Content Marketing Strategy – Your Ultimate Guide

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Having a successful content marketing program takes time and effort. Your marketing tactics must focus on providing helpful content to those who need it. This ultimately helps you create more brand awareness and reach your target audience more efficiently.

As a content marketer, your job focuses on distributing valuable content, and there are many avenues and options available. In fact, your content marketing strategy should be well varied to include different styles.

Today, you should learn more about the marketing options available, complete with content marketing examples.

What Is Content Marketing?

While there are many definitions of content marketing, it’s often defined as the strategic marketing approach focused primarily on distributing and creating relevant and valuable content to attract your target audience. This ultimately helps you drive profitable customer action through the content marketing strategy.

Your content marketing campaign shares important content that’s useful, relevant, and interesting, and there are four different options:

  • Written word
  • Images
  • Video
  • Audio

The digital world still very much uses the written word to build brand awareness through marketing. Many businesses focus solely on it, but you should also think about using images on social media, videos, and more. Your audience members are sure to appreciate the varied options, which allows them to choose the one that meets their needs best.

It’s your job to make sure that the content is useful because there’s no point in offering it if the people don’t see the value. In a sense, the content should improve their daily lives and establish your brand as a leader. They can trust you.

Along with that, you gain more organic traffic, which means paying less for advertising because people find the information they need to deem you as the preferred choice through the content already found online.

Why Content Marketing Is Crucial?

When you do it well, content creation leads to brand equity and more brand awareness. Your company becomes more valuable with time as you continue providing valuable content. The more you can help your audience members, the more your brand gets a reputation as a leader within the field.

This often leads to a flywheel effect. You start generating more momentum and dominate the field.

You want to reach your own audience first with your content marketing strategy. Find out what they need and want, and then give them that valuable information. Marketing isn’t just about buying advertisements and putting them all over the internet. Instead, it’s focused more on organic traffic where people find your information on search platforms and visit the content.

It’s different from other traffic styles because these people are already looking for you. Since they’re actively searching for the information you have, you have the potential to boost online sales extensively.

With other styles, you’re interrupting them in some way. They’re just a passive observer and not an active searcher. Generally, it’s more expensive and harder to do that sort of content marketing (YouTube ads, Facebook ads, PPC, etc.)

In a sense, on those platforms, you must go to the audience. With organic options, they come to you. This should be exciting for a few reasons:

  • They’ve got a problem.
  • They know what it is.
  • They need to solve the problem.

All of those are critical ingredients to gain more sales, so content marketing is crucial for growing your company.

Creating Your Content Strategy

Now that you know why a content marketing strategy is crucial, you should learn how to create one.

Generally, your content marketing strategy is a plan to build more audience members by maintaining, publishing, and spreading content that entertains, educates, and inspires. This turns strangers into fans and customers.

In a sense, you’re building up relationships by solving problems. When you create value and provide the audience members with the information they require, your content succeeds. If you don’t do that, the fancy headlines, strategies, and writing styles don’t do anything.

Just as it works in the printing business, online marketing is essential. You should tell others that they have a problem because they didn’t know it. Then, you offer them the solution (your products or services).

Before you start generating content, you need a consistent content strategy, and here’s how to do it:

1. Who Is Your Customer?

Content marketing starts with who the customer is. You need a clearly defined audience, so you must figure out what they want, what they struggle with, and what they look like.

Thoroughly understanding buyer personas ensures that you know how to market yourself.

Therefore, content marketers must research and create imaginary versions of their ideal customers. The avatar represents who you want to reach. Content marketing just can’t work any other way.

2. What Information Do They Need?

You must also understand that content marketing forces you to step into the person’s shoes and go through their buyer journey.

What steps do they take before doing business with you? What must they know before they buy from you, and what order do they take to get there?

Content marketing starts with this roadmap. That way, you create content addressing each step along the customer journey.

3. How Should You Convey Your Message?

At this stage, you can get artistic and creative with your content marketing. You can find out how to communicate your marketing messages with the audience members. What format should you use? Written words and videos are great.

What stories are you likely to tell? Which tone and voice resonate the most with the audience. The better you know the people searching for your services, the easier it becomes.

With time, you can choose the right messaging and styling to be successful with content marketing.

Build an Audience

The key here is to build your audience by writing relevant content that’s useful and focuses on a clear topic.

