Have you already thought about how to bring your Digital Marketing strategy to the next level?
Content Marketing is an efficient method to achieve this goal. This process is capable of attracting and engaging your target audience with a low-cost investment.
Content Marketing makes it possible to create an immersive environment for potential customers to discover how your product or service will solve their problems or realize their desires. By applying this strategy, you can drive clients to buy decisions.
This post will guide you through the Content Marketing strategy planning process and will teach you how to create the most effective kinds of content to engage your target audience.
Here you will find:
Continue this reading and find out how to increase your sales!
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What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing is a way to engage your audience and raise your number of clients based on relevant and valuable content creation.
This strategy is capable of attracting, involving and creating value for a brand’s audience. This method builds a positive perception of your brand and generates more business for your enterprise.
It is no more a market trend, but a strategic investment to achieve more business success. With Content Marketing, a brand can gain more relevance and visibility online and grow recognized by its customers.
In short: a business can stand out in people’s memory and avoid being swallowed up by the competition.
Today, being on the internet is not enough. The issue, now, is how to be online, being seen and relevant to the audience. This is a Content Marketing mission.
Why use Content Marketing?
There are other ways to be online beyond Content Marketing, it is true. So, why should you pick this option for your business?
Because Content Marketing is a foundation and complement to other Digital Marketing strategies.
The biggest specialists in the world agree that content is king. By using it, you may achieve a few different objectives types in many ways, like teach to people how to use your product or service to solve their problems.
You have to remember that today people have the power to choose which content they will consume. They are immersed in a sea of information and you should give them the best options if you want them to pick your brand.
Which are the benefits of Content Marketing?
We have already mentioned some Content Marketing benefits and affirm that this method may bring growth to your business. Now we will enlarge the explanation about each point mentioned to show you how they work.
Attracts visitors and grows your site traffic
Helping people find your company among a giant quantity of information available online is a big challenge, but the content makes you findable, especially for search engines like Google.
In the same way, relevant content attracts attention in social media or email marketing campaigns, making more people access your site.
Creates value for your audience
The content you create and offer to your customers is not just useful, it gives a necessary message to the right people, at the correct time they need. It will exceed the expectations and will turn you into an authority on that subject, generating value for you and your audience.
Engages your audience
When you give your audience relevant and useful content, they will consider it so incredible that they will share it with their friends and followers. And that’s not all: people will interact with your content in another way too, like leaving comments and reactions.
Generates a positive brand perception
Beyond all you read, Content Marketing helps your audience in a moment that it needs, and people tend to make business with brands that they already know, instead of unknown companies.
Educates the market about your products and services
Most people don’t even know they have a problem and that it may be solved by your product or service. Content Marketing is capable of teaching the audience that your solution exists and how it works.
Drives sales to the next level
Sales are the principal goal, for sure, even when there is another secondary. Content Marketing may be present in all stages of the buying process driving your audience until the final decision.
Without the content, this driving was made individually, by a salesman for example. That’s why a smaller number of people were reached.
When you adopt Content Marketing, you win bigger coverage, reaching more and more consumers, but targeting them most effectively.
As we’ve said before, you can teach your audience why they need your products and services, and that way you’ll sell more easily and on a larger scale.
Generates more leads
The most important site or blog goal is lead generation. It is part of the strategy that will drive sales, once each lead is a potential client.
A lead is a visitant of your blog or another content channel that converts in a form, leaving some information about him.
With more information, it’s easier to know if the lead will be qualified or not.
Even if your site already has visitors, when you invest in Content Marketing, you can convert them into leads, offering attractive that stimulates them to leave useful information to close a deal.
And the more you generate leads, the better are the chances to sell.
Reduces Customer Acquisition Cost
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is a metric that indicates the cost invested in the marketing and sales areas to acquire each new client.
Content Marketing can have a lower CAC because one piece of content can reach a large number of people.
Besides that, most content produced is evergreen, which means its informational content will generate results for a long time. This also makes the content a company asset and increases its value.
So, beyond reducing CAC, content brings more value to your business and contributes to helping your clients without the need for your sales team’s efforts, making it free to focus on a more personalized and assertive approach.
Increases the client’s lifetime value
The lifetime value is the total value spent by the clients on your business. It means that the more they buy or the longer they stay as your clients, the bigger will be their lifetime value.
If you offer relevant and usable content to your clients, you’ll keep them for more time on your base.
They will feel important when perceiving that your brand keeps thinking about how to help them solve their problems, even after they closed the deal.
How to create a Content Marketing strategy?
Now that you know what is Content Marketing, understand its importance and realize the benefits it brings to your brand, it is time to discover how to create and execute this strategy.
