Early in my digital marketing career, I read something that had a lasting impact on my approach to marketing — an essay published on the Microsoft website by Bill Gates called “Content is King.” Bill Gates is a true visionary. What amazes me is that content marketing has taken many different forms over the last decade or so, but it is still king. Content marketing is a cost-effective way to bring in a steady stream of new leads and keep your customers coming back for more. That essay continues to inspire me to reinvent my content marketing efforts and conquer them like a champ.
One thing that I always make a priority is keeping track of my goals. When I’m not getting the results that I’m looking for, I revisit my original marketing goals so I can reground myself and rework my plan step by step.
Knowing Your Market
Do you know who your company’s audience is? If not, you have some homework to do. Send out a survey, create reader personas, ask for feedback and monitor your content to learn more about who needs your products or services. Use analytical tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Audience Insights or review the demographics of your current customers. It doesn’t really matter which method you use, as long as you do something to find your target audience, so don’t get bogged down with semantics.
I like to think that I know my company’s audience pretty well, but I’ve also learned that audiences can change over time. Even seasoned marketers need to spend some time conducting market research from time to time to keep their marketing efforts sharp.
There’s another reason I like to reassess who my target audience is. Our current clients are already hooked, but I like to continually challenge myself to expand our customer base. In addition, new products and services call for new analysis of the target market.
Establishing Your Goals And Objectives
Two very important steps follow identifying your target market. First, you need to be clear about what they need. Second, you need to learn how to quench their thirst for information. To sum up, relevant content is a valuable commodity.
Once you’ve acquainted yourself with who your customers are and what they need, you’re ready to establish your marketing goals and objectives. Do you want to spark the interest of your current audience? Do you want to build a new audience? Expand your current audience? Promote a new good or service? Increase brand awareness?
It’s important to establish goals and objectives so you know how to move forward. It’s also essential to define successful marketing campaigns. Have you thought about how you’ll know when you have achieved your goals? Think this through before you put your marketing plans in motion. Will you measure it by increased revenue, lower marketing costs, targeted customers or some combination of benchmarks?
Creating The Content Of Champions
Unless you are at the starting gate of your marketing plan, chances are good that you have some existing content to work with. Take a hard look at the work you’ve already done and decide whether you can reuse any of it. Can you update past articles to make them more relevant? Can you add to existing content so that it better enhances your brand or becomes more engaging? Can you beef it up by embedding links to products or services?
Putting The Plan In Motion
With the basic framework in place, it’s time to build on the cornerstone of your efforts. Determine your main formats and advertising channels and develop an overall marketing strategy.
I’ve found that even when my marketing strategy is complete, it helps to leave a little room for experimentation. I like to experiment with a variety of advertising opportunities like sponsored content, social media advertising, infographics and videos. Your marketing plan might include podcasts, e-books, workshops or webinars. Whichever formats and outlets you use, don’t forget to investigate your competition’s marketing efforts to make sure that you’re differentiating yourself.
There are a few different ways that you can manage your content marketing and publication schedule. I like to use a master calendar of what I’m publishing and on which outlet. You can control all the posting and publishing yourself or use an app on which you can load your ads and articles and schedule them to appear at specific times and dates. If you’re working with a marketing team, develop a plan for who will be responsible for creating, posting and publishing content.
Final Tips For Content Marketing Strategy Success
Keep a pulse on how well your marketing plans are connecting to your goals. If you’re not getting the results you want, review your marketing strategy to make sure that you’re following it exactly as planned. You might find that it only takes a few tweaks to get things moving in a better direction. And don’t fret if you’ve made a mistake or two. Learn from them and make better changes moving forward.