"Content is king." Bill Gates
There’s really no denying it anymore (wait a second, was there ever a time to deny it?): having a robust content marketing strategy is essential for any business that even entertains the notion of thriving in today’s digital landscape. Whether it’s blogging on a daily basis, or fervent social media marketing, it is no luxury to fill up free time - a results-driven content marketing strategy is vital for a company’s survival.
When building a results-driven content marketing strategy, whether for your own brand or if you are going with a professional marketing firm working at your behest, the fact remains: you need to see results, tangible rewards that your hard work has proven its worth and is paying off.
Trends come and go, new technologies pop up left and right, so as a CEO or manager it is of tantamount importance that your marketing team be as flexible as they are brilliant. During one quarter maybe your blogs are kicking ass at driving traffic to your brand’s website, and another quarter the results are dismal, bleak even. Hey, it happens, but as any business professional knows, the problem is not with your customers, but with your strategy.
So, now that you have hopefully a kick-ass website up and running, and useful or valuable products that slam the competition, what should you have in mind when investing in and building your result-driven content marketing strategy, one that will
1. It all begins with blogging
Before all else, make sure that you have a company blog. If your site is blog absent, stop reading this right now and go start one on your site. Seriously - we’ll wait for you. Why do we sound so adamant about blogging? Easy - it works. According to a classic HubSpot study, companies that have their own blog enjoy 55% more traffic than those that don’t.
You read that right - 55% more! Get ready for your mind to be blown again: if you have an indexed website (and you should), running your blog will increase your traffic by 434%! Just check the study if these numbers sound too good to be true. But, obviously, before you even start with writing for first thousand words, you of course need to have a results-driven strategy in place.
2. The 2 elements that every marketing strategy needs
Hey, we’re marketers, so we are perpetually bursting with fresh ideas, new and crazy approaches to reach our audiences. Yet, how great can an angle be if it falls on deaf ears or blind eyes?
The first step when starting a new content marketing campaign is to know your target audience. Second, your company needs to form a strategy that measures the results of your marketing efforts. Not to sounds obnoxiously obvious right now, but how else can you learn whether or not the time and money you are investing is seeing a positive ROI?
We know that we’ve made these two components sound overly easy, but doing either is not really all that complicated - it’s just rather time intensive.
With determining your target audience, your first step is to brainstorm with your marketing team and assume who would best benefit from buying your product(s) or services. This excellent article by Forbes uses a great example of a tshirt company: if the target audience (in this case, Millennials) spends more money on items of clothing than the previous generation, then pricing the product at a lower price point will not connect with the target audience’s expectations and desires. Whatever the case may be, your content needs to connect with your ideal buyer, touch on their pain points, and convince them that you’re the guys to solve them.
The next step is to have a result-driven system in place for your content team to see what content is driving visitors to your site and what seems to be a waste of your time. This includes tracking KPI metrics such as bounce rate, time spent on site, and MQL/SQLs. The Content Marketing Institute put together this great list of 8 KPIs that every content marketing campaign needs to monitor to measure if the content being generated is truly reaching your target audience.
3. Set a schedule, and stick to it!
So, you’ve started blogging, posting on social media channels, making a name for yourself as an industry thought leader. Kudos! However, don’t fall into the trap of becoming complacent! The worst decision you can make at this stage is to rest on your laurels.
Consider this quote from Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Congratulate your copywriters when they write a great blog that boosts traffic to your site, and congratulate your designers and product developers, but keep in mind the attention span of your target audience.
Depending upon the scale of your operation, maybe a blog each day is overkill and once a week is enough for your readers. Nei Patel, guru of all things digital marketing, has a great 5 step solution for determining the frequency of blogging based on individual business needs. Regardless of what is right for your team, make sure that your content writing and publishing is consistent. After time, your readers will come to expect your blogs and social media updates, but neglect them once or twice and you can kiss them goodbye to a competitor.
Remember: it’s all about results
Generating content isn’t just about making a name for your content team - it’s about driving traffic to your website and converting leads into customers. Content just for content’s sake is just a waste of time for all parties involved, writer and reader alike. Of course, if your content is not varied enough it will bore your readers, but in order to see results - follow your target audience wherever they may go.