Content Marketing

Guide To Developing Content Marketing Strategy in 2021

Do you know why most companies fail at content marketing?

According to a research conducted by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs, 63% of businesses don’t have a documented marketing strategy.

As a business owner, are you using content marketing effectively to reach your potential customers and grow your business?

Content is the best element to increase brand awareness among your target audience. Implementing the right content marketing strategies will improve your online authority and bring you quality leads and sales.

One of the common problems with businesses is that they don’t know how to implement right content marketing strategies to grow their business.

So, how you can find the right content marketing strategy that works for your business?

It’s easy. Read and follow this guide.

In this guide, we’ll be sharing the best content marketing practices that can help you market your business effectively with content.

The information provided in this guide will also help you gain attention from your target audience and invite them to connect with your brand. In the long run, you will generate more leads and sales.

Let’s get started with an introduction to content marketing.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a digital marketing strategy that utilizes content in marketing your business. It may sound simple, but there is a lot of work involved in developing an effective content marketing plan.

When we look at the content part, it includes articles, blog posts, infographics, podcasts and videos. The content we’re talking about is information in written, visual or audible form.

What about the marketing part? This goes back to the fundamentals of marketing. It’s all about telling your audience about your products and services to convert them into paying customers. Content becomes your source of persuasion with content marketing.

But there is a huge difference with other sales and marketing strategies and content marketing. Content marketing is an inbound technique that attracts people rather than reaching out to them with outbound techniques (sometimes there is an overlap with both).

The role of a content marketer is to create, curate and promote the right content. Right content means the content that is high in quality, relevant, accurate and provide what your target audience eagerly looking for.

Content marketing helps businesses:

  • Attract the right target audience
  • Create awareness about their products and services
  • Engage and educate the target audience
  • Generate quality leads
  • Turn target audience into paying customers, loyalist and brand advocates.

Next, we will show you content marketing statistics to walk the talk, We don’t want to exaggerate without providing reliable data to support content marketing.

Content Marketing Statistics

Why do marketers use content to build an audience around their brand?

It is easier to get content reach the people they are targeting today because almost 59% of the world’s population (4.57 billion people) is online today. This shows more than half of the world’s population is connected to the Internet.

That’s a big market.

But there are other crucial information we should focus as well. Among the people who are online worldwide, 75% of them are using mobile devices and active on social media platforms. This will change the way your content marketing works as you need to make sure your content appeals to social media platforms and mobile devices.

Following are the statistics from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) research:

  • 91% of B2B marketers are using content marketing as one of their main digital marketing strategies.
  • 72% of marketers say that content marketing helps in increasing engagement and one of the best lead generation tools.

Do you want to miss out this great opportunity to get your brand in front of your potential customers?

Let’s move on and learn how to create an effective content marketing strategy for your business.

How To Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Creating content marketing strategies without a proper plan will affect your business. You don’t want to waste your time and money.

Did you know that content marketers struggle the most when it comes to content marketing planning?

This is because content marketing plan involves a lot of crucial elements that determine the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy.

According to Optinmonster, content marketers often struggle in developing the right content strategy because:

  • 60% of content marketers find it difficult to create content consistently
  • 63% of marketers haven’t got a documented content strategy
  • 64% of marketers need help in developing a better content strategy

Here are some of the best tips in developing the right content marketing strategy for your business:

State your mission and goals

You may already set your business mission and goals. But mission and goals for content marketing is slightly different.

You’ll be able to identify your target audience, ways to reach them and the benefits they’ll gain from your content.  Let’s look at an example of a content marketing mission by Remotejobs.asia:

So, from the above screenshot, you can see that the mission of Remotejobs.asia is to provide curated remote job opportunities for their target audience.

You can use the following formula to create the mission statement for content marketing:

[Our business] offer [target audience] with [type of content] to help them get [customer’s goal].

The mission of Magnes Marketing is to offer startups, small and medium business with various guides and tips related to SEO and Content Marketing to help them get more leads and customers.

