The Ultimate Guide to Implementing a Content Marketing Program for Your Business
You’ve probably heard that your business needs a robust content marketing strategy to succeed in today’s digital age. Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach new customers, engage with existing customers, grow your business, and boost your brand’s value. That’s why 82% of marketers use content marketing, and 70% of them actively invest in it.
But what exactly is content marketing?
And how can you implement a content strategy for your company?
This blog post answers these questions and more. It discusses the importance of content marketing for modern organizations and provides a step-by-step guide on implementing a successful content strategy for your business.
So, whether you’re a newbie who’s just getting started, or a veteran looking to improve your current program, this article is for you.
Let’s dive right in!
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is about marketing your brand and its offerings by leveraging great content. It includes the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant, and engaging content to:
- Attract a target audience
- Retain their attention
- Convert a prospect or lead into a buyer
- Earn a buyer’s long-term loyalty to encourage repeat sales
Through this type of digital marketing, you can increase brand awareness while improving conversion rates and driving more sales. If done correctly, it can help your business reach new customers through organic search (e.g., Google search) results and social media.
Content marketing can be more cost-effective than other types of marketing. Moreover, you can use your content for as long as you want and publish it on multiple channels to expand your reach and influence.
Benefits of Content Marketing for Your Brand
Today’s customers and very different from past customers. They have different needs, and they expect companies to understand them and their pain points. They also demand that companies treat them as unique individuals and provide more personalized service.
Most customers are also “digital savvy,” meaning they’re better-informed, comfortable with social media, and willing to spend time online researching products and engaging with brands.
Content marketing can help you connect with such buyers and meet their evolving expectations while also achieving an edge over your competitors.
Content marketing is essential for your brand because it can help:
Increase brand visibility
With content marketing, you can showcase your brand on numerous channels. People looking for answers related to your industry can find you through your content. Good content can also keep them coming back, so when they’re ready to buy – you will be prepared to satisfy their needs.
Further, by delivering content tailored to each target segment or customer persona –through blogs, podcasts, webinars, infographics, social media posts, etc. – you can show that your brand has a unique voice that stands out in a noisy world.
Grow your business
Whether through your website, blog, landing pages, videos, or social channels – content marketing is one of the most effective ways to connect with customers, reach new audiences, and build relationships with existing ones.
You can also drive more sales and increase profits by converting visitors from other channels like paid advertising or affiliate programs into paying customers and keeping them happy with high-quality content so they continue to support your business. In the long term, all of this can help you grow your business and take it to the next level.
Showcase your expertise
You can provide potential clients with valuable insights through high-quality and relevant content. This content may address their problems, show them a new perspective, present multiple options, or provide value in some other way.
For instance, a well-written blog post or a thoroughly-researched whitepaper is a great way to showcase your thought leadership to your target audience. Similarly, case studies can help demonstrate your expertise and show your ability to resolve real-world problems and deliver tangible value to real stakeholders.
Most brands know that it’s difficult to garner customer loyalty. Loyalty is a precious commodity in today’s digital economy, and brand switching is widespread. Research shows that 1 in 3 consumers will walk away from a brand after just one bad experience, and 76% of them will switch to a competitor brand.
But other research reveals some good news:
- 74% of people become loyal to a brand after regularly interacting with their online content
- 96% consider brands with high-quality online content to be more trustworthy
- 77% say they follow brands that provide helpful content on social media
- 85% connect with brands more effectively via video content
From these stats, it’s clear that effective content marketing plays a role in building trust and garnering customer loyalty. With strategic, well-placed, well-designed content, you can create strong relationships with current and potential customers. As you continue to deliver helpful content, your relationships will become stronger, and you will find that customers trust you more – not only with their wallets but also with their minds and hearts.
Content Marketing Strategy vs. Content Strategy
A lot of people confuse a content strategy with a content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing Strategy
According to the Content Marketing Institute, your content marketing strategy is about the “why,” “who,” and “how” of your content marketing program:
- Why you’re creating content (Goals)
- Build an audience
- Expand your customer base
- Establish thought leadership
- Enhance brand recognition and recall
- Increase revenues and profits
- Who you want to help with this content (Audience)
- Who is the target audience?
- Are you catering to more than one type of audience?
- Will you deliver content that’s tailored for each audience segment or customer persona?
- How you will help them with this content (Purpose)
- Solve a problem
- Provide relevant information/knowledge
- Provide relief, joy, excitement, or pleasure
Your strategy includes your content marketing business case, audience personas, content maps, brand story, and channel plan.
A well-thought-out content marketing strategy can help you plan your content marketing program better, use the right tactics and channels, and use your marketing budget more effectively (and profitably).
A content strategy is your brand’s game plan to create, manage, publish, govern, and update your brand’s content. It will help you make the right content to attract your target audience and achieve your marketing goals.
So, if your goal is to:
- Increase brand authority ? Create “authoritative” content like whitepapers and eBooks.
- Improve lead generation ? Create high-quality, SEO-optimized blog posts.
- Gain email subscribers ? Create well-designed, targeted, and personalized email marketing.
- Build interest for ad retargeting ? Create high-quality social media posts to build up an audience and then remarket to them.
Thus, your content strategy provides a roadmap so you can produce high-quality content marketing campaigns that build trust and delight your target audience.
A 7-Step Process to Develop a Solid Content Strategy
Now that you understand why your brand needs content marketing let’s look at the step-by-step process to build an effective content strategy.
Understand your content offerings
You cannot communicate the value of your content offerings in your brand’s unique voice if you don’t understand these offerings yourself.
What are you offering?
To whom? To what purpose?
What can your audience expect to get by consuming your content?