Continue your reading and find out what you have to do!
1. Create a buyer persona
The first step to creating good content is understanding who you are talking to. But it is not about simple segmentation: it demands the creation of a character with all attributes of your target audience.
We call this character “buyer persona” and give it a name, social class, history, desires, problems, interests and other particularities inspired by real persons that bought from your company.
The concept of persona is more segmented than the concept of the target audience. This happens because you trace all the problems that your persona has, crossing this information with what you offer.
This strategy results in content that answers their doubts, at the same time that it creates a bond between the brand and the audience.
2. Define objectives and KPIs
After knowing your persona you have to define the strategic goals and the metrics you will use to verify if the campaign is reaching success.
Some of the most common goals for Content Marketing are:
- increase traffic;
- generate more leads;
- increase sales;
- educate the market;
- wide brand awareness;
- create value;
- engage the audience;
- reduce Customer Acquisition Cost;
- increase client lifetime value.
When you know your goals, you can define the indicators to follow them. It is the Key Performance Indicators function. KPIs are metrics that we use, such as a parameter to monitor the results reached with Content Marketing.
Remember that these KPIs must have a relation to the goals. See some examples below:
- if you want to increase traffic, monitor the site’s traffic;
- if you want to generate more leads, monitor the conversion rate on your site;
- if you want to increase brand awareness, monitor social media interactions like comments, shares, and reactions on social media platforms;
- if you want to increase sales, watch out for the number of sales, ticket value, items by sale, etc.;
- if you want to educate the market, watch out for the number of new subscriptions on a newsletter, access to content pages, etc.;
- if you want to increase clients’ lifetime value, watch out for how long they stay as your customer.
3. Consider the buyer’s journey
The buying process goes by some steps, called the marketing funnel. To drive people through the funnel, Inbound Marketing strategies are used.
People usually start at the top of the funnel and go until the bottom of it, when they are ready to buy. The “bait” that attracts them there is Content Marketing.
Know each stage of the marketing funnel below.
TOFU (Top of the Funnel)
It is the most general stage of the journey when the consumer is discovering their problem. Here you may attract many people, but just a few of them will really fit with a qualified lead profile.
At this stage, generally, people don’t leave their information yet. But nothing prevents that from happening.
The best kind of content to offer for your audience is blog posts, podcasts, ebooks, complete guides and others that address the subjects more broadly.
MOFU (Middle of the Funnel)
In the middle of the funnel, your audience already knows they have a problem and are searching for a way to solve it.
They have probably given you some information about them in exchange for valuable content, like an ebook or infographic, and you may use this data to drive them to the bottom of the funnel.
Here, the best way to address the themes related to your business is through blog posts, multimedia, and interactive content, keeping the focus on the solutions your company can provide to your lead.
BOFU (Bottom of Funnel)
Only people who are really interested in your products or services arrive at the bottom of the funnel and are highly likely to buy your products or services.
These are the most valuable kinds of leads. These people are already educated and know what they want.
Now it’s time to bring to your client some case studies, demos of your solutions, and other client testimonials that show how your business can solve their problems.
As you can see, in each stage of the buyer’s journey, the consumer has a level of knowledge and needs different kinds of information. That’s why you have to consider the stage of the marketing funnel they are in, before producing content.
4. Set a budget
Budgeting is a crucial part of planning a solid digital marketing strategy, and this is no less the case with content marketing.
But how much is too much (or too little) to be spending on content marketing, and what are the most effective ways to set a budget that’s right for you?
As far as how much to budget, every company’s needs are unique. However, the average company today sinks approximately 25-30 percent of its marketing budget into content marketing, so plan your content production strategy accordingly.
You’ll also need an idea of which types of content you’d like to produce moving forward, as well as how much you can expect to pay to outsource each option.
Examples to consider include (but may not be limited to):
- Blog posts
- Charts and media assets
- General content promotion
Any of the above assets can be obtained for prices ranging from completely free to several thousand dollars per piece.
Naturally, the more experienced and skilled the service provider, the more they’re likely to charge.
But you get also get what you pay for, so be careful of simply going for the lowest price without considering the skill attached to it.
Usually, the first contact of the public with your content happens through the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), and the best way to appear there is using relevant keywords.
You have to research which words your audience writes on the search bar to find content like yours.
The keywords may be a long or short tail. This means that the more specific they are (long tail), the more precise the results and more qualified the audience target will be.
6. Implement SEO (Search Engine Optimization) practices
Keywords are just one point in a whole strategy called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is a set of techniques used to reach first place on search engine page results — such as Google.
