If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve undoubtedly heard the term “content marketing” tossed around a few times. It’s become something of an industry buzzword in recent years. But what exactly IS content marketing, and how is it important to your business strategy?
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant content to your audience. The purpose of this content isn’t necessarily to sell your audience something. Rather, by providing valuable information and tools to help them solve problems, you’re building trust with your audience and establishing your brand as an authority in your field.
Why is that so important? Well, in today’s market, customers don’t really want to be advertised to. Just think about how quickly you hit the “Skip Ad” button when you’re watching a YouTube video. According to Stratabeat, “80 percent of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles, versus an advertisement.” And Content Marketing Institute reports that more than 70% of consumers surveyed would rather learn about a product or service through content than advertising.
Here’s the great part for you as a business owner: according to Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% LESS than traditional marketing, and generates approximately 3 times as many leads per dollar spent. In other words, content marketing can yield some pretty big bang for your buck—if you do it right.
Is your strategy converting?
Ultimately, your content marketing should result in more conversions, increased sales and higher profits. But you won’t achieve those results by haphazardly throwing content pieces at your audience to see what sticks. If you really want results, you need to build a content marketing strategy that reaches your target audience, provides them value that is different than what your competition offers, and encourages them to become loyal customers.
So, how do you build a winning content marketing strategy?
As with any marketing strategy, you want to create a plan that clearly defines your goals and outlines the steps you will take to reach those goals. Goals for your content marketing plan might include increasing your social media following, driving more traffic to your website, adding subscribers to your newsletter, and increasing leads. Whatever those goals are, make sure you write them down, and then—and this is super important!—track them. It does you no good to set goals for your content marketing strategy and then never measure them to see whether your strategy is actually working for you.
Know your audience.
I can’t stress this enough. Dig into your audience. Understand what they’re like, how they like to consume their content and what type of information appeals to them. Get a strong grasp on the problems they face that your business helps to solve. Then you can start to create content that directly addresses your target audience and offers them value.
Map out your content marketing strategy.
Instead of just jumping right into creating the content, map out your strategy first. Decide what topics you’re going to cover—and when. For instance, if you’re a life coach and you want to talk about the benefits of setting goals, that’s a message that might be best received around the beginning of the year. Being intentional about your content increases the probability of it having the desired effect for your business.
Optimize your content and share it where it counts.
You don’t want to spend the time and effort creating great content no one is going to see, so don’t neglect SEO. Do your keyword research and optimize your blog posts and website pages for search. Then be sure to share your content on the platforms that make the most sense for your business. Notice I’m not saying you should post your content everywhere. If you’re a small business owner with limited time and resources, being active on every social media platform is probably not the best use of your time. Instead, share your content in the places where you know your audience is active and engaged. And don’t worry about having to be everywhere.
Content marketing can work wonders for your business if you do it effectively. Just remember that it is a long-term strategy that will take time to implement and to test for ROI. And once you do have the data to determine your strategy’s effectiveness, you might have to make some tweaks. It’ll be worth it when you’re able to create content your audience loves—and then see that translate into better conversion rates and higher profits.
Need some help with your business’s content marketing strategy? Drop me a message in the comments or contact me to see how I can help.