Three basic principles for creating a content strategy that generates more leads and increases your revenue
Growing your business means growing your content. Instead of taking shots in the dark and hoping for the best when it comes to content creation, develop a marketing strategy that can not only increase traffic on your sites, but also maximize the potential of your call to action and build a solid client base. Successful content marketing isn’t merely a product of chance. Instead, it’s a benefit of diligent planning.
According to a report by Content Marketing Institute and BusinessProfs, 66% of the most effective marketers have a documented content strategy, as opposed to 11% of the least effective marketers. Developing a content strategy allows any business the potential for an increased client base. Optimizing traffic on your websites and gaining customers comes down to three basic principles: know your clientele, use variety and optimize your call to action.
1. Get Inside the Heads of Your Customers
In order to reach your target market, you have to try to think like them. The first step in doing this is to stop thinking of your audience as a vague, nebulous cluster of no-names and start thinking of them as individuals. Create a handful of fictional customer personas, including a name, age, gender, profession, hobbies, interests, family situation and income.
Once you have a few unique personas, brainstorm keywords that each one might use in an Internet search. Try to narrow the keyword searches so that each potential keyword set breaks down into a couple different topics. An example of a keyword might be “e-reader,” but if you narrow this further, you might come up with “best e-readers for macbook” or “e-readers with translation.”
Now you have a list of topics for online content. Create entries for each narrowed search term you generated. With ten customer personas and different keyword sets for each, this should give you enough content to last until you can gain a better understanding of your actual audience.
Be sure to use a voice and personality that speaks to your customers. People naturally gravitate towards those with which they share common interests, views or characteristics. Ensuring that your voice reflects a persona that your target audience might relate to can help drive the right traffic to your site.
2. Use a Variety of Content Channels
Increase your exposure to as wide an audience as possible. This means that, in addition to blogging and social media, you should explore other channels on which you might find your target market. This can range from e-mail newsletters to podcasts to webinars to print magazines. Marketing to a younger generation? Use mobile apps. Speaking to a professional, educated crowd? Try press releases. Expand your reach as widely as possible.
Another way to increase your exposure is to act as a contributor to related communities. Write guest posts on related blogs, promoting your own blog or email list at the end. Find forums related to your market and contribute a post related to the topic of discussion. Each time you contribute to another community, you are potentially increasing your own web traffic.
3. Optimize Your Call to Action
All calls to action are not created equal. You can optimize the effectiveness of your e-mail opt-in button or blog subscription pop-up using A/B testing. A/B testing has been the cause for significant marketing improvements when different variables in the ad were altered slightly, such as font size, layouts, colours and images.
You can also increase your leads by adding specific incentives to opting in. Rather than just offering access to an e-mail newsletter, which is a vague and potentially useless benefit that comes at some future time, offer something specific and immediate. For example, offer bonus resources related to each post at the end, but only if the reader subscribes. The material shouldn’t be too difficult to put together, and you may be surprised at how effective a post-specific incentive can be.
Rinse and Repeat
Following these steps may seem like a lot of work, but when done correctly, content marketing is well worth the labour. Keep in mind that it can take months or even longer for your marketing strategy to become a fully-fledged working machine, and you may need to go back to the drawing board a couple of times to rework where you may have slipped up. Staying in tune with your target market, knowing where to find them and grabbing their attention can transform your content marketing strategy from Facebook flop to blogging sensation.