A recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI ) found that 86% of B2C businesses plan to spend more on content marketing in 2013. 54% of B2B businesses said they intend to do the same. CMI’s data backs up what many of us already know — content is king and growing in royal importance by the day.
Content marketing aims to accomplish an array of goals — creating awareness, generating traffic, driving sales and much more. No matter what goals you have defined for your business, it is imperative to come up with a strategy that will allow them to be realized. Now, five awesome tips you can use to hammer out your very own content marketing strategy.
1. Prioritize Proper Content Creation
Content comes in many forms, and can thus be created in a variety of ways. Instead of concentrating on the what and the how, think about the who and the when. Who will be responsible for creating your content? When will it be created and shared with your audience? Questions like these are among the reasons marketers are increasingly drawing up schedules that dictate who will churn out the content, where it will be published, when it should go live, and so forth.
2. Start Tracking Your Competitors
A good marketer doesn’t shy away from competition — they embrace it! Not only that, they keep a sharp eye on their competitors. Through dedicated competitive analysis, you can find out what kinds of content your rivals are leveraging (images, video, infograpics, etc.) what type of response they are generating, how users are interacting with that material and more. From all this, you can gain valuable insights to fuel your own initiatives.
3. Do All the SEO Stuff
SEO is critical to the success of content and one of the biggest reasons it reigns supreme on the web. So in order to devise a truly effective strategy, you need to square away optimization essentials such as:
- Keyword research – What keywords are your ideal customers entering into their favorite search engine? What tools will you use to find out?
- Link structure – No matter what you’ve heard about SEO marching in a new direction, links are still an integral part of the process. A combination of quality inbound, outbound, and internal links will work wonders for your content marketing efforts.
- Social signals – It is unclear how big of an influence social signals have on SEO, but the overall consensus is that they do matter. In fact, some have gone as far to say that creating a presence on Google Plus can provide a huge boost for search visibility. Whether it’s tallying up +1 clicks, retweets or Facebook Likes, an increase in social engagement can’t hurt.
- Be Good – These days, a big part of thriving with SEO is knowing what not to do. Some things you definitely want to stay away from are keyword stuffing, duplicate content and producing low quality material that offers no real value to real people.
4. Find the Right Marketing Channels
There are a plethora of channels available to push your content through. You’ve got all the traditional options brands have been working for years, in addition to a slew of newer and emerging outlets across the digital landscape. Whether it’s through TV, email, social media or a combination of them all, the right marketing channels are those your target audience is plugged into. Needless to say, you need to find out where that is before you go splurging with the budget.
5. Live By Analytics
Seasoned content marketers know that analytics has been important long before industry analysts started talking all this big data stuff. Analytics is powerful because it not only lets us track our results, but also make better decisions in the future. And there is all sorts of analytics too, which just makes things that much sweeter. For instance, you’ve got:
- Email analytics – Track opens, clicks and bounces to gauge the impact of email campaigns.
- Web analytics – Measure unique visits, page views, and bounce rates to determine the overall appeal of your website.
- Video analytics – Monitor number of views, shares and traffic sources to access the engagement quality of your video content.
The right type of analytics will depend on the type of content you’re marketing. Just make sure you have a tool (or two) that allows you to see where you stand with your efforts.
There you have it. Five tips to help you not only create, but fine-tune your content marketing strategy. Whether you include these specific pointers in your own arsenal or not, make sure you come up with something because going out there unarmed is a failure in the making.