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by Tara West on 23rd June 2011
The Content Marketing Institute has reported that in 2010, Marketers on average spent over a quarter of their marketing budget on content marketing. This refers to content marketing in the broadest sense, but it is still a significant amount of resources.
In addition to this, 51% of businesses in the study indicated that they planned to increase their spend for content marketing. With such a high level of resources being allocated to content marketing, it is important to make sure you are getting it right.
In the SEO industry it is easy to become blinded by the prospect of links and not see the bigger picture of what can be achieved when content marketing is used to its full potential and not just published to gain links.
This post talks about a kind of cycle which underpins content marketing strategy, and might be helpful to better ensure that your content marketing has a good strategy behind it and is fulfilling its potential.
Kristina Halvorson defines content strategy as “Planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.”
In essence, this can be broken down into the following elements:
Make sure that you are considering the requirements of your business, and the requirements of your potential consumers, and then consider how your content marketing can help you fulfil both. For example, if you are a hotel, you may find that you have particular quiet spots in January and have empty rooms. Consumers on the other hand often use January as a time for planning holidays and the rest of the year.
You could create content to be published in January which would talk about the next busy tourist occasion, for example St Valentine’s Day, or Easter. This considers the needs of the potential consumer, as well as the business by ensuring they still maintain a strong online presence even in times where occupancy may be low.
This leads me on to my next point, which is to plan in advance. Depending on the industry of your business, it might be advisable to plan yearly. This gives you chance to consider aspects that may affect your business and your consumers over the year, for example increase or decreases in demand. In addition to this, it is also important to allocate some resources in order to be flexible enough to create content around current events that may affect your business.
How much to allocate depends on how much current events may influence your content strategy, which ultimately is determined by the kind of business. For example the travel industry may have to create content based on weather or security issues which may become topical unexpectedly.
The next step is to promote your content. Even if your content is of the highest standard and would be very useful to potential consumers, it’s not going to fulfil its purpose if people aren’t aware of it. There are lots of ways to promote your content, such as social media, bookmarking etc.
This content marketing process should be continual, with constant evaluation of the content. There are lots of ways to evaluate the content you put online. You can set up Google alters for the title or URL of the content. If the content is hosted on your own site, you can track visits and conversions that occurred as a result. You can also evaluate the number of incoming links to the page.
You can create unique article titles by typing the title into Google in speech marks; if it reports no results it is unique at that time. You can then do the same thing once you have published your content to see if other online platforms have started talking about it or replicated it, which suggests it was effective. Once you have collected some data from these evaluation processes, you can begin to build a picture of the kinds of content that works particularly well, or not so well, and correlate it with other factors such as the time of year. You can then consider this information when planning for your next cycle of content marketing.
Content marketing can be a very powerful tool when used effectively. It can achieve lots of different objectives as long as the right strategy is put behind it.