Over the past few years’ content marketing has been catching on as an effective strategy for marketers to generate more leads.
An infographic created by Demand Metric states that 78% of CMOs believe the future of marketing will be based on information shared through content, and 80% believe that custom content should be central to their marketing efforts.
Not just content, but custom content. Content that is finely crafted with a unique message your target market will connect with.
There’s One ‘Teeny’ Problem
However, there’s a problem with content marketing and that is once you have your content out there it can be extremely tough to get it found by the right audience.
The internet is a burgeoning beast, with massive amounts of data being uploaded of every day.
To put the amount of data in perspective, in 2012 YouTube received 48 hours of video, Facebook users created 684,478 pieces of content, Instagram had 3,600 uploads, and Tumblr had 27,778 posts published every single minute of every day – and that’s from 2012!
You can imagine those numbers have most likely ballooned out a little since then. Sorry, but try as I might I just couldn’t find more recent data; I guess it takes a while to compile those statistics.
So not only can your content drown in a seemingly bottomless sea already swirling with information, there’s a good possibility it will get swept along in the tsunami of data that will come after it.
The article, video, or presentation you have just expertly crafted with love and care (and probably a good chunk of your marketing budget as well) is now a tiny speck of data, amidst trillions of other tiny specks.
Talk about a needle in a haystack!
Fortunately, there are ways and means for the savvy content marketer to make sure any information they release out into the wild can be found and seen by the right eyeballs.
Here are 7 tricks to help you develop a killer content marketing strategy that will get your name out there, build your authority, and bring in a truckload of new customers and leads.
1. Determine Your Goals and Metrics
Every content marketing strategy needs to start out with a clear objective about what it is trying to achieve.
A broad goal for your business may be to get a bigger subscriber base but this is a little hard to measure against your efforts to determine how well the strategy is working out. It certainly doesn’t give you any ideas on where to tweak your designs to improve results or even a timeframe to work within.
Be specific and clear about what you are trying to achieve. If it’s email subscribers you want your goal should be stated as “signup 1,000 subscribers in a month,” rather than a more arbitrary “get more subscribers.”
Other goals you can get more specific about are traffic and Facebook shares. What do the numbers look like before the content marketing strategy can be declared a success? Goals you can start with may be:
• Increase average social shares per post from 0 to 50
• Increase hits to the website by 2,000 visitors a month
This gives you clear numbers to work towards and lets you know just how successful (or unsuccessful) your efforts have been when it’s time to measure the results.
2. Know Who the Message is for
The first step in creating a content marketing strategy with the best chance of success is to know exactly who you are trying to reach.
Creating a persona is the most efficient strategy for you to get to know who will get the most value out of viewing your content.
By taking the time to know your customer in detail you will be able to provide a clear answer about what they want to know most of all; “what’s in it for me?”
Ask who your ideal customer would be. For example:
• Persona #1: Is a young stay at home mom with three children. She enjoys cooking, gardening, and a nice wine at the end of the day. Her favorite movies are romcoms, with a few science fictions thrown in for something different. She also enjoys sitting down to a good book on the weekends; prefers autobiographies, but does enjoy the odd thriller.
• Persona #2: Is a middle-aged working mom, divorced, with two children. She likes going out with friends, dating nice guys to find the next Mr. Right, and reading fashion magazines. She enjoys cooking but only if it’s quick while being nutritious at the same time, and she enjoys spending time at the beach on the weekends she has with her children.
As you can see, crafting content to appeal to both personas would be difficult, as they both exist worlds apart from each other.
Each persona comes with their own hopes, fears, obstacles, pain points, and desires so your content should be crafted to address the concerns specific to each individual.
When writing content, or hiring a writer to do it for you, you should ask as many questions as you can about what your perfect customer would be like. The following list is a good place to start.
• What age are they?
• What income bracket are they in?
• What magazines do they read?
• What are their favorite types of movies
• Where do they spend most of their time while online?
• What type of books do they like to read?
When deciding on a strategy for your content use the persona to guide you into figuring exactly what objections you are going to come up against.
