Originally posted on semrush.com.
How can you create a better content marketing strategy? How can you improve your results from content marketing? In this blog post, we’re going to look at the most important steps in creating a successful content marketing strategy in 2017.
While content marketing has arguable become one of the top digital marketing practices in recent years, there are still quite a lot of businesses and marketers who aren’t really creating a strategy to help them. Rather, it’s just a question of creating content regularly and promoting it in order to drive more traffic and engagement, with no clear tactic in mind. But with a content marketing strategy in place, you can ultimately improve your results and become much more effective.
For example, in a study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute for the state of content marketing in 2016:
49% of marketers considered that their stagnant success with content marketing was due to a lack of strategy or other strategy issues.
And yet, 86% of the marketers questioned claimed that content marketing was an integral part of their organization’s marketing program.
This shows that although marketers all across the board are recognizing the importance and effectiveness of this marketing form, they aren’t yet completely embracing it by strategizing and properly planning for it.
So, if you want to stand out from the crowd and get better results from content marketing in 2017, start developing your strategy now. Here’s how to get started:
Set up your content marketing goals
Just like with most other marketing strategies, the best place to start is with setting your goals. What do you want to achieve? What results are you looking to get? What does a successful content marketing strategy look like for you?
These are some examples of types of goals that you could be setting:
Get more traffic to your website and blog
Increase your brand awareness
Make more conversions and generate more leads
Improve loyalty and customer retention
Knowing what your goals are will then allow you to plan the steps needed to achieve them, and it will also help you measure your success more easily.
Knowing your audience
In order to plan the content that you will be creating, you need to know as much as possible about your audience. Find out as much as you can about your visitors; ask yourself this:
Who are they?
What are their passions and interests?
What do they want to learn more about?
What types of content formats do they respond best to?
What are their needs?
You can then organize your audience into different buyer personas to make things easier and keep them more organized. This way, you will be able to create content to cater to each one of the different buyer personas. By optimizing your content like this, you will improve your results and conversions from your content marketing strategy.
Now that you have set up your goals for content marketing and learned more about your audience, it’s time to come up with the actual content you will be creating.
To make things easier for you, save time and get better results, you should ideally organize your content ideas into an editorial calendar and plan content weeks, if not even months, in advance.
This way, you make sure you always have content ready to be published and that you are varying your content enough, both in terms of format and in terms of the actual subject of the content.
Consider all of the different content formats that you should be creating, in order to make your content offering more appealing to your audience:
Guides and whitepapers
Visual content for your blog posts: images, videos, GIFs and other visual aids to include in each of your blog posts
Social media content: images, GIFs and other content to be shared on social media
Interactive content: quizzes, polls and other types of interactive content
Webinars and online courses
Now that you’ve got all of that great content to publish, the question is, how do you get it in front of your target audience? Your content could be amazing, but if it’s not promoted well enough, it will most likely be lost in a sea of content and it won’t be getting you the results you’re looking for.
When creating your content marketing strategy, you should also plan your promotional tactics. This way, your team will know exactly what to do when a new piece of content is published, step by step. Consider:
SEO strategy: how are you going to optimize content for search engines so that they get in the top results? What keywords should your writers be using?
Social media: which social networks should you use to share your content? Use a tool like Agorapulse or MeetEdgar to plan and schedule your content to be shared on social media. If you have created a piece of evergreen content, make the most of it by scheduling it to be re-published on a regular basis.
Influencers: are there any influencers that you have relationships with that would share your content? Put a system in place to let them know about your new piece of content
Blogging: Uploading to relevant blogging communities and other websites: with many different types of content, you can upload them to different blogging communities and websites in order to reach a bigger audience. Have a list of all the different websites handy so that you can easily upload any new content as soon as it’s published
Email marketing: if you have a subscriber list, how often should you let them know about new content?
Advertising: when you really want to boost your content’s success, you should consider investing in digital and social media ads.
Measuring your results
In order to have a successful content marketing strategy, in the long run, you need to constantly monitor and measure your results.
By doing this, you will be able to identify what content works and what doesn’t, so that you can adapt your strategy swiftly and improve your results in the future.
As you set up and plan your strategy, you should also plan for measuring.
The metrics you will need to measure are directly related to the goals you’ve previously set up. For each of your different goals, highlight exactly which metrics will need to be measured.
For example, if your goal is to get more traffic, you should measure the traffic you’re receiving to each piece of content, find out where that content is coming from and what these visitors are doing on your website.
Or, if your goal is to make more conversions and generate more leads, find out how many subscribers you’re getting for each of your guides, whitepapers, e-books and so on. Of course, what you measure depends on what types of conversions you are looking to make.
The better you plan your content marketing ahead of time, the better your chances of getting more results out of it.
Content marketing has become a saturated, cut-throat business, so in order to be successful, you need to be very thorough and prepared for any eventuality – which is where planning and strategy comes in.
Let's discuss below the following questions...
Are you creating a strategy for your content marketing in 2017?
How is your 2017 strategy different from your strategy in 2016?
What are the most important aspects of your strategy in your opinion?