No matter if you are experienced or a total beginner with content marketing, it’s always a good idea to stay updated on what the best approach is. Often, it can be beneficial to take new approaches you have learned and apply them to content you have already created so you can make it even more effective.
Content marketing has become an incredibly important way for today’s businesses to increase their mindshare and drive organic traffic to their websites. Whether you are a business owner, or a digital marketer selling consultancy to business clients, it’s important for you to be aware of best practises for content marketing.
It’s all about maintaining a great level of engagement with your audience. You need a carefully planned out content plan to make that happen.
Your content strategy covers all the media you publish that covers what the business is and why it should be considered a leader in the industry. This needs to be done continuously in order to main engagement, so a strategy and content calendar is required to plan for and maintain a flow of unique content over a long period of time.
Creating content randomly without much forward-thinking or in an inconsistent way will give results that are equally unreliable, that’s why you should always consult with digital marketing agency Sydney. Your content needs to have a functional purpose that is identified before it is created, and that informs the way it is framed and distributed.
What your content strategy needs to identify
When planning any content strategy, there are a few critical things you need to identify in order for it to be effective for you. These are:
It should come as no surprise that identifying your audience is the first and most important step in creating a content marketing strategy. Just as the author of a book or director of a film must know their audience to create engaging media, you must know your audience to create effective web content.
This does not mean you will have one single audience, since your business may have different features that appeal to different audiences. The more audiences you want to cater to, the more planning you need to do to ensure they are satisfied.
Sometimes you might have the same message but will want to translate it into different formats to suit different audiences types. For example, your younger customers might be easier to reach on social media, while older customers will be easier to reach in print or radio.
This is why it’s important to try and create content that can be easily transformed and scaled into different contexts. Identifying a core message and keeping it consistent across different platforms is important, especially for those audiences members who may experience your content through multiple formats.
Of course, your content is only going to be as good as the product or service it is promoting. The product or service you have is offering to solve some problem or fulfil some desire that your audience has.
Your content strategy should be engaging people who already use and understand the utility of your product/service, as well as potential new customers who are still learning about your business. The content you produce needs to remain focused around the core offering of your business and make it easy for every type of audience member to comprehend and stay engaged.
The special benefits you have
Another important thing your content strategy needs to identify is the special benefits that you offer over your competitors, or what makes you unique. You need to approach your content from some kind of angle that sets you apart from competitors so that your business is both easily recognisable and preferable as a choice to your audience.
Content marketing has become more and more important for businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Content marketing is easiest when you have an easily identifiable key benefit that your competitors can’t claim to have themselves.
Every business is different, so a clever marketer can find an angle to work that helps the business to stand out. With that said, businesses that offer something truly special are always going to have an easier time with any kind of marketing.
The content mediums you will use
Naturally, a content strategy needs to establish the format that content will be created in. This, like everything else, needs to be informed by a robust understanding of the audience it is being targeted to.
For example, videos and infographics can be more effective for an audience that habitually uses social media, while blog articles might be suited to a more knowledgeable or patient audience with more time on their hands. Of course, the suitability of different content formats will vary greatly depending on the type of product being offered and how much consideration the audience puts into their purchase decision.
The platforms it will feature on
Again, a lot of research is required to understand the best platforms to post your content to maximise its effectiveness in reaching and engaging your audience. Some platforms are better suited to different content formats and audience types.
The most prominent platforms you will likely use will be social media sites, your own website/blog, and any other website you can get featured on.
The way it will be managed
The more elaborate your content marketing strategy is, the more management it will need to ensure that it is effective and consistent. Part of your initial planning should cover how you are going to maintain things long term and how you may adapt the strategy moving forward.
You will need to leverage the power of analytics to help inform your future content decisions and help refine your content marketing efforts. If you have already done a lot of content marketing before, then your past analytical insights should be cited to help you plan your future strategies so they can hit the ground running.