If you take the time to get to know your persona as if they were a good friend you will be able to create content that will immediately gel with them, and get them on side for an easier sale.
You can get even more great ideas for personas over at fakecrow. They have some excellent downloads which can really make the process a whole lot easier. You’ll probably be getting to know your persona so well you’ll be sending ’em Christmas cards.
3. Setup Social Media Sharing
With your detailed persona in hand, it’s time to find out where your target market likes to hang out online.
BI Intelligence can help you get the most of your content marketing dollar with a report they released on which social sites your demographic may be spending the most time on:
• Twitter has become mainly a source of news for most of its users.
• The Instagram audience is made up of mostly females in the 18 to 44 age bracket.
• LinkedIn is popular among the white-collar professionals to network – a highly desirable market due to higher education and a greater household income than the national average.
• Pinterest is huge on mobile and accounts for 48.2% of all sharing which happens on iPads, 69% of its members are women, and topics are focused mainly on food, health and fitness, family, and parenting. There are so many mommy bloggers on Pinterest it’s just crazy.
• Instagram is for the younger crowd as 90% of its user base are under the age of 35. A perfect audience for the fashion industry.
• Tumblr is big with teens and young adults who enjoy self-expression. The user base of Tumbler is extremely active compared to other social media platforms, as 61% of users have stated they use the site for several hours a week.
• If you have fast-moving consumables, then Facebook may be the platform for you to focus your efforts on as these commodities do well on this site. Plus, Facebook also shows high engagement for their ads overall.
4. Create a Schedule and Be Consistent
Once you determine who your target market is you then need to go about creating a schedule that will get your content in front of them when they are most likely to see it.
Young professionals on the up and up may be more likely to see your posts after 8 PM, while blue collar workers with early start times are more likely to notice a post in the early afternoon.
Schedulers are a major boon for making sure you are seen at the right time, as it’s highly unlikely your timeline for manual posting will align perfectly with your target audience.
Schedulers will also give you a chance to experiment with your posting times as you can mix it up and then track the results. It’s then a simple matter to adjust your schedule at times where you know you are going to get the most engagement.
Your sharing should be divided up amongst your own creations, as well as media from other sites as well.
You may only be posting your own articles 2 or 3 times a week which will leave your feed a little bare. Sharing creations from other sites related to your niche is a good way to beef out your feed, keep it interesting, and boost engagement.
5. Ask Yourself a Couple of Questions
Your first question to ask is “is this piece worthy of sharing?” If you cringe when you think about family and friends reading or viewing it then there’s not much hope of it making an impact when you release it into the wild.
And probably even more importantly you should be asking yourself “does this piece contain useful information my readers can take action on?” The whole strategy of content marketing revolves around being useful to your prospective customers, building relationships, and developing trust.
Only then can you have any hope of adding them to your sales funnel and making repeat sales. If you answered “no” to the above questions, then your content might just be a fluff piece. Scrap it and start again.
6. Focus on Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
This is an important step as it will determine why someone should come to you instead of a competitor. Making your business stand out has a cascading effect on all your marketing efforts, making it easier. You’ll get more shares, more subscribers, and more love in general.
Your USP will cement you a place in the minds of your potential customers.
You don’t just want to be the best because if you think about it being the best will just get you a seat at the table. But everyone at that table is trying to be the best.
So, you need to start being the best at what nobody else has thought of yet. Be unique. It can be as simple as using your personality or changing who you focus your efforts on.
The important thing is to address some type of problem and then make your content all about that problem.
7. Track Everything
Finally, track everything. Specifically, in any content marketing campaign, you will want to be tracking traffic to your site, customer engagement on posts, and conversion rates on landing pages and emails sent out.
Conversion rates are perhaps the most important as they directly correlate to a ROI for your content marketing efforts. Something your boss is always keen to know.
Google Analytics continues to be the best method for tracking hits and engagement on your website. There are a ton of metrics to analyze so prepare for a learning curve.
Your email automation provider will have tools in place allowing you to track how successful your email campaigns are, so take some time to learn about how they work.
For your social media efforts there are tools like Simply Measured which can track every post, twitter feed to give you the best idea about how your efforts are panning out.
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