Quality content is at the heart of all digital marketing tools and strategies. And to create quality content you need a plan. Notice how quality is the keyword here? The aim of content marketing, first and foremost, is to provide value to a potential customer and leverage this value to direct them to your business.
The content you create can be used for anything from blog posts and email marketing to social media posts and pay-per-click (PPC) ads. The idea is to design the right hook that will attract traffic to your website. But content marketing just like conventional marketing is a business process that needs planning and strategy. Simply put: You can’t wing it.
Businesses should ideally have a documented content calendar planning their content output. This can be a fortnightly or monthly plan and does away with improvisation. A solid content plan ,with the right customer journey mapping tools, helps you identify what your potential customers need and provide customized content at different stages of the sales funnel.
A good rule of thumb when devising a content plan is to follow these four steps:
The buying cycle refers to the process that a consumer goes through from the beginning to end of their buying journey. For example, a potential customer first realizes they have a problem that needs to be fixed. They then search online for solutions to address that problem.
You need to figure out the probable questions the customer might research while looking for a solution to their problem. Next, you need to present your content as the solution they need to influence their buying decision when they start comparing different options. Your content has to match the customer’s concerns at every stage of this process.
So, when the customer is in the middle of their buying journey and considering their options, your content should facilitate their decision making with resources like product reviews. Say, for example, a customer is looking for business phones for their company. A blog post about the 10 best VoIP business phone systems for under $25 a month will be a useful read.
The second step in devising a content marketing plan is to define your target audience by creating different buying personas. When you create buying personas you’re building a clear picture of:
Once you identify your target audience and pinpoint their needs and expectations, you can create tailored content that meets these specific requirements. So your content becomes more valuable to them.
One of the most important steps in a content marketing strategy is keyword research. Sound keyword research can help you understand what your potential customers are looking for in relation to your product or service. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find the most popular and relevant keywords for your product. This helps you create content that is tailored to fit the search criteria of potential buyers.
For example, you’re a 360 degree digital marketing services company offering the full suite of services including content writing. SEO content writing vs SEO copywriting is a relevant and potentially useful extended keyword for your business. You should leverage your keyword research to create content around the different stages of the buyer’s cycle.
Once you’ve identified your keywords and created tailored content for your buyer personas, you need to identify the style of content to produce and the channels through which to disseminate it. You can choose infographics, whitepapers, blogs, podcasts, ebooks, webinars, etc. Depending on your industry, your target customers will have different preferences in the way they consume content.
For example, if you’re a design and decor company, your target audience may prefer watching short videos on DIY design ideas.
Now that we’ve covered how to create a solid content marketing plan, let’s explore why you need one in the first place? How does a website content plan impact your business?
Creating quality content is the number one step in building a relationship with your potential customers. By creating high-quality content that addresses specific questions, you’re providing value without actually asking for anything in return. This boosts your brand image and credibility, and makes customers more likely to engage with you.
For example, you’re a digital marketing company that provides paid search services. A small business owner looking to promote their business using PPC will find your guide on how to leverage ad exchange very helpful. It will build your brand name and boost your credibility as a valuable source of industry info.
Word to the wise: Content creation is not a one-time job. It is a continuous process that needs regularity. According to HubSpot’s data, companies should aim to post somewhere between three and five posts per week. You can’t hope to create multiple high-quality content pieces each week without a proper content plan for your business.
Content marketing has a direct impact on lead generation. The more content your audience views, the more likely they are to engage with your business in future. You can place call-to-actions (CTAs) at strategic points within your content. Audiences can click your CTAs and be directedto your chosen landing page. This generates new leads for your sales team.
Consistently producing high-quality content will attract more traffic to your website and this in turn will boost your conversions. These conversions are very valuable for your sales funnel. Website visitors, who opt to convert, actively choose to engage with your business by clicking on an offer on your website. This could be an infographic or a free consultation via live chat.
An effective content marketing strategy creates value for the customer at every step of the buying cycle. In this case, website visitors can convert to leads and finally to customers.
Google and other search engines crawl website content to determine the utility of these sites to searchers. The better and more valuable the content, the better your site will perform on relevant search engine results pages (SERPs), and the higher the traffic to your website.
Websites with large volumes of quality content end up receiving more traffic than those with limited content.
Google aims to find the most relevant solutions for a user’s search query. The websites with the highest quality content get ranked up in Google’s search results pages. The higher you rank, the better the chances of potential customers finding your website and converting to leads. A good content strategy works towards boosting search engine optimization (SEO).
A good content plan builds your reputation as an authority in your field and sets you apart from competitors. When you consistently create great-quality content that provides value to people, they begin to trust your brand. This is as good as having a foot in the door when it comes to sales, and is especially helpful if you’re in a highly competitive industry.
For example, the market is flooded with SaaS SEO companies. To stand out from your competitors, you need to position yourself as an industry expert. From publishing whitepapers on the future of SaaS platforms to case studies and infographics, you need to produce content that is current, relevant, and addresses issues at various points in the buyer’s cycle.
Social media optimization is one of the key avenues for digital marketers to promote their companies. A whopping 4.55 billion people around the world use social media. This statistic alone should highlight why it’s so important to get social media traction for your content. Good quality content is likely to be shared by consumers on social media. This naturally boosts your reach and opens up the potential for more leads.
For example, if you’re a B2B ecommerce business, you should consider producing short video content that showcases your products. Video content is more likely to be shared than any other form of content. In the social media context, this is great because users are more likely to share good video content with their friends and family.
The social media platform best suited for your business depends on your industry and your buyer personas. Thousands of businesses have benefited from marketing their offerings on Facebook. If you have a Facebook Business Page, you should look at ways of optimizing your Facebook page to get more leads.
A website content plan is a blueprint for boosting your digital marketing initiatives. A clear content strategy helps you plan and maximize your marketing potential. Nothing in business should be left to chance, and your content marketing is no different. Small businesses in particular benefit from having a documented content plan. A good content strategy facilitates affordable search engine optimization among many other benefits.
Creating high-quality content takes time and effort, but in the long run it is more cost effective than all other conventional marketing methods.