So, you decided that blogging for business is the best way to drive traffic to your company’s website. What do you do next?
Most people jump right in. They buy a domain, choose a color scheme, come up with a few content ideas and start writing content or hire a professional content writing service to do that. All these before taking a second to really think about what they want to achieve.
They soon realize that what started off strong is rapidly fading. They don’t have a goal, a message and they don’t know what they should be measuring. Simply put, they don’t have a consistent content marketing strategy.
Content marketing has become a vital component of most companies’ marketing efforts. According to Content Marketing Institute, more than 70% of businesses are creating more content in 2015 compared to 2014. Furthermore, it is expected that 59% of B2C marketers and 55% of B2B marketers will increase their content marketing budget. So, how can you make sure your posts won’t get lost in the noise?
Whether you are just starting blogging for business or you are redefining your old content strategy, it’d help to have a plan.
Below we’ve rounded up the most important questions that will help transform your content strategy and your business, as well.
1. What are your content marketing objectives?
Any marketer needs to start by asking the big question: What do you want to achieve through your content strategy?
There are probably tens of businesses similar to yours, trying to reach the same potential customers as you do. Without a clear strategy, your voice won’t be heard and you won’t be able to deliver your brand’s message to your target audience.
The first step to any content marketing strategy is to set measurable goals and objectives. Look closely at your company’s needs and ask yourself how can content marketing help you fulfill some of them? Write down what kind of results you are expecting to get and how much effort you are willing to invest into this.
For example, “I will post two articles per week and get 500 visitors on each post”.
Try to set realistic goals. Of course, we would love to get hundreds of thousands of targeted visitors, but the reality is that this is a slow process that takes the time to show results, and you need to be patient.
2. How will your content strategy impact your business?
One of the worst feelings a marketer can have is to write a good blog post, publish it, share it on Social Media and then…nothing happens.
Simply writing, publishing and repeating the process is not enough. To make sure your content marketing is really having an impact, you must determine your specific goals and keep them in line with your company’s vision. Think of the role your content is supposed to have in promoting your company and find ways to translate this role into measurable actions.
Turn to a content writing service if you don’t have time to devote yourself to content strategy, creation and distribution.
3. Who is your target audience?
In order to develop a successful content marketing strategy, you need to define your content’s target audience. By knowing your audience and understanding its needs, you will be able to create content that appeals to them.
If you look at companies that are creating great content, you will see that they have one thing in common: they truly understand their target audience. They look beyond basic demographic information, such as age, gender, geography or income, and build a complex buyer persona profile. They do extensive research, surveys and interviews in order to understand their customers’ needs, their behavior and their role in the family. They integrate this information into a profile that will help them write content that will make their audience read and convert.
For example: “Annie is a young woman from Austin. She works in a big corporation and spends most of her time at the office or rushing to get to important meetings. She is single and has a steady income. Annie loves her job, but hates the fact that she doesn’t have time to take proper care of herself. She worries her lifestyle will affect her health and wants to do something about it. But, because of her hectic schedule, she doesn’t have time to cook a healthy meal every night or go to the gym regularly. She is concerned with food and health related issues and reads a lot of blogs and scientific publications looking for solutions. She also turns to her friends for advice. Annie believes that solving this issue will give her more strength and will help her concentrate on further building her future.
If you aren’t confident in your ability to create a complex and insightful buyer persona, it’s better to hire a highly competent content writing service.
4. Does your content solve their problems?
Let’s get things straight: people aren’t visiting your website just to see what you’ve been up to lately. They do it because they have a problem and you may have the solution.
There are a lot of great ways you can get into the heads of your audience and see what is bothering them. For starters, there are tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner or Google Trends where you can see what topics are trending. Or, better yet, you can look at your blog’s internal search data to find what your visitors are looking for and if they found what they were expecting to find.
You can also go to forums and social networks and read comments and discussion to get information on a variety of topics.
5. What type of content is relevant to your audience?
By now you should be completely aware that content marketing can add value to your marketing efforts. But, in order to make it count, you must focus on topics that are relevant to your business and your audience. Sure, writing about exotic destinations may sound like fun, but it’s of no use if you are not in the travelling niche.
Besides topics, your content format is also important. There is a vast array of content formats you can choose from, such as how-to’s, case studies, opinion posts, interviews, reviews, eBooks, quotes, videos, slide shares, infographics and so on.
