With the increasing impact of social media and the online world on people’s lives, it’s imperative you create a trustworthy online presence for your business to ensure the products you offer reach a larger swath of prospective customers. And, with changes to the Google Search Algorithm a few years ago, nothing contributes to reaching a wider audience than building a content marketing strategy designed to present your website high in search results for keywords related to your products.
Your content marketing strategy involves more than Google search since you need fresh content on all your chosen social platforms as well as content designed to encourage existing customers to share on their own social platforms, which expands your reach to all their friends.
Thus, content marketing encompasses any online material you create and share, from social media posts to blog posts to YouTube videos. However, content marketing is not simply producing reams of promotional tweets, the goal being to stimulate organic interest in your brand rather than appearing overly promotional. Here are four things to consider when designing a content marketing strategy.
Know your intended audience
As part of the original business plan for your brand, you will no doubt have considered who your product and services are targeted towards. For instance, a bespoke furniture brand might focus on a target market that includes professionals with disposable income aged 35 or older since this market likely has sufficient disposable income to afford your products plus a desire to surround themselves with products that support their own unique personality. In contrast, a makeup product line with trendy branding might target young women between the ages of 16 and 25 because they fit the product attributes and messaging.
The target audience or audiences that fit your branding and offline marketing efforts impact the type of online marketing content you produce and the social media channels you choose as effective outlets for that content.
For instance, the London School of Economics reports that 90% of Instagram users are under 35 years of age, 68% of whom are female, whereas Facebook has a more even split in gender with 56% male and 44% female users of a range of ages. In fact, one of the fastest-growing demographics on Facebook are users over age 65.
So, to use the example above, Instagram would provide a more targeted content channel for the trendy makeup product range (although Facebook still reaches a broader consumer base). By conducting as much research as possible on your target demographic, you can tailor your content to appeal to the attitudes, beliefs, and lifestyles of your chosen target market(s). Using apps such as Facebook Analytics enables you to constantly monitor the success of your online marketing and make any necessary tweaks until you hit on just the right tone and messaging to engage your target market(s).
Decide on your content writing needs
Don’t be fooled into thinking that writing online content is all about constantly pushing your brand. In fact, experts recommend an 80/20 split (at most), with only 20% of your content containing any type of promotional messaging. Further, many consumers respond negatively to hard sales techniques, seeing them as aggressive and annoying, and such interruption marketing doesn’t drive sales, even damaging your brand if the tactics are extreme.
Users instead respond more positively and develop a more positive attitude toward brands that produce interesting content of value to them, such as entertaining, informative, or affirming content.
A number of content strategies fit with these tips, such as contributing relevant blog posts to blogs run by online influencers, creating fun YouTube videos, or engaging in conversations on Twitter that add to the community.
Matching recommendations from above, you identified a particular demographic as your target audience, which influences your tone and voice, choice of images, and actors used in the content, as well as including other elements that hold meaning for that target audience. For instance, National Geographic readers don’t expect the chatty, informal style of a lifestyle blog, but prefer rich images that fit with other content in the magazine (or online platform).
You might find it a daunting prospect to produce a regular stream of interesting online content, particularly if you are not confident in your writing and design abilities. If you are a small business or self-employed, you might simply not have the time or manpower to dedicate to what is often a full-time role. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to engage a content writing service, such as that found on www.clickintelligence.co. Their database of experienced content writers provides you with well-researched, interesting articles designed to stimulate interest in your brand and products without being too ‘salesy’. They also feature a quick turnaround to suit your needs.
Develop goals for your content marketing strategy
In devising your business plan, you probably already developed concrete goals focused on who your business is and what you want your marketing strategies to accomplish. Among your likely goals is to increase your brand’s visibility and, therefore, sales.
However, in building a content marketing strategy, it is a good idea to get more specific with marketing aims and focus on a particular subset of your overall marketing goals for each individual content marketing campaign, as well as your overall goals for content marketing.
In fact, content marketing focuses on specific levels in the conversion process, with some content focused near the top of the funnel and other pieces of content driving users toward conversion. Moreover, when building a content marketing strategy, ensure you build a cohesive program to efficiently build toward conversion.
Each piece of content used in building a content marketing strategy should clearly articulate how content fits into overarching goals as well as specifics based on it’s intended effect as part of the conversion funnel.
For instance, one aim when building a content marketing strategy might be to increase your number of followers on Twitter from 500 to 5000. Or you might want to increase traffic to your website by posting interesting weekly blog posts or revamping an abandoned and amateurish-looking blog. Demonstrating an established, reliable online presence increases your brand’s visibility and boosts sales. Identifying specific goals helps you measure the success of your content marketing strategy during your business’ periodic assessments, and helps you to either modify your goals or modify your marketing tactics for the upcoming period.
It goes without saying that if you want to post edited videos, you use YouTube, or if you want to publish a longer written piece, you use a blog. However, there are more subtle differences in the applications of social media channels and how they are used at different points in the marketing process. To build your brand’s reach, for instance, you can stimulate interest using guest posts on relevant blogs, and Facebook posts or ads. To connect with your customer base and create a conversation, you might engage in direct conversations with users, especially influencers, on Twitter, or provide behind-the-scenes photographs on Instagram. To retain customers and interest in your brand and products, you might offer exclusive discounts and sales via an emailed discount code to those who have signed up for your newsletter.
However, always keep in mind the research you previously carried out into your customer base and their internet usage, which has a bearing on the most effective social media platform for reaching that demographic.
Need marketing help to plan your business strategy?
We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE with our data-driven, results-oriented marketing strategies. Sign up for our FREE newsletter, get the 1st chapter of our book on digital marketing analytics – FREE, or contact us for more information on hiring us.
Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.