Content Marketing has come a long way, offering numerous opportunities to B2B and B2C brands alike.
To boost your results, drive conversions and expand upon your pre-existing fanbase, you’ll need to create a foundation upon which great communications take place.
But how, exactly, does one get started?
Between identifying an ideal audience, building an online community and inspire your brand’s advocates, you’ll need to engage effectively.
More importantly, you’ll need to create value for your followers. The most effective Content Marketing strategies expand well beyond content itself, whether this content takes form as blog posts, a YouTube channel, Facebook infographics or Instagram Live Video stories.
Between creating an initial plan, positioning your brand for outreach and maintaining your fanbase’s interest, there’s a lot to think about.
Fortunately, it’s possible to get started in only a few steps. There are certainly some hurdles to hop, but you’ll find the essential Content Marketing strategy elements aren’t too difficult to obtain. In fact, you already have them.
We’re here to provide the five-step, all-in-one beginner’s guide to Content Marketing.
Before long, you’ll have an impactful Digital Marketing campaign build to last — powered by fans which promote your brand perpetually. Before we hop into the steps, though, let’s take a closer look at Content Marketing, itself. In doing so, we’ll be better prepared for the steps to follow.
Getting Started: What’s a Content Marketing Strategy?
In 2021, Content Marketing strategies are incredibly customizable. They’re also very easy to initiate with a little help from seasoned professionals.
So, how does one define ‘Content Marketing,’ anyway?
Here’s the best way to put it: Content Marketing is the strategic approach to providing valuable information to your audience.
This information should be relevant, consistent and — above all — reliable. In some way, shape or form, this content should also inspire your audience to become customers, either upon initial content consumption or later down the road.
Interestingly enough, 63% of businesses don’t currently have a documented Content Marketing strategy.
Unsurprisingly, however, those which do use Content Marketing, on average, feel they’re more successful. Without an effective strategy, success tends to simply be a matter of luck. Why risk your efforts going to waste?
Also unsurprising is that the same percentage of digital marketers consider content strategy development to be a key educational need among modern marketers.
Whether you’re a fledgling entrepreneur, a small business owner or a B2B guru looking to expand, one thing is for sure: A Content Marketing strategy never hurts, and having one will likely make the difference between long-term success and tough-to-manage campaigns.
What Makes Content Valuable?
This is a great question, especially considering how often the digital world changes!
By and large, content is present— but it’s also the future. The best content gives an audience information they didn’t already have. Moreover, it gives them the information quickly, and in an interesting way.
It’s important to remember that your online audience, likely, already sees thousands of content-driven promotions every day.
There’s a lot of traffic, out there, between PPC advertisements, Google search results, product promotions and social media fan pages.
To reach your audience, you’ll need to not only make content that’s interesting but content which will entice viewers to stay tuned, over the long run.
In terms of product-driven value, Content Marketing yet again takes the price: As a long-term strategy, Content Marketing builds ongoing relationships with target audiences.
In contrast to one-off advertising campaigns, even those grounded in trending news, consistent Content Marketing has long-lasting effectiveness due to one, major reason:
It shows you care about your fanbase.
A truth about modern digital marketing is that Internet-goers are pretty used to mundane advertising campaigns.
There’s a ton of noise online, again, making valuable resources difficult to come by.
We take a page out of Joe Pulizzi’s book, here, when we reference the Content Marketing Institute: The evolution of digital marketing, consistently, has included content, specifically. As such, any Digital Marketing campaign without content tends to flop — as it doesn’t portray a brand’s story correctly.
Why Do Digital Marketers Need Content Marketing Strategies?
This is another great question, as today’s digital marketers already have plenty of advertising resources.
After all, things like SEO, display advertisements, real-time customer support and product promotions exist. Together, they make for a powerful Digital Marketing campaign.
This said, they’re not very useful without content.
Why so? It’s because content is the ‘vehicle’ that drives these utilities. An SEO strategy, for example, consists of keywords — and these keywords are presented in website meta descriptions, informative articles and even video descriptions featured on social media news feeds.
In a lot of ways, your Content Marketing strategy will be the glue that holds everything together.
Digital marketers serving across all industries have spent years examining the fundamental components of successful Content Marketing approaches.
They’ve found that, above all, three factors tend to be consistent across every iteration of Content Marketing approaches:
- Current consumer ‘pain points’ about the brands they engage.
- The current types of content these consumers prefer the most.
- The purchasing cycle of consumers who finally find brands they enjoy.
So, where does this put us in terms of figuring out the defining traits of today’s leading strategies?
In general, creating your own Content Marketing map will depend on your brand’s unique place within its industry.
No business is the same, after all, and no industry experiences the same consumer concerns as others. This doesn’t mean you’ll struggle, right out of the gate, though.
Because the above-mentioned factors remain constant, year after year, it means that today’s successful, brand-specific Content Marketing strategies tend to grow themselves.
We’ll cover this in more detail, below, but just trust us when we say the following: Your brand’s best aspects, and best content topics, already exist. You just need to unearth them, first.
Creating Your Own Content Marketing: 5 Simple Steps
Regardless of the Digital Marketing strategies you plan to use, or already use, Content Marketing needs to be part of it.
It also needs to exist within, around, before and after you make any changes to your campaign.
Remember: Content is the vehicle that drives each of your initiatives. Without it, even the best Digital Marketing strategies won’t get far.