That’s exactly what all content marketers have to do. Share your knowledge, journey, and ideas as it relates to your niche. Once you draw them into the topic, they stay because you create high-quality content.

Online marketing is quite similar to content marketing. You must have the information they want so that they subscribe and share it to create a community of like-minded people.

To build up your audience, you must earn it. The content has to be good enough for readers to give it their attention and time. If the content is just average, they lose interest.

Ultimately, content marketing means raising the bar because people’s tolerance for average is very limited. However, creating and distributing content isn’t enough.

Marketing also requires you to drive traffic because you don’t have time to wait for discovery. Therefore, you may consider paid advertising. This gets your content in front of a targeted audience quickly. The downside, though, is that it all costs money and might not build the audience efficiently.

Make sure you’re also using your network, which is often free. That way, you see more distribution of your content.

The Written Word

Content marketing focuses primarily on written content and is highly popular. The amount of it within the world is immeasurable, but you can’t ignore it, either. Yes, it’s good to have more modern content options, but writing is still relevant and helps you reach potential customers. How can you use the written word for your content marketing?

Blogging

The most promising of content marketing examples come from blogging. With it, you write about topics that your audience wants, becoming a thought-leader or an expert in the subject matter.

Blogs can take various forms and shapes, and each one is different. When you say “blogging,” most people think of a hipster sharing feelings and thoughts about whatever pops into mind. While those are out there, that’s not what you should focus on when marketing.

Instead, you should think about using your blog to build relationships, earn an audience, and boost brand awareness with relevant content people want.

Blogs should be on your website, and it’s incredibly easy to do. Typically, a blog post has these components:

  • Tags
  • Post
  • Categories

The post is your written text. It’s one unit of content and often focuses on a single topic. You can have varying post lengths. As long as you say your piece without babbling or using odd phrases, it can be as long or short as necessary.

Content marketing focuses on creating what you might want to read. If you don’t like long posts, don’t write like that. The content you’ve created should be an extension of the company. That way, the marketing is on the same page as you.

Along with that, you should streamline the content so that any search engine can find it easily. Sometimes referred to as SEO, it’s the next step to consider:

Search Engine Optimization – SEO (for Search Engines)

SEO is the process of creating content so that it ranks higher in the search engine results. It’s not like tricking the system (which used to be used extensively). Search engines have greatly improved, so black-hat marketing techniques are now gone.

Instead, you’re working with the engine and providing content that it can crawl and index. Ultimately, these engines provide the most relevant information to the person searching for it. Therefore, they grade your content and rank it appropriately.

Content marketing focuses much of its attention on providing excellent information. Since most people don’t get past that first page of results, you need to be right there. Tell Google what the blog is about. Focus on a single topic because focused content is easily searched by the engine.

Most successful content marketing examples use this idea. From there, think about the people requiring the information you’re sharing and what they type into the search bar. This is the keyword you want to use strategically in the article.

People start engaging with the article, so you gain a good reputation and are awarded with higher ranks, more traffic, and so on.

Copywriting

Content marketers must use copywriting, which is the art of creating text to compel, engage, and persuade. Anytime you see the written word in advertising, you’re seeing copywriting.

Ultimately, content marketing requires you to write good copy. Being a skilled copywriter is an effective way to boost the results of your marketing efforts. In a sense, this is the difference between a reader finishing the content or getting bored.

Since this is a hugely deep topic related to content marketing, it’s hard to explain. However, here are a few essentials to get you started:

Consider Your Headlines

Headlines are crucial, and good content marketing requires this. Writers tend to obsess over the headlines.

It’s the first thing that determines if the content is read or not. You could have the perfect blog, but if there’s a weak or boring headline/title, it doesn’t matter.

Your target audience wants to see the title and instantly knows that it can help them. It’s a teaser about what they can learn. With that, it qualifies them as a lead. A vague headline entices, but readers realize that it doesn’t apply to them, and they can’t do anything with it, so they feel tricked.

If content marketing isn’t doing well for you, focus more on your titles.

Write to a Particular Person

Content marketing requires you to understand the psychological and emotional state of the reader. You must get inside their heads to join the conversation.

Make sure that you know your target audience and write specifically to them. Picture them as you’re writing. What do they normally struggle with? What experiences do they have? How might you talk to them at a coffee shop?

Once you know who you’re writing to, start writing. Focus first on being personal and creating strong connections. While content marketing requires professionalism, you can achieve that later through grammar tools and other options.

