How to Develop a High-Performance Content Marketing Strategy
Approximately 65% of marketers report struggling to create engaging content that ranks well on search engines like Google.
Does this problem sound familiar to you? Have you not even tried to include content marketing in your business’s strategy because you’re unsure of where to begin?
The world of content creation and digital marketing can be a confusing and, at times, frustrating one, there’s no denying it. However, content marketing is too crucial to your business’s success to ignore it altogether.
If you’ve been feeling confused or uncertain about this essential marketing tactic, keep reading.
Explained below are the benefits of content marketing and how it can improve business performance. We’re also sharing some of our top tips to help you start creating an effective content marketing strategy today.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a specific, strategic marketing tactic that involves creating and distributing — you guessed it — content to a targeted audience with the goal of driving them to take a particular action (buying a product, signing up for a free webinar, visiting your website, etc.).
Even if you haven’t taken the time to formulate a content marketing plan for your business, there’s a good chance you’ve at least dabbled in content creation at one point or another.
Have you ever written a blog post, for example, or filmed a video about your business? If so, you’ve been putting together content that promotes your products or services and gets people interested in learning more about your brand. You’ve already dipped your toe into the content marketing pool.
When you start creating content consistently, with a clear intention, and with a defined audience in mind, you’ve moved on from simply creating content to establishing and following an effective content marketing strategy.
Types of Content Marketing
When they first think of content marketing, a lot of people automatically think about blog posts. This makes sense when you consider the fact that 77% of internet users report reading blogs. Furthermore, adding a blog to your business’s website has been shown to increase traffic by up to 434 per cent.
There’s value in blogging, for sure, and if that feels like a good fit for you, by all means, do it. However, blogging is not the only way to create content for your business and promote your products or services.
The following are some other examples of content that you might include in your marketing plan:
- Slide decks
- Social media posts
It doesn’t matter if your business sells potato chips or courses on self-publishing. Regardless of what you sell, there’s a way you can use content creation and content marketing to show off your products and services and get more people interested in what you have to offer.
Why Should Your Business Focus on Content Marketing?
Content marketing offers a wide range of business growth opportunities, whether you’re focused on expanding your audience or generating more leads.
If you’re still on the fence about using this type of marketing for your company, though, keep reading. The following are some of the top reasons why you and your team ought to be making content marketing a priority:
1. Grow a Bigger Online Audience
Research shows that, when it comes to unique website traffic, year-over-year growth is 7.8 times higher for businesses that prioritize content marketing and have a defined strategy in place.
If you’re looking to increase reach and build brand awareness online, content marketing can help.
From sharing social media posts to recording podcasts and video interviews, regular content creation helps you to get your business’s name and your message in front of a larger audience. This, in turn, makes it easier for you to redirect people back to your website, where they can learn more about your products or services.
Social media, in particular, is one of the biggest drivers when it comes to sharing content and improving business performance.
When you share content on social media, be it a link to a blog post or an interesting infographic, you create an opportunity for people to share your content with their followers.
This type of sharing increases your reach far beyond what you could do on your own, which means there are more opportunities for people to learn about your brand and what you’re all about. It also gives you more chances to engage with your target audience.
2. Increase Online Engagement
Speaking of engagement, that’s another major benefit brands get to enjoy when they start focusing more heavily on content marketing.
According to 72% of marketers, content marketing boosts their engagement in a significant way. Not only does content marketing make it easier for you to establish clear brand messaging, but it also gives you ample opportunities to make connections with members of your target audience and learn more about them.
For example, when you write a blog post, you can engage with them in the comments section. When you record a video and post it on social media, you can engage via comments and through direct messages.
However you connect with your audience, increased engagement creates more opportunities for you to pitch your products or services and pique people’s interest. This, in turn, can lead to more business growth over time as people become more trusting of your message and your brand.
3. Increased Brand Credibility
A key aspect of building a business and setting it up for success is convincing people that they can trust your products and your company overall. They need to be able to see you as the real deal, especially these days when new brands are launching every day, each claiming to be the very best.
Content marketing gives you and your team more chances to connect with your audience, get your name (and your products and services) in front of them, and help them to see that your business is the real deal. In other words, when you create high-quality content, you can show your audience that you are knowledgeable and are putting out products or services that are useful and truly do what you say they do.