One of the most popular and effective ways to manage content and avoid ‘content clutter’ is to frame content around key topic areas. This helps you to differentiate and balance the content you are producing so that you don’t lean too heavily one area or end up repeating yourself over and over again.
Why is content marketing useful?
The core utility of content marketing is to help source new leads and website traffic by building and maintaining the authority of a business within its industry niche. Sometimes it only takes one or two awesome blogs or infographics to help your business gain a huge boost in organic traffic from referrals by other websites or people who are searching for what you are talking about.
This is why infographics and business-led studies are so effective in content marketing. They provide value for other people, and therefore they will create positive associations with the business. If you create a really good infographic that a blogger wants to write an article about, then they will be obliged to organically link to you, and this can have major benefits for SEO.
This is often called ‘evergreen content’, which means that it remains relevant and draws traffic for a long time after it is published. This content is not only useful in letting people know about your business or driving them to your website, but it also helps to inform your target audience so that they can more comfortably engage with your products or services.
For example, if a pet store put out an interesting blog or infographic about different types of cat food and their benefits, it would likely generate links from pet care blogs and get shared organically on social media etc. This will spread the word about the pet food store and build authority in the industry, as well as educate the audience about some of the products it has.
Content marketing is, therefore, highly versatile and can achieve multiple outcomes at once. The undeniable utility of content marketing is being more broadly recognised, and this explains why investment in it has grown significantly over the last couple of years.
Steps for creating a content strategy
Creating a specific content strategy needs to be done carefully in order for it to be as effective as possible. When planning your content marketing strategy, do the following:
Think about the core objectives your content strategy is being created to achieve. A single content strategy can have multiple objectives, such as increasing mindshare, driving conversions, and creating a more informed audience etc.
Whatever your objectives happen to be, make sure you clearly identify them before you take your content marketing any further. Without clear objectives, it will be impossible to create an effective content marketing strategy.
Identify web personas
Web personas are similar to the buyer personas that are made in traditional marketing plans. Essentially, a web persona is an attempt to construct a broad personality type for your target audience so that you can more easily engage with them.
This means thinking about the traits that people in your target audience share and planning content that is more relevant for them.
Select a CMS
CMS stands for ‘content management system’, and they are an essential part of content marketing. This is the system through which your content will be published, edited, analysed, and optimised.
Choose content ideas and create the content
Now, the fun part. You need to think about content ideas and organise for them to be created. This means engaging copywriters, graphic designers, video producers, and more to help make content that is both high-quality and that meets your expectations.
This is where all of your prior planning plays an important role – the more planning you have done, the more specific your content briefs can be. The more specified you content briefs are, the more you can guarantee that content will turn out the way you want it to.
Being clear and concise with your content briefs and collaborating closely with creative talent is important for ensuring that the work comes out both on-time and on-target. While some editing and feedback can’t be avoided, spending too much time going back and forth with multiple versions of content can stymy your content efforts and even cause delays in the execution of your strategy.
Make sure that you are open and transparent with the creative process so that the best work can be completed in the shortest amount of time, at the lowest cost. If you have an internal team to do all this, great, but if you need to use freelancers then it’s important to make sure you can vouch for the quality of their work ahead of time.
This is why many businesses choose to have content marketing handled by 3rd party digital marketing agencies that have internal content teams who specialise in doing this type of work. This is much faster and more reliable than trying to engage a series of freelancers who will have less accountability over the work they do.
Launch your content and analyse the results
Once your content has been created, there’s not much left to do except proof it and then publish it on your planned platforms. Once the content is live, you need to play the waiting game and see how it performs.
The analytics your CMS enables you to see will allow you to monitor the effectiveness of your content and help you plan your future moves. You need to be patient during this time and collect as much data as you can to see how each piece of content is performing.
Content marketing may feel a little overwhelming at first, but with experience comes expertise. Effective content marketing strategies need to be planned well in advance of their launch date and factor in very detailed research of the audience. On top of this, they also need to be constructed in such a way that the performance of the content is easy to monitor and learn lessons from that can be incorporated into future content marketing strategies.
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