What is Content Marketing?
To develop a content strategy begins with understanding what content marketing is. In this post, we will define content marketing and share a dozen links to more tips and resources.
Like Social Media, Content Marketing isn’t new. The way we communicate using social, including blog content, has evolved with technology. But the conversations are largely the same.
But Mark Schaefer says the trends of content consumption are changing. In his podcast, he talks about changes and testing of content marketing strategies and why Snapchat may be the most important new communication channel online. Click here for The New Psychology of Content.
History of Content Marketing
As you see from the Infographic below, the Content Marketing Institute traces ‘content marketing’ back to Ben Franklin.
Content Marketing Strategy
Creating a content strategy depends on the platform and audience of its intended target. First, you must decide if you’re creating content for business or consumers.
Then define the goals for the content, which may not always be sales.
- Achieve interim goals that get you in a position to make the sale.
- Support a sale and lower refund rates.
- Sell something more to an existing client.
- Get referrals from existing clients.
- Build an email list.
- Get external links to your site.
- Attract attention of the media.
- Recruit employees.
- Raise awareness about a thing or event.
As you develop your content marketing plan, here are 10 Tactics You Must Use in Your Content Marketing Strategy.
Creating content that is shared by others is a key to website success. Here are 10 Ways to Ignite Your Online Content.
Fresh content may influence Google rankings, so continue to create or curate content. Moz addresses this in 10 Illustrations of How Fresh Content May Influence Google Rankings.
Matching Your Content Strategy to the Needs of your Target Audience
Don’t guess at your prospect’s needs. Developing your content strategy by defining the needs of your target audiences is not complete without market research, competitive analysis and researching your niche. This information is crucial to developing content that converts by appealing to deep passions. The information also helps in the marketing of that content.
Document what they want using keyword research, which shows you the exact queries people use to find solutions. Others say that prospects don’t know or might be protective of what their needs are, so they use surveys to dig deeper.
If you’re just starting out, and even if you’re not, I heartily recommend First Blog Post: The Definitive Guide, which starts out with great insights, then includes 63 tips from experts. It’s very good and something I shared with my clients and Mastermind members.
Once you understand your target personas and needs, you’ll need an ongoing supply of what I call ‘blog fodder,’ which includes monitoring sites that are popular with your audience and then Write Newsworthy Content Your Audience Will Love.
I am a big proponent of using Google Analytics to keep track of the Key Performance Indicators of a successful website. Knowing how many visitors your content attracted is important. But Michael Stelzner at Social Media Examiner has talked about how they stopped monitoring pageviews and site visits because they are more indicative of transactional metrics. They’re more focused on building email lists, so they focus more on daily optins than page views and measure the success of specific pieces of content on that.
Your audience has multiple choices, just like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Is Your B2B Content Like a Chocolate Fountain?
Consider revising your site content when facts change, priorities change, new information becomes available or new keyword targets are found. I wrote an article on how often site content should be optimized because it is a question I get frequently. Read it here.
Content Marketing Jobs
Don’t sell content marketing short. Many small businesses fail at developing their websites because they think that just because they know how to log into WordPress, they can build a successful website. Nothing could be further from the truth. (Don’t get me started on their lack of experience in business, strategy, marketing, ecommerce, design, etc)
It takes multiple talents and a wide range of experience to do it right. I’m not saying you and your team can’t do it effectively. My goal in writing this blog is to help small business owners and website managers who want to do it themselves, to do it better.
But let me put things in perspective. Michael Stelzner at SocialMediaExaminer.com says they spend $1,000 on every blog post submitted by contributors. The writers are not paid. Social Media Examiner attracts guest blog posts by talented authors who benefit from the exposure to millions of readers.
There are about a dozen editors and producers who screen all submissions to determine whether they accept, reject or ask for revisions. If accepted, the article is subject to proof-reading, graphics creation, fact-checking and someone who makes sure the ‘voice’ of the article matches Social Media Examiner’s. Someone does keyword research and optimizes the article for SEO. There is even a person whose sole job is to schedule when the article will be published.
Contently addresses the need for multiple contributors and why 1 person cannot do it all. Click here.
I’m not saying that a solopreneur or small business can’t create amazing content. Many do! And I don’t have much help here on on the Website ROI Guy blog.
I’m posting this to give you insights as to how diverse a content marketer’s experience and talents need to be. And someday it would be nice to build a business that churns out dozens of blog posts a week.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Businesses are not effectively mapping their content creation activities to the bottom line. Only 30% of B2B marketers say they’re effective at content marketing, which surprisingly a 21% decline from 2015, so you may want to refer to 36 Calls for Content Marketing Help.
Be mindful of privacy. At the time of this writing, there is an uproar over the posting of a selfie of a former playmate that shows a naked woman in a locker room in the background. Always ask yourself if you are adequately addressing security, data sharing and privacy concerns of your content.
Content Creation Resources
What resources do you use in your content marketing strategy?