Let’s say your company sells vitamins that are meant to support hair growth. If this is the case, a good option might be to create content that educates your audience on the different ingredients found in these vitamins. By publishing this type of content, you assure people that your products are safe and effective, and you can show them why they work.
4. Increased Brand Loyalty
Over time, a great deal of brand trust gives way to a great deal of brand loyalty.
75% of global consumers say that they will continue buying from a brand they trust, even if another hot and trendy brand comes along selling similar products or services.
Consumers say they will also take things one step further and advocate for the brand they trust. Across the globe, 78% of consumers say that they always recommend a brand to which they’re loyal if someone asks about it.
Remember, it generally takes quite a bit of repeated exposure before consumers start to trust and feel loyal to a brand.
With a consistent, carefully planned content marketing strategy, you’ll be able to get your company’s name and message in front of your target audience. This will help them to start feeling more loyal to you in the future.
5. Increased Brand Longevity
It’s great to have a business that is successful and profitable right now. It’s even better to have a business that is successful and profitable for years to come.
If you want to build a long-lasting brand that people continue to buy from again and again, you need to take the time to create content that helps you foster strong relationships and show people why your products or services are worth buying.
Consistent, high-quality content creation and distribution ensures your business stays relevant now and in the future. In 2021, when there are millions of businesses operating throughout the world, you need to regularly share content with your audience (via social media, email, etc.) to help them remember what you’re about and why your products or services are worth investing in.
6. Improved Search Engine Rankings
When it comes to increasing your online reach, you need to make SEO (short for search engine optimization) a priority. SEO is an umbrella term that describes a variety of tactics businesses can use to rank higher on search engine results pages (also known as SERPs).
Content creation is one of the most effective ways to boost your search engine ranking and improve the results of your SEO efforts.
First of all, creating content consistently also creates more opportunities for you to drive traffic back to your website. This, in turn, boosts your ranking and helps your website get closer to the coveted top spot.
Creating content that is optimized with specific, relevant keywords also increases the likelihood that people will find your website through organic search.
When you write blog posts or video descriptions that include words and phrases that your customers are using to search for products or services like yours, this helps your site to show up as a possible option for them to click on and visit.
7. Decreased Marketing Costs
Some businesses hesitate to invest in content marketing because they think it’s too expensive. They can’t justify spending time and resources to write blog posts or record videos because they assume they can’t afford it.
In reality, content marketing has lower upfront costs than many other types of marketing. It also yields a higher return on investment, too. This makes any upfront costs you do incur worthwhile in the long run.
According to one study, compared to paid search (which is regularly touted as the best and most cost-effective marketing technique), content marketing costs significantly less upfront and it generates 3 times more leads for each dollar spent.
If you’re looking to save money long-term, pivoting your marketing strategy to focus on content marketing could make a big difference.
When you consider the other benefits we’ve mentioned, you also have more opportunities to save money. For example, content marketing helps to build brand loyalty, which means you’re less likely to lose customers and have to deal with the costs associated with trying to convert new customers to make up for those losses.
8. More Detailed Audience Insights
Many content marketing techniques allow you to gain valuable insight into your audience, too. Social media marketing, for example, gives you extensive analytics that you can evaluate to learn about who is engaging with your content, where they live, what they’re interested in, and more.
Content marketing analytics help you to refine your strategy over time and create content that’s more targeted to your ideal customer.
When you have this information at your fingertips, you get a better idea of which types of content resonate most with your audience. This, in turn, makes it easier for you to decide what to create in the future and saves you from wasting time and resources on content that doesn’t work.
9. Better Lead Generation Results
If your primary marketing goal is to generate leads and get more people interested in buying your products or services, content creation and marketing should be high on your list of priorities.
As the study mentioned above revealed, content marketing generates 3 times more leads per $1 than paid search, and it costs less. There are lots of reasons why content marketing yields these kinds of results, including the following:
- It attracts more qualified traffic (people who are likely to become customers) to your website.
- It showcases your company’s expertise, which can convince people who have been on the fence to take the plunge and look more closely into your business.
- It shows how your business can solve specific problems for your target customers.
