Content marketing is popular because it works. Eighty-two percent of marketers use it, and you can bet that your competitors are part of that 82%.
In 2021, 78% of marketers who thought their marketing plan was “exceptionally effective” had a documented content marketing plan. Content marketing covers all your marketing bases and does it in a way that draws customers to you rather than having you find customers and advertise to them.
Following are five key elements of a content marketing strategy. With these five elements, you can be confident that no marketing opportunity goes to waste.
1. Knowledge of Your Audience
You can’t write content for an audience without knowing what that audience wants. You probably already know the basics about your target audience, but you can gain a better understanding by
- Surveying existing customers about their preferences
- Studying trends in your industry
- Defining who you do not want to reach
- Learning who your competitors target
- Talking to your sales team about the people they sell to
One of the fundamental rules for successful writing has always been some version of “Don’t pitch a ‘cat’ article to a ‘dog’ magazine.” Similarly, the more you know about your target audience, the better you can speak to them, acknowledge their pain points, and solve their problems.
Without good content, content marketing fails. Your content must be original, fresh, and relevant to do two things: climb as high as possible in search rankings and be consumed by people in your target audience.
Content may take many different forms. Not all of the following types of content may apply to your business, but most will.
Choosing your content mix carefully empowers you to reach the people you want to reach and provide them with what they want in the format they prefer.
How current and accurate is your website? Is its technical SEO up to scratch? Is it being crawled and indexed by search engine crawlers? Do you update your website content regularly?
Websites grow stale when they use the same old content and visual components year after year. Refreshing your website doesn’t mean burning it down and starting over.
You can update your site by identifying outdated content and replacing or updating it. Designers can replace stale imagery with something more current. And you can use free tools like Screaming Frog to determine whether your site is being indexed by search engines.
If your business website has a blog, you must maintain it. People expect blogs to be updated regularly, and blog posts give you an excellent opportunity to give your website a steady stream of fresh content.
Blog posts that help your audience solve problems can be especially useful components of a content marketing strategy. For example, if you sell insurance, a blog post that walks the reader through the process of determining how much to insure their home for can put their mind at ease.
It’s wise to create a content calendar for your blog so that you don’t repeat topics too frequently. Assigning each post a category and providing navigation to the categories from blog pages encourages readers to explore further.
Social media and marketing emails can drive traffic to your blog posts. Your social media posts offer valuable backlinks to your blog posts and can help them rank better.
Organic Social Media Posts
While you can’t put all of your content marketing eggs into an organic social media basket, you can make organic posts an effective component of your content strategy.
Many businesses follow the 80/20 rule with their organic posts. This means that 80% of organic social posts are informative or entertaining, and only 20% are geared toward making sales.
A predictable posting schedule, outstanding visual elements, and short, informative text are the ingredients of successful organic social posts.
Not every business needs to include long-form content (like ebooks and white papers) in its content marketing strategy. But long-form content can be great in technical industries.
Long-form content is great for addressing potential customers when they are to the point of choosing a solution to their problem. It gives you scope to demonstrate that you understand their needs and that you have the best solution to their problem.
Producing good video content is easier than ever. But while you don’t necessarily need a professional production team, you need fairly high standards for your video content.
Certain types of information are well-suited to video content. For example, how-to videos can be incredibly popular. Video content can be an extremely valuable element of a content marketing strategy when produced with care and authenticity.
3. Marketing Activities
While content marketing does not strictly have to include paid marketing, content marketing can benefit tremendously from paid marketing. There are several paid digital marketing types, and they allow both precise audience targeting and reasonable cost.
Most of the “cost” of email marketing is the time and effort spent building up an email list. Don’t buy email lists because they are rarely targeted properly for your needs and may contain corrupt data that could cause trouble.
Once you have a decent-sized email list, you can enjoy effectiveness and high ROI. Like with social media posting, email marketing should be done on a regular schedule.
The content of your marketing emails should be brief, informative, and relevant to recipients. It’s best to only have one link in a marketing email — often to a blog post or download offer. Marketing emails can be a powerful adjunct to your organic content.
You don’t have to wait for your organic content to ascend to the top of the search results. Paid search ads can put your business at the top quickly.
Search ads can be an excellent partner to your organic content. Organic content usually takes time to reach a top position in search results. In the meantime, however, your paid search ads can reach people immediately.
Paid Social Media
Don’t overload your organic social media posts with “salesy” content. Paid social media ads can do that while your organic posts build relationships.
You should explore paid social media marketing if you haven’t tried it. Social media sites have ad platforms that allow precise ad targeting.
These ad platforms also offer many ways to work within your budget. In short, they give you tools that help ensure that no advertising dollar goes to waste.
Improving on something always involves measurement. Fortunately, both the paid and unpaid sides of content marketing offer analytical tools that make measuring results easy.
But you must review your results regularly to learn if you’re on the right track. Google Analytics can tell you anything you want to know about your website’s performance. Social media ad platforms and email platforms also offer extensive analytical tools.
You don’t have to become an expert in analytics or learn to slice and dice the numbers in new and complex ways. You’re on the road to improvement, even if you just monitor the basics. For example, you could track the following for your website:
- Number of visitors per day
- How long they remain on your site
- How they arrive at your site
- Which pages get the most traffic
Likewise, you can look to your email marketing platform for information on delivery rate, open rate, and conversion rate. Even basic monitoring helps fine-tune your content marketing strategy.
It seems like every week or so, there is a search engine algorithm change or a change to a social media platform. Moreover, changing user demographics cause changes in the types of content, platform, or ads that are most effective.
A rigid content marketing strategy won’t succeed as well as a strategy that includes flexibility. Editorial calendars and content plans may change, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t useful.
Think of your content marketing strategy as a flexible document that can (and should!) be updated when needs dictate. A lack of flexibility can cause you to be left behind when your competitors embrace a hot new ad format or social platform.
The Right Ingredients to Succeed
Remember the five elements of creating successful content marketing as outlined in this post: know your audience, produce great content, employ paid marketing, monitor results, and be flexible.
By doing this, you won’t just create a helpful website presence or increase traffic – but you will create content that will increase leads and sales. Keep this advice in mind and start your journey to successful content marketing today.
Our team is here if you need help crafting an effective website presence or finding the right solution for your marketing needs. Don’t hesitate to set up a call; we are passionate about helping businesses find success through content marketing.