Chapter 4: Content Marketing Plan
Content Marketing: Everything You Need to Know to Make Content Work for Your Business
Now that you’ve set the foundation for customer acquisition and understand the costs for acquiring your customers, it’s time to get started with the tactics to attract, engage, and delight this audience. The first step in this journey is to create the right content. In today’s world, content is consumed every minute of every day. Whether you’re reading a new blog post, subscribing to an email newsletter, or reading a post on social media, you’re engaging in different aspects of content marketing. For businesses, content marketing services are an absolute requirement to reach today’s consumers. How can you ensure that you’re preparing and sharing the right kinds of content?
Your company’s content marketing goals will be as unique as your product or service. Not only are there different types of content marketing, but there are different strategies to utilize based on your ideal audience. Then, you’ll add your distinctive tone and voice to make sure your message resonates.
Let’s take a closer look at what content marketing is and why content marketing services are so vital to acquiring customers. We’ll also highlight specific tools and strategies to help transform your company’s content efforts starting today.
What is Content Marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.” The end goal of a content marketing approach should always be to drive profitable and beneficial customer behaviors.
The differentiating aspect of strong content marketing is that there is actually customer desire for it due to its perceived value. This stands in contrast to other options, such as outbound advertising, which hits the customer with new messages whether or not they want to receive them.
How Has Content Marketing Evolved?
Content marketing for business has certainly changed over the past decade, and marketing experts believe that it will continue to do so over the next several years. Digital marketing can change quickly as trends ebb and flow, and content marketing is subject to similar shifts. Hubspot points out that there are three main ways that content marketing has evolved in recent years.
- The influence of Google. In today’s business landscape, the best content marketers aren’t simply proficient writers. To go a step further, they understand foundational information about search engine algorithms like Google, and they can grasp how good content works in connection with search engine results.
- The predominance of social media. Content marketing has had to make a shift from website-only traffic to content that performs well across multiple social media outlets. Each social media platform offers a unique opportunity to craft messaging for new customers and prospects. This often means that you are creating content specifically for that platform.
- The popularity of video content. Today, more customers want to see fresh video content, making it one of the most popular forms of content marketing. Since video is vastly different from written content, marketers have had to pivot, enlist new resources, and even invest in specialized team members. The production of video content is a trend that will likely continue into the next decade.
Why Content Marketing Matters for Customer Acquisition
Content marketing is about more than just generating new pieces to share on your various social and business platforms. In fact, it has the ability to generate significant results that you can monitor on a daily and quarterly basis. Below are a few reasons why content marketing matters for businesses.
- Lead generation. If you’ve been stumped on how to drive new leads, prospects, and traffic to your business efforts, content marketing could unlock several important doors. As outbound marketing methods have gradually faded away, inbound channels and content marketing are more critical than ever.
- Adaptability to long customer journeys. Depending on the type of customer you serve, the customer journey may not be as brief as making an immediate sale based on a single email coupon. You may have to initiate several touchpoints before your customer is ready to purchase. Delivering regular, helpful content can help you achieve that goal.
- Critical insight about the consumer. Because content marketing offers the ability to view performance and results, each piece of content can help you learn more about the expectations, interests, and attitudes of your ideal customer. You can also use content for A/B testing different product or service options, which may provide helpful insights when growing your business.
Content as an Inbound Marketing Method
Optimized content marketing naturally falls under the umbrella of a strong inbound marketing strategy. While content creation is a single tactic, inbound marketing encompasses an entire framework of working with a customer through the buying journey and beyond.
With effective content marketing, you can address each separate stage of the inbound funnel. This includes:
- Attracting new buyers with informational resources
- Engaging leads and prospects with relevant downloads and lead magnets
- Delighting customers with helpful follow-up and educational resources
A truly beneficial content marketing strategy always includes aspects of inbound marketing that are vital to business success. These include an in-depth understanding of your ideal buyer personas and your customer lifecycle.
5 Content Marketing Strategies
Part of your content marketing success will depend on your company’s willingness to experiment with new tactics. After all, since content marketing is an evolving trend, you must be willing to adapt and grow. Below are five specific content marketing strategies to get you started on the path to success.
Email is one aspect of content marketing that can provide big results for your business, especially when done correctly. Email also flows into the idea of content marketing automation, since marketers can segment specific lists and deliver pertinent messages to the right people at the most appropriate times.
To avoid spamming your customers or sending messages that miss the mark, it may be beneficial to send out surveys or requests for feedback. Don’t allow a lack of insight keep you from fine-tuning your email marketing tactics in order to gain a competitive advantage. The more you know about email performance, the more equipped you’ll be to craft messages and content that truly serve your customer base.
Social media marketing
One aspect that’s especially important to mention when it comes to social media is that most platforms are free to use! Unless you purchase targeted ads or paid promotions, these outlets are a low cost method for sharing and promoting new content.