The higher you rank on Google, the better are the chances that your buyer persona will find your blog, navigate the marketing funnel and close a deal with you.
For that to be done, your content needs to be optimized for those search engines and, more than that, they need to deliver a good experience to the reader.
You can do this by:
- analyzing your results with Google Analytics to know which posts you could improve;
- using the Google Search Console tool and uploading your site map;
- installing SEO plugins like Yoast if you work with WordPress;
- using keywords that Google suggests in tools like Keyword Planner;
- optimizing the keyword’s use by putting it between the first 100 words and in some subtitle, for example;
- adopting short URLs and using keywords in them;
- optimizing your pages for mobile devices;
- improving your site speed and testing it in Google PageSpeed Insights;
- designing your content using SEO best practices to rank in Google page results;
- using backlinks.
Watch the video below to understand how to do these optimizations:
7. Diversify content distribution channels
You can use different channels to promote your content, like blogs, social media or email marketing.
It’s a way to get your audience to access your content when they are actively searching for a specific topic — or even if they’re not researching yet, they can receive your content passively.
Being present on various channels is a way to win coverage. Below, you can see examples of some of the most commonly used channels to promote content.
By investing in Social media you can reach a large audience and drive them to your blog or institutional website.
In addition to the possibility of reaching millions of people, social media platforms allow you to publish content at no cost, which also explains its popularity among businesses.
If you want to reach a specific target, you can pay for Ads campaigns that allow more precise segmentation.
Email marketing is still alive. This channel has the biggest ROI (Return On Investment) among the most commonly used channels in a Content Marketing Strategy.
It also allows you to use precise segmentation and create nurturing flows to automate your campaigns.
Besides this, the channel has a low cost and high predictability on the target audience reached.
WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram Messengers became a big communication phenomenon and opened one more channel for Content Marketers.
Corporate accounts in these apps are spreading all over the world, and each day is more used to connect brands with their audiences.
8. Analyze and measure results
Good content marketing goals are more than just attainable. They’re also measurable, so determine what data you’ll be collecting to measure your progress, as well as when and how often to collect it.
Again, every business is different as far as its data collection needs, but try once a month to start with and adjust as needed.
It’s also a good idea to pick a few key metrics to watch weekly to ensure you’re staying on target. Possibilities include:
- Website traffic
- Online and offline sales for both new and existing products
- Email subscriptions
- Blog subscriptions and social media follows
- Blog and social media comments
- Conversion rates
- Social buzz
Which metrics you actually choose are up to you, but make sure they support the central goal of your current content marketing efforts.
Analyze your data frequently to maintain a solid idea of how much progress you’re making.
Then, talk your findings over with the rest of your team or a few of your trusted peers. Be ready to adapt your ongoing strategy accordingly.
Remember, there are no such things as failures in digital marketing. There are only learning experiences, so keep this in mind when something doesn’t go as planned on the first try.
Which are the 10 most efficient content formats to use in your strategy?
Until now, we mentioned some content formats and which channel has to distribute each of them according to the funnel stages where the leads are.
But we didn’t give you more details about them. So let’s talk more about it!
#1. Blog posts
Blog posts are the best resource to improve an SEO strategy, and that’s why they are the foundation of a Content Marketing strategy. They are responsible for attracting organic traffic from search engines.
To write a blog post you need, first, to think about the keyword of that content. Keyword research is essential to see what your audience is looking for. After that, you’ll need a copywriter to produce the text.
Copywriters have developed, over the years, several techniques to write content that persuade the reader to take action, such as purchasing something.
After having the content written, you’ll need to optimize it thinking about all the SEO rules. This optimization is the key to taking your content to the first position on the search engines.
The infographic is a content format that takes the information to readers through visual resources like images, vectors, graphics, and beautiful and functional typography.
The function of infographics is to explain something quickly and objectively, so that a person just looks and understands the message without any effort.
The infographics’ production process, initially, is the same as blog posts, but after a review, it will be designed by a graphic designer before it is published. This kind of content may be offered on landing pages to generate leads.
To stay competitive in the online market today it is mandatory to include videos in your Content Marketing strategy.
Finding a way to capture the audience’s attention is very important and video is a format that can be consumed wherever people are, including while they are doing other things, such as waiting for medical attention or using public transport.
Video marketing may engage your audience quickly and efficiently. People are consuming more video content than other formats. This makes video one of the best types of content to use in your strategy.
Also, according to Think With Google, 80% of people switch between video and online search when they research products to buy.
Even if they do not decide to buy after watching the video, they remain under the effect of the video for a long time.
If you post your video on a Youtube channel there are some optimization techniques that can be used to guarantee that your video will be found by the users of the platform.
