What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a complex of works that involve the creation and distribution of unique, useful, and valuable content on external and internal sites to increase brand awareness and sales. This efficient tool solves main tasks for any business:
- driving traffic to the site;
- formation of an affirmative reputation of the company in the market;
- increasing the loyalty of existing and potential customers;
- obtaining new sources of brand communication with the target audience;
- informing the target audience of the brand about the provided services and products;
- increase in direct sales.
Content types and formats
We offer several types of blog content that are popular with internet users today. It is worth paying attention to them when forming a marketing strategy.
Content from the category “How to?”
How to remove an online tech store from Google and Yandex filters? How to form an effective content marketing strategy? Such materials are always captivating to the audience because they provide answers to painful questions.
Interviews with opinion leaders and experts
Communicate with opinion leaders, plan interviews with them, collaborations. If they are already known, and you are not yet, a joint project will allow you to declare yourself in the market and increase your awareness.
People love collections like “5 useful Facebook business tools that few people know about” or “Top 24 common mistakes in PPC”. Such articles always collect a large number of views and shares.
Have you tested a new tool? Have you brought your site to the TOP in 2 days? Have you created an effective content strategy that brought your business a lot of new clients? Write about it, share your knowledge with the audience. Everyone wants to learn how to do things better. Also, case studies are a great way to establish yourself in the market as a highly effective specialist, share a success story, and draw the attention of the audience to your brand.
That is another efficient format of content marketing, so far rarely used in our country, but quite often in the West countries. Articles are written like stories, formulated in a captivating, lively, emotional way, always resonate with readers.
With the help of white papers, you can quickly collect contacts of the target audience; so that later, for example, you can make “warming up” emails for them. It can be an interesting report in a PDF file that you can download for free from the site in exchange for a mail address or a whole book that you wrote specifically for your potential clients to solve their problems. There are many options, so you should pay attention to this type of content.
One of the most effective content marketing tools. The creation process is quite laborious because it takes a lot of time to collect statistics. But the result that you get at the end will certainly please. After all, such content is unique and is willingly shared.
Pack impressive facts from the research that recently wowed you in engaging infographics. To do this, you need a designer who will help you “draw” beautiful pictures and insert your text into them.
Less effective than previous content types as they often contain direct advertising and product focus. Therefore, before writing a press release, analyze whether your newsbreak is worthy of mention in the media.
That is a great way to get the word out about your product by combining that information with what your target audience needs. For example, if you represent an online perfume store, tell your target audience how to distinguish a fake fragrance from the original; give an example of perfume from your website. Thus, you will bring benefit to the audience, and at the same time make an advertisement for your online store.
You can submit content in a variety of formats. Each business chooses for itself the most appropriate ways of delivering information to the audience.
For one business, you can use all the content formats or select several. It all depends on which resource this content will be published on, which promotion channels will be involved.
Content distribution channels
So, what channels are using to promote content:
- SEO. Informative articles using keywords from user queries. Use this tool to get organic traffic to your website.
- Social network. That is a platform for informal communication with your clients. If your company has a page on Facebook or Vkontakte, be sure to broadcast the information about the release of new content with a link to the corporate blog.
- Email newsletters. Use mailings to inform subscribers about the release of new materials. You can make such a newsletter weekly (if you are ready to write at least three articles per week) or send letters every two weeks.
- PPC. Have you written an interesting article that you want to tell the whole world about? Launch PPC or targeted advertising for new material. Come up with an efficient headline and attractive description. That way, you can get new subscribers (if you launched advertising on Facebook or Vkontakte) and traffic to the site (if advertising is in Google Ads or Yandex.Direct)
- External platforms. Referral traffic to the site, increasing brand awareness, the interest of the target audience and journalists, the status of experts in the niche. These are not all the benefits that you can obtain by publishing content on external media. To get the most out of your publication, choose the best-known resources with a large audience. When choosing a platform, you should pay attention to whether your target audience is using this resource.
What is a content strategy for business?
A content strategy is a document in which all actions for the creation, placement, and distribution of any form of content on the company’s side get spelled out. With a well-formed content marketing strategy, you will be able to understand:
- what content the target audience needs;
- what topics will be relevant to it, what issues need disclosure, what to focus on;
- what specialists you need to involve in writing content and how many of them should be in this process;
- where to publish ready-made content for promotion on internal and external platforms;
- how effective the published content has been for your company.
How to create a content strategy
Developing a content strategy for a business begins with setting a goal. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones:
1. Increase brand awareness. That is one of the most common goals in content marketing. Brand awareness directly affects revenue growth. Useful content provides information about the product, gently convincing the buyer to buy.
2.Customer retention; increased brand loyalty. Large companies spend a lot of effort maintaining the image of an expert in their field. Growth in the number of re-posts and links to your information and an increase in response to messages will become a marker that will indicate the correct choice of the direction of the content strategy; Ultimately, this will also translate into an increase in orders.
