Why Content Marketing Is a Must-Have for All Size Businesses? How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy Step-by-Step?
The digitalization era has changed the traditional approach to marketing to more intricate digital marketing methods and opportunities for businesses to be recognized. The conventional banners and flyers have grown into state-of-the-art online posts and blogs. The competition among companies is getting stiffer every day. What makes the real difference is the returns you get from your marketing efforts, capitalize on your target audience and convert prospective customers into actual buyers.
If you wonder how brands can stay relevant, convert customers and create customer loyalty, the solution is content marketing.
In this article, we will dive deeper into what content marketing is, its benefits, and how to integrate engaging content marketing into your digital strategy. Follow along to learn how to create high-quality content for your products or services.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is not about writing a bunch of texts and distributing them across your website or social media channels. It is about reaching your goals, educating your public, delivering vital information to your audience and making a sale. Your content team must know that what they create represents your business’s experience to potential customers and buyers, either online or offline.
A content marketing strategy is based on your business’s “why”. Why are you creating any type of content, how are you reaching your business goals with it, who are you helping with this piece of content, and how are you helping them in a way that your competition is not? Content marketing focuses on creating an audience, increasing revenue, lowering customer acquisition costs, and converting your customer base into loyal customers.
A content marketing plan is a meticulous and tactical document that presents in great detail the specifics of how you will implement your strategy, who on your team will be responsible for each task and how they will implement it. It is crucial to know that you need a content marketing strategy before you create your content plan. A content plan is just like a marketing plan that focuses only on content-related matters. It usually includes the main topics you want to cover, the types of content you want to create, where you will share it, when you share it, and what call to action will be incorporated in your content?
We firmly stand by the fact that content marketing is one of the most efficient approaches to grow your target audience’s engagement, develop and reinforce your brand online presence, and in the end, drive sales. Let’s explore together the next chapter, where we talk about the importance of content marketing.
Why Content Marketing Is a Must-Have for All Size Businesses?
In this section, we will show you why content marketing efforts are necessary for business success. The Content Marketing Institute confirms year after year that the content marketers with a documented strategy are more successful than those who don’t. 57% of content marketers do not have a documented content marketing strategy.
Based on HubSpot’s State of Inbound report, 80% of marketers consider content creation a top priority, and for B2B businesses, the content marketing costs represent 26% of their marketing budgets.
The key to achieving your content marketing goal is to be consistent across all your platforms and have a unique and easily recognisable tone, voice and style. Being consistent will set up the foundation and ensure the growth of your brand credibility, trust and reputation.
Now, let’s enumerate the benefits of content marketing:
- Increase organic traffic and boost lead generation – based on HubSpot’s survey, 63% of companies face a challenge in generating traffic and leads. A successful content marketing strategy has, at its core, created current content and shared it to bring relevant leads and traffic to your website. We strongly recommend you consider when it comes to generating organic traffic, you should keep in mind two essential elements: consistency and quality. Consistency means having a schedule and regularly publishing content to keep your target customers coming back to your website and attracting new users. Quality focuses on original content that matches your users intent. Valuable content should inform, entertain, and interest your audience. It should persuade potential customers to click, read, view or share your content.
- Increase credibility through knowledge – posting consistent content that proves your knowledge of your business niche will build brand authority. You provide value to your current customers and insightful information for potential customers. Your content should answer searcher’s questions, you can share advice and demonstrate that your company can be trusted.
- Improve customer relationships and boost engagement – one main benefit of content marketing is increased engagement. When your content satisfies your customer’s needs, they find it interesting, helpful and entertaining. They are more likely to share it and comment on your posts. Engagement is at the base of building connections and social proof. The more likes and shares your content gets, the more valuable it is to your target audience.
- Encourage potential buyers to make a purchase – a successful content strategy will convince prospective customers to buy. You can move the customers through the sales funnel with relevant content. First, you raise awareness of a problem, then you define that problem and seek solutions; the third step is to find answers and choose the best one for your audience personas. The last step for them is to decide to purchase. Your content can help users identify their problems, offer them solutions and help them understand why your products and services are the most beneficial for them. We encourage you to share relevant content for every stage of the customer journey. This way, you achieve your ultimate goal of driving your users to profitable customer action for them and your business.
- Bring long-term value to your business – nowadays, the internet is full of information sources. The key to differentiating yourself from the crowd is to create fresh and alluring content. By doing so, you serve your target audience valuable details, build a growing following and increase your organic search hits. Blog posts are a powerful tool that will nourish your business over the years. We recommend focusing on evergreen content. This means you write content that it’s timeless and still applicable over the years. More than that, writing articles for SEO (search engine optimization) will build your website’s authority, and search engines always repay high-quality websites over time.
