Creating an effective content strategy is a challenge for many small business owners. In today’s digital world, we know publishing content (and regularly) is vital. Content is what will boost brand awareness, increase website visits and generate leads. A solid content strategy helps keep you on track with your marketing campaigns, blogging and social media posts. Yet where do you start? It seems like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, creating an effective content strategy can be pretty simple! And, it all starts with knowing the purpose of your marketing.
What is Marketing Purpose?
Knowing the purpose of your marketing is the first step in creating an effective content strategy. What do I mean by this? Essentially, it’s about knowing why you’re publishing a certain piece of marketing and what you hope to achieve. For example, are you looking to drive more traffic? Convert more traffic into leads? Or is your content part of your overall sales strategy (ie. sales enablement), to help you close more customers? Knowing the purpose of your marketing will dramatically help in creating an effective and timeless, content strategy.
What is a Content Strategy, and Why Do You Need One?
According to HubSpot, a content strategy refers to the management of pretty much any tangible media that you create and own: written, visual, downloadable — you name it. Content strategy is the piece of your marketing plan that continuously demonstrates who you are and the expertise you bring to your industry.
Online search has changed the marketing game. These days, consumers have more information at their fingertips than ever before. That’s why you need to strategically think about your content and how you can create content that will provide prospects with the information they need. This will help guide prospects through each stage of the buying process, also known as the buyer’s journey. When you create content that is highly relevant and unique to consumers for each stage of the buyer’s journey, you’ll see better results from your marketing.
Creating an Effective Content Strategy: A Simple Guide
Step 1: Get Personal
An effective content strategy is based on knowing your customers, understanding how they buy, and what’s important to them. You need to know who they are, what they do, the industry they work in, their unique set of problems, their goals and the type of information that is important to them before making a purchasing decision.
Step 2: Use Data to Your Advantage
When creating a content strategy, data is your best friend. Take a look at your website and email data to find out which pages have the most views, which blogs are most popular and which email subject lines get the highest click throughs. Leveraging your data is useful as it helps you identify the topics your audience finds most valuable and are likely to read. Analysing this data will give you the insights you need to better understand your buyers so you can create the relevant and valuable content they want, which brings us to step 3.
Step 3: Only Create Relevant and Valuable Content
An effective content strategy involves only creating content that is valuable and relevant to your customers. Creating content for the sake of publishing content is just a waste of time. Relevant and valuable content positions you as a thought leader, which helps to establish trust and credibility with your brand. It also shows you understand your customers’ needs and what’s important to them, which will increase the likelihood of your content being shared, and in turn increase your reach and branding.
Step 4: Align Content to Where Buyers are in the Buyer’s Journey
The buyer’s journey can be broken down into three stages: awareness, consideration and decision. These days, consumers expect companies to provide them with the information they need at each stage of their buyer’s journey. That is why it’s important your content aligns with each stage of the buyer’s journey. At each stage your buyers are looking for different information. You can read more about aligning your content to the buyers’ journey here.
Step 5: Getting Your Content in Front of the Right People, at the Right Time
Even if you have created the best, most relevant and valuable content out there, it’s no use if it’s not reaching the right people, at the right time. The first step is to make sure you’re using the right keywords in your content (if it’s a blog post/written content), to make sure it shows up in online searches. The second step is to understand where your buyers spend time online, and who they trust. Do they spend most of their time on LinkedIn? Facebook? Instagram? Using your data and insights, publish links to your content on these channels, and if need be, pay to boost your posts to the relevant audience. You can also try to get your content published on third party sites your buyers trust, such as writing a blog for an industry organisation, or you could create something of value like a webinar with another organisation who has similar buyers to you.
The Most Effective Types of Content
So what type of content should you be creating? According to HubSpot, these are the most effective types of content:
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About the author: Stacie Chalmers is the managing director of The Inbound Marketing Company (TIMCo), a global Inbound Marketing and Sales Agency based in Australia, with clients in North America and Australia.