If you want to achieve your business goals online, you need to have a solid content marketing strategy in place, as consistently publishing valuable content is critical to brand awareness, lead generation, and sales conversion. Each of the recent updates to the Google search algorithm increases the importance and impact of content marketing on search. Not only is it nearly impossible for visitors to find you without a solid content marketing strategy. Posting on social media encourages engagement and also takes Google’s search algorithm into account. So when you invest in content marketing, you are investing in your future.
And none of this is cheap. You can’t just hire your nephew or the kid on the street. Content marketing is too critical to your success to be done after the fact when you have completed all of the “critical” work required to run your business. This requires capital so that you can apply for a working capital loan to get started until you have enough profits to fund your content marketing in-house.
Invest in content marketing
One of the challenges for new business owners early on in their start-up is to invest in content marketing to get started with their new business. Existing businesses need to devote the time (and adequate resources) to building and implementing a consistent content marketing program.
What you need to get started
Here are some content marketing elements that you need to plan for:
- A branding strategy to ensure that all content matches your style guide in terms of colors, primary images, fonts, etc.
- Fresh content is divided according to the graphic below
Image courtesy of Plug and Play Tech Center
- The variety of content ranges from long form to short form, from social to e-mail marketing
- A content calendar to make sure you stay on track
Image courtesy of the Marketing Insider Group
- Visual elements such as images, videos, infographics, etc.
- A strong heading and meta description to keep users interested as these elements represent the entire post
- Well-designed content of at least 900 words (and longer content tends to result in more visits than less word content) for blog posts (you don’t have a blog, you need another tool to post new content 2-3 times a week) For social media, you need shorter snippets of content and a high-performing image that publishes on a schedule.
- A table of contents, sub-headings, and spaces to make sure your content is palatable and to allow visitors to read the sections that are most relevant to them, as readers typically won’t read the entire post
- Keywords related to your brand. Preferably keywords with a high search volume (social media posts are also displayed in the search) with less competition. Use the Google Keyword Planner to select suitable keywords
- Content developed for promotion leads from awareness to purchase and beyond to loyalty.
Investing in Content Marketing: Marketing Basics
First, let’s talk about the marketing basics you need to master in order to create a successful content marketing strategy.
- Marketing Goals – These calls need to be specific, measurable, achievable, and timed.
- Personas – Personas – like the target markets ahead of them, identify who will buy your product, demographics and geography, lifestyle, problems and the types of media they consume.
- A customer journey map that identifies the process customers experience on the journey from awareness to purchase.
- A call to action (CTA) or other vehicle that is supposed to lead visitors to a conversion.
Investing in content marketing: writing content
It’s always a little scary to stare at a blank screen when you know you have to publish something today. A content marketing calendar helps here. When the content marketing calendar is completely filled out, you already have a head start on content writing because you have your topic and possibly a heading or images or links to use to support your content. An automation tool will also help, especially when it comes to posting on your social media multiple times a day. Automation tools like Buffer and Hubspot let you enter content for an entire week in one afternoon.
But what should you write about? Here are a few ideas:
- Focus on your benefits, not features. You need to convince potential customers that your product solves their problems. Consumers buy solutions, not products. By focusing on the benefits of your product, you are effectively demonstrating how your product is helping to solve the problem.
- Don’t spend all of your time talking about yourself. A good rule of thumb is to talk about your products and business about 20% of the time, and share informative, entertaining, or interesting content the other 80% of the time.
- Share backstage elements of your company. People love to find out what’s going on in the background. For example, mark an employee of the month or a new employee or share information about a new building or a new location for your company.
- Engage visitors with your brand. For example, ask them to vote on new menu items for your restaurant or a new logo design.
Invest in content that has a positive impact on sales
Make sure you invest in content that will increase an opportunity and tell a good story that will attract potential customers. We generally refer to this as lead nurturing. With the help of a customer journey map, you can determine the steps between awareness and consumption of your product. You should create content for each step in this process and send visitors to the appropriate page based on where they are in the journey. When you’re developing a basic asset, it’s easy to create long and short form content to keep your endeavor going.
Grow your potentially best content
Since you need to create content on a consistent basis, not all content is outstanding; some are more valuable than others. Take the best content that you produce and grow that content. For example, if you’re developing an explainer video, you can use digital displays to enlarge it for greater reach.
Sometimes it is not clear at the moment which content is your best. That is why Google Analytics is your friend. Search four top posts and pages in your Google Analytics report to see which content is particularly popular with visitors. Now enlarge that content with advertisements or use the insights gained from this analysis to create more content based on how visitors react to your existing content.
Conduct a competitive analysis
Sometimes the best way to improve your content marketing strategy is to examine the content strategies used by your competition. You can conduct a competitive analysis by reviewing their SEO and explaining other ways they are investing in content marketing with competitive tools like Alexa.
For example, they can see the number of uploads on their social media platforms, the number of articles they publish each week, etc. After you’ve gathered the metrics and combined them with the results of your internal content marketing efforts, you can estimate the number of articles and money you will need to invest in content marketing.
Create a budget for your content marketing
Investing in content marketing means creating a budget that is realistic given your goals. Make sure you have a budget to promote and market your content on a monthly basis. By creating a budget, you ensure sufficient investments to meet your marketing goals. And as content marketing strategies change over time, it’s important that you spend some of your budget making sure you are using the strategies that are most relevant to your business.
It’s important to mention that everything about your content needs to be a good fit for your brand. You need up-to-date content marketing strategies to be most effective. You can achieve this by investing in content marketing.
Realize that investing in content marketing pays off despite having a sufficient budget and a great content marketing strategy. You should state your strategy at least six months before making a major change. During this time, optimize your content marketing based on analyzes in order to optimize your existing strategy.
The beauty of investing in content marketing is that investing good money pays off in several ways. So don’t hesitate to get your company’s content marketing area up and running.
Author: Angela Hausman, PhD
I run Hausman and Associates, a full-service marketing firm that works at the intersection of marketing and digital media. We offer a variety of digital marketing solutions including content marketing, email marketing, SEO / SEM, social media marketing, lead generation as well as marketing strategy, branding, market research and a variety of … Show complete profile >