The Anatomy of a Solid Content Marketing Strategy
Content has continuously been a main factor in ranking authoritative websites, but recently content marketing has gained the attention it deserves in businesses committed to creating quality content. In the past couple of years, content marketing has become a commanding way for companies to build long-term relationships with customers while generating more traffic and leads to their sites at the same time. Google has made it clear that their long-term vision is to reward high quality and helpful websites in the SERP’s. This means it’s now more critical than ever to reassess your company’s content, and understand how to plan ahead with this new perspective. It is important to have a clear outline of what a solid content strategy is made up of, especially when it comes to planning your content for the coming year.
Different Types of Content
While written content is extremely effective, it can be very unappealing and uninteresting if not approached correctly. When writing articles for your blog, try to write about things that will help readers become experts in their specific niche. Inspire people and share vital information with your knowledge. It’s also important to add relative photography and images to your articles and/or blog posts in order to add in visual appeal and complement your written content.
A video can also direct more awareness to what your company has to offer. Grab visitor’s attention by producing a relevant short film, creating your own commercials, or start a podcast discussing your strategies, services and ideas.
Images and Information Graphics
Image based content can be highly effective and sharable; an easy way to do this is to create memes and information graphics. Infographics are a visual representation of data that can easily convey a cohesive message. For more information on infographic strategies, see: The Anatomy of an Infographic.
There’s no limit on how creative, funny or informative your content can be. Project yourself as the expert and pass on valuable knowledge and information for your target audience.
How to Start
Invest Time in Understanding your Audience’s Needs
Your writing can be highly informative and your videos can be visually satisfying, but they might not draw substantial traffic to your site if they don’t meet the needs and desires of your prospective target audience.
To uncover the various types of content your audience wants most, study the kind of content that is most popular on blogs in your niche. Also, look to your own past blog posts, videos and other website content to see which topics drew the most feedback. You then can use those findings to plan your future content campaigns. You may want to consider using a tool like Open Site Explorer to find the top linked-to page for almost any website.
Finding the Right Content Writers
It is extremely important to employ strong writers that can produce quality content on a broad range of topics. You can either outsource your content needs by hiring an agency or you can have someone in your company take on the additional mantle of a content writer. If you’re a small business using in-house writers, you must make sure every new marketing hire knows how to write and that their writing voice is consistent with your brand. Whatever the size of your organization, be sure you hire writers who are passionate about writing and who are willing to research topics that they might be unfamiliar with at first. Whether outsourced or in-house, it’s essential for SEO’s to work closely with any new content writers on the team to establish a familiar tone and writing style that is fitting for your business.
Who are your Competitors?
Your content strategy needs to be defined with a keen understanding of your competitors. A competitive analysis will identify the strengths, weaknesses and threats of your competitor’s content marketing efforts. With this knowledge of your competitors, you can better assess which direction your company can take for top effectiveness. Here is a great content piece about competitive analysis reports.
Keyword Research and Analysis
Quality content anchored in a well-defined keyword strategy will serve as the nucleus of your content marketing strategy. Keyword research is combined with persona analysis to develop a winning content marketing plan.
Creating a Content Calendar
For any company starting to create a larger amount of content, you need a content calendar. A content calendar helps you stay focused and adds structure to your content marketing efforts by keeping a step-by-step timeline. A calendar will save you time and can help the content development process run more fluidly.
With a content calendar, you can create recurring content days throughout the week. This prepares your visitors and subscribers to expect certain types of content each day of the week. For example, you can create video content on Mondays, social media content on Wednesdays, and so on.
Include Social Media in Your Strategy
A content marketing strategy’s success depends heavily on social sharing by your readers and other members of your niche community. Be proactive about building your presence on popular social channels. The best way to do this is to provide social media sharing options on the content page.
Your company will need to commit time to connecting with others on social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter, and avoid being too advertorial or promotional. Plant your best content on the social networking sites when you feel it can provide clear benefits to your followers, who may then be more apt to share with their own followers.
The Importance of Producing Quality Content
Quality content can be described as well written, relevant, interesting, and unique. Whether you’re going to write an article, produce a video, or create an infographic, you must remember that the content you create is aimed to provide value to your potential customers. Appealing content is shared on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. If your content is attractive and well written, it can spread virally across the web and in return generate a massive tally of traffic to your site.
Without publishing high quality content, your online presence would be nonexistent. On the other hand, when you create a consistent publishing schedule, people will be more likely to like, tweet, email, share, and even link to your valuable content. This will, in turn, increase your company’s SERP rankings. By getting more traffic to your website, the number of potential leads for your products or services can increase dramatically.
Content is also crucial to the success of any social media effort. As we have become more comfortable with the tools of social media and amassing our friend and follower counts, we’re now figuring out that the quality, and not just the quantity, of our content matters too.
Remember, Be Consistent!
Not every piece of content you create will go viral or generate considerable attention to your website. No matter how well it’s planned and crafted, some content will simply fail to capture your audience.
By producing new content regularly, you’ll increase the likelihood of hitting that viral gold mine. Stick to your consistent schedule of content creation to be most effective. By doing this, you also can develop a reputation for authority in your industry, as your visitors become accustomed to seeing your content and/or brand regularly on the web.
What We’ve Learned
A few short years ago your content marketing strategy was pretty simple: create content for the web, good or bad. While the basic elements still apply, the landscape in which that content is consumed has changed drastically. You need to create useful, informative content to benefit not only visitors, but your company’s authoritative status.
Taking the time to build a strategic content plan can be vital in a digital world where we’re bombarded by spun content. With so many things fighting to gain our attention and interest, it’s harder than ever for brands to stand out…but it’s not impossible! Aim higher and be strategic in order to break through the clutter and drive real results for your company or brand.
We’d love to hear what your plans are for a content strategy in 2013. What are you going to focus on? Do you use an editorial calendar?
About Brad Kuenn
Brad Kuenn is the co-author of Content Marketing Works: 8 Steps to Transform Your Business. As Senior Editor for Vertical Measures, he focuses on making content compelling and valuable for the desired audience. He is responsible for ensuring that content efficiently reaches client goals, delivers optimum results, and aligns with Vertical Measures’ values. Follow him @BKuenn +Brad Kuenn