Content marketing goals are not restricted to sales, leads and traffic. There are other content marketing goals like:

  • Brand awareness
  • Engagement
  • Customer retention
  • Upsell / Cross-sell

You can use this formula for any type of business because your target audience will always have goals to achieve as they are constantly looking for information/solutions to the problems.

And you need to set KPIs to measure your content marketing success. The KPIs include number of visitors, number of leads generated, numbers of subscriber and more.

Identify your target audience

You need to know who you’re marketing your products and services. Without knowing your target audience, you’ll be appearing in front of the wrong audience. Relevancy is important for content marketing success.

You need to create a buyer persona if you’re just starting. You can get started by using existing demographic data from your web, social and email analytics. The data will identify the age, gender, education and income level of your target audience.

If you have a huge following on social media platforms or list of email subscribers, you can collect feedback from your existing customers to have a better understanding of their priorities. This will help you to know the type of content you should create and how to make your audience engage with the content.

You can get information about your audience from Google Analytics (hope you’ve integrated it to your site). Click on Audience. And you’ll see a lot of different branches of information about your audience. Focus on the following elements to understand your audience better:

  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Geography
  • Behaviour

 

Once you get the necessary audience data and customer feedback, then you can create your buyer persona. Your buyer persona will help you understand the types of content your audience will consume and engage, how the content will help them and why they should care about the content.

You can check out the following resources on building a buyer persona:

Plan Your Content Creation Process

You don’t want to blindly create and publish your content. You need a solid plan for efficient content creation:

  • Who’s creating the content? In-house writers or outsourced freelance writers?
  • Who’s in charge of content creation department?
  • What are the resources required for content creation?
  • How does your publishing schedule look like?
  • Who will provide final approval for the content?
  • What is the workflow of content production?

You need to answer the questions above to plan your content creation process. When you set a clear expectation from your content creation process, you can avoid having half-ass content.

According to a study conducted by HubSpot from 13,500+ of their customers found that companies that published 16+ quality content per month got 4.5x more leads than companies that published 0-4 content per month.

If you want to know more about the content creation process, check out the following resources:

Start a Business Blog

Many businesses assume that the blog does not add any value to their business. But little they know that blog is the centrepiece of any content marketing strategy. It’s one of the essential digital marketing tools. If you don’t already have a business blog, don’t waste your time and get started with one.

Having a blog does not guarantee content marketing success. You need to have blog post ideas that can attract and educate your potential customers.

Some of the blog ideas you should consider:

  • Case studies
  • Tutorials
  • How-to Guides
  • Listicles
  • Checklists
  • Interviews
  • Expert Roundups

For your blog posts to stand out you need consider you the following types of blog posts:

  • Solution-focused blog posts
  • Educational blog posts
  • Roundup blog posts
  • Lifestyle blog posts
  • Fun blog posts
  • Timely blog posts
  • Promotional blog posts
  • Personal blog posts

Your readers should be excited to read your blog posts. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, starting a blog increases your authority in the industry while attracting more leads.

Perform in-depth audit for your existing content

If you already have hundreds of content published, you need to make sure those content are meeting your content marketing mission and goals. You need to audit your existing content to determine whether they are driving enough traffic to your site.

To audit your content, you need to:

  • Gather all your content URLs using Screaming Frog
  • Check whether the content contributing to the site’s growth
  • Identify content gaps

Screaming Frog will help you grab all the URLs from your site. You can use the Free version if you have less than 500 URLs. If it’s more than 500, then you need to get their paid version for £149.00 per year. It’s not easy to gather your site URLs manually.

Using tools like SEMRush, you can audit your content by assessing the inbound links, social shares and content length. With these tools, you can easily identify what’s working and things need to be improved. Moreover, you can also find the content gaps and have an idea on what content to create in future.

