Guest post from Malia Keirsey
Content marketing is effective. It draws in viewers, develops your brand, engages with an audience, and generates sales. By providing great content, you get your audience to not just see you as a marketer, but as someone who’s there to help. Engaging with and developing relationships with the people who visit your site not only allows you to expand your audience, it will also lead to far higher conversion rates than businesses that don’t.
However, not all content is created equal, and to be successful with your marketing efforts you need an effective strategy. The last thing you want is to annoy people with content that’s either irrelevant, poorly presented or just flat out boring. Content marketing is a competitive business. Consumers are constantly being bombarded with options and will bounce off your site in a nanosecond if they decide you don’t have what they want.
So what you definitely need is a plan. But before you develop your content strategy, you’ll want to figure out a few things:
Know Who Your Audience Is
What types of content would lead to conversions? What’s important to your audience? What sorts of issues would be barriers to conversions? What key aspect will motivate them to make a purchase? Understanding your audience and putting their needs first is critical when creating content.
Does Your Brand Have A Voice?
It’s important your brand has a consistent voice. People want to know what you’re about and be able to identify and know what to expect when they read your work or visit your site. If your brand is fun and casual, your content should show that. If you want the image of your business to be professional and dependable, you’ll want your audience to see that through the content your provide.
What Makes Your Business Special?
While your content has got to be relevant and useful, it needs to stand out from the crowd. Deciding on a unique niche will allow you to share work not easily available anywhere else and help build your audience. Remember, there’s a universe of websites out there and it’s all too easy for people to jump from one site to the other. Showing them something helpful but unique will make them more likely to mark your site as a favorite and keep coming back to you.
Now that you’ve got a foundation of understanding of what you want to create and who you’re creating it for you can put together your strategy. Here are 4 steps to creating a content strategy that will get you killer results.
1) Put Together An Army of Ideas
Every piece of content starts with an idea. And a great way to develop a simple and consistent flow of ideas is to set up funnels.
The first type of funnel is brainstorming. Sharing or writing down ideas and considering them is an important step to deciding which ones are the best to go with. Don’t be judgmental of what you come up with either, simply letting your thoughts flow will lead to ideas and developments that can produce excellent content topics. One thing to remember is that brainstorming is more effective when you’re working with a small group of people with an identical goal. Too many cooks in the kitchen will most likely lead to distractions and diminish productivity.
Another type of funnel is the “swipe file”. A swipe file is a place or document for your inspirations – mantras, images, quotes, anything that sparks your creativity.
Aside from the funnels, there are some tools that can help you come up with ideas. Buzzsumo and Google Keywords Planner are great keyword generators while Alltop and Feedly are quite useful to discover ideas for blog posts.
2) Content Creation
Content, as they say, is king. You need to get it out there and it needs to be high-quality.
Keeping a schedule is essential to consistently provide your audience with the content it’s expecting. And whether you’re posting daily or weekly, the key is consistency. You want your audience to familiarize itself with you and know when to expect new content – something that knowing the best sites for writing help can help you do. If you’re sporadic with your work, followers will have a tough time getting into a rhythm with you and there’s a good chance they’ll stop visiting your site.
Keyword loaded articles with nothing new to say won’t do anything for you either. The strategy of pumping out 400-word copycat articles is dead and buried and while it might get you a click or two, will only hurt your chances to build a serious audience. The way to go is to employ a strategy of creating substantive pieces that offer unique information. Spend time studying the content your site covers and then see how you can put a twist on it that makes it even more intriguing and useful to your readers.
3) Amplify and Share
Great content is pointless if it’s never read. People need to see it and that means promoting it effectively. So how do you do that?
One way is to scan your content for catchy or insightful quotes and then post them on the social platforms with links back to the source. It’s important to post your quotes or messages on the platforms that match that type of content best; Facebook has a different vibe than LinkedIn while Pinterest is unique from Twitter. Go for something that’s easy-to-understand and short that will draw potential readers to the original content. Repurposing your content is also a way to effectively create new content to bring in readers, examples include hosting a podcast, making your content available for download and even syndicating your blog.
4) Keeping Your Content In Order and Analysis
So you’ve created great content and you’re doing your best to make it known. Now it’s time to monitor its performance. A tool like Sendible allows you to not only schedule your posts and further engage with your audience, it also improves your ability to study analytics. When all your work is in one nice, neat place, it’s much easier to view your audience’s engagement level and respond to any adjustments that need to be made. Sendible also allows you to create reports utilizing a number of factors which will give you a better understanding how your content is performing in the marketplace. A key to any successful strategy is to know what’s effective and what’s not working, without that knowledge, you won’t be able to adapt your plan for better results.
Even though a content strategy can take some time to put together, with the number of marketers and businesses competing for the same space, it’s an essential tool that needs to be monitored to retain its effectiveness. As dynamics change and your business grows and evolves, you’ll want to make sure your strategy adapts with it. All this might seem a bit overwhelming, but if you just relax and follow the steps I’ve laid out above: developing a brand message, incorporating idea funnels, amplifying and sharing, and making sure to monitor and analyze your results, you’ll be well on your way to building a strong audience base that gives you lots of conversions.