Every good marketing technique requires a strategy and content forms the core of this strategy. The leading goal of using content marketing is to create brand awareness. Using the content wisely would not only help you get more customers but also in reviving and strengthening the trust of older ones.
Today, most brands including the big ones like Microsoft, P&G, Google, etc. are using content marketing. But, do you really need content marketing for a successful business?
The answer is yes. If you are still asking why we have listed below the areas where content marketing will help your business to grow:
- By creating awareness about your products & services.
- By building a strong and loyal relationship with your customers.
- By reaching your target audience with solutions.
- By developing a community around your brand.
- By boosting your conversion rates.
Owing to all these reasons content marketing has emerged to be not just important rather mandatory for the success of any brand across the globe.
There are several tips and tricks that will help you master the art of content marketing. For example, posting fresh content regularly would help you to earn links, rank on SERPs, and also in driving social engagement. However, to get the desired results a good content marketing strategy is as crucial as good content itself. This means the right content must reach the right audience at the right time for the right reasons.
This has become especially important in post COVID times when most companies have to cut down the cost of marketing owing to the future uncertainties. As per the studies, the overall revenue spent on marketing has declined from 11% in 2020 to 6.4% in 2021.
This has resulted in businesses rapidly moving towards online forms of marketing resulting in a sudden boost in demand for compelling and valuable online content. Owing to this the revenue for content marketing has increased several folds worldwide.
As per statistics, the overall worldwide revenue for content marketing which was around the U.S. $42.2 billion in 2018 has increased to the U.S. $76.09 billion in 2022. Moreover, this revenue is expected to increase to the U.S. $137.2 billion by 2026.
So if you are struggling to develop a perfect content marketing strategy for your business, you have ended up at the right place. In this blog, we will share the best content marketing strategies for 2022.
Before you begin devising your strategy, we must first understand what all will we require for it i.e. the key elements of a content marketing strategy.
Key Elements of Content Marketing Strategy
There are five key elements that must be clear in your mind before you begin your planning. These elements will help you come up with the perfect strategy and take your business to new heights. They are:
Before you feed them, you must know what they like. For a successful content marketing strategy, you should know the persona of your target audience. Their choices, preferences, expectations, etc. everything should be clear.
This is also sometimes called buyer person. It will enable you to bond with your target audience through effective communication.
There are a number of ways to do this:
Review the analytics of your website: Make category-wise notes on your audience includes. Divide them into groups like customers, potential customers, visitors, etc. This way you can identify your target audience as well as their pickings.
Conduct surveys: The best way to know what they like is to directly ask them. This would save you from making assumptions. Leave small one-word or one-sentence answer-type questions for your visitors. Review the poles to get a clear picture.
Analyze the latest trends: Whatever your business is everything changes with time. To sell better you must always remain updated. Explore the market regularly to know what your customers might be expecting from you. Keep revising your products as per the need.
Track your competitors: “Keep your friends close and enemies closer.” This might sound dramatic but is true for any business person. If you wish to stay ahead keeping track of your competitors is imperative. See what makes them desirable to the customers.
Overall knowing the challenges, preferences, and priorities of your audience would help increase your conversion rate.
Positioning & Brand Storytelling
The story of your brand and the positions of your products should be clear. This will help in providing a consistent experience to the audience even when they visit you through different content channels. Moreover, as multiple individuals are involved in developing content a clear story will also help them create the right image of the product.
Knowing your existing and potential customers as well as your top competitors is very important. Further, knowing the unique value of your brand, and the challenges it is helping to resolve would be very useful in creating your brand story. All this together will aid in bringing your brand forward as a better and preferable choice for your customers, over your competitors.
Content Marketing Mission
It is actually a statement meant to answer all your questions regarding content marketing. This describes the target you wish to accomplish using content marketing.
This may include questions like “why to create content, who is your target audience, how to reach them, what goal will you accomplish through this?” etc.
This must also focus on the unique value you wish to provide your audience through your content as well as your detailed business model. Doing this will help you identify the right format for your content.
The ultimate aim of your content marketing strategy is to get more business. Therefore, documenting a well-defined business case is highly crucial. The business case will assist you in identifying your business goals and how your content marketing strategy will help you in achieving them.
Moreover, it will also recognize the resources that need to be invested in your strategy to generate desired results. Benefits, costs, and risks related to a content marketing strategy can be easily figured out using the business case.
Finally, you will need an action plan that covers all your goals. This should include everything starting from the format and language of your content, content topics and campaigns, channels for promotion and distribution, as well as publishing and managing your content. Creating an editorial calendar can also help you with your plan.