Research Relevant Keywords and Create Content

Keyword research is a crucial part of content. How to reach your target audience if you don’t have the right content online?

Keywords or key phrases are the terms that people use to search for information, products or services. And the keywords are used by search engines to understand what your content is about.

There are three types of keywords based on the length that you should include in your content:

  • Short-tail keywords: broad concept of a keyword like “shoes”
  • Mid-tail keywords:  often of 2 to 3 words like “running shoes”
  • Long-tail keywords: Longer than 3 words and are specific like “running shoes for women”

The keywords placed in content will help the users and search engines to determine whether it fulfils the search query. This is where the search intent comes in. There are four main types of search intent:

  • Informational: User finding for answers to their questions (usually questions related to their problems)
  • Transactional: These users are ready to buy the products and services they’re searching for.
  • Navigational: Users searching for a specific website
  • Investigational: Users are looking for reviews and user-generated content to narrow down their purchasing options

So, how do your research and find the right keywords for your content?

  • Look at your Google Analytics and Google Search console to identify potential keywords. Find the keywords that are attracting visitors to your site.
  • Use keyword research tools to get a list of keywords related to your business. We use SEMRush to perform keyword research. You can use Google Keyword Planner and Google Autosuggestion, but it will consume a huge amount of time.

Once you’ve found the list of keywords, you’ll need to place them strategically in your content. Following are the places you should include your keywords:

  • Your content titles
  • Meta description of your content
  • Add keywords throughout the body of the content
  • Add to your URL

Many research studies show that long-form content tend to rank higher on search engines and gets more backlinks and social media shares. This applies to articles, blog posts, how-to guides and eBooks. However, there are times short-form content create greater impact to your content marketing efforts. You need to always keep in your mind that the debate of the best length of your content is irrelevant from the user’s perspective because content length depends on the depth of information offered.

Once you understand your customer’s need, you will know how to choose the best length of content.

Add Lead Magnet To Your Content

Content is the best lead generation tool. The best way to get more leads with content is to integrate a lead magnet. The right lead magnet will help:

  • Solve your visitor’s problems
  • Provides solutions that are easy to implement
  • Place your business as an authority in the industry

Some of the common lead magnets are:

  • Case studies
  • eBooks
  • Whitepaper
  • Webinar
  • Checklists
  • Free mini-courses
  • Free product or service trials
  • Reports
  • Resources

You can use email marketing tools like Mailchimp, Convertkit to automate the process of delivering lead magnets.

Next, we will look at the best content promotion techniques that will help you get your content in front of your ideal audience.

Content Promotion Strategies

You’ve researched and created your content. No matter how interesting or exclusive your content is, it’s only valuable if you’re able to get in front of the right audience. This is where you need content promotion strategies to increase your brand’s reach.

Promoting your content with the right strategies, you’ll be able to nurture your visitors and convert them into paying customers. The three main content promotion goals are:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Acquire new leads
  • Engage and nurture your leads

Content promotion is not easy. It’s harder than writing. In this section, we’ve compiled a list of content promotion strategies that you can implement right away to become successful with your content marketing campaigns.

Share on social media channels multiple times

Once you’ve published your content, social media channels should be your best choice to promote your content. You can start sharing them on your social media accounts.

We are aware that social media organic reach has declined over the years. Many businesses are underestimating the benefits of organic social media marketing. If you’ve just started, you may not have enough following to promote your content. Start connecting with your existing customers on social media. Encourage them to share your content with their friends and family. Sometimes you just need to ask them to do it.

You can also join Facebook groups related to your niche and share your content. For example, we used to share our new published blog posts on a few digital marketing and entrepreneurship related Facebook groups.

So, we are educating the community while increasing brand reach and awareness. In social media platforms like Twitter, you should share your content multiple time. Don’t use the same copy for each tweet. Make some changes to them and share. This will help you reach more people.

As long the content you’ve created add value and relevant to your audience, people will start sharing them with others.

