Developing a Content Marketing Strategy for Growth-Hacking Conversions
Chances are that you already focused your marketing efforts and funds into content marketing. This aspect of digital marketing has become one of the most useful and efficient techniques to connect to your audience, be it a B2B or B2C company. After all, it is for a good reason many big companies across all industries decide to invest serious funds into content marketing.
Content helps you attract, inspire, and engage customers by delivering value to your blog visitors. When a potential customer finds you via content you created yourself, it’s a start of a relationship based on trust.
In this guide, we will be presenting you with all facts and advice you need to keep in mind when creating your content marketing strategy. It will help you boost conversions, sales, and profits.
What Exactly is Content Marketing?
To start and understand the basics of content marketing, it’s important to understand that content marketing is not just a way to promote your business using content. Content creation should have the goal to help users, not directly sell them something.
When you offer your audience a valuable asset for free (an asset that’s usually so valuable they would pay for it), you start building a relationship of trust. In the end, this trust will be the most powerful tool in the relationship you continue to build with that user.
This way, you focus your marketing efforts on building authentic relationships with your audience. The rest comes much more easily if you manage to do that successfully. However, many businesses find it hard to connect their value with the voice they should use in their content. After all, not everyone is an expert in writing like the best academic writing service. If it’s possible, you can outsource and let professionals do the writing for you.
Powerful and efficient content marketing educates users, helps build brand awareness in any industry, boosts sales, and profits. Here are just some of the research results that prove these statements:
- Content marketing has around 6x better conversion rates than other online marketing strategies. (ABG Essentials)
- 74% of surveyed companies in a study said that content marketing improved their market potential both in quality and quantity. (Curata)
- 61% of online shoppers in the US decided to make a purchase after reading recommendations on a blog page. (CMI)
- 72% of marketers believe that branded content is more efficient than sponsored ads. (CMI)
- A vast majority of B2B marketers (93%) use content marketing. (CMI)
What is a Content Marketing Strategy, and Why Would You Need One?
It’s clear that content marketing has its benefits and really proves to be among the most efficient marketing strategies. The stats and figures we have shown above are just some of the proofs for these statements. However, your content marketing efforts will work only if you have a strategy. A content marketing strategy will connect your content efforts to your business goals.
Even the best pieces of content can flop if they do not reach the right people. To avoid this, a content marketing strategy presents a plan, a map that shows what you will create, how you are going to do it, distribute it, and how you are going to use content to attract, build relationships and turn visitors into buyers.
Basically, a content marketing strategy can be translated as your “why”. It should aim to answer the following questions:
- Why are you creating content in the first place?
- Who will benefit from your content and in what way?
- How will your content be different from others?
You definitely should not underestimate the power of a good strategy or think that it’s better to just ‘wing it’. The direction and clarity of your content marketing strategy will directly impact its performance. The more challenges you can predict and overcome, the better your results will be. That is what strategies and plans are for.
Steps to Create a Great Content Marketing Strategy
In the following sections, we’re going to go through a content marketing creation process step by step. Let’s start!
1. Define your goals and write them down
Every strategy starts with a goal. Before you start creating content, it’s important to have a clear picture of why you’re doing content marketing in the first place.
If you’re not sure what your goal is, try to think about the actions you want your audience to take after they consume your content. What would be the ideal results of these actions?
Depending on your goals, some types of content will work better than others. That’s why it’s important to define the aspects you want to succeed in, in order not to waste time on activities that are not aligned to your goals.
When you define your goals at the very beginning, it will affect all other decisions during further strategy development.
It’s best to set goals that are measurable. Even though goals are unique to every brand, here are some examples of goals that are usually set in the content marketing domain:
- increasing the number of visitors – this will enable you to go to the next level and achieve some other goals. Specifically, determine how many visitors you would like in a certain time period.
- better SEO and ranking – this will actually enable you to get a higher number of visitors (the previous point). Determine the pages that you want to optimize and rank better based on keywords.
- getting new email subscribers – determine how many hot leads you want to get from your lead magnet on the website.
- authority building – this can mean anything from landing interviews, receiving speaking engagements, writing guest posts, starting consultancy services, and so on.
- better social media engagement rates – this will also have a great impact on your brand, authority, and your visitor stats.
- reduction in paid marketing costs – if done well, your content marketing will make your overall marketing efforts more efficient.
