Content marketing is an essential part of SEO.
Content marketing allows you to cultivate and promote your brand to specific groups of people. Effective content marketing engages consumers and builds trust with them. This helps you rank higher in Google and drive more traffic to your website. Creating a content marketing strategy is essential to optimizing your digital marketing activities. Every business that operates online needs an SEO strategy to get results. A key component of SEO is content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a part of SEO that focuses on the creation and dissemination of content. It aims to achieve a specific goal of a business. As you can guess by that definition, content marketing embodies a wide range of items and information created by businesses.
Have you ever had a flyer sent to your home or seen a social media post from a business you follow online? These are both forms of content marketing. Regarding SEO, we will only be talking about forms of content marketing that take place online. For an in-depth breakdown of content marketing, click here.
Why Is A Content Marketing Strategy Important?
Every business needs marketing. A content marketing strategy allows you to plan, prepare and create content that engages consumers online. A good content marketing strategy provides a framework that identifies who is most likely to be your future customer. Their online habits and the strategies on how you can engage them to encourage the purchase of your products or services. This information helps you focus your efforts, allowing you to identify which platforms and content are the most effective for your brand. It saves your time and money and also improving your return-on-investment (ROI).
A well-researched content marketing strategy allows you consistently create content relevant to your brand. It is also valuable to customers and could be generating qualified leads. The online world is filled with opportunities to connect with customers and generate sales. Content marketing is one of the best ways to create engagement between online users and your brand.
Starting Your Content Marketing Strategy
Analyze Your Business – Why Should Someone Buy From You?
When starting your content marketing strategy, the first thing you should do is evaluate your business. To quote the motivational and leadership speaker Simon Sinek, “People buy why you do something, not what you are doing or how you do it.”
In other words, the best way to tap into customer emotions is to market the purpose of your brand instead of what your brand is doing or how you do it. People make most purchases with their emotions. In fact, A study from Harvard found that about 95% of all purchases are driven by emotion.
By creating content that focuses on your ‘why’, you humanize your brand, making it more relatable and personable to others. This increasing the chances that those who consume your content are motivated to take part in your brand’s purpose because they are agree with it. The meaning behind the product encourages people to buy more than the product itself.
Identify your brand’s purpose by asking why your business exists beyond making a profit and what makes it unique? Write your answer out as a mission statement. You now have your brand’s purpose or ‘why’. Now that you have sorted out your brand’s purpose, you need to define your marketing goals for your content marketing strategy.
Identify Your Goals – What Purpose Are You Creating Content For?
The next step is to think about what action you would want consumers to take after consuming your content.
5 Main Goals of Content Marketing
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive traffic to the website
- Generate sales leads
- Increase revenue
- Maintain brand loyalty
Consider these goals when creating content. Your content should be created for a specific goal. If you have just expanded online and have few followers on social media, creating content to increase brand awareness is a prudent move. After all, no one can buy from a business if they don’t know it exists.
As you expand your presence online and more people become aware of you, you can start thinking about creating content to generate traffic and leads to your website. As you gain regular customers you can start creating content designed to maintain their loyalty to your brand and stop competitors from converting your customers and leads.
Depending on what stage of development your business is at will affect your immediate goals and thus the content that is made to achieve those goals.
Identify Your Target Audience
Once you figure out what you want to get out of your content marketing efforts, you now must identify your target audience. Your target audience is a group or multiple groups of people most likely to need and purchase your products and/or services. Consider who needs or could use your products and/or services. Ask yourself what kinds of platforms would they use? What kinds of content are they most likely to be familiar with and enjoy? What are their online habits? What characteristics are unique to those who need your products and/or services?
Having website tracking software like Google Analytics on your website is a great way to gain insights into who your customers are and what they are looking for, helping you create specific content for them based on the actions they took on your website. In 2021, most major social media platforms come with analytics that you can use to gain insights into your target audience. These analytics tools can provide a demographic breakdown of who visits your pages, what actions they take on your page and with your content, and their content preferences (the pages, profiles and content that engage with besides yours). With this information in hand, you can develop content that caters to their interests.
As you move on and eventually start executing your content marketing strategy, remember to ask for customers’ feedback when possible. You can use this information to further understand your customers and optimize your marketing activities. With your target audience research finished, it is a good idea to create a Buyer Persona.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A Buyer persona is a short description of who your ideal customer is based on all your research into your target audience. This helps you get into your target audience’s mindset and think about their behavioural characteristics, the daily problems they face, the communities (both online and non-digital) they are a part of and what motivates them to make a transaction.
