So, you have a blog? That’s good.
But you don’t know what to do with it? That’s not so good.
The great news is that you’re here and we can figure this out together.
Creating content that builds brand exposure, grows your audience, and sells your products doesn’t have to be complicated. I promise.
In fact, in this post, I’m going to make it dead simple for you. That’s because the easier it is to do and implement, the better your chances of actually doing and implementing it. Am I right? Let’s get started.
Here’s a list of content marketing best practices to follow.
What is Content Marketing Anyway?
Content marketing is one of the biggest buzzwords these days. Chances are, you’ve probably heard the term before, but it seemed a little too corporate to take seriously. After all, you’re running a small business, not a gigantic corporation with a devoted marketing department. So, how can content marketing apply to you?
I’m not going to lie. That’s how I felt, too. But then I learned more about it and realized that it is actually the best marketing strategy for any business, but especially small businesses who don’t have the budget or the desire to compete with the big guys.
But, before I get into that, let’s back track and get clear on what content marketing is.
Content marketing is a strategy of creating and delivering valuable content to your audience. The end goal is to turn your audience into customers and then turn those customers into fans of your brand—people who continue to purchase your products and will also tell others about you.
Content marketing can get really complicated really quickly. But it doesn’t have to be. Here’s why:
Content marketing is basically what Gary Vaynerchuk calls a Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. You provide your audience with a huge amount of relevant, resourceful content—whether that’s educational, inspirational, entertaining, or all three.
And you keep providing it.
And then eventually, when the time’s right, you hit them with the right hook—your sales hook.
That’s not to say that you’re going to convert everyone into customers, but you’ll stand a way better chance than you would without content marketing.
Content marketing requires patience. It’s not a short-term strategy for success. It’s not something that happens overnight. But, your investment will pay off in the end.
Why Do You Need a Content Marketing Strategy?
Keep this in mind: Most people will not purchase on their first interaction with your brand. That’s why you need a content marketing strategy. Here’s what an intentional content marketing strategy looks like in action:
Let’s say someone used Google to search for a solution to a specific problem they have. One of the top results was a blog post you wrote, addressing that exact problem. They click on your post and are delighted by your relevant, actionable information that they will use to solve their problem.
However, they’re not sure they want to actually buy your service. They don’t know you yet.
If you hadn’t created a solid content marketing strategy, your story ends here. The first-time visitor clicks the back button, never to return. They won’t remember you, they’ll never build a relationship with your brand, and they’ll eventually go to your competitor who knows a little more about content marketing.
Oh no! That’s a horrible story.
But, on the other hand, if you do implement a solid content marketing strategy, that one blog post is not the end. You’ll have included content upgrades in your blog post that beckon the user to sign up to your email list for an extra resource. And when they sign up, you’ll then have their permission to market to them.
You’ll use this opportunity to send more resources, always valuable, to your new email subscriber. You’ll stay top of mind. You’ll develop a lasting relationship with your subscriber. They’ll begin to trust you, and they will eventually buy.
This same story can be played out on social media, too. In fact, content marketing can happen anywhere as long as you’re sharing content.
So now, let’s talk about how to implement this marketing strategy.
Here’s How to Create an Easy Content Marketing Strategy:
Start By Defining Your Objectives
There are a lot of different goals you may have with your content marketing campaign. Here are the most popular objectives:
- Grow brand awareness
- Introduce a product
- Build a community
- Establish your authority
While you can do any of those things, and more, with content marketing, I promised this was going to be simple. So, here’s what I suggest.
The easiest way to approach content marketing is to consider it an ongoing conversation with your audience. So…
What does your audience need to know in order to succeed?
What are the questions that your audience needs answers to?
How can you use your unique expertise to solve their dilemma(s)?
What type of content do you need to offer that will establish you as the go-to authority in the minds of your audience?
How can you be the ultimate resource for your audience in your specific industry?
Next, Define Your Audience
In order to answer those questions effectively, you’ll need to know a little something about your audience, too.
Don’t feel overwhelmed. These are actually similar to the questions you’ve probably answered before when figuring out what type of customer you serve.
If you haven’t, here are the questions you need to sort out before plotting out your marketing strategy:
What is my target demographic? Gender, age group, location, profession, et al.
What problem do they need help with?
How knowledgeable are they in my industry? Are they already aware of what I do and why? Do they need to know the basics?
Who influences them? What brands or influencers are they listening to currently?
Where do they hang out? In social media and online communities?
Think carefully about these answers, because they will help you understand more about who you’re speaking to and how to better serve.
Planning is crucial.
For most brands, the blog is the centerpiece of a content marketing campaign. So, I definitely recommend creating an editorial calendar.
First, before going live with your blog, decide on what topics you’d like to discuss. Come up with between five to 10 ideas for blog posts, and then get to writing.
After you’ve published these posts, launch your blog. Then, commit to writing one post per week. Always keep your posts on a predictable schedule (for example, a new blog post every Wednesday) so that your audience will get in the habit of visiting your blog once a week.
If you’ve already launched your blog, just start cranking out weekly content. However, remember to map out your content so that you cover the right mix of topics. I recommend mapping out at least two months of topics (which will be eight blog posts if you publish on a weekly basis). You can also give each month a theme if it’s easier to unify your monthly blog posts under one common banner.
Consider More Than Just Your Blog
Up until this point, we’ve placed a lot of emphasis on blogging, but content marketing is more than just writing informative blog posts.
Content marketing extends beyond your blog and into other areas, including:
Social media posts
Slide show presentations
Whew, that’s a huge list, right? You don’t have to do all of those things at one time. You can start by focusing on your blog, and maybe one other area, such as social media. Create blog posts and then use social media to advertise your blog post.
You can also make your content do double-duty. You can create a blog post and then turn it into a downloadable podcast, a YouTube video, and a slide show presentation.
Study Your Analytics
Your content marketing strategy should be dynamic and responsive to the behavior of your audience. You must stay informed on what you’re providing and how your audience is responding to that content. Is your audience sharing your content on social media? Are they leaving comments? Are they returning to your site?
To do this effectively, you’ll need to keep an eye on your analytics. Use Google Analytics to identify your top performing content. You’ll also use the metrics on your email marketing service and your various social media profiles.
What are the most important metrics to check in content marketing?
Email open rates
Email click-through rates
These numbers will help you determine how well your content is resonating with your target audience. Look at what’s performing well on your site and on your ad campaigns, and then do more of it! It really is that simple.
Remember that content marketing is not a quick way to move products. It’s more like the tortoise in the classic tortoise and the hare fable. It moves slowly, but it will eventually win the race.
At its heart, content marketing is about connecting with your audience and investing in them. By providing them with value, you in turn will develop a much more valuable and informed customer.