There’s a lot to consider when creating an effective content marketing strategy. There are literally thousands of resources out there that contain millions of different opinions on what might be the best path to marketing success.
Part of content marketing is a crap shoot because who knows exactly what person x from Boise, ID is going to find engaging versus person y from New York, NY. This is why you have to listen to your clients’ needs, wants and goals, and be the authority for them. As a content marketing strategist, I base my recommendations on results I’ve seen from other strategies, and the best results come from companies that have the following four ingredients:
1. Infrastructure to track your results
You’ll never know if your content is successful if you don’t have a method for tracking it. Having Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools properly coded and enabled is imperative for tracking ROI on a content marketing strategy.
Some marketers thrive on ROI more than others, but I treat every client I work with as someone who feeds on it. If a client is weary about giving me access to the company’s analytics account, I do whatever it takes to get access. At some point, the content will be judged against the budget, and I need the tools to prove that my work is valuable to them.
What is the value of just one lead generated from the content? Is it enough for them to pay for your services for a month? Most likely. And in some cases, that one lead could pay for a year or more of content marketing services.
Don’t fly blind. Set goals. Track them. A solid measurement system is the infrastructure of your content marketing strategy.
2. An up-to-date SEO strategy
Gosh, this one is a tough one since what’s important to Google seems to change minute by minute. But it’s important to keep up with the trends and understand how they apply to your strategy if you want to rank well in search.
Keywords aren’t as important as they used to be, but overlooking them would be a cardinal sin. Strong keyword research and a thorough keyword strategy are essential for SEO. The best part is, with tools like the Google Keyword Planner (and a plethora of others), this part of the process isn’t very hard. What else will you be rewarded with? Low-hanging fruit. There is a lot of surprising data out there, alerting you where there is high search volume and low competition for terms. There is nothing wrong with low-hanging fruit, and it should definitely be picked when it’s within reach.
Keywords aren’t as important as they used to be, but overlooking them would be a cardinal sin.
You have to be aware of what is going on with Panda/Penguin/Hummingbird updates (heck, this is probably out of date already!). It’s frustrating to keep up with all of it. Some might even say it’s like having 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife (not ironic. Frustrating. End rant.), but since you’re reading this, you probably don’t make the rules, and it is in your best interest to follow them.
Lastly, and this is the easy part, your content needs to be relevant. Make sure it’s answering a question people are asking or contributing to a larger discussion. There are so many tools out there to let you know what conversations are happening in real-time, and for very specific topics, too. Do you think milk with their food is a hot topic? Think again.
3. A diverse mix of content
Necessary ingredient No. 3 to this complicated yet decadent recipe called content marketing is having a diverse artillery of content marketing weapons. You are at war for peoples’ attention, and those attention spans get shorter and shorter every day.
Plain, unformatted text won’t cut it anymore. You need to throw everything you can at your audience, while also keeping it succinct and making it appealing to the eye:
– Text with rich images
– Compelling infographics that highlight compelling information
– Entertaining and informative videos
– Vivid and colorful ebooks
– Case studies and white papers when you need to be a little more serious with content
Just when you think you’ve got a grasp of all of the aforementioned types of content, they change. Static infographics become interactive, videos allow you to control 360-degree viewing angles, the possibilities are endless, and that’s part of what makes the industry so exciting. But that’s also what makes the industry so challenging.
You must know what’s going on out there, and also have the resources and know-how to quickly act upon the latest and greatest methods of reaching and engaging an audience. Everything in this world becomes stale at some point, whether it’s a Discman or a Gameboy (sorry Gameboy fans). Don’t let your content marketing strategy or products get stale as well.
4. A social media strategy
Last but certainly not least, is social media. It probably goes without saying that social media is a very important piece to your strategy. There are so many different social media channels out there, and you should be sharing content on the ones that make sense for your goals.
To reach your goals for web visibility, be active on social media, and attempt to engage the masses with your best content.
Some social media platforms are great for niche businesses, others a good place to pilot new ideas and garner immediate feedback. Your goal is for everything you share to go viral, but that’s most likely not going to happen. (And if it did – would it really be viral anymore?) If it does, however, in an instance like Facebook, it’s because of an algorithm that’s rewarding you for sharing something that people are reacting to, and also because you are posting consistently. To reach your goals for web visibility, be active on social media, and attempt to engage the masses with your best content.
Build your analytics infrastructure. Optimize your site and content for SEO purposes. Create incredible content. Share it on social media. Go back and see what you’ve accomplished in Google Analytics because of the infrastructure you’ve built. Adjust. Rinse. Repeat.