Using tags, video descriptions, subtitles, and linking to other pages related to the content are a few tips for that.
Ebooks are an excellent content format to offer in exchange for some information such as name and email. Visitors can’t resist downloading this kind of publication, especially when the subject is relevant to them.
Beyond getting the consumers’ information through forms in landing pages, ebooks allow you to dive deeper into the content, explaining points that weren’t treated in a regular blog post.
Because of that, this content format is a complete pack of efficient resources to grow your lead base and, consequently, increase your sales.
The production of an ebook involves text creation and review, like a blog post, and design by a graphic designer.
#5. Case studies and testimonials
Case studies and testimonials are the best credibility booster for a brand. That’s why they are so important at the bottom of the funnel.
Case studies tell a client’s success story endorsed by their testimony.
One characteristic of this kind of content is that it can highlight the applications and benefits that your product or service offers. You can put the case studies and testimonials on the institutional website and on the corporate blog too.
To produce a case study and testimonial you need to interview the client. Ask them to talk about the kind of problem they were trying to solve and show how your product/service helped them to overcome their issues.
#6. Social media posts
Social media posts can promote content published on other channels, like blogs.
There are a few ways to utilize this channel, but the most interesting one is to create a relationship with consumers and stimulate them to interact with your brand.
While they are used to distribute content from other channels, social media can be a platform where content is created directly on it (think Instagram and Facebook Stories).
The production of posts for social media involves picking good quality images to illustrate the posts and writing short and objective texts, with a call to action.
#7. Email marketing
We already mentioned that email marketing has one of the best ROI in a Digital Marketing strategy. That’s why it allows a very precise segmentation and with highly predictable results. Right?
It can reach some different objectives using varied formats, like relational, promotional and transactional emails.
Nurturing flows are used to drive through the marketing funnel. It consists of a series of sequential email messages triggered by reader characteristics or actions.
The flow needs to have an objective and each email should drive the reader to the next until the persona receives the final message and makes the expected action, like contacting the company or buying a product.
Newsletters are used to disseminate news about the company or even to share new blog posts.
Webinars are an excellent opportunity to create a relationship with your consumers as well as to educate them.
During these live broadcasts, you may answer customers’ questions in real-time, besides using the content created to write new blog posts.
To produce a webinar you have to plan an agenda and a presentation about the subject that will be presented. It is important to invite your audience with some antecedence and remind them of the day before.
A checklist with some details, like equipment verification, is much-needed to make sure that all is ready for the event.
Podcasts are red hot when it comes to consumable online content these days, and it’s not hard to understand why.
As with a blog, a podcast provides a simple, user-friendly way to maintain an ongoing connection with your target audience.
It helps you reinforce your marketing message of choice without being too pushy about it, as well as build industry cred as a go-to authority.
Podcasts are easier and cheaper to produce than similarly popular options like video, too, so they make a great cost-effective way to switch things up.
You’ll get to take advantage of a whole suite of useful tools to help you create and promote your work, but you’ll need to be bringing something truly unique to the table for these services to bring you on board.
There are also numerous podcast editing, hosting, and production software options on the market to consider if you’d rather fly solo.
You can look into becoming an authority guest on an established podcast in your niche or industry, as well.
#10. Paid Ad
As a marketer, you don’t want to over-rely on paid advertising, as there’s really no substitute for organic reach and SEO.
However, it still very much deserves to be part of your larger content marketing strategy.
Paid ad content marketing is an excellent way for a new, emerging, or rebranded company to gain some momentum, generate leads, and build brand awareness.
It also delivers fast, reliable, predictable returns — always a big plus when you’re implementing marketing strategies with strict deadlines.
Paid ad content marketing is most effective when paired with inbound marketing.
You can implement a paid content marketing plan via various platforms and avenues — including social media, sponsored content partnerships, landing pages, and classic banners — so go ahead and take your pick.
Think of your paid advertising efforts as a way to launch, establish, and boost brand recognition for your company and inbound marketing as a way to add depth, substance, and longevity to your efforts.
Paid ads are a terrific way to put your company on the map, but ultimately it will be your inbound marketing efforts that win you diehard lifelong customers.
Content Marketing Examples
Ready to take a closer look at how successful content marketing looks in action? Check out these shining examples from around the web.
When you think of excellent blogs that absolutely nail blogging as a content marketing strategy, it’s hard not to think of HubSpot right away.
In fact, HubSpot is almost as famous for its in-depth, ultra-helpful blog posts on various topics as its essential services.
Have a look at their Facebook and LinkedIn presences for some great examples of how to use social media video marketing to draw even more attention to your growing blog, as well.