Leverage on guest posting

Most digital marketers use guest posting to build links to the sites their working on. Apart from that, guest posting allows you to get a brand in front of your target audience. Guest posting is a process of writing an article or blog post for another website relevant to your industry or niche. Once your content gets published on that site, it will reach a new group of people who might start following your site or subscribe to your newsletter.

Rather than getting your guest post published on a large website, you can focus on a smaller site with loyal followers. But make sure the site is relevant to your niche. A narrow appeal will help you reach a micro-targeted audience.

Once you’ve decided on the sites to guest post, look at the guidelines and requirements for writing and publishing your guest post. The best sites will have strict guidelines to avoid low-quality guest posts to build backlinks.

After getting your guest post published, the publishing site will share your content with their audience through social media and email marketing. If you’ve optimized your content for a specific keyword, you also have a chance to have the guest post ranked on search engines.

Don’t forget to share the guest post with your followers and customers.

Share your fresh content with email subscribers

Do you have an email list?

If you don’t, better start building your email list right away.

Promoting your content online with email marketing is one of the effective ways of getting your content in front of your audience. You can either send a weekly newsletter that contains an update on your new content or create a specific email introducing your subscribers to the new content, email works best in promoting your content.

Moreover, you’ll be able to measure the open rate and click-through rate that shows how effective is your content among your subscribers.

And the best reason to send your new content to your email list because your audience is always checking their email straight from their phone. So, you’ll be getting immediate attention to your new content.

Outreach to the sources you used for your content

When you create new content, you’ll be linking to various external sources or mention some research studies to back your claims within the content. The site or blog you used as your source could bring you a great opportunity in gaining more online exposure if you do I right.

You need to leverage these connections.

Send an email to your sources and request them to share your article with their social media following and email subscribers. In most cases, they may not respond to you or completely ignore your request.

But it’s worth trying.

You don’t have to crack your head to come up with an outreach email. Use the following example,

Subject: Mentioned your post in [Your content title]

Hey [First Name],

I’m [Your Name], [Your Position] at [Your Company]

I’ve been following you for quite some time now, and I’ve mentioned your blog post [title of their blog post] on this article I’ve written [Insert title with link] recently.

I appreciate if you could share my blog post with your followers and email subscribers.

Thanks for the time and looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Cheers!

[Your Name]

Sometimes you don’t really need to ask them to share your content in their social media networks. They would want to show themselves as an authority within their niche by mentioning their post to be featured on your content.

You can remove the requesting party from the outreach email and just let them know that you’ve mentioned their content as a source for your content. There is no guarantee that the person you used as a source will share your content on their own channels, but it increases the possibilities of getting shared.

Approach people who have shared similar content

Your target audience doesn’t just magically come to you. No matter how the technology grows, the fundamentals of marketing and promoting your product and services remains the same. Sometimes, you need to go out there reach out and build a relationship with the right people within your industry.

There are always people who often share similar or relevant content like the ones you create. For example, there are Facebook pages constantly share blog posts and industry news with the followers. Before requesting them to share your content on their channels, you need to build a relationship by engaging with their posts by commenting and providing valuable insights.

Once you build a good relationship, you can easily request them to share your content. Your audience base will consistently increase as long your content is appealing to their followers.

Re-purpose and syndicate your top-performing content to other sites

You can narrow down your top-performing content by checking their traffic on Google Analytics or even check the shares and comments from social media channels.

Following are some of the top ways to repurpose your content:

  • Turn your blog post into an infographic, video or slides
  • Re-publish your content on LinkedIn and Medium
  • Convert your blog post into a mini-course
  • Turn your webinar into presentation slides and share it on SlideShare
  • Create GIF from tips or techniques in your content
  • Convert user-generated content into a video (Make sure the users know that you’ll be using their content elsewhere)
  • If you have money allocated for content syndication, then you can go for paid content syndication platforms like Taboola and Zemanta

There are many blogs and sites are hungry for new content are ready to re-publish your top-performing content. The main reason to use your top-performing content is because you will have a leverage on getting them accepted as your audience already found the content to be amazing and valuable.

