Creating content is essential for your business, but, man, can it be overwhelming and time-consuming!
Trust attracts. Content marketing earns trust by providing valuable information that solves problems and educates. Above all, it is all about building relationships.
Through content marketing, you can generate more website traffic, which attracts more potential customers and eventually leads to sustainable profits from loyal clients.
SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, is used by almost every successful business with a digital presence. When done correctly, SEO naturally generates warm leads, ultimately cultivating the all-important know, like, and trust factors that simplify the sales process.
Here’s a new business owner’s guide to creating a custom content marketing plan that will grow your digital presence — and sales!
Identifying Your Target Audience
The first most important step in content marketing is making sure you know how to identify your target audience. Knowing who you are talking to helps set the foundation of content marketing for your company.
Customer personas can be developed by analyzing your site’s quantitative data, e.g., Google Analytics, and qualitative data, e.g., feedback from the customers. This can help you discover the demographics and psychographics about your customers along with what motivates them to engage.
This is a crucial step to take as it helps you start mapping out what content you will create. Through these customer personas, you will be able to figure out the types of content your customers are looking for and what is helpful for them, which will help you create the right type of content marketing.
Ask yourself these questions to define your target audience:
- Target demographic: What is your audience’s age group, gender, marital status, do they have children?
- Geography: Where do they live (city vs. suburb)?
- Employment: Where does your audience work (consider their industry), where are they in their career (student, entry-level, mid-level, manager, etc.), how much do they earn?
- Social Activities: What hobbies does your audience enjoy, where do they hang out online (consider the social media platforms they are most likely to spend time using?
Know Your Content Pillars
Your digital brand stands on content pillars.
Even if you think you have a lot to say about a topic, having a strategy will help you see how much content you have to work with. It will also help you come up with additional topic ideas, and perhaps a series of posts.
Let’s break down the basics:
What is a content pillar?
A subset of topics or themes that form the foundation for your overall content strategy. Sometimes called “content buckets,” pillars represent relevant topics for your target audiences.
How many content pillars should your brand use?
At least three, but no more than five. Three is best for those just starting out. These should be topics you can easily speak with authority on when a client has a question.
How do you establish your content pillars?
Content pillars should either solve a problem or answer a question that would benefit your target audience. Reading industry-related blogs or forums and asking your social media followers what they want to learn is a great way to start IDing potential pillars. Online tools like the websites Also Asked and Answer the Public can also give you insight on topics.
Words are key.
Ensuring the content you create is relevant and useful for your customers is the ultimate goal of successful content marketing, and that requires proper keyword research.
Keyword research is the analysis of what type of words and topics people search for regarding your business. These words can be gathered from the research you have conducted about your target audience, and these particular keywords can be used to create a meaningful impact on your audience.
It’s essential to know which keywords to use in your blog posts to ensure people can find you in search engine results. Keyword research will help you find the words and phrases people will likely use to find your website or blog. Google’s keyword planner is an excellent resource for finding relevant keywords.
Note that keywords are not just for website copy and blogs. Social media platforms, including Instagram and Pinterest, also require relevant keywords to your content with the right audience.
A Calendar For Your Content
Companies that publish more than 16 posts a month generate 3.5 times more traffic than those which publish less than four times. Coming up with that amount of website content — plus social media posts — is going to be near impossible to wing.
That is why all businesses need an editorial calendar. Editorial calendars should map out blog topics at least one month in advance. This will help you and your team stay organized and on track, instead of scrambling for content.
Having a schedule will also help you keep your content consistent. This is key to keeping your audience interested and coming back for more.
Posting consistently on your social media channels is an extremely important element to your content strategy for the same reasons. Make sure you’re also mapping out your social media posts on the calendar as well.
Tools like Trello or Google Sheets make setting up an editorial calendar simple. You can lay out your plan by weeks, months, and more.
Create a “Freebie”
Gated content is another great content strategy that will help you promote your business and encourage online growth. Using this approach, your audience can only access your content if they enter their contact information, most often their name and email address.
It’s an easy and effective way to gather information about your audience, which will allow you to continue honing your content strategy.
I suggested developing a freebie. Create a no-cost checklist, templated guide, or mini-tutorial on your subject of expertise. Give away your freebie in exchange for an email address.
Freebies are both a great way to encourage your audience to connect with the value of your business and sign up for your email list.
Setting Goals & Analyzing Results
Having a content plan in place is the first step, but it is all for not if it’s not performing well or meeting your growth goals.
Setting goals for your content marketing campaign is better known in the industry as establishing Key Performance Indicators or KPIs. KPIs essentially answer the question, What do you want to achieve with your content?
KPIs must be measurable and time-specific. For example, 1,000 new (aka unique) website visitors in one month.
Common KPIs to consider in your content marketing strategy:
- Website bounce rate
- Number of downloads
- Number of shares
- Number of email signups
- Number of social media followers
Measuring results after an established amount of time is an excellent way of finding out how well the content did and also gives you extra information about which content interests your audience. This helps you realize your successes as well as how to improve in the future.
Content marketing has proven to be one of the most effective ways of promoting and growing a business. The most important thing to keep in mind that your content needs to be relevant and useful for your target audience.
Ascent StoryCraft is a professional content developer. We work with you to craft a message for your brand that is clear, concise, and compelling.
Schedule a copywriting consult to learn how to improve your search rankings, drive more traffic to your site, and generate more leads and sales. We are eager to help define your message and deliver a targeted approach for your web content.
Cyndi, Owner of Ascent StoryCraft
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