Don’t worry, though, because you can create your own Content Marketing strategy with few resources.
The best thing about Content Marketing is that it’s self-sustaining: Great content attracts passionate fans — and passionate fans will give you great ideas for more content.
Let’s check out the best way to create a winning Content Marketing strategy this year. You can do so in 5, easy to follow steps!
1. Define Your Brand
Surprisingly, the most important part of Content Marketing is also the most important part of Digital Marketing.
A brand that’s clearly defined is easily represented. By positioning your brand effectively, you’ll also be able to provide a consistent ‘content experience’ for your fanbase — even as it grows and evolves.
Even if you’ve already developed your brand’s baseline image, you should ask yourself the following questions before creating a Content Marketing strategy:
- Who are my current customers, and who’re my potential customers?
- What kind of experience do these customers want?
- Does my brand already offer this? If so, how can I highlight this?
- What makes my brand unique from competitors?
Even if your brand offers a unique product, a unique service or both, it can still complement its current approach with content.
The name of the game is ‘awareness,’ as it gets your business into gear to provide the best content possible.
2. Determine the Right Content to Offer
At some point, you’ll be better off if you provide content of all types: whether these exist as newsletters, a web video series or daily social media snapshots into your brand’s unique products.
To start off, though, it might be better to focus on one type of content, especially if your brand is new to Digital Marketing, in general.
There are plenty of content types to choose from, and the best brands tend to redefine content, itself, by mixing and matching these types.
The basic types of content, however, are usually pretty effective on their own. Here are some great options to choose from:
- Industry news reports
- An informative blog series
- Tutorial videos
You’ll notice that these content types share a common theme: They’re educational.
Educational content instantly offers something of value, especially if it helps your audience make the most out of your products and services.
Where industry news reports and statistics are considered, the educational content can even promote itself. And we’re about to see why!
3. Encourage Discussion
Here, social media is your best friend. To establish your brand, you’ll need to offer your value proposition in the place your audience hangs out the most.
So, start by researching your audience’s most-used social media outlet. Then, try to analyze your audience’s preference for content consumption.
This step ties in closely with last step, as it’s capable of creating an ‘interest loop’ which’ll entice your brand’s followers to, well, inspire more followers!
This is also where new brands tend to make mistakes, however: They focus too much on their market’s rivals, as opposed to paying close attention to what their fans really want.
To avoid this pitfall, just remember that your brand will be much more competitive if it’s backed by a fanbase that truly cares.
You can encourage discussion, specifically over social media, by doing the following:
- Learn which pages your fanbase currently follows.
- Find out what they have in common, then focus on your fanbase’s values.
- Create a social media content posting calendar.
- Whenever you post, ask users what they think.
4. Measure Your Results
This step can be a bit intimidating, but it’s totally doable if you can secure the right resources.
Here, it’s a good idea to ask a professional Content Marketing strategist for help: They’re specialized in the art of content interaction, and they know exactly which statistics to pay attention to.
More importantly, they’re equipped with today’s leading data metrics tools — and they know how to use them effectively.
If you’re keen on measuring your strategy’s results on your own, however, you can do so by targeting the key Content Marketing metrics listed below:
- Sharing metrics: How much does each content piece resonate? Which pieces are shared the most?
- Lead metrics: Which content pieces resulted in the most website visits? What about direct sales? If your brand has a physical store, which content pieces inspired fans to visit?
- Consumption metrics: Which content pieces were viewed the most? If your content’s consumption can be measured, such as with a video’s watched runtime, which pieces kept viewers entertained the longest?
5. Research the Results, and Create More Content
The data you discover from the above-mentioned metrics is worth a lot, in terms of your future Content Marketing approaches.
Once you’ve gained some insights, you should put them to use by realigning your strategy accordingly.
For example: If your users shared one video more than others, try to determine what set this video apart from the others.
With any content piece’s effectiveness, whether it’s discovered via more shares, more likes, more click-through or more followers, you can determine its effectiveness by asking the following questions:
- Was this content piece’s topic different from the others? How so?
- Was this content piece’s posting date unique? If so, what else happened on this date?
- Did this content piece share a meaningful message? If so, what does this reveal about your audience’s motivations?
Content Marketing requires a lot of upkeep, no doubt. Fortunately, it’s also one of the easier Digital Marketing strategies to conduct trial-and-error assessments of.
This is because you can change your Content Marketing strategy’s direction on the fly: If one of your content piece’s wasn’t so popular, you can simply try to create a different message the next time.
If your website wasn’t receiving enough visitors, you can simply focus more on your brand’s unique offers, during your next post.
Creating Long-Term Goals: Professional Content Marketing Assistance
At the end of the day, it’s important to take pride in your brand. It’s also important to transform this pride into something digestible for your fanbase.
Today’s consumers are pretty good at differentiating between high-quality, sincere brands and those who’re simply leaning on current trends to make quick sales.
More so than ever, connecting with these consumers — and on an ongoing basis — is vital to your brand’s success.
Content Marketing makes the most out of current trends, memorable past events and education for the future.
To create a Content Marketing plan build to last, it’s definitely worthwhile to see what today’s leading enterprise brands have done to pave the way.
Even though many of these businesses are grounded in past strategies, they all began by taking the first steps your strategy is about to take, itself.
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!