So you run a business and you want to pick up your content marketing game?
Content marketing has received a lot of acclaim in the last few years as the be all and end all of marketing, which is true, but like any phase, if not executed correctly it can be a fail.
Every search engine on the planet is interested in websites providing highly valuable, entertaining and engaging content to their audience.
This article aims to give you actionable insights on how to develop a content marketing strategy and get started building high quality inbound and paid traffic and leads to your site through content marketing.
Step 1. Get clear on your Outcomes and Goals
It is critical to first understand your key outcomes and the goals of your content marketing push.
Have a think about whether you are struggling to convert your prospects at the bottom of the funnel versus increase brand awareness or leads at the top of the funnel for example.
Identifying business goals & objectives
I really can’t overemphasise how important it is to take a deep breath and get clear on the key business goals and objectives you are looking to achieve first, before diving into a mad content strategy (or any strategic initiative for that matter!)
So take a moment and consider the below.
What do you want to achieve…
- Drive more sales?
- Communicate to new audiences?
- Position your brand in a certain way?
- Increase Customer Engagement and/or Retention?
- Specific Product/Service awareness?
Check out this article from Entrepreneur if you feel you need to dig deeper here.
If you’re having trouble knowing what you are looking to achieve, there are many tools available online to understand your audience such as:
- Keyword tools and insights on search volumes and popularity (Google keyword planner for example)
- Online behaviour (Site analytics such as Google Analytics)
- Observed path to purchase
- Social listening
- Focus groups, interviews and surveys
- Customer data / 3rd party data
Step 2: Decide on the type of content you will produce
Once you are clear on your content marketing goals and key outcomes, you need to start creating content. There is a plethora of different content formats you can produce, some easier than others and some definitely more appropriate than others.
This includes articles around a key event or milestone such as events, videos, images and press releases promoting or recapping an actual event.
This type of content is focused on adding value and informing your audience (and generally placed at the top of the marketing funnel – more on that later). Content here includes blogs, articles and trending news.
The third pillar of content is known as evergreen content, which is content that is always going to be relevant to the brand. In our instance, evergreen content would include any form of content around our core services of digital marketing and website development.
Choosing article topics
- Choose topics relevant to your Keyword Funnels (more on this later)
- Remember your brand values and personality – don’t be shy!
- Who’s your company founder – share insights and opinions
- Share Customer opinions
Step 3. Plan your content around your Marketing Funnel
In order to ensure the content you are developing is both appropriate and actually results in a strong return on investment you need to plan it according to which stage of the marketing funnel a prospect is in.
For example, promoting an upsell opportunity via a top of the funnel Facebook ad wouldn’t make much sense as users here are both unware they even have a problem that warrants your solution, but aren’t even customers yet.
The use of content has changed to be more effective in attracting visitors to a website. We suggest planning your content strategy around three sections of the funnel, simply:
Top of the funnel (TOFU)
Middle of the funnel (MOFU)
Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)
How to develop content for the Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
Prospects at the top of the funnel need to be shown that they have a big enough problem that warrants your solution. Often prospects here are searching for advice or information on the issue they may be having, and usually aren’t ready to be singing up to any lead magnets or giving away their precious details… yet. (Secret: this is a top of the funnel blog article right now, designed to encourage you to download our content marketing e-book and ultimately book a strategy session with one of our strategists to become a client J)
Types of content that will work here are:
Write blog articles here that will start to address the answers to your prospects needs. For example, if you are a luxury home builder useful articles may include:
- How to choose the right home builder in TOWN, CITY
- The top home design trends in YEAR
- Choosing the design theme for your next home
- Renovate or build? How to make the right choice
Infographics – design info graphics that answer key questions your prospects ask when they are first interested or looking.
Other types of content for the TOFU include:
- Social Media Updates
- Print magazines / newsletters
Building in your SEO keywords into your content
For this type of content choose High level, informational keywords that are more related to your target audience. For example, if you are a real estate agency, searches like “best restaurants in CITY” are better.
