics, Woopra give you real-time demographic data and complete website analysis.
  • Collect Reviews – To learn more about your audience try collecting reviews from your existing customers. This gives you an overview of how engaging your contents are and whether they successfully cater to different queries of the audience. The comment box is a vital tool to engage with the readers and get valuable feedback.

When you have a complete demographic detail and client reviews, you can create a buyer persona. This lends you details of your ideal audiences to target content better.

Step 4: Promotion and Marketing

I have chosen to omit the content production part because it is a mammoth process including designing and developing to make it more user-friendly. I will discuss that in a separate blog of ‘How to design and develop your content’. For now, let’s jump into promoting the ‘already made’ content.

Producing excellent content but not giving enough time on its promotion is a bummer!

Promotions are of three types – Paid, Earned and Owned.

By paid promotion I do not mean buying links, that’s a big NO-NO! Buying links for site promotion is illegal and considered as an infringement by Google.

Paid promotions are useful to generate traffic which also increases social shares and backlinks. To reach a wide range of audience you can publish in platforms like RevContent and Outbrain; this is termed as guest posting. You can also choose from social marketplaces like Facebook and Instagram for paid promotions.

Earned promotions may sound easy but earning one isn’t a piece of cake. This is the age-old method of link building – you start by finding a list of influencers related to your business, contact them and promote your content and hope for the best. I can suggest two ways of doing it – find existing prospects or find mainstream journalists and publishers. If successful, they can generate HUGE traffic for your website. You can use paid tools like Gorkana, A News Tip to find a list of desirable influencers.

Owned promotions are what you already have – your existing blog, your social handles, and the email marketing list. You can keep on revising them accordingly.

Step – 5: Conversion

When content is solely created for link building or social shares, it is difficult to convert visitors to potential clients. Converting them into clients or let alone getting them to click across to the main website is difficult. So how to pull this off? Here are some proven tactics-

Paying attention to Micro-conversion – These are initial steps a user takes before getting interested in your brand/services. Let me explain why micro-conversions are important. For instance, I am a user, I came across a blog you posted, and I liked it. So, I shared your blog on Twitter and subscribed to your newsletter. I didn’t buy your product but participated in your promotion. Now your job is to create that opportune moment and convert me into a buyer.

Keep an eye for such instances and try and capture a visitor’s email address to target them later through social media or via email marketing

The Final Step: Open to repurposing content

Now, this is a never-ending process to keep in mind. The market is changing every day, so are the audiences. So, are you going to keep on changing your contents? No, you repurpose the content. Using the same content to drive in new traffic is ‘repurposing’.

All you need to do is keep track of audience interests and what’s trending on the internet. As I always say SEO is ever-changing and is an undivided part of content marketing. You must keep on upgrading yourself to get success with your marketing.

I hope this blog is informative enough to guide you through a compact content marketing strategy. You could try implementing the above-discussed strategies and keep a track of how well you can increase your following. The plan outlined here only increases the prospect of success does not guarantee it since the market is ever-changing and so should your marketing strategies too.

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