Content Marketing is the new form of advertising for small businesses. Rather than creating ads that are shoved in the faces of consumers during commercial breaks, companies are now seeking to create value-added content that informs, entertains and drives traffic to their web presence. They call it branded content. Why businesses are focusing on such activities? Because they work. Specifically, there are a wealth of tactics that work for small businesses with limited budgets all related to content such as blogs, ebooks, podcasts, infographics and (viral) videos. Problem is how to get the most out of them, especially if this is your first time kicking-off a strategy for your online contents.
The 3 Pillars You Ought Master To Start Any Strategy
There is often too much information out there around what is the best solution for your business – making it overwhelming and difficult to know where exactly you should start. No matter what others write or tell, it all comes to 3 main ideas, thus business areas upon which any strategy aimed at your content creation, development and maintenance is up to:
- Content Strategy: “the big picture” and covers the planning, goals, type of contents, publishing schedule, and governance
- Content Marketing Strategy: the active result of your planning and take into consideration the creation of the content to achieve your business goals
- Content SEO: the metrics upon which test and evaluate your strategy and efforts
These three core concepts should be employed to create successful online content. Having an intimate knowledge of the keywords that work for your business, the most effective types of content and having the systems in place to track your results are the first steps in positioning your web content to rank better, generate more leads and grow your sales. That being said, I’ve taken this information and broken it down into 3 simple steps that ANY business can follow to begin creating a strategy that works.
Step 1: Lay The Foundation
Before diving right into content creation, it is important to take a step back from your business and have a firm understanding of the “space” you operate in. You have to know what exactly your audience wants, the keywords that will connect them with your content and which systems to implement in order to track that information.
Fortunately, there are plenty of great (and free) tools that can help get you there. Google Analytics is a great tracking tool (available as WordPress plugin as well) that gives you the ability to view your website traffic volume as a whole, traffic on a specific page or see some of the keywords that drive traffic to your website.
The Google Adwords Keyword Planner is another great tool which can give you a sense of the total volume of traffic a specific keyword generates and an estimate for what it would cost to run a paid campaigns based off that keyword (and a way to generate new your editorial ideas). Lastly, SEOMoz has great tools for doing research, one of which is their Open Site Explorer. Here, you can compare your website with up to five competitors and see a breakdown of which website is most effective when it comes to domain authority (which translates directly into better search ranking).
Step 2: Decide On A Strategy
Now that you’re getting your hands dirty with “content” it’s about time to plan your future activities to get results. I’d say start from the first (and immediate) data you already have: keywords. If you have learned that a specific keyword generates decent web traffic volume or leads, be sure to plan your content with the optimization of that keyword in mind. Become eager of knowing who really are the people you’re talking to through preferred channels (blogs, ebooks, videos, etc.) and create specific characters toward the conversation is aimed (build your personas).
At this point, ask yourself this question which is critical to a successful (or failed) execution of your strategy:
Do I have all that’s needed to bring my content strategy to life?
For example: if you want to create videos, can you count on in-house technology and team that knows how to make them? If not, do you have the budget to hire in a third-party video maker? How about writers? Who’s going to be in charge of developing the core message? It is critical to have a basic understanding what a strategy will be in terms of goals and efforts.
Step 3: Get To Work
Once you’ve done your homework and implemented it, the final step is to execute. Don’t know where to begin? Start by writing 2 blog post, the first on your top keyword and one useful, which is sharing an idea on how to use better your product/service. Want another idea? Pull out your camera and prove your prospects with an insider view of your workplace. Then use Social Media or Email Marketing to share your content with your audience and start growing a following that wants to know more about the information you’re making available – which, again, is the ultimate goal of Content Marketing.
While there is no “one-size fits all” Marketing Strategy that will work, through the tactics I outlined, you’ll have a leg-up against your competition and will be better-suited to gain traffic, visibility and exposure for your content across the Web.
[Image: Chris Potter]