Content marketing can also be used to highlight past successes. This, in turn, can convince people who might have been on the fence about checking out your brand and get them more interested in visiting your website or getting in touch with a representative.
10. Increased Conversion Rates
At the end of the day, what most marketers want more than anything else is to help their businesses grow and flourish with higher sales numbers and increased profitability. A solid content marketing strategy can help you achieve that goal.
When you take the time to establish credibility, build relationships, and help people feel more connected and loyal to your brand, you get the reward of more leads and more conversions.
Research shows that businesses that use content marketing have 6 times higher conversion rates compared to businesses that don’t. To be specific, non-content marketing adopters saw a 0.5% increase, whereas content marketing adopters saw a 2.9% increase.
For many business owners, a 1% increase would mean astronomical growth. What could a 2.9% increase do for you, your team, and your business as a whole?
Start Creating Quality Content ASAP
Clearly, a solid content marketing strategy can do a lot for your business, from building stronger relationships with your target customers to increasing conversions and boosting your company’s profitability.
If you haven’t started using content marketing yet, you need to change that right away.
Remember, the results of a global survey showed that 91% of businesses worldwide were using content marketing. If you’re not part of this group, you’re missing out on tons of great benefits, and you’re going to struggle to keep up with the competition moving forward.
Maybe all of your competitors aren’t using content marketing yet. However, there’s a good chance they’re going to start using it soon.
Why not get ahead of them and start formulating your own strategy now? Don’t wait and potentially miss your chance to enjoy all that content marketing has to offer you and your team.
How to Get Started with Content Marketing
If you haven’t already done so, it’s important to get into the content marketing world sooner rather than later. However, it’s also important to ensure you’re not just putting out content for the sake of putting out content.
The key to a successful marketing strategy is high-quality, intentionally created content and careful planning. Throwing up a random Instagram post or sending the occasional marketing email will not yield the kind of results we discussed above when we broke down the benefits of content marketing for business growth.
If a lack of understanding about where to start is holding you back from taking the plunge into the world of content marketing, use these steps listed below as a jumping-off point as you and your team work together to establish an effective strategy:
1. Check Out the Competition
The first step to a solid content marketing strategy is competitor research. It’s more likely than not that your competitors are using content marketing, so you surely have something to reference to get a sense of their current approach.
Conducting competitor research gives you more insight into what other businesses like yours are doing to connect with their audience, generate leads, and increase conversions. An example of competitor research is checking out their social media feeds to see what kind of content they’re posting.
While you’re doing this, you might consider how often they are posting and how much engagement their posts are receiving. Which posts have lots of likes and comments and which ones have just a few?
The point of this research is not to copy your competitors after looking into their content, but rather to see what gaps you can fill with content of your own. Are there questions they’re leaving unanswered or topics they haven’t covered yet? If so, use them as fodder for your content creation and content marketing plan moving forward.
2. Analyse Your Audience
In addition to exploring your competitors’ content marketing strategies, it’s also important to analyse your audience and learn as much as you can about the people who are buying (or who might one day be interested in buying) your products or services.
Audience research helps you tailor your content to the right people. This, in turn, makes it easier for people to feel connected to your brand and compelled to engage with the content you publish.
Think about it. If you want to attract young consumers to your brand but you’re writing stuffy, science-heavy content, it might not resonate in the way you’re hoping.
There are lots of ways to get to know your audience, from assessing your website analytics to conducting polls on social media.
It’s helpful, too, to think about who your ideal customer is. Consider creating buyer personas so you can have a specific type of person in mind when you’re writing blog posts or creating an online course.
3. Set Clear Goals
When creating your marketing strategy, make sure you’ve taken the time to sit down with your team and set clear goals.
What do you want to accomplish with your content? What kinds of calls to action are you going to include? What long-term results do you want to see from your efforts?
Whatever goals you set, make sure they are specific, measurable, and time-bound. Don’t just say, “I want to increase sales” or “I want to generate more leads.” Be clear about how many more sales you want to make or how many more leads you want to generate.
Give your team a deadline, too. For example, you might say, “I want to increase sales by 1 per cent by the end of this quarter” or “I want to generate twice as many leads this month as we did last month.”
4. Choose the Right Publishing Platforms
When you conduct audience research, you’ll learn that your target customers are more likely to use some platforms than others.
