Content marketing is not just about selling, it’s about diving into the minds of your audience. When you know what they want, you’ll be able to create engaging and valuable content that’ll hook them, reel them in, and keep them coming back for more. Knowing that you can easily master your content marketing strategy will empower you to build and grow your business exponentially.
With a strong content marketing strategy you’ll build authentic, long-lasting relationships with your audience and eventually convert them into die-hard fans.
But to make it work, you need a game plan. You can’t just wing it. That’s why you’re here! So, get ready. We’re going to dive into a simple 5-step plan that’ll help you master your content marketing strategy.
Step 1: Define Your Goals
There are two reasons why defining a goal is essential. One is that your content should lead people to take some desired action. Sharing your content will help grow awareness, but it’s a wasted effort if you don’t lead people to DO something. You won’t see results without a goal.
The second reason is that setting goals you wish to achieve allows you to measure the results of your campaign. You can choose metrics to determine whether you’re achieving your goals. Common goals for content marketing include:
- Growing brand awareness
- Lead generation
- Driving sales directly
- Sending traffic to a website
Step 2: Get to Know Your Audience
You need to know who you’re writing for and what they need, to create relevant content. It should address your audience’s pain points, answer their questions, or provide the help they seek. You need to know what their issues are to do this.
The best way to understand your audience is to research them and create an ideal customer profile based on the information you discover. A perfect customer profile describes the best match for your content so you can tailor it just for them. Ways to research your market include:
- Social Media Listening. Monitor social media platforms to see what members of your target market are discussing. See what content they like and interact with.
- Analytics. Use Google Analytics to analyze your web traffic. Look at which pages people spend the most time on to assess their main areas of interest.
- Keyword Research. Use a keyword research SEO tool to find popular search terms and phrases related to your topic area.
- Competitor Analysis. Follow your competitors and consume their content to see what they offer. You can gain insights into your shared audiences and ideas on setting yourself apart.
Step 3: Create a Content Plan
The next step is to create your content plan. It is a statement that describes the following:
- Topics you’ll cover
- Types and formats of content you’ll create
- Places you’ll publish your content
The content plan is a written document that you’ll use to manage your strategy. It usually includes a mix of the following:
- eBooks and Short Reports
- Information products
- Case Studies
- Press releases
The next element of your plan is a description of where you’ll publish. This could include things like:
- Your website
- Social media
- Your blog(s) – I have this one and two more blogs… Connie Ragen Green and Monday Morning Mellow
- Other blogs in your industry
- YouTube or other video-sharing sites
- Your email newsletter
- Industry publications
- Online forums and communities
Next, use your research data to decide what topics you’ll cover. You should choose topics based on your ideal customer profile and your strengths, passions, interests, and experience. You do best when you write about what you know and enjoy.
While planning your content, you should audit what you already have. Look over the material you’ve made before and see if there’s anything suitable for your current campaign. Repurposing old content is a great shortcut.
Step 4: Make an Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar is a visual workflow that shows a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule to help you stay organized. It displays what content must be published when, and each stage along the way. If you’re working with a team, it assigns tasks to members.
Start creating your calendar by deciding how often you publish each content type on which marketing channel. For example, you may post a blog post once a week. You’d include the date you want to publish and all the steps needed to create that post. These would be research, outlining, writing, and editing.
Using a visual tool is the best way to manage an editorial calendar. Examples include spreadsheets, calendar apps, project management tools, and the office whiteboard.
Step 5: Track Your Results
How do you know whether your content marketing campaign is working? The only way to know is to track your results. It’s pretty easy to do using the tools available.
Choose key performance indicators to track progress toward your goals. KPIs (key performance indicators) you can use for content marketing include:
- Website visits
- Page views
- Social shares
- Social media comments
- Search engine results ranking
- Email open rates
- Click-through rates
For example, if your goal is to grow your email list, you can measure new subscribers that come from the content you’re sharing.
Monitoring your progress is a long-term, ongoing task. Once you decide what to track, you’ll need to review your metrics regularly and track progress over time. For example, you might see that your KPIs jump when you post videos. As a result, you may want to change your plan to include more video production.
Content Marketing Success
Now, you’re ready to start making and sharing content to help you achieve your goals. There are 3 keys to content marketing success to keep in mind as you move forward:
1. Know Your Audience. Keep creating touchpoints and engaging your audience, so you stay updated on their needs as they change.
2. Offer Consistent Quality. Make sure each piece of content helps the reader and offers true value.
3. Constantly Improve. Monitor your results and continually look for new ways to connect your audience with your content.
As you can now see, when you know exactly what to do and the steps to take to master your content marketing strategy, your business becomes doable in a entirely new way. Entrepreneurship is possible for all of us, and can be life-changing in many ways.
I’m Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, independent publisher, and serial entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you’re new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my training on how to sell yourself at Sell Yourself and Your Stuff and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.