6 Sure-Fire Steps for Creating a Profitable Content Marketing Strategy

By Harrison Lucas On Sep 10, 2015

Creating content without a content marketing strategy is one of the biggest wastes of your time. If you don’t know who, what or why you are creating your content then you are really doing yourself and your business a disservice.

Having a content marketing strategy can take your business from “eh never heard of them” type of business to a “yeah they are the guys that wrote XZY article” business.

Just Some Facts and Stats about why having a content marketing strategy is so important:

  • Business to Business companies that actively blog have seen to generate 67% more leads PER MONTH, than those who don’t (source)

  • Brands who use a content marketing strategy save over $14 dollars for every new customer (source)

  • Consistently blogging increase web traffic by 55% (source)

  • Having a Content Marketing Strategy is going to help you become an authority figure in your industry

  • It will help generate social media traffic through shares/tweets/whatever

 

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

In this post we provide you with actionable steps that you can take right now to create your own content marketing strategy and start really seeing some success from all the work you put into your content.

Step 1: Define Clear Goals

That is the problem with all this focus on “Content is King”, everybody knows that they should be creating content, they just don’t know why. Creating content without clear goals in mind is ridiculous. It’s not going to get you anywhere. If you don’t have goals in place, then you are just blindly creating content with no purpose at all and more then likely wasting your time.

Below are some of the more common goals often associated with a content marketing strategy. You can either use these or come up with your own.

  1. Get More Sales:

    One of your more typical goals and something that a lot of B2B companies are looking to achieve. Well ask yourself, how is your current content helping you achieve this? If this is one of your goals then you want to make sure that your content is apart of your sales funnel.

    Basically, your content needs to someway or another relate to a product or service you are selling. For example, you could create an infographic that explains a difficult aspect of your industry that your service helps to solve. Then in this infographic you could say “Using our services…”.

    Here you are directly getting them involved in your sales funnel, encouraging them to come check out your business.

    An example of where we used this was in our blog post titled “Content Captains vs iWriter”. Here we directly compared our service to that of a competitor’s.

  2. Build Awareness:

    Another common strategy is to build awareness for your brand or product. Now with this goal you are going to have to take a completely different approach then if you were looking to get some sales. Instead of associating a piece of content with a part of your sales funnel, here you are trying to provide value to your readers and audience.

    You want them to read that article/video/whatever and go, “damn I need to share this with my peers”. The main aspect of your strategy here is going to be to provide value to your audience. No quality shit here.

  1. Increase Traffic:

    A little more of an ‘ehhh’ goal but still a valid one none the less. This is a goal that you basically choose if your site’s business model revolves around getting traffic. This could be because you advertise on the site or link to affiliate sites – it doesn’t matter.

    So how’s this different? Well if this is a goal you're trying to achieve you would use your content to target easy to rank keywords. This will help bring in organic (read free) traffic to your site. Another approach here is to use guest posting – not for the SEO factor as we all know that doesn’t work nearly as well anymore – but rather to get people to see something you wrote on another site and click through to yours.

    The main aspect of your strategy here is going to be increasing the volume of your content production as well as targeting easy to rank for keywords.

  1. Increase Customer Loyalty:

    Now this may be a goal if you find that your customers are only staying with you for one or two months. Aside from looking at why they are leaving, you could use content to help make them stay. The way this goal affects your content marketing strategy is that you need to be providing exclusive content to your customers. It’s no good providing content to the general public. That’s not going to make your customers feel valued.

    Make yourself/your business important. Make it so if they do leave, they really are going to be losing. Therefore, your content needs to be high quality and consistent.

Now these aren’t the only goals. Every business is going to have different goals, these are just the more standard ones.

Now you may think, that’s it –  I know what I need to do now. However, you’d be wrong. Even though knowing your goals is important and how it affects your content strategy, it’s not the only factor that makes a good content marketing strategy. For example, you are missing some crucial factors here such as who to target, how to target them, who influences them, what experience etc.

