The point of view that content is a king, that you cannot do without a great content marketing strategy, that you can ignore everything but the content is so popular today that it borders on trite. It still holds true, and it pays to know what exactly content marketing is, how to approach it and whether you need it. We have already written how one can set up a website without any technical experience, and now we’ve compiled this guide to help you become an expert in content marketing.
What Is Content Marketing?
Simply put, content marketing is the use of content (any content, any use) to fulfill the marketing goals of your company. Which may seem a natural thing to do, taking into account that all our online activity revolves around content and is only possible because of it. SEO specialists optimize content, what people visit a website for is content, what they use search engines for is to find content. This leads us to the answer to the next question.
Do I Need Content Marketing?
It certainly won’t hurt. The key is to think about content marketing as an integral part of establishing your online presence, and not some separate advertising campaign. The main reason why many companies aren’t in a hurry to seriously work at content marketing angle is that it doesn’t very well fall under traditional categories. You cannot run a content marketing campaign, get results and move on. And it’s certainly more than just a link-building. Content marketing is something that is constantly done, becomes a part of your company image and is to be maintained for as long as the company exists. It can provide fabulous long-term returns, but “long-term” is the keyword here – it is not a quick fix, the results will accumulate gradually and will take a while to register.
You already use content marketing to a certain extent – you cannot be present on the Internet without it. Utilizing content marketing strategies “full-time” means to organize your efforts for maximizing returns properly.
How Do I Do It?
Now that you know “why”, let’s talk about “how”. If you’ve heard that you simply have to post right top-notch content without bothering about anything else, we have to disappoint you – this view is a bit idealistic.
Before you start, you need a plan. To create a plan, you should define what assets you already have. If you have a single website and it isn’t very big, you can do it on your own, manually. Larger and older companies may have to use some spider software to extract the full lists of working URLs from all their websites (e.g., Screaming Frog).
Next, comes organizing what you have according to some guidelines. What are the topics your content covers? Is it up-to-date? In what manner is it presented? How relevant is it for the actual business you run? Is it purely promotional, or does it provide valuable information? Divide all your content into groups according to these factors. Later, when you start running A/B tests, it will allow you to make more valuable conclusions from the data you receive – for example, what kind of posts your audience prefers, which posts attract more new visitors, and so on.
Apply some metrics tool to your website. Which factors you are going to study depends on your goals and strategies, but such things as traffic, average time spent on page, bounce rate, average number of pages visited, conversion rate and social shares are a good thing to start.
Judging by your previous experience and your company’s goals, what is the primary audience of your website? Do you want it to stay that way? Do you understand what it wants?
The most important things to know about them are as follows:
- Demographics (age, gender, social status, etc.);
- Other websites they tend to spend time on;
- Social media they prefer;
- People that influence them.
Now that you see your position, you have to decide where you intend to go from there. Your company must already have a plan of what it intends to be in 3-5 years’ time so that you may use it as a starting point – content marketing should follow along with the same lines as the rest of your company’s policies.
Set your goals accordingly, and make sure your goals are definite and quantifiable: define what you have to do and set a deadline for it.
Prepare a Strategy Guide
Irrespectively of how many people are going to work on your content marketing, one or one hundred, it is a good idea to prepare a set of guidelines that would clearly define such things as general style, consistent terminology and so on. Don’t go into too much detail lest you make the style guide too big and unwieldy.
Content marketing can be of help at any stage of your relations with the customer, and there is certainly no way to enumerate them all. Here are just a few suggestions on how you can implement it.
These are aimed at bringing new potential clients to the fold by increasing brand awareness. A positive difference from traditional advertising is that you provide value right from the outset – clients get interested in your brand on their own instead of being told about it.
Solutions and Case Studies
These show off your products or services by demonstrating them in real-life conditions. It helps the client decide whether your product is worthy of attention and if it can help them solve their problems.
Such things as product descriptions, carefully organized transaction process, reviews by industry influencers, client testimonials will help you persuade the customer to make the final step and make the first purchase.
Help and Support
Retaining an existing customer is usually more important than acquiring a new one. Comprehensive FAQ’s, product manuals, tips and tricks, well-informed customer support should aim to win the client over, demonstrating that you care about them.
Content lies at the heart of any marketing endeavor – and it is only natural for content marketing to occupy a leading position in your marketing strategy. Make sure you do it today, or your competitors will be sure to overtake you tomorrow.