- increasing your profit – as a positive result of a content marketing strategy. Remember to determine the exact amount of growth rate you want to achieve during a specific period of time.
Most often, the end goal in content marketing strategies is to attract new readers, turn them into email subscribers and finally, into customers. During that process, you continually build a relationship based on providing help and value.
2. Explore and understand your audience
In the next step, you should answer the important question about who the target audience for your content will be. Every single aspect of the content you will be creating depends on defining your target audience – knowing your ideal user and customer. Every little detail should communicate with that particular audience. To do that, you shouldn’t presume things about your reader but actually, explore them.
The main questions should be:
- What does your audience want?
- What are the challenges and issues they face?
- How can your product or service help to solve those problems?
- How large is your audience?
If you already have a reader base, you can send out surveys to define your ideal buyer persona based on the results you receive. Here are some examples of questions you could ask:
- Do they like the content you have provided so far?
- Are they finding it useful?
- What are their needs, problems, interests?
- How much do they earn? How much money can they set aside for a purchase?
- In what way do they interact with your content and where?
You can also use public data, such as on Google’s Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest. There, you can enter a keyword and get a list of questions people entered into search engines.
When it comes to audience, demographic data is easy to find and measure. However, there is also psychographic data which is also important, but harder to measure. This refers to everything related to attitudes, opinions, values, belief systems, and similar aspects of a person’s behavior.
The most important thing to explore is the audience’s issues, problems, and motivation. Create a profile of your ideal customer or user. For each user, write a short paragraph with all their traits: their profession, daily activities, their source of information (Google, Facebook, Youtube, or offline). The entire process should help you realize how your content fits in with those persons’ lives and how you’re going to increase your presence.
3. Decide on the content form
After you’ve considered the topics that your audience is interested in, it’s necessary to choose the form of content which will allow you to express yourself in the most creative way.
Successful content marketing strategies have a central point where they publish their content, such as a blog or a website. Nevertheless, they adapt that same content to other formats in order to make it shareable on different content platforms.
There is really a variety of possibilities when it comes to the form of your content. By creating and combining several content marketing forms, you can differentiate and get noticed more easily by users and search engines. Here are some of the most popular forms of content:
- Blog posts
The ideal mode to share your knowledge, industry news, personal stories, product overviews… According to research, companies that run blog pages get 55% more visitors than those that don’t. A huge advantage of blog posts is that they help you build a community around your brand, develop authority and get feedback from users.
Infographics are the best example of visual content that’s simultaneously educational in nature, which gives it a bigger value. Infographics can contain research data, step-by-step guides, stats, etc. The main benefit of infographics is that readers find them refreshing and interesting, they’re very shareable, and they help to build credibility.
- eBooks and Whitepapers
These are more detailed and complex in content than blog posts. They are not published often, and they are usually downloaded after entering data into a lead magnet.
With the help of eBooks and whitepapers, you can present more complex topics with more information, research results, and present a solution for your customers’ problems. The advantages of this type of content are that it can get you high-quality leads and increase your authority and credibility.
Videos are a great way to present your brand or business, your products, interviews, experiences, guides, and much more. Their biggest advantages are that they are social media friendly, they add a personal touch to your brand, and they are the most useful content type in terms of ROI.
- Case studies
With case studies, you can present the value of your product or service. You can also showcase the results of a project you have been working on, a practical application of a strategy and its results and so on. Case studies are proof that you are an expert in your industry, and they increase your credibility.
Podcasts are much simpler to create than writing a post with several thousands of words. This type of content has been constantly trending for the last couple of years. Podcasts are a way to reach the audience that’s too busy to read through long-form collateral. You can record, for example, interviews or your own insights into a topic that’s connected to your business.
A content marketing strategy template is a great format to provide value to your audience because you give them a tool to work with and save them time. Users of your templates are most likely to continue to engage with your content.
4. Use the right promotional channels
To promote your content, it’s not recommended that you make a presence on every platform just for the sake of it. Choose a platform where you can easily reach your audience and a platform that’s important to your brand.
Publishing on social media networks can expand the range of your brand and help you reach users that spend time on these networks exclusively. You should also add an opt-in form on your blog page so that users can easily subscribe and continue engaging with your content. Also, remember to add share buttons.