Take these goals, and use them with the rest of the steps in this article to truly create an awesome content marketing strategy.

Step 2: Target Personas

Knowing who your target audience is great idea for any marketing strategy. Knowing your target audience who will help you achieve your goals is pivotal for a content marketing strategy. This is the reason that I put this step second, because once you know the goals you're trying to achieve, you need to know who to target to help you achieve your goals.

Like seriously know who they are.

Don’t just do the basic “Entrepreneurs and Business Owners who Value content”. That barely narrows down your target audience at all. Really try and picture your target audience – who are they? What’s their name? What do they do?

Know this person in intricate detail. When you write out your buyer persona, anyone who reads it should be able to easily visualize exactly who you are talking about.

For example, for our business this is what we came up with, well one of them, probably should have mentioned that you want to come up with more then one:

Name

James Thompson

Age

28

Gender

Male

Family

James isn’t married but does have a girlfriend (or boyfriend) but is heavily focused on his business at the moment and doesn’t have the time for children.

Job

 

James runs an online advertising business which helps other businesses get the most out of ads on sites such as Facebook and twitter. The business currently only employs 5 other people. They earn roughly $10k~ per month, so they have enough money to spend on high quality content. Their current content isn’t that good and is produced sporadically.

Language

James likes to speak in a professional tone, whether it be for his business or personal life. He uses it to help build credibility and trust

Hashtags

James rarely uses hashtags but when he does he uses ones related to his business #onlinemarketing #advertisingstrategies #seo #facebookads

From this you can pretty much picture who James is. You can see the amount of detail we went into and how that is going to really help our content marketing strategy. Let’s break it down.

Name, age, gender, family – all pretty basic no need to go into much detail there. They just sort of help picture the type of person he is and how he will react to certain things. Job – here we went into a fair bit of detail about his current business that he owns.

We talked about exactly what the business does, how big it is and how much money it makes. Why is this all important? Well firstly it lets us know that he can afford our service and get some value from it. If we just decided to target entrepreneurs who were 28, how would we even know if they could get some use from our business and whether or not they can even afford it.

We included the language here so we know the kind of tone and words that our ideal client uses. From this we know exactly what type of language we need to use to appeal to him and not waste our time on content that is going to completely miss the target.

You can even see we went as far to include the hashtags that James uses. This is beneficial knowledge to use because it lets us know what sort of hashtags we should be targeting when it comes to promoting the content on social media so we can ensure that James is exposed to it. It actually may shock you but a lot of social media uses browse hashtags in order find new and exciting content.

So now that we know who we need to target, we need to know where we need to target.

Step 3: Figure out where you need to target

Now when it comes to promoting your content you can’t write it out, chuck it on your blog and then go down to the real estate office and buy a house in the Hampton’s. It doesn’t work like that (which may come as a surprise to some of you). You need to figure out exactly where you need to target in order to achieve your goals.

You need to be targeting the locations where your target audience hangs out or spends most of their time. Makes sense doesn’t it? Now this is generally apart of creating a buyer persona like we did in the step above, but I deliberately left it out so I could include it in this step. So here is the “where” component from our buyer persona.

Where

James spends most of his time on twitter and blogs. He likes to find good articles to read and learn a lot from them. He also becomes active on a few blogs and comments quite frequently, engaging in the discussion

Now that we have done some extensive research we know exactly where we need to target our content to be able to reach James. From the looks of it, he seems to be heavily involved in twitter and finds a lot of articles to read from there.

He also quite likes spending a bit of time reading the articles he finds and engaging in the conversations on those sites. This tells us that we really need to have a prominent blog and that our content really needs to be engaging if we want to get him involved in the site.

Furthermore, from the looks it, James is probably likely to respond well to email signups so we will most likely push these on him through our blog to provide him with even more content.

Step 4: Find Influencers and Involve them

One important step that can really take your content marketing strategy to the next level is looking at who influences your target audience. Who has a lot of power over James? Who is the person that when they send out a tweet, James rushes to them and eats every character up.

