How do you get your business found online? The answer is content marketing. But before we jump into how to develop your content marketing strategy, let’s talk about what content marketing actually is. Because you’ve got less time than the attention span of a goldfish to capture your target audience’s attention, and if you don’t someone else will.
Defining Content Marketing
More than 3 billion people use the internet every day to find answers to questions, keep in touch with friends, play games, and more. And your goal is to capture a tiny percentage of that traffic and redirect it to your call-to-action. Content marketing is the practice of establishing yourself as a go-to resource for the types of content that will catch your target audience’s attention. Various content marketing tactics could include:
- Positioning yourself as an online thought leader and expert by answering user questions in forums and discussion groups (for example, on Quora, LinkedIn, Reddit, etc.)
- Providing fun, shareable entertainment content such as games, memes, or videos (you may want to check out our Six Video Marketing Best Practices)
- Posting aspirational lifestyle images (of food, decor, etc.), along with how-to tips (we’ll call this the Pinterest/Instagram approach)
But whichever channel you choose, remember that the goal of content marketing is to encourage your audience to take action and join a conversation with you – this could range from signing up for a newsletter, liking a status, or sharing a blog. And that means that you need to give your audience what they want, not what you think they want.
Content marketing is the billboard of the internet, there to catch people’s attention as they whiz by
In a competitive web environment, developing a content marketing strategy requires careful planning and proper execution. The following five content marketing tips will guide your content marketing strategy so you can outwit the competition.
1. Focus Your Content Marketing on the Right Keywords
Many marketers make the mistake of using content keywords that don’t reflect the words their target audience actually uses to describe the product or service they’re looking for (and thus the terms they use to search for it). These keywords could be irrelevant to their products or services, too broad, or too specific. To address this issue, you can research what keywords are popular among your target audience by using a secret weapon: Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner tool. Typing your content topic or target URL into the Keyword Planner will bring up monthly search volume forecasts, which serve as a proxy for the popularity of the terms you’re using.
The example below shows that, if we’re targeting our content toward, well, content marketing, we need to word it properly because much smaller numbers of people are searching for “marketing content”.
2. Monitor Traffic Driven by Your Content Marketing Efforts in Google Analytics
Forecasting hypothetical search traffic volume is one thing. Monitoring how your content marketing efforts perform “in the wild” gives you actual data on what specific content your target audience is most interested in consuming from your own efforts.
To access this information, make sure to install Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools/Search Console on your site. Then, navigate down to Behavior/Site Content/All Pages. This data will show you what content is receiving the most traffic.
A bit further up in the left-hand menu, under Acquisition, you’ll also see a tab titled “Search Console”. If you’ve set up your Google Search Console, this tab will show you how well you’re performing against your specific target keywords.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the features that Google Analytics has to offer, but if you’re focused on content marketing these reports are ones that you don’t want to overlook.
3. Plan Ahead by Setting up Your Content Marketing Calendar
Creating a content calendar is an excellent but often-overlooked organizational tool to ensure you never miss a posting. Planning ahead is also essential during the summertime. If you know you’ll be on vacation, create content in advance and schedule appropriate times and dates for your posts. You can schedule posts within WordPress and Facebook, but you may want to use a management app such as Postfity if you have multiple platforms for your content.
You also want to be thinking about important dates for your target audience. Think about dates such as when their fiscal year ends and when holidays are. For example, you may want to get your content out in front of July 4th so you can capture the most search traffic. As we’ve previously discussed, you can also use Google Trends to identify when your target keywords are in heaviest demand.
4. Keep Your Content Marketing Theme Consistent Over Time
When you’re planning your content strategy, keep in mind that repetition and consistency will carry the day. Your theme and viewpoint should remain the same over time, which will allow you to generate enough impressions on your content to capture meaningful traffic. That means that your themes need to stay consistent across social media channels.
It can be very easy to get distracted by posting interesting pictures on Instagram that don’t support your brand’s message, but your topics and themes should address the same topics for your target audience, even if your video and blog executions are completely different. Inconsistent themes confuse your audience about what your company does and how they can help them, which is the last thing you want.
5. Make the Most of Your Content: Leverage by Leveraging it Multiple Times
Content on the internet is a living thing. Data will change, perspectives will change, and once you’ve written something it doesn’t need to stay static. So, make the most of your content by posting it across numerous channels while consistently measuring performance. Make tweaks and changes to your blogs and share them on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and any other channel in order to reach as much of your audience as possible. Break down different elements and share them across channels, while keeping a close eye on metrics such as what content got you the most clicks, how particular traffic behaved on your site, and how your audience interacted on each channel to refine your posts. Social media analytics tools such as Klout will assess your performance across channels, but we’ll talk about that more next week.
We hope these tips gave you a basis for developing a content marketing strategy that sticks. Look out for next week’s blog post on tracking social media marketing metrics.