The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.
Last week, we discussed whether or not content marketing is still relevant. This week, we will instead talk about how to effectively implement content marketing with your business.
Think about the last time you logged online to read an article or watch a YouTube video. Then, on Facebook, you probably retweeted a few interesting posts, went on Reddit to look at some memes, and then you turned on your TV and complained about all the ads you had to be put through just to watch some TV.
Surprise surprise, you have been exposed to marketing the entire day.
You went on YouTube and watched a sponsored video, then on Facebook you saw several call to actions telling you to go on other websites. On Reddit you have ads hidden as posts, often you won’t even notice them.
But somehow, when you think of an “advertisement”, you think of something that is right in your face.
That is the power of content marketing. By providing you with value, you actively engage with the advertisement. The enjoyable “top 10” video you watch is now making you wonder if you should get a LEGO set yourself, or if you should get a Prime subscription to watch the latest TV-show.
I consider content marketing the best type of marketing, because it gives power to your audience and rewards the most creative and most interesting individuals.
In this article, we will help you create a content marketing strategy of your own, so that you can get your time in the spotlight.
Content: one of the key ranking factors
Let’s talk about all the technical implementations of content marketing. Of course, we know that it’s a powerful tool with many benefits, but we have only scraped the surface of its benefits when it comes to SEO.
Google loves content, and in the Developer’s manual, there’s a whole section dedicated to it.
Content is king, we have all heard it. But what is a king without his queen?
That queen is also called quality. According to the SEO starter guide on Google Devs, quality content is:
- Optimised and lightweight
- Easy to read – lay off the complicated terms!
- Organised using the correct HTML tags (such as headings, paragraphs, quotes, etc…)
- Easily accessible to your users.
What is a content marketing strategy?
A content marketing strategy oversees the production and publication of all things content. For example, this blog you are reading right now was planned all the way back to January 2021, and previously researched for its keyword potential.
By definition, a content marketing strategy is just an oversight of everything that comes out of your business that isn’t a product, but we all know it’s much more than that.
A content marketing strategy is a way to teach your audience about your product or your industry – people love making informed decisions, and by helping them learn more about your services, you are essentially selling them.
If done consistently, content marketing can be a way to create a real relationship with your audience, guaranteeing that when the time comes, they’ll choose you.
Key elements of a great content marketing strategy
1 - Research
Know your audience. If you think you know them well, you don’t know them enough. You need to live and breathe their problems in order to create the perfect content. Whatever problem your audience is facing is going to define the success or failure of your content marketing strategy.
“Problem” is a very generic term.
What content aims to do is reduce the lack of knowledge. For example, digital marketing agencies promote articles that discuss marketing, such as this one, so that the audience can make a more informed decision.
When conducting your research, think about how well they need to know your product in order to buy it: if you are selling a complex service such as SEO, then your audience will need to be informed much more than if you were selling, for example, a simple woodworking service.
Tip: It is smart to research what is already there. Some pieces are done to death, quite frankly, and your chances to stand out with a piece we have seen time and time again is unlikely.
So lay off the BuzzFeed-style quizzes, please. Your audience doesn’t want to know what type of bread they are, they just want to see your unique recipe.
2- Change your medium accordingly
What your audience lives on will often change the medium you are delivering content with.
Often, article writing is a “one-size fits most” situation – after all, everybody can hop onto a website and read an article they deem interesting.
However, this may not often be the case.
- If your audience is struggling with a problem that is very visual/manual in nature, such as fixing a specific machine, refilling a water dispenser or cooking a recipe, then a video may be your best friend.
- If your audience is heavily present on social media, then social media posts are your ally: infographics, TikTok-style videos and interesting facts… You get the idea!
- Are they interested in articles, but they love personalisation? Then newsletters are probably your best choice.
Article writing is easy and accessible, but your medium will have to successfully adapt to your audience in order to create an effective marketing strategy.
Tip: Multi-medium content is also possible, albeit more difficult.
3 - Prioritise quality
We will not go over the CHAT method again, which is discussed in detail in our previous article. We strongly advise you to read it if you want a safe way to create quality content on a consistent basis.
As we keep stressing, there is no content marketing that is effective, if you don’t publish content that people can actually engage with.
- Use multiple content streams and ensure you prioritise the visual aspect of things.
- Take great care in your spelling, coherence and tone. You don’t want your reader to dumpster dive so that they can find a few interesting things amongst the rubbish.
- Keep it easy to understand. We can’t stress how important it is to not use any fancy terms or random jargon your audience won’t understand. If a ten-year-old can understand what you have created, then it’s perfect.