While these posts don’t drive a lot of leads, they do drive traffic and awareness for your brand. Think of these keywords as Information posts on a blog, use these to funnel traffic to product and service pages using internal links.
Developing content for the Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
Prospects in the middle of the funnel are in the evaluation phase (checkout Understanding the Buyer journey here). Once you have successfully moved them here with your awesome top of the funnel content, you must now help them evaluate your solution so they can then make a decision.
It sounds quite obvious, but you cannot make a prospect buy if they are first not aware they have a problem, or haven’t moved to the middle of the funnel to evaluate all their options.
In this stage, the goal is to make your prospects move from problem aware, to solution aware.
You want to develop free content to incentivize prospects to provide their contact details in exchange for this information. This type of content is known as Lead Magents and can include:
- Cheat sheets/swipe files
- Case studies
- Webinars/events (online or offline)
- How to Crush you Competition and dominate your industry through content marketing
- 7 Facebook Advertising hacks to dominate your market
- 7 tips to Maximise your Instagram advertising
- The 7 SEO Strategies you NEED in your arsenal
Building in your SEO keywords for MOFU
These are the searches people are performing before looking for your services. Put yourself in the shoes of your perfect client – if you’re selling high-end homes in the suburbs, people would be looking for things like “best primary schools in CITY”. This search term would show a certain level of intent that the person is looking to move into that area. Think of these keywords as a mix of both Blog Posts and Service/product pages
Developing Content for the Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)
Phew! You’ve moved your prospect successfully through the top and middle of the funnel now it’s time to make the sale.
At this stage, your lead has been reading helpful blogs from you and may have downloaded a few guides useful to their problem, but here you’ll really need to develop content that will help her decide between you and your competitors and buy.
Examples of content here are:
- Demos / Free Trials
- Free strategy sessions
- Mini classes/training sessions
Case studies and testimonials are particularly powerful at this point of the funnel as you social proof and stories sell. If your prospect is still not 100% sure of who to choose, showing them a wide array of case studies and customer stories relevant to them is very powerful. This can be achieved via direct email marketing, retargeting and dedicated case study sections and videos.
SEO for the Bottom of funnel
We call these your “money” keywords, searches like “real estate in CITY“. These searches tend to be dominated by large industry sites like Realestate.com.au and it takes a significant amount of time for a smaller, local site to rank for them. Think of these as Product or Service pages, where our client can make a sale.
Step 4: Ensure your content is aligned with your wider marketing strategy
So you’ve got clear on your outcomes and goals, decided on the type of content to develop, planned it around your marketing funnel it’s now time to start writing!
Before you steam ahead producing a huge amount of content, it is worthwhile knowing some tips on how you can ensure this content is seen and consumed (and drives you an ROI!). In addition, we will share tips on how this content will power the rest of your digital marketing and sales functions.
Benefits of content for your SEO rankings and digital marketing
The more on-site content you have – the more time users will spend on your site. This allows users to become more familiar with your brand, gain trust, which can lead to higher conversion rates.
Some key outcomes of producing great content include:
- Higher visibility in search engines
- Higher Domain Authority
- More referral traffic
- More social traffic
- Increased conversion potential
- A relationship between the brand and the reader
With all this great content being produced, you will want to keep an eye on the juicy data to understand which types of content are having more impact, so you can continually learn and develop more and more appropriate content for your market.
We’ve outlined a good starting list below to help:
- Google Analytics
- OutBrain Analytics
- Campaign Tracking ROI
- Setting KPIS and benchmarks
- Content Optimisation
- Review Competitor Activity
- MailChimp (email marketing analytics)
Amplifying Content: Why we amplify
- Paid organic amplification gets content in front of many more targeted users.
- It doesn’t matter how great your content is if nobody ever finds out about it.
- Paid media is an essential outlet for not only expanding your reach to new audiences but testing content with new markets to gauge the impact.
Our digital strategists love all things content and are available to discuss how we could add value to your strategy, coffee’s on us! Click here to get in touch.