Be very clear on these foundational aspects before getting into the nitty-gritty of content planning and design.
This brings us to…
Establish your content goals
The best, most helpful, and most successful content is purpose- and goal-driven.
Think about why you’re creating various pieces of content:
- To increase brand authority in your particular niche
- Drive conversions and sales
- Improve lead generation
- Attract and engage with customers
- Improve rankings in search engine results pages
- Drive traffic to your website
Clearly define your SMART (Specific/Measurable/Attainable/Realistic/Time-bound) business goals to give your strategy a defined focus and target. Also, identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics to help you assess whether you’re successfully meeting these goals – and measuring the ROI of your content marketing program.
This step is crucial because it will inform your content creation tactics to create the right content and serve it via the right channel to the right audience.
Define your audience
If your content doesn’t target the right audience, you will waste time and money. Once you understand your offerings and have defined the goals for your content strategy, define your audience segments to target your content marketing efforts and deliver the best content to the appropriate audience.
Depending on your business type, offerings and reach, consider various demographic factors to define your audience segments, such as:
- Job title
- Income level
- Pain points
- Products desired,
To segment your audience.
Create buyer personas if you’re looking to create hyper-tailored content for specific sub-segments. This will force you to think about the audience as unique individuals rather than a homogenous group. Thus, you will guide your tactics to create personalized content that converts, impresses, and delights.
Pick the proper channels.
It’s essential to select the proper channels to publish, distribute and promote your content because not every channel will work – or work well – for your business. Determine which online channels your target audience frequents and publish content there.
For example, if you are a B2B marketer, you may publish thought-provoking articles on LinkedIn or in third-party industry publications because that’s where your audience “lives.” But if you are a B2C firm catering mainly to youngsters, publishing visual-rich content on Instagram may be a better bet.
Create an editorial calendar
Your editorial or content calendar is a plan that outlines what type of content will be published, on what days/weeks, and on which channels. For maximum usefulness, it should:
- Specify the roles and responsibilities of the content marketing team members
- Detail key topic areas and keywords, and content format/type for each area
- Clarify when and how you will share content with the target audience
- Identify the specific calls to action to include in each piece of content
- State deadlines, content authors/owners, publication dates, and other essential details
If you have created content in the past, a content gap analysis can be a helpful exercise. Ask yourself:
- What kind of content did we make in the past?
- Which content is performing well? Which content isn’t?
- Do we have irrelevant or outdated content that we’re still publishing or promoting?
- Where are the content gaps at each step of a customer’s journey?
- Should we update old content or replace it with new content?
Also, do a competitor analysis to compare your content with other brands’ content. Don’t just look at direct competitors. Are you losing site traffic to SEO-optimized review sites or industry blogs? Are your search engine rankings affected by lead generation websites? Take note of all these “competitors” to evaluate gaps in your existing content.
Produce high-quality content
Quality, on-brand content is the key to attracting your audience and gaining their trust, so make sure that all your blogging output, articles, videos, etc., are well-written, accurate, and engaging.
Here are some pro tips for creating killer content that your audiences will love
Do keyword research to ensure that your content reaches the right people and effectively addresses their needs. Create content for your specific niche, and make sure it stands out from the crowd. You can improve content quality and usefulness by asking your audience for feedback via email surveys, social media posts, etc.
Brainstorming content ideas is helpful, and do select an appropriate Content Management System (CMS) to create, organize, store, and publish different types of content. Or better yet, hire a professional team of content marketers like Interrupt Media to do all the heavy lifting for you!
Map content needs throughout the buyer’s journey or marketing/sales funnel. Then create content that addresses the needs of users at each stage of their journey:
For example, if most of your buyers are at the Awareness stage, create blogs that answer their common questions and offer potential solutions. You can also create exciting posts that expand your brand’s reach and capture more people’s attention.
However, if many buyers are at the Purchase stage, they already know what they want to buy and why. However, they may want to compare different options before making a final decision. So, at this stage, you can offer content like detailed case studies, free trials, limited-time coupons, or ROI calculators.
It’s also crucial to ensure that your content offers genuine value to readers. While it’s perfectly okay to include a call to action (CTA) in each piece of content, it’s important not to focus only on selling or promotions. Instead, keep in mind this key acronym before writing or publishing any new content: WIIFM or What’s In It For Me. Here, the “me” refers to your readers:
- Are you solving a problem for them?
- Giving them options or new perspectives?
- Answering their questions?
Measure the results of your content marketing program
In step 2, you established the goals and KPIs of your content strategy. For instance, based on stated goals, you might have defined KPIs around:
- Number of blog posts published per month
- Number of eBooks or whitepapers downloaded
- Total monthly traffic to the website
- Number of social media followers per month
- Website page views, bounce rate, conversions
- Number of qualified leads generated through content marketing
- Search engine rankings
- Revenues generated through social media channels or landing pages
Once you go through all the other steps and have published your content, it’s time to measure the results. Your KPIs will help you “define” the success of your content marketing efforts.
Capture monthly performance information against a set baseline (e.g., publish at least 25 blog posts per quarter, or achieve at least 10,000 social shares per month). You can also measure performance by comparing it against the previous month, quarter, or year. A live dashboard and SEO tools like Google Analytics or STAT can be beneficial.
Interrupt Media Can Help You Design and Execute a Strong Content Marketing Strategy
Now that you understand why content marketing is essential for your business, – it’s time to get started! The sooner you begin publishing valuable content regularly, the sooner you’ll start seeing real results in terms of increased website traffic, more qualified leads, higher sales and profits, and elevated brand value.
Ready to implement a high-performance content marketing program for your business? Contact us to take the first step to success and significant results!
Topics: Content Marketing