Types of Content Marketing
The best part of marketing content is that you don’t have to stick with only one content type to include in your strategy. You can “mix and match” to improve your key performance indicators (KPIs). Now, we are going to enumerate the most common activities that content creators prefer.
- Social Media – Social media marketing is a powerful tool to reach your audience as over 3.6 billion users use social channels. Our advice is to research your audience and not create a social media strategy for all platforms. Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter are just a few examples that you can extend your strategy. To create and share content for each platform, you should first understand the specifics of the social posts. Whether it is visual content such as photos, video content, stories or other content formats, it is a must to understand each platform and create a content calendar and stick by it.
- Infographics – you can create informative content through infographics. This is a great way to engage your audience as it has valuable data that is very easy to understand in a graphic format. Using simple, short sentences and clear images is a fantastic way to display your content. Infographics are usually used to educate your audience on intricate topics that are harder to understand.
- Blog Content – blog traffic is one of the elements that help your website rank better on the search engines results page (SERP), and it filters the audience for you. When a user is coming to your blog, it means that they are interested in the subject and want to learn more about a topic. A blog is an excellent way for your team to be creative with promoting your products or services. More than that, you can add internal and external links, add social media share buttons and share your article across various communication channels.
- Podcasts – The Infinite Dial 2020 survey shows that 49% of people from the United States, between 12 and 32 years old, listen to an average of six hours a week of podcasts. If your ideal audience matches the profile above, you can start creating and sharing your podcast. The best part of podcasts is that you can let your creativity run wild on any topic you choose. For these pieces of content, you can put together an editorial calendar with topics you would like to discuss, who will be invited on your podcast, the cadence of episodes, how long the episodes will be, and the channels you will advertise your podcast.
- Videos – according to Wyzowl research, 69% of consumers prefer to learn about a company’s products or services through videos. Videos help business objectives such as increasing conversions, boosting ROI and improving relationships with your audience. You can promote your videos through social media posts, on landing pages or the website.
- Paid Ads – if your business objective is to reach a broader audience and spread the awareness of your brand on multiple platforms, then paid ads to complete digital marketing campaigns. Paid ads can be distributed on social media, banners, sponsored content, landing pages, guest posts, etc.
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy Step-by-Step?
Now it’s the time to talk about the exciting part of content marketing success and how to achieve it. In this section, we will help you create a content strategy plan step-by-step to achieve your business objective.
Before diving into creating your content marketing campaigns, you must define your business goal and answer some questions. This way, you will ensure that what you create and distribute will have a maximum impact on your audience.
Step 1 – Set Up Your Goal
To define your goal is to identify what you want to accomplish through your content marketing plan. Find out your “Why” – why do you want to create content, and why do you want to create a content marketing plan? Know your goals from the beginning. It will be easier for you to identify the right content marketing tools.
When setting up your goal, our advice is to adopt the SMART Goals methodology.
S stands for specific (define real numbers and deadlines). An example will be “I want a 10% growth in conversions during three months”.
M stands for measurable. This means you should be able to track and quantify your results.
A stands for achievable or attainable, which means your goals should be reasonable to achieve.
R stands for realistic. This means knowing what your team is capable of. Be honest with yourself.
Lastly, T stands for time-bound, which means setting up a deadline.
By setting up goals this way, you can quickly identify what has worked and your bottlenecks with your current strategy.
Step 2 – Know Your Target Audience
The second big question you must answer is “Who is the ideal customer that will read your content?”. The answer to this question will establish how you are writing, distributing and advertising your content. We recommend using multiple content types and channels to customize your buyer persona’s information. If you have multiple audiences and more than one type of customer, your content can be adjusted to fit more user types. If you don’t have your audience split into profiles, you can learn how to do customer profiling by reading our step-by-step guide.
Step 3 – Perform a Content Audit
The most used content marketing activity is to have a blog. We are a big advocate of having a blog to support your SEO efforts and to educate your public. But, if you want to take advantage of other content channels and content formats, we strongly encourage you to do a content audit to identify your top-performing and lowest-performing type of content. This way, you can decide the direction you want to go.
If you have a well-established business, you can review your content marketing strategies and analyze the results you got in the previous year. Identify what you can do differently and set up new goals. Align the new goals with the overall business goals and your team’s goals.
