You may have heard of the term content marketing, but do you know what it means and how to get it right? Content marketing is a technique that, when managed correctly, can create a stream of visitors to your site. It can work in line with your wider digital marketing strategies, complement your SEO plans and help to guide your customer along your sales funnel.
The great thing about content marketing is that it is affordable and accessible to all. Having the right content in place doesn’t need a huge team or expensive budgets. It simply needs someone who can take responsibility for continual updates and consistent messaging. That’s why it can be used effectively by small independent businesses as well as big brands.
But how do you get started with a content marketing plan?
What should you include in your plans, and how can you manage your content marketing strategies?
Let’s find out.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage customers. It includes all forms of content, including text, audio, video, images, infographics, social media posts, etc., which are distributed via any channel.
Why is content marketing important?
Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to market your business online. It allows you to create valuable content people want to read and share. This helps build trust and credibility with potential customers.
Thanks to content marketing techniques, you can ensure that you are providing the right content your audience is looking for. Not only will this help to increase your visibility in search engines, but carefully written content can help a customer to make an informed purchasing decision.
Your content should be there to answer any questions they may have, give them trust in who you are as a business, and explain why they want to engage your services.
A step-by-step guide to creating a content marketing strategy
Now that you know what content marketing is and why it’s important, you need to think strategically about what you want to achieve.
It may be tempting to crack on and start writing a blog post or two – but careful management of your content will help you to maximise its impact, provide a positive return on your investment and help you achieve your goals.
As freelance copywriters and content marketing experts, we work closely with our clients to create content marketing strategies that provide effective results. For some clients, it may be about reaching the top of page one on Google; for others, it could be about helping to improve conversions on their website or helping their audience to understand who they are as a company.
Whatever the aim, we believe there is a defined process for creating a successful content marketing strategy.
Step #1 – Define what you want your content marketing to achieve
Your first mission is to define what you want your content marketing to do.
Are you looking to boost your search engine rankings? Are you trying to increase sales? Do you want to raise your brand awareness? It may be a mix of different things, but understanding the difference between a ‘transactional’ piece of content and an ‘informational’ piece of content is essential.
Being clear about what you want each individual piece of content to do is an essential part of the briefing process. Whether you are working with an in-house team or asking a freelance copywriter to manage your content on your behalf, you need to clearly articulate what you want your content to do and how it needs to work.
Content marketing strategies should be fluid, and your aims and objectives may change throughout the year. So don’t be afraid to review your content marketing plan so it remains in line with your wider business strategy.
Step #2 – Decide how you will evaluate your content
As part of your strategy, you should think about how you will know whether your content is working or not.
It’s essential to remember that content marketing isn’t a ‘quick win’. For example, simply publishing a single blog post is unlikely to reach the top of the search engine immediately. You see any impact only when you have a sustained plan with regular updates.
Tracking the impact of your content is a complex process.
There are so many nuances that may change the way you view success. But thankfully, it is now easier than ever to drill into the impact of your content.
Let’s take website traffic as an example
On a superficial level, you may choose to judge your content purely on the number of traffic that your page is receiving. While this is a handy guide, it may not necessarily tell the full story. For example, using the data readily available in Google Analytics, are you looking to see where your common landing pages are? If there is one page outperforming the others, can you see why? Perhaps you’re using paid ads, or maybe it’s got a great keyword working well.
Similarly, with your content, can you see if visitors are spending longer than usual on your website? Are they following your site map and visiting other pages? Finally, what is your bounce rate on a particular piece of content, and how does that compare to other pages?
You can also use your SEO and CRO performance rates to judge your content’s effectiveness. Is it helping you to win new traffic or helping them to move further down your sales funnel? How is your content affecting your social media engagement – are you finding new ways to start conversations with your audience?
If you know what you’re looking for from the outset, you can be better placed to determine how well your content is working.
Step #3 – Research what content may be needed
As you prepare for a content marketing plan, think carefully about what content you could and should be publishing.
You can use keyword research to determine what keywords appear in the search engines. Then, you can create content that matches your needs by using data to identify what your customers are regularly searching for.
But also think about your wider business plan. Do you have any key priorities coming up? If so, that is a good place to start. Are there any areas of your business that are particularly profitable? It’s always worth focusing your content efforts on the revenue-generating areas of your business.
Think about the different types of content. Are you trying to help people make informed decisions? Are you trying to sell a specific product or service? Maybe you want to share your advice and knowledge.
Don’t be afraid to have a mix of these different types of content within your strategy.
Step #4 – Create a comprehensive content schedule
The best way to make your content marketing plan succeed is to create a schedule and stick to it!
Google loves to have regularly updated content, so the more often you can publish your content, the better.
Regarding your workload, it’s helpful to plan a content schedule, perhaps three months at a time. Planning a schedule allows you to see what will be written (and when), and you can also plan your keywords and ensure that your content complements your wider business priorities.
Step #5 – Write and publish your content
When you’re ready to write your content, think carefully about where you plan to publish it. If it’s a blog post for your website, are you sharing it on your social media pages? Are you referencing it on LinkedIn? Writing and publishing content is only half the battle – your content plan is also about how you plan to direct traffic to your content and boost its visibility.
Your content should work hard but needs the tools to help it, whether through paid advertising, email signatures, social media, or even sharing it with your peers and colleagues.
Step #6 – Evaluate your content and compare it to your initial objectives
Now it’s been a few weeks since you began publishing content, it’s essential to revert to your initial aims and objectives. Has your content met what you needed it to do? Have you seen any small improvements in your site traffic or changes in audience behaviour? If one particular piece of content has worked well, what can you learn from that?
By continually assessing and learning from what you are doing, you can make continual changes to your content marketing strategy.
Gatekeeper Communications is an Ipswich content marketing agency
Are you keen on implementing a new content marketing plan, but you’re unsure if you have the resourcing or skill available in-house?
We are a content marketing agency in Ipswich. We can work with you to create highly effective content strategies that are proven to work. We can identify your business priorities and establish the right content that you need to connect with your audience.
To find out how we can help your business enhance its content output, please get in touch.