Putting together a content marketing strategy can seem daunting at first. With hundreds, or potentially thousands of keywords to target in your niche, it can be hard to know where to start. Use this website content strategy guide as a starting point to ensure your efforts are spent wisely…on achieving your business goals.
7-Step Content Marketing Strategy
1. Tie Your Content Strategy to Business Goals
Every content marketing strategy should start with your business goals. Most business websites are focused on either driving revenue or building newsletters lists, or both. Either way, you’re building your customer base. For blogs, the the goal might simply be to build community. You need to first determine your specific goals.
Are there sectors of your business where you’re declining, and need to drive new customers to produce new revenue? Do you want to increase your newsletter subscribers? Figure this out first. Log them in a spreadsheet, and tie them to topics that you want to conduct keyword research for in your content marketing strategy. These topics should match up with specific verticals or categories on your website.
2. Create Content that Provides Solutions to Customer Problems
Great content often starts with solving common problems for your customers. Common problems in your niche will typically have keywords with higher search volume (as you’ll discover when conducting keyword research). Are your customers looking for the best product for their needs? Are they trying to achieve something? Log these customer problems (and potential solutions) next to each of your business goals in your spreadsheet (mentioned above), all tied to a general topic.
Solving your customers’ problems via your content marketing strategy will help you build trust with your site visitors. You can promote your products and services as “solutions” by linking and recommending your products/services throughout your content. This “how to” article about asphalt driveway repair from Asphalt Kingdom does a great job at this.
3. Use Keyword Research & Demographic Analysis in Content Strategies
Once you have begun aligning your goals with topics and customer problems/solutions, it’s time to conduct keyword research to really understand how your users are searching for answers. Target one primary keyword and a handful of directly-related secondary keywords (oftentimes variations of the primary keyword) with each topic aligned with customer problems/solutions and business goals. Oftentimes, primary keywords will be “how to” in nature.
It’s also important to understand the demographic profile of your visitors, and they may be different based on the topic. Make notes on your target audience, such as their gender, age range, level of affluence and what sort of verbiage they are attracted to. How are you going to “speak” to them in a way that they’ll listen (and be convinced)? People of different age groups, and genders, respond differently to different styles of copywriting.
4. Consider Multiple Mediums in Your Content Strategy
By now you should have developed a spreadsheet of goals, tied to topics, tied to customer problems and solutions…and tied to keywords. Now you need to decide upon the most effective and compelling ways to deliver your message. Will it be blog posts? Do you want to create lists of tips, products or services? Step-by-step instructions?
Infographics are helpful for highly visual audiences, and they oftentimes get shared via social media by your site visitors, and linked to from other niche bloggers. Use a site like ease.ly to create simple, compelling infographics for free. Do you need to create tools a widgets such as calculators or other helpful decision-making tools? What about video? Consider investing in a small digital video recorder, inexpensive lighting and some entry-level video editing software.
Think creatively, and don’t be afraid to hire a developer to create some tools that will be unique to your website in helping customers solve their problems. Whatever content you create, ensure that you optimize your content to rank well in organic search. Google makes up 25% of all internet traffic.
5. How to Market Your Content
Once you create your content, you’ll need to decide how to market it. For blog posts, most content marketers will share via social media accounts to build awareness. Use hashtags of common topics when sharing on your company Twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages. Join communities on Google+ and share your content by posting links to it with reasons why the content is helpful.
For high-impact pages (such as calculator tools and other widgets, or new site launches), consider running link building or press release campaigns using a tool like Buzzstream. Also consider finding influencers on social media via tools like Followerwonk, and build relationships with them. After you interact for a while, reach out to them for reviews and guest posting opportunities if they have their own blogs.
If you create video, post the videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Or, post snippets of the video on these social video sites, and link to the full video on your site. When posting video on your own site, consider adding rich snippets to help your pages with video stand out in the Google search results.
Whatever you do, focus on building relationships and don’t take shortcuts. The more “footprints” you leave in link building efforts, the more likely you are to be considered a spammer by Google…and Google is getting very good at identifying link spam these days.
6. How to Measure Your Content Strategy
Once you’ve created and marketed your content, you need to decide how to measure the impact of your efforts. If you have an eCommerce site, ensure that “eCommerce Tracking” is enabled in Google Analytics, and start tracking revenue per page. Also track revenue by source, so you can see where the most profitable traffic comes from (i.e.- organic search, paid search, social media, etc.).
If you’re aiming to acquire emails, set up a “Goal” in Google Analytics to track subscription conversions. Give monetary values to your goals, as much as possible, to see how they stack up against one another. What value do you tie to an email? Track conversion on the page level so that you can see which pages convert better than others, and what you can learn from that. Don’t be afraid to go back and edit pages based on your key learnings from this analysis. Identify pages with a high bounce rate and improve them by adding images, clarifying or improving the content to make it more authoritative.
Last, but not to be overlooked, start conducting simple A/B tests using Google Content Experiments, which is a free application that ties right into Google Analytics. Test different layouts and copywriting styles in your copy to get a better understanding of what converts with your audience. There’s even a Google Content Experiments plugin for WordPress that will make things super easy for WordPress site owners.
7. How to Scale Your Content Strategy
The last part in your content marketing strategy should involve scaling specific tactics that prove successful. If blogging ends up driving a large portion of your traffic, can you assign one or multiple people to blogging duties? Can you ensure that they share each new blog post, and re-market past blog posts, on all of your social networks? Look into tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck that make posting to multiple social media profiles quick and easy.
As mentioned above, Buzzstream is a great tool for conducting link building out reach…even press releases. Build individual projects within this tool for each initiative, and create prospecting lists for each of them. It will help if you know some advanced Google search query operators to find link building prospects within your niche. Check out this article from Search Engine Land by Garret French to learn some key queries to consider using.
Taking a tactical approach to your content marketing strategy will pay off in the long run. The key is to not get overwhelmed. Start small, with one or two strategies, and then further experiment from there. You will need to delegate responsibility to others on your team as you begin to scale certain strategies. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail. If you don’t try something new, you won’t see different results.
What other content marketing strategies do you recommend? Leave a comment below.