A successful content marketing strategy
A content strategy is the foundation for all of your content marketing. It should inform every decision you make for your content. Having your strategy written out in a way that’s easy to understand means you can enroll others into your vision and scale up your content team with ease.
Remember that content marketing is a long-term strategy, designed to build relationships with your audience over time, and to cultivate trust along the way. Don’t jump into content marketing expecting immediate results.
Content around your reader’s core problems
By focusing on the core problems of your audience, you’ll be able to create content that truly helps your readers. You’re able to get much more specific on the content you create, the messaging you send and how you present yourself to your audience.
Content marketing as a tool to build relationships
No matter how brilliant a writer you are, nor how interesting your ideas, without building relationships your content will not go far.
Remember to focus on adding value first when building relationships. Through true connections based on trust and value, you can open doors to grow your brand sustainably.
Simple SEO for busy founders
People tend to over-focus on SEO and keywords at the expense of the quality of their content. It’s relatively easy and straightforward to find and target specific keywords compared to creating something that is truly unique and relevant to your audience. But usually this approach results in content that feels inauthentic and stuffed with keywords. On the other hand, if you focus on creating detailed and actionable content for your audience, you’re likely to hit on long tail keywords without even realizing it.
If you consider keywords as a small component of what makes great content and as a compass to point you to who you should be collaborating with, you’ll have much more success and create more valuable opportunities for yourself in the long run.
Content creation with an editorial calendar
For each person you add to your content team, a new layer of complexity is added as well. Without a good editorial calendar you’ll quickly find yourself lost in a jungle of half-finished and confused content.
Though it takes some time to set up and maintain, an editorial calendar like Trello and CoSchedule can save you a great deal of stress and time in the long run.
Content idea machine
Without content ideas, your marketing won’t get very far. Fortunately, with a consistent and organized approach to idea generation you won’t hit the common pitfalls for writer’s block.
Some of these sources of inspiration will be more effective than others depending on your industry, so make sure you experiment.
- Look in the comments
- Consider the speaking topics at industry events
- Look at the table of contents for the top books in your niche
- Seek out popular podcast episodes
- Check your email
Content with visuals
Visual content is a crucial element to making your content marketing stand out in a noisy world. Though there are many different approaches and styles, I recommend choosing just two or three to work with; master a few techniques rather than dabbling in them all. Experiment over time to see what works for your audience and what fits best with your story.
- Featured images
- Quote images
- Charts and graphs
- Animated GIFs
Story through transparency
Despite the benefits, most of the leaders in the transparency movement don’t see their transparency as a marketing strategy. Transparency is first and foremost a core value of your company, not a marketing plan.
If you choose transparency as a marketing strategy but not as a core value, you’ll set yourself up for problems. Inevitably there will come a time when something will be happening in your life or business that you won’t want to share. But selective transparency will only place you in the category of “hype marketers.” You will risk losing the trust of your readers.
If you do choose to make transparency part of your core values, there’s little downside in the long run. It can build trust and brand loyalty better than almost anything else.
Email list with lead magnets
A good lead magnet is crucial for getting value from your content marketing. Lead magnets enable you to build your email list and position you to place your offers in front of your customers.
Start with one good lead magnet that you can advertise across your entire blog, then expand to develop lead magnets that solve each of your core problems. Once you have all your core problems covered, you can consider making specific lead magnets tailored to your most popular blog posts. Here’s what you need to support your lead magnets:
- Landing Pages
- Thank you pages
- Sidebar graphics
- In-post links and graphics
- Pop ups
Old content with repurposing
Repurposing your content can simultaneously make your work easier and bring you more results from the hard work you’ve already invested into your content creation. Make it an integral part of your strategy and look for opportunities for easy wins with your audience. Here are some best practices for repurposing:
- Create with repurposing in mind
- Plan for repurposing
- Repurpose with the customer in mind
- Add more value with every repurposing
- Use analytics and engagement to find repurposing opportunities
- Cross-promote your content
- Repurpose evergreen content
- Modify and adapt the content to the medium
A team sport
Content marketing can be a burden if everything is heaped on one person. But if a team unites around a vision for content, it can energise a team and get everyone involved. You’ll benefit from having diverse voices in your content, and your audience will trust you more since they get to know your team through your content.
There are stories happening in every corner of your company. If your team understands how they can contribute their stories and experiences, you’ll find a powerful resource for content creation.
Scaling with an email autoresponder
Email is one of the most powerful and easy-to-scale tools available to you. Paired with a deep understanding of your customer and audience, it can become one of the most valuable assets in your business.
A word of warning: You will not be able to completely automate your messaging without some drawbacks. You should be making an effort to personally connect with customers or your automation will come across as stale, and you will lose touch with your audience.
Analytics made easy
A lightweight knowledge of how to use analytics is all you need to get powerful insights that will guide your content marketing. Without these insights, you’ll only have a limited picture of how people are interacting with you site; you’ll be “flying blind.”
Even if you have no interest in digging through the data on your website, you should still set up your tracking and pixels as early as possible. You can collect the data and have it ready for another team member to handle when the time for detailed analysis arises.
If you’re absolutely overwhelmed when you think about analysing data, I recommend just starting with creating your thank you pages, and setting up goals in Google Analytics. The rest you can add and develop as you become more comfortable with these tools.
If you have a good foundation, paid traffic provides opportunities for almost any audience size at almost any budget. Paid traffic can breathe fresh life into old blog posts, bring new visitors to your site, and remind your long-time followers when you’ve created something new.
Remember to have a scientific attitude when starting with paid traffic; test many different ideas and be prepared to have a few of them fail, losing a bit of money in the short run. With consistent review and accurate insights you’ll find the opportunities that work best for you.
Working with content writers
As you begin the process of bringing one or more writers on board, you’ll really start to feel the power of the systems you’ve developed for your marketing campaign. Hiring a writer can free up huge amounts of time and brainpower which you can dedicate to other areas of your growing business.
Remember to start slowly, and to provide your writers with as much support as they need for their first few posts with you. Use any mistakes or miscommunications as a way to improve your strategy or style guide.
What to look for in a good writer
- Native English speaker
- Experience publishing on sites similar to yours
- Ability to follow instructions
Working with a content manager
Getting your content manager in place will allow you to step away from directly managing your content marketing campaign. This will free up tremendous amounts of time for you to focus on other areas of your business while being comfortable knowing that your content is in good hands.
The time you invested developing your systems like the content strategy and your style guide will pay off here. These will be the main tools your content manager uses to carry out your vision.
What to look for in a good writer
- Organizational Skills
- Systems-driven approach