If you’ve never heard the phrase “Content is King” then you’ll want to keep reading; because in today’s market content is more powerful than ever before. Many businesses are still trying to grasp the concept of why ‘content is king’ and why it is imperative to have a solid content marketing strategy in place for your brand.
For your website to be successful online you need for your website to be found by potential customers searching for the product or service you’re selling. Social media and search engine optimisation is the key to achieving this. In the case of social media and SEO, placement is important but what really drives clicks is quality content.
Social media is a great place for people to find new and sharable content, and the potential reach on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is huge. Being able to reach an audience who are already engaged with your message (i.e. people who have liked your page or followed you) allows you to market to a receptive audience. Plus, it allows your message to be seen by new audiences whom haven’t heard from you before. Posting quality, informative and entertaining content is a sure fire way to keep current customers engaged. And is a perfect way to attract new audiences.
When it comes to searching online we all know that Google is the largest search engine in the world, with YouTube coming in at second place (which of course is owned by Google). Sometime ago Google adjusted their search algorithm to ensure that it provided the most authoritative search results for a given search query.
Let’s explore the nature of what it means to be authoritative. It essentially means you need to be a specialist or have quality information on a given item, question or topic. To be authoritative requires good quality, informative textual content that is easy to read and provides the user with information directly relating to their search query.
With all the work required to create an effective content marketing strategy it needs to split down into 4 main phases; Plan, Collect, Share & Reflect. With each phase having many tasks that need to be actioned.
1. Plan – Research Phase
Let’s begin with what will form the basis of your content marketing strategy, understanding about what information to have on your site. Decisions like this can’t be made hastily as you need to think about your brand and your product or service offering. You will need to comfortably answer the following questions:
- Do pages on the site have enough information to rank? But not enough to stop them contacting?
- How does this topic or information relate to my product or offering?
- Will the information provided be in line with my audience’s needs?
- How often will this information be searched?
- Will this content be shareable?
- What content tactics should I adopt?
During the research phase you might use all or only one of the below methods to help decide what your content will be about.
1. Research Trends
Google Trends – This tool is a great way to see how the trend on specific topics have performed over a period of time. They might not necessarily help identify a topic for content creation but will allow you some insight into how it could perform based upon historical data that can range from last 7 days to last 7 years.
2. Identify Niche, Answer Client Questions and Topic Research
Looking at various industry forums, blogs or Facebook groups can help identify a growing trend or reveal questions that need answering.
3. Keyword Research
Google Keyword Planner Tool – Using a list of keywords you can gauge the average monthly searches & competition on specific keyword phrases. A good way to quickly identify potential content target topics.
4. Google Analytics
View how people already get to your website and the keyword terms they used on search engines – look for search terms that might reveal potential new content. Unfortunately Google does hide a bulk of the websites traffic by classing it as “not set”. Plus, using the channels report will allow you to see how much traffic visited the site from your social channels and specifically which social media site.
5. Google Search Console
Like Google Analytics but provided much more detail about keywords that generate traffic from search engines.
The Most Used Tactics
The average number of digital marketing tactics used by content marketers is 13. Below are a breakdown of the popularity of these content marketing tactics
92% Social media content (other than blogs)
87% Articles on owned websites
75% In-person events
70% Case Studies
57% Online presentations
55% Microsites/separate website hubs
50% Research reports
47% Banded content tools
42% Print magazines
42% White papers
34% Digital magazines
33% Mobile Apps
25% Print newsletter
18% Virtual Conferences
2. Collect & Create – Writing Phase
Now we have determined the subject matter of our content the next step is to go into research mode and decide on what information must be included in our content piece.
Creating content can sometimes be a stumbling block for some people. Yet it is now that we must take that light bulb idea for content and turn it into a highly engaging piece that will be viewed and shared. While creating this content you may need to engage many people to assist to help tailor the message, thus making it as effective as you want it to be.
I strongly suggest after you have created your killer content piece that you pass it around to those whom weren’t involved in the content creation. Doing this is a great test to see if you have hit the mark or that it was interpreted correctly.
Once you have your articles written or your video produced we need to identify the best placements for the content. Reaching out to website publishers, authors, bloggers and influencers who write about the same topics or have a similar/affiliated type website is the best way to decide on placement. Approach these groups about both posting your article and sharing your article on their social media sites. They may be also interested in a collaboration project that will not only benefit your business but also theirs.
One of the best things about getting others to share your content on social media is that it not only engages your social media followers but theirs also, helping both businesses grow the pool of potential customers and followers.
It is for this reason that it is extremely important to make sure that they DO NOT place a “nofollow” reference on any hyperlinks you ask them to place into your article. Your article will provide the website many more benefits when it comes to search engine indexing and rankings should it be followed by searchbots.
Depending upon the content that you have crafted and shared with other likeminded individuals, the lifespan of that content may be fleeting or may be referred to many times in discussions. We must still gauge the success based upon the metrics surrounding the different channels on which the content was distributed upon.
We’re looking to answer the following questions:
- Did it resonate with your audience?
- Did it resonate with other’s audiences?
- Were there any gaps in the conversation?
- Did you find new topics generated?
- Get ready to re-plan
Once we have the answers to our questions, we can then start to update our content marketing strategy. Depending on the first run, we will refine it or vastly improve it. Your business’s content marketing strategy may differ over time. The steps described in this article will provide a solid foundation on which your content marketing strategy can be built upon.