Some of the most popular promotional channels you can use are:
- for blog post sharing: Facebook, LinkedIn, Medium
- sharing presentations and slides: Slideshare, SpeakerDesk, AuthorStream
- photo publishing: Instagram, Pinterest
- video sharing: YouTube, Vimeo
5. Create a content calendar
The next step in developing your content marketing strategy is to plan the timeline for posting and publishing content on each platform you have chosen to appear on. It’s crucial to focus on quality over quantity. You shouldn’t settle for sub-par content just to fill up that calendar – that would actually deprive you of many of the benefits of high-quality content.
It doesn’t matter if you post one or two times a month or weekly. Although, the more often, the better. Keep it realistic and plan a calendar you can actually follow through. It’s not easy to stay consistent in creating content, especially when it’s just one of those days when you don’t feel like posting, but the key is to create consistency that will also motivate you to write when you don’t really feel like it.
Here are some tools that can help you: Google Calendar (lets you easily add and edit new tasks), review of Trustmypaper (if you decide to outsource content, this is one of the best sites to do that), review of Grabmyessay (another powerful content marketing source), Asana (a productivity tool), Trello (to create tables with lists, priorities, etc.).
Creating the Content
Now that you have the outlines of a plan, it’s time for the very act of collateral creation. Here, you should prioritize quality and regularity. If you haven’t set smart goals at the beginning, it’s very easy to go off-track and lose the grip on developing a content marketing strategy.
Always write with the reader in mind. Every post, section, and paragraph should offer value to your readers. Don’t just fluff up your text copy with empty words or cliché phrases. When you write for your own audience, you know exactly what kind of content you need. If you realized your audience prefers blog posts, you won’t waste your time on videos.
It is always advised to focus more on evergreen content if you’re creating a content marketing strategy that should bring you benefits in the long-term. Sometimes, trendy content works wonders for attracting a fresh audience, but usually, this type of audience will have a high bounce rate and a short time spent on site (which will reflect your search engine ranking).
Pay special attention to grammar and spelling. Make sure you don’t set yourself up for failure by posting texts that could make a bad impression for the first-time reader.
Measure your Results
If you don’t measure something, it’s basically out of your control. Measuring your website content marketing strategy results will help you see more clearly: what works well, what does not, and whether your B2B marketing strategy is achieving its goals.
However, many marketers dread this part because measuring results precisely takes time and effort. Still, if you already set aside time to plan, create, and promote your content, it wouldn’t make any sense not to check how it’s doing out there.
- engagement: measurements for user engagement are time spent on site and bounce rate
- brand recognition and visibility: referral and organic traffic growth
- sales: orders and sales made after consuming content
By measuring these and other results, you can find out which social media platforms get you the most traffic, which devices your users use and how users behave on your website. Here are some tools you can use to measure:
- Google Analytics
This is the most popular tool for measuring website success. GA will show you in detail where your users are coming from, what exactly they are doing on your website, how long they stick around. For advanced users of Google Analytics, there are really a myriad of options to find out about user behavior on your website in the tiniest details.
- Facebook Pixel
Facebook’s Pixel is a tiny snippet of java code that you add to your website to track your visitor’s activity. Later, you can use this pixel in the process of Facebook advertising. This is incredibly useful if you’re running an online store or selling products/services on Facebook.
HootSuite is a high-quality, comprehensive tool that’s very popular among social media marketers. It is primarily used to measure social media ads performance. Still, it can be very useful in tracking the engagement rates and success of any digital content marketing strategy.
We know this can be a lot of information to take in at a time. It takes a lot of effort, creativity, and motivation to make a content marketing strategy plan and actually make it work. The key is to create a content marketing strategy that can quickly change and adapt to your business needs.
It’s also important to take action and not get caught up in the “analysis paralysis” mode. With content marketing, it’s tempting to do so – planning and dreaming are fun, but when the moment to create the content actually comes, it doesn’t seem as achievable as it was on paper. Nevertheless, just start and stick to your calendar and plans as much as you can.
Educate your audience. Show potential customers and clients that you are a trustworthy source of knowledge and resources. Demonstrate why and how you are better than the competition. Watch them react to the content you post, and then adapt it in the future to be even better.
Finally, it is never too late to develop a content marketing strategy and add it to your marketing plan. The point of this strategy and the only way for it to work is to believe in it as a long-term investment that will boost the value of your brand.