Remember when your blog was your “dear diary,” your electronic journal that chronicled every day of your boring, and somewhat narcissistic life? (Okay, I’m aging myself!) Fast forward some years, and blogs and online content have now become integral components of businesses’ web marketing strategies. In fact, 60% of marketers create one piece of content per day and 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on their purchasing decisions.
The early stages of content marketing involved businesses churning out post after post without any thought to the what, where, when or why they were doing it. But as the internet grew and content marketing became the latest buzzword, they realized just how much they didn’t know—and needed to learn and apply to compete and take their business to the next level online.
Do you feel as accomplished as this yet about your content marketing process?
Businesses are now aware they need to leverage content to grow and stay competitive, but they don’t know how and where to start to land an ROI.
Are you needing some assistance with this? Content marketing may seem like an uphill battle, but it really boils down to five easy process steps. Execute each effectively, and you will be on your way to success. It can help to look at the entire process from a higher vantage point like this. Only then can you drill down to get into the specifics you need to execute correctly.
Ready? Let’s go!
1. Goals and Planning
Define what your goals are before you start any content marketing campaign. If you don’t, you won’t know if your campaigns are successful or not. Also, your goals will define what your strategy should be as each goal may require a different tactic depending on what the desired outcome is.
Here are some example goals to get you started:
- Brand awareness; building trust
- Increase traffic to a landing page, website, etc.
- Attract new leads/prospects
- Convert leads into sales
- Increase customer retention
- Increase influencer-generated content
Once you determine your goals, establish some KPIs.
- Increase traffic to 500K unique visitors by xyz date
- Convert 5% more leads into sales by xyz date
- Get 100 more leads monthly
Creating KPIs will keep you accountable and also allow you to work backwards and create specific strategies that will get you to your goal.
2. Create Your Strategy
Once you define your exact goals, develop the best strategy that will allow you to meet them.
Here are some factors to consider adding to your content strategy:
Keywords – When choosing keywords, focus on those that are highly searched in your industry. This will mean that your topic is one that is in demand. Healthy competition is another determinant of a good keyword. You can find more detailed information on choosing valuable keywords here.
Whom you are targeting – If you haven’t already, create customer personas for your targets. Without customer personas, you will not be able to successfully target your audience. The more you can connect with your readers, the better results you will get.
Where your customers/prospects are in their journey – Target your content to where your customer is in the buying cycle. For example, if a potential prospect does not know you and they are visiting your blog, that content should be educational and not sales-focused. But, if you are targeting a lead who has already joined your email list and is familiar with your brand, this person may be close to a sale. Therefore, the content you deliver to this person may include case studies, testimonials, product demonstrations, etc.
Channels – What channels will you utilize to publish your content? Determine which platforms you will use and what your objectives are for each one.
If you want to dive deeper into these topics to help you create your content marketing strategy, here are some helpful resources:
Developing a Content Marketing Strategy
Marketing Through the Sales Cycle
Sending the Right Content at Every Stage of the Sales Cycle
Once you formulate your goals and strategies, the next step is to start production of your content. If you need some inspiration on content ideas, here are 40 B2B content ideas to get you started. Don’t say we never gave you anything (*wink wink*)
You can either work with your in-house team or hire content creators for your content production. From personal experience, I find that many businesses have a difficult time creating content from within. The team members are either unavailable or too busy and if they aren’t, they may feel pressured for time while creating content and quality may lack as a result.
If you decide to outsource your content creation, look for writers who:
- Embody your brand message
- Possess practical experience in your industry
- Know how to talk to your audience (give them your personas)
- Understand the principles of content marketing
- Can share your unique brand story
4. Marketing and Promotion
If you build it, they won’t come if you don’t promote it
What good is your content if no one sees it? Once you create your content, continue to promote it on your platforms and leverage those pieces as much as possible.
Here are 17 ways you can promote your new piece of content.
5. Measure, Rinse and Repeat
How well is your content doing? Are you meeting your KPIs?
It’s not uncommon for brands to forgo the measuring step and focus more on churning out high volumes of content instead. But, this is a waste of time if you are churning out content that is not meeting your goals.
To avoid falling into this trap, determine what metrics you want to measure before you hit “publish.”
Some of your metrics should also line up with your KPIs. Focus on the main KPIs more than metrics like shares and comments. Although both are valuable, focus on business objectives more than engagement objectives. Growing engagement metrics is valuable but if they aren’t increasing your ROI overall, they are not as useful. At the end of the day, your content should be helping your business grow and profit not just get more likes and shares.
Have a solid process in place? Rinse and repeat! Repeat what works and discard what doesn’t. It sounds easy because it actually is.
And if you want to simplify your content marketing process even further, don’t worry, we got you. Let us come up with three content ideas for you. Yes, we will send you three high-performing, lead-generating content ideas for free here to get you started or help you further your existing content marketing processes. Now, get going and get your content on!