For example, a young audience might spend more time on social media, so you would likely want to focus more of your content creation efforts in that area. If your audience is older professionals, though, they might be more attracted to content sent directly to their email inbox, so a strong email marketing campaign would be more beneficial.
Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one type of content creation. Diversifying will help you to cast a wider net and bring in more people.
At the same time, though, if you’re going to invest time and resources into content creation, you might as well choose the types of content that are most likely to generate interest and help you achieve your specific marketing goals.
5. Build a Content Calendar
A content calendar makes it easy for you and your marketing team to know when to publish certain types of content.
This tool eliminates the guesswork of figuring out what you’re going to post on a particular day. It also gives you time to batch-prepare content so you’re always ready and don’t have to scramble at the last minute to put something online.
Creating a content calendar can be a bit intimidating at first. By setting aside time to plan now, though, you’ll save yourself and your team a lot of stress and frustration later on. Keep in mind, too, that you can always move things around as needed. If something happens unexpectedly that you need to address on your blog or on social media, you can make adjustments to the calendar. It still provides a helpful blueprint and simplifies day-to-day content marketing matters.
6. Create Test Content
When you first delve into the world of content marketing, you and your team will be met with some growing pains. There’s no getting around it. However, one way to minimise these issues and fine-tune your process is to start by creating some test content.
Put together a couple of blog posts, record one video, or design a few infographics. Whatever type of content you decide to create, use your audience analysis to figure out what is most likely to be well-received.
Use care when creating this test content to ensure it’s of high quality and aligns with your company’s mission and values. Remember, though, that this content doesn’t have to be perfect right out of the gate.
You will need to make some changes or adjust the way you approach certain topics to make them more appealing to your audience. If you never start, though, and continue to spin your wheels, you’ll never get to enjoy the benefits that content marketing has to offer, and your competitors will leave you in the dust.
7. Publish and Assess
Drip out your test content over the course of a few days or weeks, depending on how much you were able to create.
Once it’s been published, pay attention to how it performs. Monitor your social media analytics, website analytics, or email analytics to see how many people are viewing your content, how many people are engaging with it, and how well they’re receiving it overall.
Are people’s comments primarily positive? Are they learning and deriving value from what you’re putting out? Are you seeing an increase in the number of people who are signing up for your lead magnet or contact your business to set up consultations?
Pay attention to how your content is received and take note of both positive and negative reviews. Use this information to fine-tune future content creation so you know what to do more of and what to avoid moving forward.
8. Partner with Professionals
Are you and the members of your marketing team feeling overwhelmed at the idea of taking on the world of content creation and putting together a marketing strategy from scratch? Are you wondering when you’re going to find time to do all of this with everything else you have on your plate?
If you don’t have the time to commit to content marketing, the answer isn’t to skip it altogether. Instead, you’re better off outsourcing your content creation, or at least certain aspects of it. There are lots of interns and freelancers out there who are looking to get a foot in the door and would be happy to partner with you to create and publish content, conduct audience research, and more.
Outsourcing to these people frees you up to focus on other things while also enjoying the benefits of content marketing.
9. Be Consistent
Finally, be consistent. No matter what kind of content you want to create to market your business, make sure you’re publishing consistently. Use your content calendar to figure out a schedule that works for you and your team, then stick with it.
Not only does consistency help you to rank better on search engine results pages, but it also helps you to build trust and loyalty with your audience.
If your target customers know that they can count on you to always have a great podcast uploaded or an interesting infographic published on Instagram, they’ll be more inclined to stick around and continue engaging with you and your content. They’ll be more interested in becoming customers sooner, too.
Do You Need Help with Content Creation?
Are you convinced that it’s time to start including content marketing in your business’s strategy?
In addition to all of the benefits outlined above, keep in mind there’s also a good chance your competitors are already using content marketing (or at least thinking about it). If you don’t jump on the wagon soon, you and your team are going to be left behind.
If you and your team don’t have time to create content yourself, consider working with freelance copywriters, designers, and content creators to simplify the process and streamline your workflows.
Udrafter makes it easier than ever for busy professionals like you to find interns and early talent who can offer on-demand, affordable solutions to all your content marketing needs. Reach out to us today and we’ll help you start filling the gaps in your team in no time.