One topic that comes up regularly to our attention for our small business clients is creating a long term content strategy that will consistently deliver results. Now this can be a very daunting task as not only do they have to do their market research, but also create and execute the strategy. With all the other hats that they wear in running their business, you can understand how challenging it can be!
Content marketing allows you to build relationships with your clients and get them to perform an action that will lead to revenue. As a marketer, you must be able to define the kinds of content that will appeal to your customers during different times of the purchase cycle. Each step must encourage the user to perform an action - either clicking on a link, provide some information or purchase something.
Here are the rules you must be aware of when creating a content strategy plan for your company....
Know your users - what are their pain points?
When determining what type of content you need to create, you must do your market research. Know your users. Understand what their pain points are, then revolve your content around those issues. Understand what keywords they use to find solutions to their problems. Use this information to create a keyword list that you can constantly reference to when you do your blog posts or creating case studies.
Know who you are - what is your USP?
Not only should you know who your customers are - you should also know your company. What makes your service or product unique? How do you solve your users' problems? Your Unique Selling Point (USP) is what you have to offer that no one else does. Understand your key benefits and the be able to communicate that with examples to your customers.
Keep it fresh
The more frequent and up-to-date your content is, the more the major search engines will love you. Not only that, this will give your users a reason to keep coming back and bookmark you or sign up for the RSS feed. Create a plan to consistently produce content on a bi-weekly basis at the minimum. Make sure that the content is relevant, current and useful.
Be where your clients are
In other words - make sure your content is on all the relevant platforms that your customers are on. Imagine as if you are a spider sitting on the center of your web. Each strand of the web is a content channel driving the user back to you, be it a facebook page, twitter, video, email, direct mail or a blog post. Each content channel will allow you to approach the user in a different way and with a different incentive.... Some may be receptive to a contest, while others want more information such as an ebook... The bottom line: Content is only useful when your clients see it.
Know your metrics
The most important part of content planning - understand if you're getting results. Don't just look at basic analytics such as how much traffic are coming in from organic search or your SERP. Take a look at metrics such as:
For more detail into other metrics, take a look at the Content Marketing Institute's post on content metrics.
The end result of content marketing is to create a conversation between you and your customer. User engagement is what creates results - your customers will remember who you are and what you do if they feel they need to perform an action on your website.
Content marketing is extremely effective in building relationships with your clients and promoting your business. However, if you do not plan your content strategy, your attempts at building relationships with your clients will fail as your actions are not coordinated and are not targeted.