A content audit will give you insights into what your audience likes the most. You can identify gaps in your topics and keywords. You can brainstorm original content ideas to keep your buyers interested in your business.
Step 4 – Examine Your Content Management System (CMS)
Your CMS might become overwhelmed as your business grows, and you need to reconsider your choices. Whether you choose a custom development solution, an already built CMS or a one-page website is up to you. What is extremely important is that your CMS gives you the options of content creation, content publication and content analytics efficiently and sustainably. More than that, make sure your website has an engaging user interface, it is responsive, so your users can access it and enjoy your content on multiple devices, its performance is optimized so it can be accessed fast, and it has an easy to follow website architecture so your visitors can find everything they are looking for intuitively.
Step 5 – Choose Your Content Distribution Channels
The beauty of content creation is that it allows you to try out multiple styles and test different channels from landing pages to social media.
Choosing your content distribution channels must reflect the way your audience spends time online. If your target buyer enjoys watching long-form videos, you may want to create a YouTube channel. If your audience is younger and prefers snappy and quick content, you can opt-in for TikTok and Instagram Reels.
Make sure that you create content for your audience and adapt it to their preferences and needs.
Step 6 – Create a Content Calendar
You might think that creating a content calendar is an easy task, but we advise you to think twice. Consistency is key. Any disturbance in the way you communicate with your public will be noticed and penalized by your audience. Therefore, before starting on your calendar, make sure that:
- Each team member knows what their task is. Who’s in charge of creating what type of content?
- What are the channels where every kind of content will be published?
- When is every piece of content going to go live?
We recommend grouping your content strategy from a topic point of view. This way is easier to plan a content editorial calendar, and it is much easier to visualize your messages across the communications channels.
Step 7 – Choose The Content Type You Want to Create
An essential question you must ask yourself is, “What issue will you be solving for your users through your content?”. Your products or services should solve a problem that your audience has, and your content team should educate your readers about this issue, help users identify it and talk about it. Your content should support both sides of your product and help the people who are still trying to figure out their main challenge and those who use your product to overcome their challenges.
You can choose to put that into many formats, from ebooks to blog posts, video or audio content. To make the right choice, you should focus on your audience’s preferences and post on the platforms they spend the most time on. This way, you don’t waste precious time and resources on channels that are not reaching your audience, not bringing any type of engagement, views or sales.
After you identify the right networks, draft a budget and start creating the content strategy that will bring the most results for you.
Step 8 – Brainstorm New Ideas
We strongly advise you to take a look at your competitors. Your customers should know what makes you different from the companies that sell similar products or provide similar services. Establish and put in front of the customers your main asset or maybe differentiate yourself with a unique voice and tone. The point is that you must stand out from the crowd, and your buyers should know that, and they should be able to identify your brand among your competitors. Once you have your unique brand element, make sure you evidentiate it through your content. Here are some tools that might inspire ideas for your next content marketing strategy: BuzzSumo, BlogAbout, CoSchedule.
Step 9 – Publish and Manage Your Content
Besides creating a marketing plan and a schedule, you should organize your content. A content editorial calendar will keep you on the right track with the publishing schedule. After the editorial calendar, we recommend you create a social media calendar to help you publish, manage and promote your content on the social network channels. More than that, you can stay organized and create a calendar for other communication channels and types of content.
Step 10 – Analyze Your Results and Refresh Your Content
A blog, for example, will bring tangible results in approximately six months. Our advice for this approach is to create evergreen content relevant for months or even years but do not ignore the timely topics. The evergreen content will bring constant traffic, while the hot topics can generate traffic spikes.
It is crucial to analyze the results of your campaigns, blog and social channels because the data you get will reveal valuable information about what you do right and what needs improvements. Analyzing tools such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and the Insights or Analytics tabs from other channels such as Facebook, Instagram, MailChimp, etc., will give you concise and clear information based on your audience’s behaviour.
Content marketing is a key factor in your digital marketing strategy that can place you on top of your competition or at the bottom. More than that, Google is a big advocate of quality content and the better your content, the higher you will rank, and your website will be safe no matter what Google core update will roll out. Your business, audience, employees, and search engines will benefit from a rock-solid content strategy. Remember that content marketing will help your business grow only if your marketing strategies are based on data. There is no doubt that you need time and resources to create a solid digital marketing and content strategy. If you don’t have the time or the resources, you can contact us, and we will gladly take this task off your shoulders. Check out our portfolio and our reviews to get an idea of our approach.