- Ensure you know what you are talking about. Please, for the love of all that is sacred, when you hire, don’t just hire random people to do your content. Hire people that have plenty of experience working in your industry.
- Add value. Entertain, teach, provide a unique view… Just add value. Make sure your content does something.
Tip: As a rule of thumb, avoid creating politically-charged or controversial content until you can really afford the risk.
4 - Allocate resources
Handling an entire business by yourself is a monolithic challenge that fortunately you don’t have to undertake.
Even the most successful “self-made millionaires” you see all over Instagram are “self-made” thanks to a team of people capable of handling their tasks for them.
Content creators, video producers, influencers… Name as many talents as you want, the more you have the happier you’ll be.
Ideally, you want an in-house marketing department to handle that for you. However, that may not always be the easiest thing to do, which is why it’s often a better choice to hire content marketers for you.
Although this would be a perfect moment for me to talk about topflight’s content marketing services, let’s instead talk about how you can better allocate those resources.
Talent: “Content marketers” is a fusion of words. You’ll need writers, editors, designers, artists, sound specialists, creatives and trusted freelancers in order to succeed.
Of course, there are plenty of options out there, but we strongly advise staying off cheap services.
Tools: tools to keep track of your content and analyse its results need some love too. We are currently using the tools Ahref and Semrush, in combination with free tools such as Keyword Surfer and Google Analytics.
Workflow: Just like the vast majority of business operations, content marketing benefits from a great communication tool.
Monday, Slack, pen and paper, homing pigeons carrying posts… Whatever works best for you, invest heavily on that. Bonus points if you are actually using pigeons.
Tip: Better talent = better content. Invest in your people means investing in your business.
5 - Predict trends and create a calendar
Trend prediction is a topic full of surprises. Everybody wants to know the future, after all.
To accurately predict trends, there is no better tool than researching. For example, in our past articles, we have predicted twelve digital marketing trends for 2022 with great accuracy, and all we had to do was just conduct some research.
Predicting a trend can help you publish content in the right moment. For instance, if virtual reality became an overnight craze, then you’d be ready to publish your awesome VR content, pretty much ensuring you get to stay on top of the competition.
Creating a calendar
There is no right or wrong way to create a content calendar, only a few rules and strategies that apply to the vast majority of content marketing strategies.
First of all, you should define your goal: is it to gain more website visitors? More social media followers? To sell your product? To teach people about a specific topic?
Then, starting from a specific date, create a realistic content publishing calendar, listing when you will create what content, what that content will contain, comments on its publication and expected results, and comment on time-bound publications.
It’s smart to pre-produce as much content as possible, as long as that content isn’t reliant on a specific publication date or event. For example, it would be terrible to invest a lot of money creating content about a football event, then that event is cancelled.
Tip: Your content calendar needs to be flexible to allow for content publication in the case of specific, sudden events.
6 - Study your distributions
You made the content and the whole process is rolling through so smoothly you can’t believe your eyes. But no one will ever visit your content if you don’t find a way to distribute it efficiently!
Content medium will change your distribution types. For example, video-heavy content may not be great if you seek to share it via a newsletter, because no one really likes to click strange links in their email feed.
However, social media will love your 30 seconds videos and your infographics.
Influencers, email marketing, geotargeting and user retargeting are just some of the ways you can deliver your content to your audience.
Tip: think about commitment when you are distributing content. Are you asking them to download or even install something on their computers? Are you asking them to go to a physical location? Or do they just have to read something?
The more effort you are asking them to put into your content, the better designed your distribution channels will have to be.
7 - Measure your results
The beauty of digital marketing is that its results can be turned into numbers and content marketing is no different.
You will have to measure indicators such as brand awareness, revenue, engagement rates, leads generated and retention rates. These can be monitored across many different channels, such as email newsletters, articles, social media interactions and more.
You can also focus more on specific metrics such as page views and number of visitors if your content marketing strategy is designed to support your SEO goals.
Fortunately, you don’t have to write down results on your own. Tools designed to help you understand the metrics exist, and you can get most of these for free.
- Google Analytics is the most basic and most useful analytics tool you can get. Free, effective, accurate and, most importantly, free (did we say that before?)
- Social mention is useful for social media mentions, as the name suggests. It will help you check for your effect on social media.
- Buffer is a simple and data driven solution for social media. Its main selling point is that it is a one-in-all solution for all things social media.
Tip: Measure and change your plan accordingly. Nothing is set in stone, and if you see that something is being incredibly effective, then that is a cue to do more of that!