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Over 90% of marketers use digital content to engage their customers. Meanwhile, 65% of them struggle with crafting successful landing pages, according to smallbizgenius.net. But did you know that 63% of businesses don’t have a documented content marketing strategy at all? A detailed and well-implemented content marketing strategy is not only a necessity but an essential part of building an effective content marketing campaign in the digital age when creating valuable content on a consistent basis is the most important metric used by Google (and other search engines) to prioritize your content in search results (SERPs).
Content creation and marketing requires dedication, effort, time, and creativity to stand out from the crowded field of competitors or even get found among the millions of content pages online. But, there are ways to become a content marketing hero, whether you’re running a startup or an established company. Here’s how to create a better and more effective content marketing campaign for your business.
8 ways to create a more effective content marketing campaign
Developing an effective content marketing campaign involves planning, monitoring, and optimizing your content marketing on an ongoing basis. Here are 8 tips toward building a more effective content marketing campaign.
1. Identify your target audience
The first step in any marketing campaign involves developing a deep understanding of your target audience; who they are, what they’re like, their values, beliefs, and attitudes, and where they hang out. Marketing to an entire population is both wasteful and ineffective; it only works for brands like Coke where customers worldwide want the same things from their soft drink. And, even though their communication appears fundamentally the same everywhere, the product actually varies across cultures to appeal to the unique tastes prevalent in that culture — visit their museum in Atlanta and you’ll even get a chance to sample different formulations of Coke.
Like other marketing contexts, content marketing requires a deep understanding of your target customers/clients. Apart from age, gender, income, and interests, here’s what you need to know about your target audience:
- find out what problems your prospects face because customers don’t buy products they buy solutions to their problems.
- Research the words and phrases they use makes all the difference in a successful content strategy.
- Also, research their demands when it comes to related products and services.
Knowing what your potential customers want helps you create the right social media posts, articles, and graphics. The data collected at this stage will also guide you in creating accurate buyer personas. As a result, you provide quality content that your audience finds useful.
2. Define your goals & mission statement
Like traditional marketing strategies, you must set goals for your content marketing strategy.
A good starting point in crafting goals is to develop a mission statement–a statement of who you are as a company. Ensure your mission gives you room to grow as the marketplace changes so you can adapt your products and other strategies to capitalize on these changes. For instance, the hotel industry defined its mission as running hotels. Opportunities to expand into the sharing economy didn’t fit that mission, allowing Airbnb to capitalize on their lack of foresight. Now Airbnb boasts a ton more room available for rent that hotel chains.
Once you have a mission, use it to develop long and short-term goals. Think about what you want to achieve from your digital marketing efforts. You may want to increase site traffic, generate subscriptions for an email list, get more shares on social media, or attract first-time visitors.
Whatever your goal, define them to create SMART goals that are:
- Specific — ie. increase visits by 20%
- Achievable — create goals that challenge your business but not ones that are so far beyond your ability that you’ll never achieve them
- Relevant — they match your mission and fit with the overarching goals set for the business as a whole
- Time-bound — always set a time frame for goals, such as 12 months
One caveat here. Ensure you set terminal goals, such as increased sales, as well as goals associated with the activity necessary to achieve terminal goals, such as increased visits to the website or improved CTR (click-through rate).
3. Craft a content marketing strategy
A content marketing strategy outlines your target audience, the content likely to reach them, channels that generate the most effective reach, and the benefits to the organization and its customers. A strategy helps identify what’s essential for content creation so you stay focused on high-value activities rather than getting pulled in too many unprofitable directions.
Part of your content strategy (preferably completed prior to setting goals) involves researching your external environment; your competitors, the legal/political environment, the cultural environment, the economic environment, and the technological environment.
The remainder of your content marketing strategy (again, researched before establishing goals), involves a critical assessment of your internal capabilities and weaknesses.
4. Set KPIs
Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) is crucial for any business that wants to grow or even just survive.
KPIs are quantifiable measures that help you determine how close you are to reaching your goals. Common KPI’s are:
- SEO measures such as page rank
- social media performance such as engagement (likes, comments, etc)
- and email marketing metrics, such as clicks
Metrics are an essential element of a marketing strategy and consistent monitoring of KPIs helps keep you on track to achieve your goals; highlighting areas where performance lags and needs adjustment. Metrics allow you to optimize performance.
5. Prioritize Using Authoritative Resources
A rule of thumb is to state references so readers can verify your claims. Linking to authoritative sources offers many benefits; building trust and long-term relationships with the target audience. By using authoritative sites by backlinking to their content shows you’re an expert in the field who keeps up with and evaluates these emerging thoughts.
Search engines determine what your site is about and categorize your business based, in part, by the backlinks used in your content. Backlinks also inform Google (and other search engines) about your content and figure heavily in the algorithm used to produce SERPs. If you have trouble finding authoritative resource links, use Google to search for information, especially sources in government or academic domains.
You may also use links from reputable news sites like the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. While Wikipedia sounds credible, avoid it along with sites that accept unverified publications, as they might hurt your SERPs.
6. Know your competition
With over 90% of marketers utilizing marketing campaigns to attract customers, there’s lots of competition in almost every market. But that shouldn’t stop you from creating high-ranking content.
Take advantage of this by researching some of the best content marketing strategies that helped businesses stay ahead of the competition. While you may feel tempted to replicate the same ideas from competitors, avoid this at all costs.
7. Stay original
This fits with the advice above about replicating the ideas of your competition.
Original content is a top consideration in building an effective content marketing strategy as duplicate content not only doesn’t help, it might hurt your rankings.
You need unique and relevant information that resonates with your audience. In addition to originality, maintain accuracy in your campaign. Remember, your website represents not only your brand but also reflects your company goals and values.
8. Develop a content schedule
Once you identify your target audience and their online behavior, creating content becomes easier. These tips might also help in building an effective content marketing strategy:
- Monitor sites like Google Trends if you struggle with coming up with topics for posts.
- Determine the right time to publish blog posts and articles on your site and preferred social media platforms based on KPI performance across times. Experimentation helps with this determination.
- Craft a content marketing calendar to help with planning and ensure you create content on a consistent basis. There are many templates out there to help craft a content marketing calendar or use Google Calendar to list topics for each day.
If your organization publishes a large volume of content, consider investing in productivity and task management tools like CoSchedule or Asana. By creating a content calendar, you make content creation easier while ensuring consistency. You can also use your calendar to track the performance of blog posts, ebooks, webinars, and infographics in an organized manner.
9. Audit outcomes with these tools
After developing an effective marketing strategy, you want to evaluate your content marketing performance to find out whether you are meeting your objectives. To get accurate results, you need to review your KPIs frequently. It is also crucial to utilize tools like Google Analytics to see your content performance and Buzzsumo for measuring social sharing activities. Other tools worth considering include Google Alerts, Mention, and SEMRush.
Creating an effective content marketing campaign is challenging, but pays off when you dedicate enough time, effort, and follow the right campaign strategies. Defining your goals, target audience, and writing unique content is essential, but also focus on providing accurate reports and authoritative sources. These steps help both small and large companies establish trust with clients and retain a loyal customer base.