Successful Content Marketing in 7 Simple Steps
- by Alyson Shane
Wondering how to build a content marketing strategy that gets results?
Different pieces of content (blog posts, whitepapers, infographics, etc.) are all intended to serve different purposes as a potential customer moves through the sales funnel.
Since these pieces are tied so tightly to a customer’s intent to buy, it’s important for us to understand what each piece is designed to do, how we’ll measure its success, and how it fits into our larger marketing strategy.
Below are seven (simple) steps to get you started:
1. Set clear goals
Be as ambitious or as cautious as you’d like — just be clear about what your goals are.
Make sure your goals are achievable and measurable. This not only helps set expectations for your team (or your clients), but also tells you if your strategy is working, or if you need to adapt.
Once you’ve set your goals, decide how often you’ll review them and adjust - more on that below!
2. Do your research
Do keyword research to find out which topics are trending in your industry and the language your customers are using to talk about them. Tools like SEMRush, AnswerThePublic and (of course) Google’s Keyword Planner are great places to start.
Understanding keywords helps you identify popular content topics that you can develop content for in order to attract eyes to your brand.
3. Develop a strategy
Once your goals are defined, create a plan for how you intend to achieve them. Use your buyer personas to target the right audiences, and outline your plans for reaching them with your content.
Pay attention to what your competitors are doing, and do research into the latest techniques for engagement and community growth before executing on your plan. Create a Content Marketing Master Document that acts as a “living document” and details your process, goals, and strategies for every aspect of your content marketing plan.
4. Create your content
The content you publish should be useful, timely, and clear.
Use the research completed in the previous steps to decide on topics, keywords, and content type before creating anything.
Planning these elements out in advance helps you stay on topic and work your keywords into your text in a more natural way.
For blog content, start with a bulleted list of all the headers you want to write, and add the details in as you go, “fleshing” out the sections until you have a complete post. An example could look like this:
- 1. Set clear goals
- Be clear, achievable and measurable
- 2. Do your research
- Talk about keywords
- SEMRush, AnswetthePublic, Google
- 3. Develop a strategy
- Content Marketing Master Plan
- Mention/link to buyer personas
You get the idea. This is especially helpful if you’re planning a post that references a lot of resources since you can add the URLs of your sources in the list for quick reference.
5. Publish and share your content
The best place to publish your content is your blog.
Here’s why: your blog exists on your website, which means that by the time someone is reading your blog post they’re already within your brand’s ecosystem — you don’t need to get them to click through to your website because they’re already there.
Other places you can publish your content include sites like Medium.com and as articles on social networks like LinkedIn. Don’t forget to share it on social media and in your newsletter, too!
6. Use eye-catching visuals
Once your post is ready to go, spend some time in the photo editing tool of your choice (we like Canva) creating additional marketing materials to use on social media.
Create images featuring quotes and wisdom from your posts and share them with URLs to your blog. This gives your audience a hint at what they can expect from the post, and increases the likelihood that they’ll click through to read.
7. Measure your success
Once your content has been online for at least 30 days, conduct a detailed analysis of whether or not it achieved your goals.
If it didn’t achieve what you’d hoped, don’t get discouraged. Take this as an opportunity to learn from your experiment, and apply your knowledge to your strategy for the next piece of content you produce.
Improve your content marketing starting today
Content marketing is a big, complicated beast, and it can be hard to keep track of all the latest developments and what they mean for your business. That’s why we created our weekly newsletter, which features hand-picked articles to help you step up your content marketing game.
Looking for help developing a strategy that helps your customers connect with your brand and that grows your business? Drop us a line.