Great video marketing content and pop culture go beautifully together for a couple of good reasons.
To begin with, playing off of what’s already popular is a great way to show your company’s properly in step with the times.
It’s also an excellent opportunity to show off your cleverness, humor, and mastery of what it takes to make a lasting connection with an audience.
Take the video below, for instance. It’s a classic HootSuite marketing video that played perfectly off of the then-popularity of HBO’s Game of Thrones to tell the company’s own brand story.
Visual Content: Shutterstock
Shutterstock is all about beautiful, dynamic images, so it makes sense that its visual marketing content is also some of the very best on the web.
Its creative trend infographics are excellent examples.
This incredible interactive infographic from 2022 is just one example of how dazzling and compelling visual content at its best can really be.
It’s colorful, it’s appealing, and it’s beautifully done on so many levels. In other words, it’s not hard to see why it generated tens of thousands of social media shares and visits to Shutterstock’s website.
Social Media Content: GE
General Electric (GE) may well be one of the first names that come to mind when you think of reliable, efficient vacuum cleaners or washing machines.
But household appliances aren’t particularly exciting as a topic for irresistible content marketing material. That hasn’t stopped GE from taking what they do best and breathing life into it in exciting new ways, though.
The company’s Instagram account is a perfect example of this tactic in action. Not only does GE leverage interesting, balanced imagery to generate interest, but they’ve also been great at influencer marketing.
For instance, GE once invited a combined group of Insta-influencers and company super fans to tour their facilities and create their own content about the experience.
This move won the company several thousand new followers, as well as multiple millions of views for their Instagram account.
Of course, these are hardly the only companies out there killing it when it comes to their content marketing campaigns.
However, they’re shining examples of what the content marketing team behind a company can accomplish with a bit of creative thinking and a knack for tapping into what their audience likes to see.
6 Best Content Marketing Tools
Naturally, even the best tools out there today aren’t going to make up for a subpar content marketing strategy, but they sure can simplify the process of getting the job done right.
Here are a few examples to take a closer look at yourself.
1. Google Docs
No content marketing project is a one-person show.
Google Docs takes the hassle out of collaborating with your team across multiple projects, no matter where they might be located. And it’s free, so it’s guaranteed to fit right into even the slimmest shoestring budget!
Even the most detail-oriented content creators can use a second set of eyes to look over their work and point out some weak areas to improve.
Grammarly is a must for spotting spelling, grammar, and scansion errors that can ruin an otherwise effective blog post or piece of copy.
Beautiful, professional, original graphics are a must if you’re serious about creating standout marketing content.
Canva is a user-friendly tool that takes the confusion out of the process, whether you’re looking to generate unique images to accompany a blog post or visual assets to jazz up your website.
All that data your content marketing campaign will require you to collect and analyze needs to be stored somewhere, and Airtable is definitely an option to consider.
It’s ideal for storing lots and lots of data and keeping it organized from the start of your project to the finish. In addition, enjoy access to editorial calendars, campaign tracking tools, influencer management interfaces, and more.
Although you’ll almost certainly come up with plenty of great content ideas on your own, it doesn’t hurt to have a user-friendly tool to fall back on when you need more.
BuzzSumo can help you pinpoint hot topics to focus on and consider across multiple platforms, as well as zero in on top thought leaders to check out. It’s excellent for tracking various performance metrics, as well.
And, of course, SEO is a must for any marketing content you plan on creating.
Ahrefs takes the guesswork out of basic keyword research to give you a solid jumping-off point for any campaign. It’s also terrific for everyday tracking purposes regarding current keyword rankings, keywords your competitors are using, current traffic rates, and more.
What’s the role of ROI in Content Marketing?
Return on Investment is a metric that should be analyzed in all marketing strategies.
It is not different in Content Marketing: it is one of the most important metrics and probably the most loved metric by marketing managers and directors.
It is a very simple measure that gives a general idea of the performance of an investment. To calculate ROI, just take what you earned minus how much you spent and divide by how much you spent. It is extremely useful, especially to help with the definition and monitoring of concrete objectives.
If you take some time to apply this method in your business you will certainly see good results, especially because all the content you create becomes a company asset.
And if you want some help calculating the ROI of your campaigns, use our interactive calculator below:
As you could see, Content Marketing is a must in a Digital Marketing strategy.
Creating your buyer persona, writing content that persuades the reader, having a solidified buyer’s journey and using the right channels for sure will put your company over the competition.
If you want to take the next step, and leverage your strategy, take our Content Maturity Assessment and identify areas where your organization is succeeding and where there is room for improvement!