If you’re marketing online, you know these things:
- You need a blog.
- You need a white paper.
- You need case studies.
Or so you think. A lot of companies come to content marketing know that they need to produce something, but don’t have any direction. They either dive right into producing content without a plan or they continue to put it off.
It’s a shame because content marketing can help build interest in your company, make a personal connection with your prospects and transform casual viewers into loyal customers.
According to the Custom Content Council, 55 percent of consumers would be more apt to buy another product from a business that provides them with custom content.
As an added benefit, content marketing helps more searchers find your business in the first place. Creating and updating a blog, participating on key social media platforms and creating valuable content assets like white papers and presentations can increase the likelihood that you rank well for important terms.
So how do you get started the right way? It begins with strategy.
Companies fail at content when they hire a writer and provide a list of topics. A writer can only do so much and while the quality of what they are writing might be great, it won’t do much for your business unless you have a plan.
Establishing a content marketing strategy is an essential first step. It’s one that many businesses are just beginning to realize after months of posting blogs with no purpose. A great strategy accomplishes three keys goals:
- Defines an audience and specific conversion actions for a website.
- Determines the flow of information to convert that audience into customers.
- Develops an ongoing nurturing process for turning first time customers into loyal advocates.
Your strategy is a roadmap that will take your website to industry leadership through a specific set of steps. The mechanics that go into this strategy include:
- Keyword research – To find out which terms and phrases are used to describe what your company does.
- Competitor evaluation – To understand the environment that your company is publishing in and how you can make your mark.
- Ideal client profile development – To clarify your audience, understand their needs and craft better content that speaks directly to them.
- Social media research – To understand where your audience is spending their social time, what appeals to them and how you can build an audience.
With these elements, you have a good starting point for content marketing and you’ll get better results with your publishing.
Compiling all of these points into a strategic document for reference will help your business stay focused with content. But it does take time. If you’re not willing to take that time, or hire someone to do it for you, you’re going to waste both time and money publishing posted content.
The most important part of blogging, white paper publishing or case study development isn’t the writing – it’s the strategy.
That’s where you should start – or restart – if you want to see results with inbound marketing.