A buyer persona helps you identify which types of content will engage your target audience the most, provide them with value and make them care about your brand. Depending on your brand and the range of products and/or services you offer, you may have multiple buyer personas representing different customer segments.
Once you have refined your research to identify your target audience, you need to explore your competitors through a competitor analysis.
Competitor analysis helps you identify your competitors’ products, services, platforms, content, and marketing strategies and improve upon them. This helps you identify new opportunities to out-perform them and possibly convert their customers.
Make a list of the brands you see as your major competitors, then one-by-one go through their websites, social media accounts, and other online platforms. Take note of:
- Their strengths
- Opportunities for growth
- Threats that you pose (or could in the future)
- The types of content they produce
- The frequency content is produced
- The results of that content (how many people engaged with it by liking or commenting)
- The overall customer experience (being on their platforms and going through the steps to make a purchase)
- The price of their products and/or services
- Customer reviews (good and bad)
With this information in hand, you can start to brainstorm your own content, taking the best keywords, content and strategies from your competitors and adapting them for your brand.
Effective content improves your SEO and can generate revenue long after it has been created. Make sure you use a consistent tone and style that reflects your brand when creating content and communicating with users online. The key to creating effective content is by providing value to your target audience. This can be helping them solve a problem they have, informing them of a topic they are interested in or simply providing entertainment based on their tastes.
By conducting keyword research you can gauge the popularity of various topics that you could create content about. Think about what questions would your target audience be searching for in Google and use these words to start your keyword research. Refer to your buyer persona if you are having trouble thinking of terms they would be searching.
It is important to note that you should be looking for search terms that imply an intent to purchase instead of any keyword with the most searches. Compile a list of the keywords you think are best and start creating content with the keywords. Adding keywords in titles, headings, lists, bullet points, descriptions, captions and code make it easy for Google to understand what your content is about and rank it more effectively when someone searches with those keywords.
With this in mind, do not stuff keywords in your content, which harms your SEO ranking due to Google’s guidelines on spam. While you can use SEO tools like Google Keyword Planner, you can also use sites like Answer The Public, Quora and Reddit to see what kind of topics your target audience are talking about. There are many different forms of content you can create to connect with your target audience.
Different Kinds of Content Marketing
- Social media posts
- Blog articles
- YouTube videos
- Webinars and other presentations
- Online tools and tests
- Other visual/graphic content made in-house
It is important to note that you should only choose the types of content your target audience engages with the most. If you run a small gym, a podcast is not an effective way to promote new equipment or a cool exercise, but a video series definitely can. When deciding what kinds of content to create, you must think about your ideal customer’s needs and habits or your buyer persona.
Content Creation Platforms For Content Marketing
There are tons of platforms and tools you can use to create content with. Each comes with different levels of complexity and cost so consider your business’ needs and your personal skill set before working with one.
Platforms That Provide Copyright Free Content
- YouTube Audio Library
Platforms That Provide Content Editing and Creation Services
- Adobe Software (Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Lightroom, InDesign, AfterAffects, Spark)
- BeFunky Graphic Designer
Updating Your Content Marketing Strategy
Whether you are a recent start-up or a longstanding business looking to expand to online markets, content marketing is a great way to find and connect with customers.
Effective marketing online requires a content marketing strategy in place, however, you should always be exploring new ways to reach and engage your audience. That is why the work is not ‘done’ once you have finished creating your content marketing strategy. While much of it may stay the same in the future, the online world is constantly changing and with it how consumers behave and interact with content.
You need to be ready to take advantage of new developments that change how people communicate online, which means periodically updating your content marketing strategy through research. By periodically conducting research on online consumer behaviour, content creation tools and new platforms, you can stay ahead of your competition and create content that achieves your goals.
Much like all SEO, content marketing takes time to become effective. Having a content marketing strategy helps you identify your brand’s identity, create actionable goals, develop effective content to meet those goals in a structured, well-thought framework you can use to grow your brand and increase revenue.
Grow Your Digital Marketing Skills
With more and more consumers and businesses moving online, having an effective content marketing strategy is more important now than ever before.
If you want to learn more about content marketing, branding, and SEO, then visit TheDigitalMarketingInstitute.org. Here you can get the information you need to expand your business online and get professional help when working with one of their professional digital marketers!
By Ben Formosa
Brand Marketing Analyst at the International Institute of Digital Marketing™