The gist of content marketing is easy to understand: producing content in your area of expertise that informs the reader rather than pushing a hard sell. It’s a cornerstone of a variety of digital marketing strategies from SEO to social media. To put it into action for your business, though, where do you start? For a content marketer, planning is often the hardest part of the process. Taking the time to develop a strategy instead of jumping in and producing any content you want is the key to getting strong results. If you’re struggling through that planning stage, try these tips.
Start with Keyword Research
There are many pieces that need to fall into place for you to get the most out of your content marketing. The content itself needs to be well-crafted and well-informed. Before that can happen, though, you need to choose the right topics.
Begin with keyword research. Find out what keywords are hot in your industry and see how well your site performs for those keywords.
Find the ones you need to work on most and design your content around them.
For example, perhaps your business is a medical spa. You see that “hydrating facial” is thriving, but you aren’t ranking well for it. You know to focus much of your content on that subject. This is true for anyone, even if your site has strong SEO already. You might as well take advantage of the opportunity to improve it, and keyword search statistics tell you a lot about what people are interested in today.
Use a Variety of Media Forms
On top of planning the topics for your content, you need to plan the types of content to produce. Many companies hinge their content marketing on their blog on their website. As crucial as that is, it shouldn’t be your only strategy. You also need static YouTube videos, live videos on various platforms, social media, print advertorials, and more. You’ll be able to capture a wider audience because each person has their own favorite mediums.
Develop a Plan in Different Stages
Planning a content strategy is labor-intensive. It’s no wonder why so many companies want to sit down for one planning session and create a year-long content calendar in one go. The problem is that the topics and media that are popular today aren’t likely to be popular six months from now. It’s a recipe for spending a year’s worth of your budget on content that’s only relevant for the first few months or less. Use different planning stages instead.
Start by coming up with your goal for the year. It might be a certain number of site visitors, followers on social media, or visitors to a specific page. Break that down into goals for each quarter. Each quarter, start from scratch with your keyword research. Plan fresh content every quarter, creating a detailed calendar of what you want to produce on which days. This allows you to keep up with hot topics while keeping your eye on the end goal.
Branch Out with Other Experts
A key purpose of content marketing is to position you as an expert in your industry and to become your consumers’ go-to professional. That doesn’t mean you have to limit your content to your own knowledge, though. Consider interviewing other experts for some of your content. For instance, maybe there’s a particular topic in the news regarding your industry.
Bring in a specialist on that subject and pick their brain in a video interview. You can do the same with written content. Create a piece that gets your experts’ answers to several top questions about the subject at hand. This gives you more variety within your content: something that keeps your audience engaged. It also lets you expand and pull in traffic for subjects you may not specialize in.
Don’t Forget to Monetize
The “soft sell” is the core of content marketing. Your information should focus on educating the audience, not pushing them to buy from you. That doesn’t mean you have to ignore your company entirely, though. At the end of your content pieces, always include a call-to-action. It can be as subtle as a line saying, “call us to learn more.” If you prefer to leave it out of your content entirely, simply add a “contact us” button below your written piece or at the end of your video. This is a way to invite the audience to take the next step without damaging the authenticity of your message with a sales pitch.
Incorporate Content Marketing into Your PPC Strategy
Pay-per-click ads are popular in almost every industry, and for good reason. They let you jump in and capture web traffic your competitors may have cornered otherwise. The problem is that most companies only use “hard sell” strategies for their PPC ads. If someone Googles, “what is a hydrating facial,” they’re probably not at the decision-making stage of when they care to see your “25% off hydrating facials” ad.
Instead, use a content marketing approach for some of your PPC ads. Create an ad with a headline like, “How does a hydrating facial work?” or “What to expect from a hydrating facial.” Send the link to an informative landing page about that subject. At the end of that landing page, after the reader has that information they were looking for, you can pitch your 25% discount.
This allows you to capture consumers who are earlier in the buying cycle, rather than those who are already looking for a provider.
Planning Like a Lifelong Content Marketer
Content marketing for business takes skilled creativity and a mind for what the consumer is looking for. That isn’t all it takes, though. A great content marketing needs to know how to plan their strategy. The tips above can help you get started. If you prefer to put your business in the hands of a professional, contact our content marketing specialists today.