Keep It Short and Simple

One of the biggest sins of content marketing is to have a complex message. That confuses everything.

Good copy focuses on breaking down the information, so readers can grasp what you’re saying. Therefore, you shouldn’t use complicated words, technical jargon, insider terms, and long sentences with your marketing messages. The only exception here is if you’re writing to people within your industry who already know what all that means.

Ultimately, though, it’s best to state the point simply, find an easy way to say what you need to say, and break up the sentences. Content marketing like this ensures that readers don’t work harder than necessary to get the point.

Email

Your content marketing strategy should focus on email. While some might call it outdated, it’s still effective and powerful when it comes to marketing.

This is a direct conversation with the audience. Once they give you their email address, a level of trust has been established. Learning how to use email in your content marketing strategy is crucial:

Building Lists

Your content marketing strategy should primarily focus on building your list. Once someone finds your content, they stay on the site to read it, go to other pages, and leave. Most people don’t buy on the first visit. However, if you have no way to contact them, you create content with the hope they find it.

Content marketing doesn’t often work well that way. Instead, try hard to grab that email address from your target audience so that you can send direct messages that relate to them.

Automation

Automation is crucial for content marketing. These are powerful and time-saving tools. Define the steps that you want to take in sequence when certain actions take place. They can be anything, such as adding tags, sending emails, waiting a particular amount of time, etc.

You should also think about using an automation email content marketing tool to help build newsletters, landing pages, and blogs. This is the best way to gain and keep loyal customers.

Newsletters

Email newsletters are similar to regular newspapers. Send the readers an email once a week or month with news, updates, new content, and other pertinent information.

This is a more advanced form of content marketing because you must first get the person’s email address. Still, it’s a great way to share your information.

Podcasting

Podcasts are audio content and a great form of content marketing. In fact, there are over 1 million podcasts covering a vast array of topics. While it sounds like a lot, this is still a small market when compared to other platforms. For example, there are about 500 million blogs.

The difference here is that people can listen to podcasts while doing anything. Written content and videos require them to stop and look at it. If you could listen to music, you could hear a podcast.

While most podcasts are for entertainment, the appeal is that people can better themselves and learn while doing yard work, driving, or anything else.

However, it takes a lot of effort, thought, and consistency to make a good podcast. As with other marketing forms, it’s not easy. Still, a well-produced broadcast is a great business asset. Find out how to start a podcast:

Finding a Show Premise

You need a strategic marketing approach when performing podcasts. They live or die by the show’s premise, and the right topic is crucial. This is the hook, and it’s the idea on which your show is centered.

The listeners need to tune in each week, so they must be sold on the full show and not just a few of the episodes. Think about television shows you enjoy; you become hooked and continue watching. Podcast content marketing is similar.

There are two ingredients to make a good premise (topic):

  • The thing the show is about
  • How to uniquely approach the topic

Think of a specific television show, such as MythBusters. The team is eccentric and hilarious and uses science and various special effects to determine if urban myths are ridiculous or possible. The topic is primarily science, and they’re teaching a scientific method. However, the unique spin here is using urban myths and special effects to do it.

With that, the fan base doesn’t care what the next episode is about; they’re tuning in to hear the characters.

Many businesses already have topics for their podcasts. Write that information down but focus on the unique approach you use. What separates your features from others? Can you bring something else to the table that doesn’t already exist?

Starting the Podcast

Once you know the premise, you should start podcast content marketing. To do that, you require:

  • Hosting software for the podcast
  • Recording software
  • Excellent audio equipment

You don’t have to spend thousands to get studio-quality equipment. In fact, you can find inexpensive microphones that do everything you want.

Once you have that, think about your hosting platform. This is software that hosts the podcast and makes it available on various apps.

Now, you need to think about the content schedule. Decide:

  • How often episodes are released
  • Who you’re interviewing (if applicable)
  • When to record episodes

These are the most important things for your podcast to succeed. Consistency is crucial and can make or break the podcast.

Convert Listeners

There are various content marketing tactics, and with podcasting, the goal is to get more likes, visits, downloads, shares, and impressions. These are the vanity metrics and don’t mean much.

Your content marketing efforts must tie to your business result, and the same applies to podcasts. Building a fanbase of loyal listeners isn’t easy, and you should celebrate that, but it’s not the only thing.

