How to Begin a Content Strategy That Gets Results
Content marketing is showing no signs of declining, and most businesses with content marketing strategies routinely plan to invest more into those strategies the following year. Whether new to content marketing or wanting to take a more deliberate approach, it's important to start with a clear content strategy. Read our quick guide to make the planning stages a breeze.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a strategy of creating and distributing content that prospective buyers will value. Businesses make (or hire creative content services to create) engaging, entertaining, and/or educational content to rank higher in search engine results, increase brand recognition among new audiences, and provide more opportunities for interaction with customers and leads. Some valuable types of content include blog posts, videos, how-to articles or tutorials, and podcasts. Content marketing strategies can involve multiple channels and forms of content based on a brand's mission and target audience.
Do Brands with Content Have Higher Sales?
Brands that invest in creative content development control the landscape in which consumers make decisions. Here are some reasons why content marketing can lead to increased sales:
- High-value content establishes your authority in your niche.
- Consistent content marketing makes your website more prominent in search engine results pages (SERPs), leading to more traffic and higher clickthrough rates.
- More engagement and touchpoints, such as social media posts, blogs, and tutorials, increase the likelihood of conversion.
Benefits of Content Marketing
Content marketing offers several benefits that direct marketing and paid ads alone cannot provide (it's also a great way to amp up your holiday marketing). Some of the critical benefits content marketing brings are:
- Organic traffic: Consistently publishing valuable content will build momentum for your brand. Your website will have a higher domain authority over time and be more accessible for prospective shoppers to find. Online browsers can continually find or return to your blogs, articles, and videos for months or even years after the initial publish date.
- Authority: Creating a robust content marketing strategy increases your website's domain authority because search engines can better grasp your website's value. As you address more and more niche subjects through published content, your website will become a greater authority in more and more topics, questions, and search queries. On top of that, your brand will also be seen as an expert authority in the space by people who come to view your website as a source of knowledge.
- Prominence: If your website is the one shoppers flock to for answers regarding problems, product comparisons, and how-tos, they are much more likely to come across your landing pages and trust your products. This gives you a hefty advantage over quieter brands that don't provide the same support level.
Beginning a Content Strategy
The output of a content strategy — engaging, published content — may seem obvious, but how you get there requires a bit of planning. Before you start fleshing out your content calendar or committing to a publishing schedule, learn about your audience and what content will serve their needs (and yours) best. Follow these four steps to begin your content strategy prep:
1. Define Your Audience
Spend time researching your buyers and target market to determine your ideal audience. As you learn more about your prospective audience, try to identify their interests, spending thresholds, content needs, and preferred online platforms.
2. Decide What Value Your Content Will Add
Some brands excel at providing lifestyle content that is more entertaining than educational: think social media, YouTube videos, and influencer content. Other brands sell more when they offer in-depth educational how-tos and tutorials. For every campaign, identify your core purpose and what value proposition you want your content to fulfill.
3. Decide What Type of Content You Want to Produce
Content is a broad umbrella of different consumable assets with which your customers and prospective buyers can interact.
Popular types of content include:
- Guest articles
- Social media posts
Some campaigns will involve multiple types of content, while others will focus on just one.
4. Decide Your Platforms
Remember how you researched what platforms your target audience spends time on? Apply that research to make sure your content is being published in the right place. Knowing which platforms to prioritize can help you set standard formatting, style, tone, and length practices.
Start Creating a Content Marketing Plan with Mid-West Family
Creating a content marketing plan — and the content itself — is hard work. Combined with running your business, it can be overwhelming. That's where Mid-West Family comes in. We work with small and local businesses to help them create strategies, detailed plans, and more. Contact us today and create a personalized content marketing strategy checklist to start your strategy.