One of the challenges for the marketing profession is that we marketers often fall in love with our own cleverness. As a collective, we are often guilty of over-complicating the theory of practice and display a worrying affection for elegant solutions. One of my mentors who ran a multi-billion dollar consumer facing business distilled his philosophy on strategy into, “don’t do dumb things!”
Marketing typically imbues strategy with an almost ritualistic power. However, not all strategy benefits from long gestation times or extensive analysis. Frequently, the best answer to even our most profound strategic questions can be answered in thirty minutes.
7 Stage Content Marketing Strategy
If you are looking to drive organic traffic to your website, you will need a clear content market strategy that addresses your business’ issues.
Happily, the essential components of a solid content market strategy are familiar friends by now. In under thirty minutes using sage judgment and good discipline, you can create a content marketing strategy that will improve your website traffic by 25 percent.
By grounding your content market strategy on facts, and not over complicating it, you can enjoy increased traffic volumes, an expanded customer base, revitalized brand loyalty, and enhanced brand awareness, all leading to healthier revenues.
Our 7 key steps to creating an effective content market strategy are:
1. Do Your Diligence And Always Give Your Audience What They Want
The essence of a good strategy is research and due diligence. Understanding your audience, knowing what content attracts them, what content they find relevant and useful, and being disciplined in consistently providing fresh, impactful content to them is the key to successful content marketing.
Due diligence around keyword selection is also an important input to strategy, as is demographics data from Google Analytics and insights around emerging topic trends from Google Trends.
Combined, these sources will give you a clearer picture of your audience together with which industry topics are currently in demand and which are waning.
2. Optimise Your Content Assets
The more traffic each item of content attracts, the better your strategy will perform. Brands feed off a tidal wave of new readers, increased social shares, and a growing pool of comments.
Map your content to each stage of the customer journey to ensure you are engaging prospects and existing customers at each point of need and keeping your brand top of mind as they go through the buying cycle.
You should also tap into an influencer network to drive social shares of your content and don’t be afraid to drop teasers to your online followers alerting them to upcoming new content.
Social sharing will drive up your cumulative reach and expand your potential audience. Influencers also give you access to their follower base, exposing your content to another new audience.
Never be afraid to re-purpose content. Transform a blog post into an eBook, share website images on Instagram, Pinterest or Flickr and engage with questions on Reddit or Quora.
Similarly, upload your Powerpoint presentations onto Slideshare or repackage them into a white paper. Optimising content for a range of social media distribution channels works your content assets harder and exposes your content to a wider audience.
3. Target Your Landing Pages
As you build out your content asset base, be sure not to neglect the landing pages they feed interested readers onto.
Optimised landing pages are essential for special offers or promoting specific products and can prove more effective than simply funnelling all your traffic towards your Home page or blog when it comes to converting prospects into customers.
Customised landing pages are also frequently the key to activating new keywords to access a target audience. Great landing pages also help your rankings in Google’s search results.
4. Adopt Cut Through Headlines
Brilliant headlines, which attract reader attention and drive click-through rates, are another foundation of clever content marketing strategies. Great headlines also promote social shares of your content.
Headlines starting with a number or incorporating a vibrant adjective at the start of the article are frequently the most popular, as are ‘How to’ and ‘research’ titled articles.
Content that resonates quickly with your audience increases your content’s chances of being shared. As you develop your content, always look for an eye-catching headline to bring your content ideas to life. You’ll find a hot headline will bring you a larger audience than a dry dusty topic.
5. Conduct A/B Testing
As the content marketing rule of thumb goes, “test, test and test again!” Content marketers should be running a continuous set of A/B tests to refine your handle on what content your audience responds best to and what content drives the highest conversion rates.
Regardless of your business’ size or scale, tweaking your conversion rates can unlock a potentially significant improvement in your revenue performances and ultimately in your bottom line.
Similarly, A/B tests can prove helpful in clarifying which types of headlines are more effective with your audience and what topics attract the biggest readership for your blog.
6. Research Your Competitive Set
While you should never allow competitor activity to dictate your content strategy, understanding your competitive set is a fundamental part of understanding your brand’s ecosystem.
Get a feel for what types of content they are leading with, what keywords they are targeting and what topics they focus on. There is a raft of online analytical tools available to help you understand competitor behaviour including:
- SE Ranking, DYNO Mapper, SEO Profiler and SEMRush all enable you to discover which keywords your competitors are targeting
- Buzzstream Linking, Majestic-SEO and SEOmoz Linkscape will help you identify who your competitors are linking to and what their most popular content is
By understanding competitor strategy and tactics, you can identify gaps in their strategy, weak points to exploit as well as feeding their strategy into your own content development ideas.
7. Put An Editorial Calendar In Place
Disciplined execution is the key to many a successful content marketing strategy. Creating an editorial calendar helps you plan your content development, identify priorities and ensure your audience is consistently engaged, keeping your brand top of mind.
With an editorial calendar in place, you should never miss a deadline or an opportunity to attract and keep an audience! A calendar also enables you to engage your readers by teasing them with advance notice of upcoming content, promoting your blog and social media feeds.
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Creating an effective content marketing strategy that delivers improved traffic volumes needn’t be a prolonged and painful process. By adopting the seven key strategic building blocks outlined above, you can flesh out a content marketing strategy in less than thirty minutes. You will quickly discover that good, disciplined strategy leads to a spike in traffic volumes, a more engaged readership base, higher customer conversions, greater brand awareness and a healthier bottom line