You don’t have to try each one of these formats. Different content types work differently for different brands.
If you are not sure what type of content to use, look at the data. For example, infographics have been shown to get up to three times more shares than other types of content. Furthermore, you can always reach out for help by working with agencies specialized in content marketing and copywriting services.
6. What channels should you use to share your content?
If a post was written, but it wasn’t shared, did it really happen?
Most of us share our content once or twice on social media. But, according to some marketers, you should spend as much time promoting your content as you do while writing it. However, deciding which social media channels to use is equally as important as frequency.
Your business’ profile is the best indicator of where your audience chooses to consume their content. For example, if you are a fashion retailer, you will, most probably, find your customers on Instagram and Pinterest. But, if you are a tech company, Twitter and LinkedIn should be your playground.
Another important question is how to get people to share your content. One of the easiest things you can do is ask for shares. You offered your readers a great article for free, packed with useful information and solutions. Don’t be afraid to ask something in return, like a tweet or a share on Facebook.
Another tip that has proven to be useful is adding visible sharing buttons. It may seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised to find out how many website owners aren’t making their social media buttons accessible. According to one study, content with visible sharing buttons is seven times more likely to become viral.
Figuring out which is the best time to publish and share your content is another important aspect of your content marketing strategy. Knowing your audience is obviously important for finding the best time to publish your blog. For example, studies have shown that men are more likely to read blogs at night than women, so if your business is targeted at men it’s better to hit publish during evening hours.
Make sure to share your content more than once to get a chance of reaching a wider audience.
7. Who will produce the content?
In the age of information overload, business blogs need to stand out from the noise. One way to do it is by writing high-quality content. By writing engaging stories, that appeal to your audience, your chances of ranking high in search engines grow, and you will start getting targeted traffic to your company’s blog.
Good content ideas aren’t always at hand. Sometimes you need to work really hard before you get that “Eureka!” moment. Content marketing can be time and effort consuming, but, if done right, it can also be incredibly rewarding.
Unexperienced content marketers often don’t understand how much work it takes to create a single great blog post. Research, writing, optimizing, editing, choosing the right stock photo, page placement, and promotion can add up to hours of work.
If you’ve already got plenty of responsibilities on your hand and don’t have the time or the energy to spend hours on content creation, it’s better to outsource it. A professional content writing service, for example, can provide fresh and unique content that is relevant to your audience.
8. Is your content optimized?
One common misconception about content marketing is that it can skyrocket your blog traffic. The reality is that it takes months of hard work and planning in order to create a content strategy that will drive visitors to your blog.
Writing for people and optimizing for Google is one of the biggest challenges you will face. You’ll need to think about keywords placement and density, CTA optimization, and social buttons placement in order to get the maximum impact from search engines. All these while keeping in mind the reader and writing in a natural, engaging way. It can be hard and very frustrating. This is why, if you are not confident enough in your SEO copywriting skills, it’s better to work with agencies providing professional copywriting services with expertise in your niche. They have the right talent, expertise, manpower and numerous tools up their sleeves, such as heat maps or advanced text analysis instruments. They can strategize and create original web content and that in turn will improve your search engine ranking.
9. How will you measure for success?
You’ve come a long way since you first realized the importance of content marketing. You’ve defined your mission and your goals. You’ve studied your audience up close; you’ve come up with amazing topic ideas and created a content calendar. You’ve published your first post and now you are getting a steady flow of traffic. The question that troubles your mind now is: Were your efforts worth it?
Although measuring your metrics is one of the best ways to ensure your content strategy is working, tracking data is often easier said than done. Most marketers don’t know how to measure the efficacy of their actions and focus on one single metric: traffic. Sure, a big number of visitors can mean great brand exposure, but if you can’t convert them into leads, then your efforts are pointless.
There are four crucial content metrics that you should focus on:
- Consumption metrics – measured in page views and downloads;
- Sharing metrics – measured in the number of social media likes and shares;
- Lead generation metrics – measured in the number of visitors turned into leads;
- Sales metrics – measured in the number of leads turned into customers;
If you don’t know what metrics to track, take a look at your content marketing objectives. They will help you determine which data is more relevant. Or, better yet, leave it to companies that provide content writing service to take care of marketing worries.
Over to you
These 9 questions helped us define our content marketing plan and ensure we are always on the right track.
Did we forget an important question? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.