3. Search for employees. In the labor market, where highly specialized specialists required, the demand for workers often exceeds the supply;
Employers try to present themselves in the best possible light, creating a positive image. The criterion for the correct content strategy can be an increase in positive feedback from employees, an increase in employee calls to the company;
Stages of building a strategy in content marketing
Target audience analysis
The first stage in the formation of a content strategy is to draw up a portrait of the target audience.
When focusing on the portrait of your target audience, it is easier to understand what content is interesting and useful and what your TA needs;
By creating articles without audience analysis, guided solely by personal preferences, you risk wasting time and money. A potential customer is more likely to listen to advice on choosing a product if he finds the information useful. Thus, a well-chosen article or video topic increases the likelihood of a purchase.
Indicators that you need to consider first of all when drawing up a portrait:
- gender, age;
- city, country of residence;
- values and preferences;
- behavioral indicators (how often they use the Internet, what groups in social networks they visit, what websites like, how often they make purchases on the Internet);
- interests and hobbies.
Of course, it all depends on the specifics of the product or service. There can be much more of these indicators, but we tried to list those that will be universal for everyone;
Pick five main competitors and research their content:
- what channels they use to communicate with their audience (social networks, blog, email newsletters, media publications);
- what exactly they publish (a form of content presentation, frequency of release);
- what content they do is most successful and popular with the target audience.
In the analysis process, you can note the most successful cases, understand what not to do, and think about what will help your brand stand out from competitors. You can use the same search queries as your competitors but make content based on them much more engaging and useful.
Having determined your target audience, conducted research of competitors, and familiarized yourself with possible promotion channels, you need to summarize, conclude your business. To do this, you can create a table, list all competitors in it, and indicate what types and channels they use, with what frequency they publish new information. That will help you visualize the steps your company needs to take to become the industry leader.
For your content to rank first in search engines in organic SERPs, you must generate content using keywords. Therefore, it is necessary to collect all of these possible keywords before writing the content. But don’t overdo it with keywords; search engines don’t like this. First of all, content should be created for people, be useful and answer their questions.
The content plan in marketing is as important as the creation of materials. It is drawn up in the form of a table and supplemented with information in the process of its execution. For each publication, you must spell out the purpose of its creation, the format of placement, the intended effect (transitions to the site, likes, subscriptions, an increase in incoming calls, etc.), the date of publication. Besides, such a table makes it possible to track the deadlines and effectiveness of each task. Documented information increases the level of responsibility; an article scheduled for a specific date is much more likely to be written on time than the one planned for the next two weeks.
After some time, for example, a month, you can track whether the posting of a publication on a particular channel was effective.
Here is an example of a content plan for an SMM agency for posting content on internal sources:
So, you have analyzed the target audience, competitors, formed a list of keywords, made a content plan, and wrote your first publication. Let’s say you published a new article on a corporate blog. What’s next? It is necessary to tell as many people as possible about it – so they go to the site and make a conversion.
When creating a content strategy, indicate the channels for promoting articles to immediately understand what you need to do with the finished materials. The effectiveness of each publication must be digitized. Meaning, choosing one or another channel to promote an article or video, you must calculate what result you want to get in the end.
For example, your content marketing goal this month is to increase your website orders by 5%. To do this, you need to bring 500 people to the site a day from all channels. In total, you have four tools for this: PPC, social networks, email newsletters, and organic search. Indicate in numbers what action the user should take when communicating with each channel for disseminating information:
- out of 500 email subscribers, at least 50% of them must go to the site;
- the Instagram post should receive an average of 25 likes and 20 shares;
- from PPC, you expect at least three applications for the service per day;
- from organic search – 200-250 visitors daily.
Setting a clear goal for promoting your content will help you figure out which channels work best, which content “hits” your audience, and which doesn’t work.
Track and analyze results
The final stage in the formation of a content strategy is the analysis of the results. When all the texts have been written and distributed, it is time to take stock. What should be analyzed?
- How much traffic the new content brought to the site (relative to each channel);
- How much has the conversion increased due to the published material (performing a targeted action on the site: filling out a brief, ordering a callback, subscribing to a newsletter, etc.);
- Social media activity (comments, likes, post shares);
- Brand recognition. That is a qualitative, not a quantitative indicator (as in the previous paragraphs). Therefore, its effectiveness is more difficult to track but possible. For example, through surveys and research. You can run PPC with an ad: do you know [brand name]? From the answers received, it will be possible to understand how well the audience’s brand is.
Quantitative results are analyzing in Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrica. Therefore, it is essential to set goals in analytics before starting the content marketing process. Otherwise, you will not be able to analyze the results for your strategy correctly.
Content Marketing Toolkit
Let’s consider a list of tools that you can use to work more effectively with the target audience and analyze content.