7 Steps for Creating the Best Content Marketing Strategy
In this section, we will share with you the 7 most powerful steps to craft the best content marketing strategy for your brand. So let’s begin.
Categorize Your Audience and Content
As described in the earlier section, you must have your audience persona handy and segregated it into different categories. However, an important piece of advice here is to not consider any of these categories useless.
The visitors of today may turn into your loyal customers tomorrow it all depends on what you have in offer for them. So, observe the activities of every kind of audience you have.
Usually, an individual connects with the brand slowly. They may just scroll down through your websites for months before they finally decide to take an action. It takes time for people to trust a brand and its products.
Moreover, remember that you would buy a product on the advice of a friend, not a salesperson. So, try to be a caring friend to your audience whom they can trust. The best way to do this is to provide them with the right information. For example, if you are a skincare brand, tell them about the skin requirements and basic skincare tips before you actually introduce them to your product.
Having said that don’t forget that your ultimate goal is to increase conversion rate and that will only happen if your audience remembers your product. Integrate your brand with every story you tell your audience. They should get comfortably aware of everything you are providing.
The customer must feel that you genuinely care for their needs. Once they start trusting you try to resolve their problems by extending your relevant product. A clear call to action is extremely important at this point.
Another important thing to remember here is that no customer will buy every product. Each of them has different requirements. Hence, you must serve them accordingly.
The book “Business model generation” written by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur talks about the Empathy map based on a comprehensive approach. They describe it as a collaborative tool that will help you understand and connect with your audience better. It actually promotes walking in the shoes of your customers.
This concept focuses on adopting the audience’s perspective to understand their needs. This will provide you with an overview of what they think and feel. Also, you can decipher the factors that will encourage them to develop a strong relationship with you.
The audience is looking for the solutions to various problems they have and your responsibility, as a marketer, is to fit your product into their requirements.
Setting Your Content Marketing Goals
Your content marketing goals must comprehend the overall goals of your company. By looking at the wider scenario you will be able to make a better analysis of how can you actually make every content count.
You must also identify suitable content marketing metrics for your business. They might be primary, for example, the direct revenue generated by content marketing, or secondary, for example, organic traffic, SERP rankings, etc.
Further, consider the resources that are available to you. This will let you set motivating yet practical goals that are specific, measurable, and achievable. Setting the timeline and using realistic benchmarks to assess the goals is also very crucial.
There are a number of frameworks that will help you through the entire process of goal setting and tracking. Key Performance Indicators can be of great help if you are trying to set higher goals for your business. However, if you are worried about the complexities or intricacies of most frameworks as a beginner, we would advise you to go for OKRs. Objective and Key Results will help you set agile goals and track your performance through key results.
As a leader make sure to involve your team in every discussion. Ask for their opinion, and see how some of them may surprise you. Allow them to set separate goals individually or for the teams. This will make them feel more independent and important. Also, it will encourage them to work more efficiently towards the goals.
Analyze Your Existing Content
There are almost 1.17 million websites on the internet that produce around 70 million blog posts every month. This data is enough to bring your attention to the quantity of content available for your audience. Hence, if you want to have more engagement with your audience focus on quality. It is important to remain active but, it is equally important to maintain eminence.
This is why you must analyze the content that already exists on your website. Also known as content audit it is done by most successful companies annually or half-yearly. The basic idea here is to analyze the existing content to identify the best-performing topics and keywords. Also, it will help you recognize the communication channel most preferred by your audience.
When implemented correctly it can help in generating more organic traffic, securing better ranks on SERPs, as well as in boosting the engagement of your content.
Editorial Plan and Content Calendar
To create an editorial plan and content calendar is to allocate your resources and recognize your limitations. You should be absolutely clear about your content marketing goals at the beginning of the year.
After your goals are set it is extremely important to prioritize them. At this stage, you can actually identify opportunities to experiment and at the same time create a plan that will save you from making blunders.
Your entire plan should be based on what services or products you are offering, renewing, or launching for your audience. The plan will include the roadmap for the product campaign and recognize the resources needed to implement it. It should also be able to estimate the potential gains.
Creating an excellent editorial plan starts with finding relevant topics. You can use various paid and unpaid tools available for this purpose depending on your budget. These topics must be in the interest of your target audience. Try looking for content that is evergreen. This means that your content should be sustainable yet fresh for the readers.
It should always top your priority list. Majorly there are two factors that help you in topic selection. First, whether it will sound attractive to your target audience, and second, does it have the ability to achieve conversions.
If you have a problem finding a large number of topics try to create topic clusters. These are several inter-related topics that share the same central term with other relevant subtopics. This will help you establish yourself as a pioneer of that particular topic amongst your readers making them trust you even more.