Add links to new content from popular evergreen content on your site

Another simple way to promote your new content by strategically placing links to your new content across your website. Check on the popular content on your site that can link your new content.

Although internal link building improves your sites SEO, it also attracts people that land on your popular content to navigate to your new content through the link you’ve placed.  Just make sure the linked content is relevant to the popular ones.

Providing your visitors with more relevant content to read, they will spend more time on your site to consumer more information.  When people spend more time on your site, they tend to recognize your brand and engage with your company. And they are more likely to convert into a loyal customer.

Use paid ads to get in front of your target audience

Organic content promotion methods are good. But it takes time and you won’t see instant results from those methods. You have other options to get your content in front of your target audience by using paid promotion tactics.

Pay-per-click campaigns using Google and social media networks can help you get the word out about your content.  Once you decide to spend money on promoting your content, you need to be careful not to waste your money.

Invest your money on content that you’re 100% sure will bring quality traffic to your site. The best way to do it is by identifying the best performing content on your site. You need to make sure the visitors take an action on your site. It’s better to focus on promoting gated content.

You should avoid promoting short blog posts and videos as they don’t persuade people to provide their information. Informative long content like guides, eBooks, whitepapers, case studies and webinars provides great value for the visitors.

You can easily collect their information and constantly follow up with them by providing valuable information and make a good ROI from your paid campaigns.  

Create an attractive landing page that collects your customers information and deliver your content instantly to their email. People will be more than happy to provide you with their contact information if you’re providing valuable information for free.

Always remember that no matter how amazing your content is, the value depends on how your target audience find it. Promoting your content, the right way at the right place can help you generate a large audience for your brand.

You need to try out and experiment the content promotion method we’ve listed above to identify the ones that work best for you.

How To Measure Your Content Marketing ROI

The sad truth is many marketers don’t know how to measure the effectiveness of their content marketing campaigns. Even, CMI found that 59% of their respondents do not have clarity on their content marketing success.

So how do you measure your content marketing ROI? When we talk about ROI, we’re not looking at vanity metrics. We are talking about the money you earn upon investing in content marketing campaigns

Content marketing ROI is all about the revenue you manage to gain in comparison to the amount spent on creating and promoting your content.

To work out on the exact figure, you need to track the following:

  • The money spent on content creation
  • The expense for content promotion and distribution
  • The amount earned from the investment

The ROI calculation remains the same as the general one.

The amount earned – (The money spent on content creation + content promotion and distribution expense) / Total investment

For example, you spent $2000 for content creation and promotion and generated sales worth $7000, then the calculation is as following:

[$7000 – $2000]/ $2000 = 2.5

2.5 x 100% = 250%

You need to earn more than how much you spent on content creation and promotion. If you’re not getting positive ROI from your investment, then it’s not worth it.

However, there are other elements you should measure apart from money. Most of the time content marketing campaigns offer long-term results. So, you need to pay attention to other aspects like:

  • Organic search traffic and traffic from other sources like social media networks
  • The number of leads generated. Keep an eye on the content that is generating leads for your business for future enhancement.
  • The number of sales generated. Measure them by using web analytics like Google Analytics or Matomo Analytics.
  • The content’s position for targeted keywords on the SERPs
  • Engagement rate on social media networks

Conclusion

Like SEO, content marketing is constantly changing. Content marketing is not restricted to articles and blog posts but also includes videos, visuals and other interactive content.

You need to identify the right content type that works for your industry. Different industries have different preferences in consuming content.

From this guide, you should have known all the important things about content marketing. There are hundreds of content marketing guides online. We might not be the best but we’re sure to provide valuable insights on how you can start an effective result-oriented content marketing campaign.

Did we miss out something important related to content marketing?

Please share your thoughts by commenting below.

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