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by James Perrin on 2nd April 2014
Hi. Today we’re going to be talking about creating a content marketing strategy. Now, before we start, a few quick questions: Are you creating content? Do you have a strategy? Is it working? If the answer to those questions is no, keeping watching, because today we’re going to give you a top level overview of the things that you need to include in your own content marketing strategy.
Let’s kick off with target audience. There are many ways in which you can target your own audience. First and foremost I recommend creating buyer personas. Now you can create a number of personas based on various stages of the buying cycle as well as various needs of your buyers. Don’t look to create too many personas. I would stick to a standard number of between five and ten because you don’t want to overcomplicate things at this stage.
Another way in which you want to create or find out information about your target audience is to pull off data in Google Analytics, and you can pull off an audience report in there. This gives you key demographic data based on things such as location, age, gender, and personal interests.
Once you have painted up a really good picture of who you’re targeting, you can then create your own goals and objectives for your content marketing campaign. Now every business will have their own business plan, and then drilled down from that they will have their own marketing plan and marketing goals, and then drilled down from that you will have your content marketing plan and content marketing goals.
It’s key to remember that each piece of content that you create has to have its own goal and objective. Now a goal could be something like driving referral traffic, organic traffic, social shares, engagement, conversions, leads, sales, and so on and so forth.
However, it’s all well and good saying, “I want to create a piece of content that’s going to deliver lots of traffic.” The way in which you can achieve this is by setting objectives. Now your objectives could be something like to entertain, to provide information, to educate, to persuade, to create controversy.
Now a good example will be, let’s say you want to create a piece of content that sustains traffic over a long period of time. That’s your goal. Well, your objective will be to create something that educates, that provides insight, something that you know is going to draw visitors back to your site, and a good example of that will be a white paper, a user guide, a how-to guide. So that just shows you a good example of, when it comes to your goals and objectives, the types of things that you need to be thinking about. They all need to aligned to your marketing plan and then your overall business plan.
Now before you create a single piece of content, first and foremost you want to be getting involved on social media. So set up profiles on the big hitters like Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Populate them, engage with visitors, with users, answer comments, answer questions, and so on and so forth.
One of the things I would also recommend is to find industry specific sites, niches, such as Q&A sites [where you could] drill down in those Q&A sites to specific areas that are of interest to your own business. And again, populate that, engage with visitors, engage with users.
One of the key things that you want to be getting out of this process is to build up your own community of followers, but also to start engaging with key influencers in those communities, and this will help massively when it comes to the promotional aspects of the overall strategy.
So, you know who you’re targeting. You’ve got your goals and objectives. You are active on social. Now it’s time to start establishing those content ideas.
First and foremost what you want to be doing is performing a content audit, so you go on to your own site and measure and map out everything that you’ve ever done in terms of content. So look at blog posts, look at infographics, look at videos, look at everything you’ve done. In a spreadsheet, you want to have various columns, have content type, have content title, the number of page views, the number of social shares, the number of comments, again and it all ties back into your goals and objectives. Any idea that you come up with, always map it against your content audit and have a look at what’s worked and what hasn’t worked.
Secondly, after your content audit, you’re going to be doing a competitor analysis. So in a similar way you’re going to be looking at about five to ten of your strongest competitors. Look at the content that they’ve created. It could be you look at on-page stuff, like blog posts, infographics or videos. It could be that you look at off-page stuff, so guests posts, newsletters, surveys, that type of thing. This gives you a good idea, a rich source of ideas of what your competitors are doing, and you can measure that against what you’re currently doing. If you’re not doing that, let’s say, for example, that you find you perform a backlink analysis of your competitors and you find a variety of sites that they’re writing for and they’re writing on, again that provides you with some insight. You might be able to approach those sites, offer a follow-up opinion or a different angle. Just an idea for you to consider.
Google Analytics is also something I would utilise when it comes to creating your own content ideas. In Google Analytics, first and foremost you can perform what is known as a site search, and you can look at the data that you have received from that. This is basically where people land on your site and they perform a site search internally. This provides you with a rich source of insights, because they could be asking questions, queries, and so on and so forth.
Now, Google Analytics also provides you with information on key performing pages. So it could be a particular product or service that you then want to create content around. It could be that you find that a particular product or service isn’t performing as well as you would like, and you actually find out that people are dropping out of the buying cycle. Well, in this instance, again you can look at the content that you can possibly create to help feed those people back into the funnel and, hopefully, potentially get a sale or conversion.
I would also look at, again it goes back again to the content audit, but look at the top performing pieces of content and see what’s worked and understand why. It could be a piece that’s very, very targeted towards products or services that’s actually worked well. Or likewise it could be something that’s industry specific, but not specific so much to your brand. It’s a good idea to have a blend of those different types of content.
You also want to make sure that your content is keyword optimised. So you need to perform keyword research. That pretty much goes without saying. The keywords that you establish within your keyword research should obviously feature in the content you create. This itself gives you a good idea of content ideas, but also utilise something like Google Trends, where you’re able to look at your trending topics, not just those core keywords. This is really useful when it comes to creating more long tail content. Finally, you want to be looking at your own internal events, your own calendar, your own internal news and utilise that and leverage that when it comes to creating your own content
So you’ve got all of your ideas and you now want to map that on an editorial calendar. You want to be looking at mapping this over a 3 month, 6 month, or 12 month period, and you really want to be factoring in those key dates, those key events. You also want be looking at more standard national holidays, things like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, Easter, and really think about your overall campaigns and how you can tie that in with those holidays.
Your editorial calendar should really also feature promotional aspects. So it stands to reason that any piece that you create needs to have a promotional phase. Whether that promotional phase is on social or whether you have a whole outreach program that you want to organise, it’s really up to you. But your promotional calendar, your editorial calendar must feature who is going to promote it. The other good thing about an editorial calendar is it holds people accountable. Not only will you have the live date or the publish date or the upload date and the promotion date, but you can account and assign each individual who does those activities.
When it comes to promoting your content, as I’ve mentioned, really lay the foundations when you’re populating and engaging on your social media profiles. But in addition to that, you can look at other things, like an outreach program, and this is basically where you want to gather a list of industry relevant people who will benefit from that content. It could be that you’ve actually featured people within a piece of content or you’ve featured a resource in a top ten list or something like that. Anywhere you think someone will benefit from having that content, seeing that content, or sharing it that is really crucial to your own promotional efforts.
Then finally, it goes without saying that whenever you create content, you want to measure it, and the way that you measure your content is really relevant to the goals and objectives that you set out in the first place. But as a basic, as a very, very standard level, you want to be setting up Google Analytics, tracking code, and you want to be setting up goals within there. You want to be looking at key things, like where your traffic is coming from, the user age, their location. You want to be looking at the number of visits, where those visits are going after they’ve landed on your content, and again this provides you with a richer insight into the effectiveness of your own content.
So there we go. That was a nice quick overview of all the things that you need to consider when it comes to your own content marketing strategy. If there’s anything that you think I’ve missed that you would like to add, please do leave a comment below or get in touch with us. And that leaves me just to say thank you very much for watching, and for more information, please visit any of the social profiles coming up now.