Now, you must convert your target audience from listeners to buyers or subscribers. Here’s just one example of how to do that: ask them.

Most podcasters don’t mention services or products and don’t offer a CTA. The premise (topic) must relate directly to the product, and you need to talk about them in every episode.

If you do that, you don’t necessarily need sponsored content. Just tie every episode back to the offer. Add a landing page to the description if possible. You’re sure to gain new customers and complete the next step in the buying cycle.

Video Content Marketing

Video marketing has always been around since television. With it, you can tell a story more quickly than with other mediums. In one instant, you can make others feel like you want them to feel, but you need the best setting, mood, and characters.

Content marketing is why movies are a top-rated industry (making over $50 billion a year). While podcasting is a content marketing option you shouldn’t neglect, it doesn’t do enough. Engaging content comes in many forms, and it’s up to you to use them all.

Therefore, when content marketing, make sure that you use high-quality video content. Here’s how:

Vlogging

One of the top ways to generate video content and tie it with your business is through vlogging. Video blogging is a great content marketing option where you use videos instead of words.

Vloggers often point the camera at themselves to talk about different topics related to the industry. There are millions of internet users out there, so you’ve got many chances to boost your following.

Make sure you’ve got content that applies to existing customers and newcomers so that everyone’s satisfied.

Whiteboard Videos

Another video format ideal for content marketing is whiteboard videos. They cover various topics, but they’re sketched or animated. In a sense, the people and scenery aren’t real.

Typically, they work well for a few reasons:

  • Don’t have to be great on camera
  • No fancy equipment needed
  • Outsource it all if necessary

It’s a great way to produce video content quickly, even on a tight budget.

You’ve got to create a script, but you could improvise if you do it yourself. Shorter videos tend to cost less to make. Most company owners don’t have the skills to edit or animate the video, so you can hire a freelancer.

Product Reviews

Many people are surprised to learn that product reviews are a common content marketing strategy for videos. You can review anything, such as apps, software, and physical products. People want to see more information about something before buying it.

This is great because you don’t need an audience and can immediately establish your brand as an authority figure. In a sense, you’re tapping into a market that exists and has plenty of traffic. Just find a product that relates to your industry, create a good review about it, publish it on YouTube, and you are sure to see traffic. Just remember these tips:

Choose the Right Product

Your goal is to attract people who might fit with your industry. Therefore, you shouldn’t review toilet plungers if you offer lawn care services. Content marketing like this isn’t hard, but you must consider the items you review first.

Make a Great Video

The next part of this form of content marketing is to make a great video. Take the time to nail the intro, rewrite the script, and ensure that you’re offering value to the watcher.

With that, the content must be great. Therefore, the advice you give and the information you share have to be well-executed and well-planned.

Provide a CTA

Most people mess up product review content marketing because they don’t put out a CTA. Your target audience has watched the video, was impressed by it, and then they have nowhere to go.

Engaging content is just the first step. Now, you are tying into the buying journey, which could be sharing your video, getting a free download, or purchasing a similar product that you manufacture.

Content Marketing for Social Media Platforms

Social media isn’t going anywhere, and average Americans spend over two hours on social networks. If you’re not using it for your content marketing yet, you should start because you’re missing opportunities.

In fact, it’s the best place to start content efforts!

When using social media platforms for content marketing, you should focus on four things:

  • Promoting brand awareness
  • Offering engaging content
  • Being consistent
  • Shareability

Shareability

The key to social media is that it’s designed for sharing. The motivation is to share funny, interesting, and thought-provoking content for more engagement.

Content marketing like this is beneficial because you’re creating content, and the fan base is promoting it for you. The steps here include having a great title, using clean visuals, having bold and big content, and ensuring that it’s interesting.

With this form of content marketing, you’ve got to evoke emotion in a few words, or the content doesn’t get shared.

Consistency

If you haven’t already noticed, providing consistent content is essential, regardless of the content marketing platform you pick. It just comes with that territory, and social media isn’t different.

You have to train the audience to know what to expect from you.

Therefore, you should post at regular times and have consistent and specific content that’s stylized like you, so they recognize it when it pops up in the feed.

That is the best way to build your brand, focus on community, and bring engagement to your content marketing ideas.

Engagement

Social media is primarily about engagement. On the other end of the spectrum, behind your computer, there are real people. They view the content, comment on or like it, and share it.