These are the people who are going to have the best chance at getting your target audience to look at your content, because these are the people that they trust. They value their opinion and if they are tweeting about something, then it must be important.

But the question remains, how do you target them? Well the short answer is you don’t. You don’t target the influencers, because otherwise it’s the same as targeting the your audience. Instead you want to involve them. Find a way to somehow get them involved in your content.

For example, Tablaeu software, a data visualization software company,  knew that a lot of their audience was heavily influenced by the Wall Street Journal. So they went to them and gave them a piece of their data to use in an article and the WSJ agreed. This article become one of the most viewed on the site and got the exposure Tableau software needed.

You can see the difference between involving and targeting. They got the Wall Street Journal to actually incorporate a piece of their product in one of their articles which clearly highlighted its main features to the WJS’s readers – also Tableau’s target audience.

Another great way to involve the influencers is to do some guest posting. If the blog is big enough and popular enough you will definitely see some results. Just make sure that your involving the right people. In our case, if we want to involve influencers, we might contact them on twitter or via email asking if they could share the article (maybe this article when if  it gets done).

Step 5: Figure out the experience your content needs to provide

This is step is going to take a while to get right. Basically, what we are looking at here is how the content needs to be structured, displayed, written, shown, shot, formatted to appeal to your target audience and influencers.

This step will also be influenced by pretty much every other step in this guide, but more importantly the goals and target audience steps. Why? Well because the goals are going to tell you pretty much how the content should make the audience feel. For example, for us – since we are trying to build awareness with this article, we know that our content has to be:

  • High quality

  • Preferably an article

  • Enjoyable to read

  • Provide value to the reader

  • Easily Shareable

The audience is going to influence because it dictates the language and style that should be used. For example, because we clearly defined our target persona in step two, we know that James will appreciate this article because:

  • It uses an informative tone

  • Helps him learn something

  • Has actionable steps that he can follow

  • Encourages him to interact

All these can be referred to as the experience that your content provides. Some other more common ones (this section is bullet point heavy):

  • Short (social media)

  • Funny (Satire sites, Social Media)

  • Videos (Youtube targets)

  • Infographics (Data vis fanatics)

This will take you a while to perfect – but don’t give up. Try a few different experiences and see what the results are. Speaking of results…

Step 6: Measure or Fail

One of the most frustrating things is seeing someone come up with a great content marketing strategy but then in no shape or form measure the success of their content marketing strategy. This is how your strategy should be developed:

  1. Go through steps 1 – 5

  2. Measure your results

  3. Refine

  4. Measure your results

  5. Refine

  6. $$$

Measure every aspect of your content marketing strategy that you can. The first way you can go about this is to quantify your goals. For example:

  • Increase Sales => Increase our sales by 20%

  • Increase customer loyalty => Increase our re-subscription rate by 80%

  • Increase Traffic => Get 2,000 page views per day

  • Build Awareness => Get 2,000 Social Shares for this article

If your content marketing strategy doesn’t achieve these goals, one of two things is happening.

1) Your goals are unrealistically high, 2) Your strategy needs to be improved.

Another thing you should be doing constantly throughout your content marketing strategy is A/B testing. A/B test whenever you can. I won’t go into too much detail here as I have already covered it in another article, but the basics are; try something, try it again and change one thing and see which one gives you the best results.

 


SUMMARY

So there you have it – a 6 step guide that will help you develop a content marketing strategy to help you maximize your return on your content investment. 

I really think it is important to note that this isn’t an exact formula. Every business is different and as a result their content marketing strategy is going to need to be different, however this is a blueprint that you can take away and adapt to suit your business. 


 

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Trying to grow your business? I can help. Shoot me a message over at my Geek Page.

Click here to contact Harrison

 


 

Topics: content, seo, inbound

Harrison Lucas

Written by Harrison Lucas

I generate high quality content that will make your customers want to print and frame it.