But as many businesses are hastily jumping on the bandwagon as a quick way to increase traffic and sales, their content marketing strategies are often lacking several critical elements:
1. Getting to Know Your Target Audience
One of the first, and most important, steps to creating a sold content marketing strategy is defining your target audience. A great way to do this is by creating a persona, which is a composite of who you are targeting. It may include such things as job title, job function, primary job needs/challenges, gender and education level. With personas, businesses can more strategically cater to their target audience, shape their brand voice, and target and mold their content to the customer they’re trying to attract. For example, a manufacturer of building materials might target architects. Elements that are likely to be of high concern to this target audience are the latest building materials, design trends, sustainability and energy efficiency. These needs should be considered when identifying common challenges that architects face, and then providing helpful solutions.
2. Diversifying Content Types
To appeal to the varying preferences of your target audience and strengthen your content offering, you’ll need to diversify the types of content you’re producing. Although publishing blog posts is a great start, it shouldn’t be the only content you’re creating. If your service or product is better demonstrated visually, video is a powerful marketing tool. In fact, a recent report by Cisco showed that people who viewed videos on its site were twice as likely to engage in high-conversion activities. Video, along with infographics and images, also tend to be shared more on social media. According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, the use of infographics saw the largest year-over-year increase in use by marketers. The use of webinars and podcasts are also on the rise.
3. Leveraging Social Media Effectively
With social media deeply integrated into daily life, it needs to be a key element of any content marketing strategy. Like a fire that erupts into a blaze when gasoline is added, content, too, will burst to life when social media is effectively harnessed to distribute it. An active presence on appropriate social media channels will help build relationships with your target audience, key influencers and media; promote engagement; and enable direct customer service. Plus, promoting content across all social media channels will help drive traffic back to your website. Oreo is a great example of consistent – and creative – social media marketing. In its 100-day Daily Twist campaign, Oreo produced 100 Facebook posts in 100 days that transformed trending news stories into “visual treats.”
4. Creating Custom Landing Pages
Landing pages are used to promote a desired action, such as signing up for an e-newsletter or webinar. It is the first page that a potential customer will see after clicking on your email link or social media post. As such, landing pages must contain clear, succinct content that directly relates back to the original source, be optimized for specific keywords and contain a call to action. For example, entrepreneur and former professional football player Lewis Howes uses a clean and simple landing page to promote his webinars and consulting packages. When used correctly, landing pages can help engage your potential customers and increase conversion rates.
5. Developing an Integrated Strategy
When developing a content marketing strategy, your brand must be consistently and seamlessly carried throughout all of its marketing vehicles, such as newsletters, brochures, websites and multimedia. Anyone involved in promoting your business’ content should be on the same page and working toward the same goals. In doing so, you reinforce your brand’s ultimate message and create better brand recognition. IKEAis a perfect example of this. With a goal of showcasing how customers can put together an entire room with various styles from IKEA, the company ensures that all platforms – from TV ads and blog posts, to social media and its sponsored reality TV show “Fix This Kitchen” – are tied into this promotion.
6. Measuring Your Results
Once you’ve produced high-quality content and promoted it to your target audience across various platforms, you’ll need to track and measure your results against your goals. According to a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute, B2B marketers have consistently cited brand awareness as their top goal over the last five years, with lead generation and engagement following not far behind. To measure content marketing success, B2B marketers have consistently cited website traffic as the metric they look to most often. Sales lead quality and higher conversion rates are also highly considered. Whatever your goals may be, measuring your results allows you to learn what your target audience responds to best and use that information to continually improve your content marketing strategy.