You’re a brand with big ideas, one that wants to help your customers, and one that wants to make its mark by spreading useful information and creating conversions in the process. You have a blog and social media channels, but in a sea of content noise, it’s often difficult to pinpoint where to begin with a successful content marketing strategy. The Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report states 55 percent of B2B marketers say their organisation is unclear or unsure about how to measure content marketing success, though content marketing’s worth is proven: 70 percent of people say they’d rather learn about a company through articles rather than an advertisement, according to Demand Metric.
If you can relate to the need to strengthen your content marketing strategy, here are five tips to create a balanced content marketing program that spreads brand awareness, increases leads, improves sentiment about your business, and drives sales.
Identify clear objectives
Sure, you know your target audience is made up of cool people, but do you really know your target audience? Dive into Google Analytics to find out the demographics of your current customers. Send out a survey to your email list to gauge your following’s interests. Use social media to ask followers what type of content they’re craving. If you are really committed to this, then jump into Metigy’s Identity Management and CRM Integration solutions, to get real audience insights and real-time tracking.
Now that you have an understanding of the types of people you’re targeting, brainstorm goals you want to achieve through content marketing, such as:
- Better search engine rankings for target keywords
- Leads through email sign-ups or offer claims
- Sales on your website
A thoughtful strategy targeting a specific audience with the content they want, helps your business realise its objectives, and is the first step to a balanced content program.
Vary content types
Blogging is great—a 2015 survey by Fractl and BuzzStream found it’s still the most popular type of content among all age groups—but not everyone likes to read. Images came in a close second in the same study, and the eMarketer Q2 2015 State of Video report shows daily digital video consumption dominates time spent on social networks.
According to data from content marketing survey by SEMRush, 86% of companies produce content in the form of blogs. Infographics were used by less than half of the companies surveyed, while other formats, like video and podcasts were used by 28% and 11% of businesses.
To reach a broader audience and give visually-minded content consumers what they want, involve your design team or freelancers to aid in mixing up the type of content you disseminate, from infographics to videos. As you start to analyse engagement responses, you’ll find the type that resonates most with your audience.
Create a content calendar
Get organised with all the stellar content you plan on producing by creating a content calendar that gives you a plan for effectively using your content. Evergreen pieces can reappear in future content calendars, while timely on trend content should be coordinate accordingly, to maximise its reach, maximizing the currency of the natural conversation.
On your calendar, include:
- Specific content items
- Channels you’ll promote them on, on what days, and at what times
- Custom urls, such as ones made with the Google URL builder, so you can track your content’s performance across channels. (If you are using Metigy’s content programming solution, then the platform automatically embeds unique short url’s to track engagement and conversion)
- An optional metrics column, so you can measure the performance and use the pieces of content again in the future if they work
Your content calendar should evolve from month to month, as you discover optimal posting times and types of content that work best on specific channels. Some publishing platforms measure optimal timings for publishing and Metigy certainly measures this for your own engagement and that of competitors
Put that content calendar to work in the best way, by strategically amplifying content. Give followers an incentive to follow your brand on multiple social media channels and through marketing initiatives such as email newsletters, by creating content that specifically fits those audiences. Save professionally-themed pieces for LinkedIn, and space out the channels, days of the week, and times of day you post your ebook so social followers, or email list subscribers won’t get discouraged from following you everywhere.
Give content more reach by repurposing it across marketing materials. For example, you could link to a stats-filled blog in your next webinar, or turn your conference presentation that was a hit with attendees into a presentation on Slideshare. Include calls to action when sharing content on social media, such as asking people to comment with what they think of the piece. With performance-based algorithms such as Facebook’s that use engagement to boost reach, creating buzz about the content on the channel you share it on can help the comments on the actual piece grow, as well. Leverage connections with other content creators in the space to create guest blogging partnerships that offer valuable backlinks to boost search engine optimisation or expose existing content to new audiences.
Test, measure, analyse, repeat
As people’s behaviours change, so will your content strategy. Attention spans are shrinking, photo and video content is exponentially rising in popularity, and new social networks that gain massive followings, dictate the way content is shared and how people want to consume it. The best way for your brand to keep up with the inevitable never-ending changes in the digital marketing space is to test new types of content and how you share them, measure the results, analyse and compare strategies, refine what you’re doing, and repeat the process all over again.
Keep in mind, your brand’s content marketing program will never be a hit unless you make the content the star of the show. When creating pieces, ask the following questions:
- Is this content useful to my target audience?
- Is this content engaging enough to hold the attention of the consumer?
- Does this content increase the sentiment for my brand?
- Is this content so dynamic, the consumer will feel compelled to take action, whether that’s by sharing the content, responding to the call to action, or purchasing from my brand?
Brands who wonder why some content goes viral, and want to achieve the same thing, should let these factors guide the content. By working with your business objectives at top of mind, your stellar content could be the next on trend conversational starter.
Want a tool that can deliver powerful data to elevate your brand’s content marketing efforts? Learn more about Metigy dashboards, that deliver real-time insights to your business here.