1. Tracking mentions of the company on the network
That will allow:
- to promptly react to the negative and turn it into a positive (at least, try to do this whenever possible);
- get closer to people who can be your potential clients, turn them into such;
- analyze customer experience with your product and improve it;
- better understand your customers and use knowledge about them in your advertising messages (why not, if the local blogger liked your software so much and he expressed his own opinion about you in his video).
You can track mentions of your brand in the media, blogs, social networks, review sites. The following services can help Google Alerts, YouScan, Yandex. Blogs, Babkee, Brand Analytics, Wobot, IQBuzz, and others.
2. Material efficiency analysis
The following tools will help you with this: Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrica. They will help you understand which articles bring the most traffic to the site, where users click most often, which advertising campaign is most effective, and what you should abandon. Most importantly, don’t forget about UTM tags. Without them, you will not be able to track where the user came from and from what material: from an email newsletter, a guest post in the media, or Facebook. Also, be sure to customize your goals! The goal can be anything – filling out a brief on the site, downloading a test version of the application, and subscribing to a newsletter. Having defined goals, you can continually improve your site and make it as efficient and useful as possible for users.
3. Tracking audience activity on social networks and mass posting
If you run several accounts at once in different social networks, you should use automatic posting services and tracking subscriber activity. Imagine how long it will take to manually post to 20 publics and reply to comments/messages from subscribers! Therefore, you must have such a service. Among the most popular are Popsters, Buffer, SMMplanner, NovaPress Publisher, PublBox, Tserebro Target.
4. Working with an existing user base
Email or/and SMS-mailing allows you to work with the user base and continually stimulate them to take new targeted actions and keep their attention. With the help of automated message threads, you can gently nudge customers to purchase the paid version of the program;
Or inform the audience about the release of new products/goods. Most popular mailing services: eSputnik. Mailchimp, SendPulse, Get Response, Unisender.
How to evaluate the effectiveness of a content strategy
The success and effectiveness of the content strategy and content marketing assessed according to the following metrics:
1. The reach of the target audience. The number of unique users who have read your content. For analysis, use a certain period (calculate how much traffic the article brought to the site in 30 days and compare these indicators in the future).
2. User engagement. The number of comments, likes, and reposts in social networks, in a corporate blog, or on an external site will show how captivating the content was to the public.
3. Conversions. The number of users who performed the targeted action on the site (filling out an application for providing a service, ordering a callback, contacting an online chat, etc.).
When to change your content strategy
A standard content strategy involves planning and creating both internal and external content. We refer to the internal corporate blog of the company, social networks, email newsletters. And external ones are news and industry media, partner sites, and various websites where your potential customers are locating (forums, review sites, etc.).
Typically, a content strategy is writing for a specific period: a month, two, or three. If after the specified period and after analyzing the current content, we observe positive dynamics (traffic growth to the site from month to month), then we can say with confidence that we are moving in the right direction, and our content is efficient, and we should continue to work in the same mode, reinforcing the most successful formats;
However, if we see a recession (decrease in indicators), it is necessary to revise the strategy: to partially correct it or alter it (it all depends on the results of the analysis).
Decreased performance indicators on the company’s blog:
- Revise the release schedule. Perhaps you write too rarely, and this is not enough. Try to increase the number of texts without losing quality;
- Add new formats to your content. If you have written exclusively informative articles with keys before, try writing an interesting case study, conducting research, or testing a new tool and tell your audience about it; People love fresh ideas;
- Revise keywords, update existing materials.
Decreased performance indicators of external publications:
- if everything went well at first but then sharply declined, identify the reason for this. Maybe your articles have become too primitive? Or, on the contrary, too complicated;
- Ditch the media that doesn’t bring you traffic. Develop your internal blog and popularize it among your readers. However, the media that brings you new leads is better to keep;
The development of a content strategy allows you to correctly allocate company resources for the creation and distribution of content; It is best if the content marketing in the company is performed by a team of people, rather than a couple of people;
This way, you can generate much more useful and high-quality content for your audience. The ideal composition of a team implementing a content strategy in a company looks like this:
Chief Editor is engaged in the development and supervision of the project, controls the work of the team at all stages, and directs the activities of each employee to achieve the goals prescribed in the content strategy.
Authors (staff or freelancers). They are directly involved in writing articles and texts for the internal and external sites of the company and also carry out the instructions of the chief editor;
SMM manager. Responsible for maintaining the company’s social networks.
SEO specialist. Responsible for optimizing content for search queries.
PR manager is engaged in the distribution of content on external sites.
Designers. They work on the creation of various graphic content (infographics, banners for articles, social networks, mailing lists, etc.).
Remember: content marketing is a long-term process. One “killer” material in well-known media can bring more traffic than a few articles on a corporate blog.
One info article for correctly selected key queries can work for you for years. Continually analyze the work done, abandon ineffective tactics, strengthen the most effective ones, connect new channels and new people. All this will help make content marketing as efficient as possible.