Often one of our first suggestions to a new client is, “you need more content.” They and we hear it all the time, “content is King”. The thinking being that the more relevant content you create the more likely it is that you’ll be found online for relevant searches (you’re “optimizing” your site for search). And for the most part, this is true, if you regularly and consistently are creating new and relevant content you are more likely to be found online for relevant searches than you would without that content. This is how a content marketing strategy starts to develop.
It’s Not JUST About Keywords!
The problem is that new content for the sake of content isn’t very useful. No matter what type of content you produce (blog posts, videos, infographics, etc.), no matter how many relevant keywords you use for SEO purposes, there should be a content marketing strategy in place so that the content you create actually helps you meet your overall business objectives, after all that’s what your business’s website is supposed to help you do, right?
Most businesses are using their websites to meet their overall business objectives which usually are to sell products/services. And so their content marketing strategy shouldn’t be just to create keyword-rich content, but to create relevant content that influences purchase decisions. Even if your primary business objective is just to get more traffic for relevant topics/keywords to your site (for example: you run a gossip blog), producing keyword-rich content cannot be your only solution. You have to understand what your target audience wants first in order to create it.
How do people create relevant content for their business?
There are three research components that must be included in any content marketing strategy:
- Industry Research – what is your business about? Who are your competitors? How are they marketing themselves online?
- Keyword Research – what keywords are people using most to talk about your business and industry?
- Scheduling Research – how often should you be creating and publishing new content? How often are competitors?
Many people just answer these three questions then start to develop content and they skip putting together a content strategy altogether. The truth is there are many more questions you have to ask yourself about your business in order to create content that will help you meet your overall business objectives. In this blog post we list several questions you must answer in order to begin to develop an effective content strategy.
The first question you have to ask yourself when developing a content marketing strategy for your business is: What is the purpose of the content you’re creating? And what overall business objectives and goals will that content help you accomplish? Is the purpose of your content to build an online audience? Are you trying to become an authority in your industry’s space? Are you using the content to help your audience develop a better understanding of your product/services?
Whether the purpose of your content is to build an online audience, become an authority, or develop understanding among potential customers, there are several questions you must ask about both your business and customers in order to be able to understand and create the type of content your target audience (customers) wants.
First, Content Marketing Strategy Questions for your Business:
- What type of business is it? What industry are you in? For example: are you a digital marketing agency selling marketing services? Or are you an eCommerce site selling clothing and accessories? Or are you a brick and mortar business that has to have an online presence to stay competitive (for example a pizza delivery restaurant)?
- What are your business goals for your website? Do you want to improve your online presence and build your brand name? Do you want to sell products? Do you want people to contact you to make an appointment?
- What makes you unique? What sets you apart from the competition? What’s your unique value proposition? Why should those looking to make a purchase choose you?
Second, Content Marketing Strategy Questions for your Customers:
- Who are your customers? What industries do they work in? What job titles do they hold?
- How do they find you online? What keywords do they use to search for and find your site?
- How do your customers make purchase decisions? How long is the buying process? Do customers do a lot of research on your products before making a purchase? One-time purchasers or repeat customers?
Third, Content Marketing Strategy Questions for your Content:
- What type of content will it be (blog posts, infographics, videos, etc.)? What types of content do your customers like most? What types of content are you and your team able to produce?
- Where does it make sense to be promoted? Where is that type of content most popular online? Do people in your industry prefer a certain social media channel, industry webzine or review site, etc.? Can you get your content on those sites so that you can reach a larger target audience of qualified customers?
Once you’ve answered these questions you will have a clearer picture of who your customers are, what types of content they’re interested in, where you can find them online, and most importantly: what influences them to take action and make purchase decisions.
Come back next week and we’ll share some qualitative metrics you can use to measure the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy.
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