Also, before you finalize your list of topics do not forget to dive into the content of your competitors. It might prove really useful in finding relevant topics, formats, or keywords. For more ideas you can also visit the other content publishers, for example, influencers, online magazines, etc., that share the same area of expertise.
Your content plan should be such that it covers all the aspects of the customer’s journey. This is highly important as you will have a variety of audiences visiting your site for a variety of purposes, this is known as the customer journey. You must have content for each of their need.
The different aspects of a customer’s journey include:
- Recognition: Recognition is when an individual recognizes you as a brand and begins interacting with you.
- Contemplation: Contemplation is when they start considering you for their needs.
- Selection: Selection is when they select you to help them with their issues.
- Retention: Retention is when they start relying on your product for their requirements.
- Endorsement: Endorsement, is when they start recommending your products to their nearby people.
Prepare a list of your topics based on these factors. Once you have the list in hand, decide a deadline for each topic and put the schedule on your content calendar. This will keep the information handy and organized. You can also track the progress of a project at any point in time and not miss a deadline.
The entire process of content marketing revolves around the content. You cannot afford to make mistakes in this area. Even when you want to speed up the entire process and reach your goal with rocket speed, you cannot compromise the quality of your content.
The originality of the content is most important. No matter how well you write if the content isn’t original neither the audience nor Google will give weightage to it. For good quality content apart from reading the resources online also include your personal opinion, knowledge, and experience while writing.
Do not just focus on specific areas rather include diversity in your topics. More diversity means more engagement for a variety of people. Use graphics and images to keep your readers engaged. Whenever possible provide statistics for better understanding and acceptance of your content.
Repurpose your content into different styles to make it reach a wider audience. For example, you can create podcasts, infographics, or even videos out of a blog after publishing it.
You can also include User Generated content for your website. The top positive comments you received, or videos or photos shared by your customers, share all on your website. This will attract a lot of positive attention to your product.
Content Distribution Plan
As discussed in the earlier section, good content is only valuable if you can make it reach the right audience at the right time. Even the best content becomes worthless without proper recognition. For this, you need an excellent content distribution plan.
There are majorly three channels for content distribution. They are:
Owned media channels: Includes blog posts, landing pages, newsletters, social media profiles, etc.
Paid media channels: Includes social media ads, influencer campaigns, sponsored content, etc.
Earned media channels: Comments, shares, mentions, guest posts, etc.
Basically, the purpose of all of these channels is to publish your content and promote your products. While you plan your content distribution analyze all the channels. Use past performance and experiences to identify the best suitable channel for your audience. Also, look for other new alternatives available in the market.
Align your messages and goals across all the channels to provide a clear picture of your brand and products. The omnichannel approach is considered the best to bring your product to the attention of your audience.
Focus on content optimization and content quality to get desired results. The main target while developing any kind of content should be to improve user experience. The readability of the text, the tone, and format, everything should be as per the convenience of your users.
Regular Update & Analysis
Content marketing is a regularly evolving process. Therefore, the evolution of your content is also mandatory. Analyze the performances of your previous content to understand where the audience connects the most and where they don’t. These are the signboards for the success of your content.
Identify the content with the best engagement and conversion rates, and develop more similar content that intrigues them. There are four essential metrics of content marketing that decide whether your content is valuable or not.
User behaviour: See how users react to a particular type of content. How much time they spend on that page or the number of new or returning visitors. Identify your top-performing pages.
Engagement: The comments, reviews, and shares are all signs of engagement. Look at them to know the worth of your content.
SEO outcomes: The dwell times, backlinks, organic traffic as well as keyword rankings will define how often you will appear in searches.
Company revenue: Nurturing old leads, generating new leads, cost per acquisition, conversion rates, etc. will help you identify the best and worst content on your site.
Examine your content based on the above factors to decide upon the future course of action in your content marketing plan.
Like any other industry, the trends in content marketing also keep changing with time. However, if you understand the basic principle your brand will sustain all the changes and still stand strong.
Understanding your customer and winning their trust is the ultimate key to becoming a master of content marketing.
P.S. Special advice for beginners: Don’t jump into the rat race immediately as a single wrong decision can ruin your goodwill forever. Keep optimum pace and take time to establish yourself amongst your audience. Build trust as well as brand value. Soon the audience will start engaging with your content.
What is a content marketing strategy?
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that is built to attract more visitors, create high-quality content and rank higher on Google.
What are the 4 pillars of content marketing?
The four pillars of content creation are originality, relevance, engagement, and relevancy.
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