This is a highly powerful way to connect directly with the audience and build a strong following. Having a group of like-minded people come together for a common purpose is crucial for content marketing on the social spectrum.

Through social media content marketing, you can build it all. However, it starts with engaging content that the ideal customer wants to read and interact with. From there, you should respond to every comment you receive.

When you do that, you’re that much closer to the person’s buying process and can be the one they choose when they’re ready to purchase something.

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization)

CRO is the practice of improving your conversion rates with a web page. For the online business, conversion rates are your most important metrics. This is the number of people who buy/opt-in divided by how many people visit the page.

Most people fall into a trap with their online content marketing by focusing more on getting traffic. Yes, traffic is important, but it doesn’t solve all your problems. You start chasing the traffic, spending more energy, time, and money than it’s all worth.

While you should boost traffic, that’s not the only thing to consider. One page with a low conversion rate is just like a leaking bucket. Fix that leak before you fill it with water, or your content marketing efforts are likely to fail.

For example, 100,000 people visit a particular page of your site, giving you a conversion rate of 1 percent. Therefore, 1,000 people signed up or bought something.

However, your friend gets 50,000-page visits and has a conversion rate of 3 percent. Therefore, 1,500 people convert while on that page.

Your friend has more conversions but half the traffic, meaning that their content marketing is much more effective than yours and is at the right part in the person’s buying journey!

Before you focus solely on driving traffic, optimize what you’ve got already. That way, the traffic efforts you put in are more successful. Here are just a few things to consider:

Use Email Signups

One of the biggest mistakes people make when content marketing is not adding a signup form to get that email address. It’s an easy way to improve conversion rates, regardless of the content strategy you use.

If you’ve got a blog, offer a course or guide as the opt-in. It dramatically improves the conversion rate and helps your audience, as well. They get more value to deepen the relationship you’re building with them.

On your product pages, visitors might not be ready to purchase something. This is a big commitment, and they need to trust you. Therefore, you could give them an offer for a free item or discount. That is a low-risk way to engage with you. They still have to commit and provide the email address, but it’s smaller.

Ultimately, if you don’t get those email addresses, all the content marketing in the world can’t help. They leave the page, and you can’t re-engage with them later because you have no way to message them directly.

Have Strong CTAs

Your call to action is what you ask the visitor to do. This could be to sign up, buy, download, or something else. If you don’t have a specific, clear, and consistent CTA, the page doesn’t perform well, and your efforts for content marketing have failed.

The CTA should be the direct action that a visitor can take, and it can include words like, “register now,” “sign up,” or “buy now.”

Repeat the CTA a few times on the page, but don’t go overboard. Content marketing is an art because you want the button there when they decide to purchase, but you don’t want to stuff keywords and make it feel too salesy.

Another important factor is to be consistent in button color and language. That reinforces the action you want from them. In a sense, you’re training the visitor on what to do. If you change the text or color of the CTA, they could get confused or tune out.

Improve Page Speed

Your page speed is also crucial for content marketing and conversion rates. This is how fast the page loads once someone clicks the link. Studies have proven that if a page takes too long to load, people are likely to leave without waiting for any images to pop up. Here are a few of the findings:

  • There were 1.9 percent conversion rates when pages loaded at 2.4 seconds.
  • Conversion rates were just 1.5 percent at 3.3-second load times.
  • With a 4.2 second load time, the conversion rate was less than 1 percent.
  • If the page took over 5.7 seconds to load, conversion rates were only 0.6 percent.

Therefore, if you don’t see conversion rates on your pages, and you think you should be, check the page speed.

You should be aware that this isn’t just the initial speed to load, either. If the page elements have interactions or animation, they must be snappy and quick, or conversion rates can suffer.

There are free tools out there to help you test your page speeds. Make sure that you do this for each page you have on the website.

Conclusion

Having a successful content marketing program can mean different things, and there’s plenty of variety to be found. In fact, some people find it overwhelming, especially when they’re starting out. Therefore, the best advice is not to do it all at once.

With so much in the content marketing world, you can pick a couple of content marketing platforms to start. Test out some ideas and see what gets results. Go from there to build on that.

It’s much better to do a single thing consistently and do it well than to try doing it all.

If you’re a beginner, your goal should be on building brand awareness. Content marketing can also start with your preferred audience. Where do they spend most of their time? What content do they read/use regularly?

Combine that with your skills and interests, and you’re sure to see success.

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