Additionally, social media allows you to see how your audience and customers consume new content. By analyzing trends and surveying what your audience engages with, you can better target your messaging and your approach to content marketing in general.
A lead magnet is one tactic in content marketing that you can use to attract interested prospects. Essentially, you’re offering a relevant and helpful download (such as an eBook or infographic) in exchange for contact information. Lead magnets should always be enticing and something that your prospects want to know more about, otherwise people might be hesitant to share their information.
Examples of effective lead magnets include:
- Special guides or cheat sheets
- Lists and toolkits
- Free trial offers
- Downloadable coupons
- Editable files and graphics
Targeted landing pages
Marketing guru Neil Patel suggests that implementing targeted landing pages is one of the best content marketing strategies for taking your efforts to the next level. Landing pages create a foundation for displaying your downloadable content or directing visitors that come from other websites. These pages are also great ways to showcase your branding and overall marketing voice and style.
Landing pages also help boost conversion rates, since users and site visitors usually have clear instructions on how to engage with your content once they’re on the page. By using embedded web forms, you can also capture details that help you segment your audience members at a later point.
Keyword research & SEO
Performing keyword research before you begin the content marketing process helps ensure that the content you produce aligns with customer interests. Focusing on valuable keywords is especially important as you develop blog posts, cornerstone content, and any website pages that you want to rank highly in search results.
There are several free and paid options for performing keyword research and analysis. If you’re aiming to establish a baseline, Google Trends can help you spot the most popular topics in your niche or industry. Since Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can require expert-level guidance, many businesses choose to leverage content marketing consulting services to help tackle more in-depth keyword research.
How to Gauge Content Marketing Success
Content marketing ROI can depend on several internal and external factors. When you set up specific goals with your team, be sure to take time to ensure that everyone is on the same page about the top metrics you need to know to get an accurate picture of success. Some of the most common metrics for gauging content marketing success are described below.
- Quality of leads. Is your content actually attracting your ideal customer? Get feedback from your sales team about whether the leads coming in are qualified. If not, revisit your ideal customer persona and revamp your content to better meet their needs. Don’t forget to analyze where you’re sharing your content as well.
- Time and cost of production. To gain a true picture of success, you should take a look at the end result in addition to what was needed to achieve it. For instance, how many hours and resources went into the process of producing a piece of content? If you had to hire external resources or dedicate months to a project, be sure that the effort aligns with the benefit.
- Sales and conversion metrics. Once you know more about your incoming leads, you can then see which of those prospects converted into paying customers. With these numbers in mind, you can often discover which content pieces are better at converting new buyers. These patterns can help you adjust or revamp old content so that it measures up to your high-performing pieces.
Master Your Content Marketing – Bonus Tips
Although content marketing can be complex, it can also be incredibly fun. The content creation process allows your team to flex its creative muscles and stay on top of trends and popular topics. Not only can it be a way to attract new customers, but good content production also allows you to fine-tune your brand messaging for future growth.
If you’re looking for a few bonus tips that will help you land on content marketing success, check out the additional ideas below for inspiration!
Nurture customer relationships.
Although content creation isn’t the responsibility of your customer, you can certainly ask for buyer feedback and knowledge. Involving your customers in the process is another way to forge lasting relationships that will extend beyond the service or product you offer. Additionally, you can use content marketing opportunities to create a team of powerful brand advocates who can help spread the word about your company’s unique offerings.
Leverage mobile content marketing.
Do you really want to gain a leg up on the competition? Format your content with advanced design and mobile responsiveness. Since more consumers today perform product research and browse content on mobile devices, this is an important aspect of your overall strategy.
Mobile compatibility and user-friendliness depends on several factors, but you can get a head start by using responsive themes, high quality images, and mobile-friendly videos. Always test your blogs, landing pages, emails, and other resources on mobile to correct any issues that might come up when a piece of content is delivered.
Repurpose old content.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that an old blog post is still receiving lots of organic traffic, even though your team hasn’t touched it in several years. These analytics might indicate that the content itself is evergreen and worthy of an update.
Recycling and re-releasing content is also a responsible use of your time and resources, as it likely takes less effort than building something from scratch. When you give popular pieces a facelift, you also have the ability to reach a new audience or set of readers. It never hurts to remind your audience that you’ve spent time updating a piece so that it’s more relevant to their current needs, pain points, or concerns.
Enlist Professional Content Services
Do you need expert assistance when it comes to crafting and implementing an effective content strategy? Are you feeling overwhelmed at the thought of using content to attract customers and drive them from the awareness to the decision stage? As part of our Business Growth Strategy program, the Striventa team will help you fill in the gaps in your content marketing strategy. Whether you need to develop cornerstone content, promote your content through digital advertising, or track performance and analytics, we’re here to help.
Start growing your business with better content marketing services today by booking your first free Discovery Session with the Striventa team!