Content marketing is somewhat of a buzzword in digital marketing circles – and for good reason too. Not only can it be more cost-effective than traditional marketing (especially for businesses that lack large marketing budgets), but it has the potential to generate more leads too. For content marketing to be a success it needs to generate a steady stream of quality leads, show positive ROI, and grow revenue and profits. In this blog, we’re going to talk about what content marketing is, and how to make a success of it.
Content includes everything created by your business that your potential customers see
Content marketing is based on an exchange of value between your target market and your business. Rather than force your (unwanted) marketing messages and products on your audience, you offer them high quality content that speaks to their interests and pain points. This content includes the copy on your website, what you publish on social media, blogs, landing page copy, downloadable guides, newsletters, podcasts and videos – in short, everything your potential customers see.
By adding value to your leads through content, for free, you establish your business as a trustworthy and knowledgeable source of information
As well as attracting visitors to your business in the first place – through content that’s relevant and interesting to them – content encourages leads down the sales funnel to becoming customers by educating and entertaining them. Through this exchange of content a relationship of trust can also be built, which is crucial for lead nurturing and conversions. What’s more, your content will position your business as a thought leader within its field.
Like most components of inbound marketing, content marketing is quantifiable
You can’t create stellar content if you don’t know who you’re creating it for
The first step in creating a successful content marketing strategy is to identify who your ideal customers are. Use data you’ve collected about current customers (who they are, where they spend their time online, what they do for work, what they worry about), to create personas for each customer type. It’s important that you thoroughly understand what makes them tick, their pain points, and how your business can offer them value. With this information you can select the keywords that will underpin your SEO and content subject matter.
Keywords relevant to your personas underpin the subjects you create content around
So you’ve chosen keywords for each persona. The next step is to create the content. But you need to be strategic about this too. There needs to be a mix of top, middle, and bottom of funnel content targeted at each of your personas for each stage they’re at in the sales funnel. Try and aim for 70% top of funnel (the awareness stage), 20% middle of funnel (the evaluation stage) and 10% bottom of funnel (the decision stage).
Variety and quality are important aspects of crafting shareable and engaging content
Also aim to produce a variety of blog formats (listicles, How To, trends, tips), and get creative with downloadable content offers and different types of media too. Needless to say, your content must be high quality and original, as search engines penalise content they deem to be of poor quality. As an expert in your field, you’re in a brilliant position to create insightful and fresh content on the topics around your industry, so make use of that. And remember to adjust the tone in blog articles or guides according to each persona.
For content to start attracting visitors and generating leads, it needs to be promoted
Once you’ve created the content, it’s time to promote it. Social media is an incredibly useful tool for this – just make sure you’re active on the social networks your personas use the most. Promoting content is a bit like promoting the top 40 chart hits: the most recent songs get played every day; songs from last month get played once a week; songs from six months ago get played once a month, and the Beatles get played once a year! Make sure you promote your recent content most frequently, but don’t forget to share blogs from previous months too. As we mentioned in our previous blog, leveraging the social audiences of influencers with audiences similar to your personas also helps your content get seen by more eyes, so find and connect with other notable figures within your industry.
Monitor the success of your content with data and adjust your strategy if necessary
Sadly, you can’t sit back once you’ve sent your content out into the world. For a content marketing strategy to succeed, it needs constant monitoring against predefined metrics to ensure it’s on track. Analyse data tracking web traffic, clicks, social shares, engagement, read rates, whether your content offers are being downloaded (and more) and adjust the type of content you create based on this. If you notice that How To blogs about DIY are generating the most leads, produce more content around DIY and get friendly with DIY circles on social media. And the fact that you can monitor data in real time and adjust your strategy means that you won’t waste months on fruitless campaigns.
For more information on how to turn your website into a lead generating machine through content and inbound marketing, download our guide: