But now that the Internet has grown into a powerful marketing tool, your site can (and should) provide much more than the bare minimum. With a strong content marketing strategy, your business can passively reach potential customers, answer their questions, and convert them into leads.
If you're interested in learning how WebFX can help you create a strong content marketing strategy, call us at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist, or keep reading for 10 tips that will help you improve your strategy and make the most of your company’s online presence.
1. Know your audience
Before you can create any sort of marketing strategy (online or otherwise), you need to know your audience. But unlike most traditional methods, content marketing requires you to know more than who your target demographic is.
Content marketing requires you to write articles, blog posts, and graphics that engage your audience. In order to do that, you need to understand what it is your potential customers want. What are their interests? What do they need help with? And what words and phrases do they use to find answers online?
As an example, a pharmaceutical digital marketing strategy and a dental digital marketing strategy may focus on two separate audiences, even though both operate in the healthcare field. While the pharmaceutical business targets physicians, the dental office focuses on patients, resulting in diverse pieces of content.
If you have a solid understanding of your audience, your content marketing efforts will be much more successful. And if you’ve never done this kind of research, creating personas can be a great way to start.
2. Write for your audience
This may sound obvious, but once you know who your audience is, you need to write for them. From topic selection to your final edits, your audience should play a big role in the way you present information.
Right from the start, you should select topics that potential customers would want to learn about. This is a challenging process (and sometimes you’ll be wrong), but you can start with these seven ways to find ideas they’ll love.
3. Research your competitors
Considering that 48% of B2B marketers and 77% of B2C marketers use content marketing, you’re likely not the only business in your industry attempting to attract customers with content. And although this means that you have competition, it also means that you have the opportunity to see what other people are creating.
Take a look at what other businesses in your industry (especially top competitors) are doing with their content strategies. What formats are they using? What topics are they discussing? And how are their readers responding?
4. Find a unique angle
Although your competitors can be great sources of ideas, you should avoid publishing content that’s too similar to anyone else’s. After all, the goal of content marketing is to provide your customers with useful information—not information that’s readily available.
Whenever you see a great idea, resist the temptation to simply replicate it with some minor alterations. Instead, see the topic as a starting point, and look for ways you could take your own unique angle. This will keep you from becoming part of the “echo chamber” of content online and be much more interesting to your readers.
5. Narrow your focus
As you select the topics you want to write about, you may find yourself coming up with broad, general topics. But unless you’re prepared to spend the time to create comprehensive long-form content, you should narrow each topic down to the point that you can cover it fully.
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In addition to making content creation more manageable, this will also help you create more effective topics. It’s better to have 10 pages that comprehensively answer a specific question than one page that answers 10 questions with minimal explanation— especially if each question deals with a different topic.
6. Have a purpose for everything you create
Most content falls into one of two categories: Useful or entertaining. As you come up with topic ideas, ask yourself whether your idea would help a potential customer solve a problem. If not, ask yourself if they’d find it funny or interesting.
If the answer is “no” to both questions, scrap the idea. And if the answer is “yes,” make the purpose clear in your title. In many cases, this is as simple as “How to X” or “10 Things You Should Know about Y.” If readers know what they’ll learn from reading your article, they’ll be more likely to take the time to do so.
7. Make readers your priority
It can be a challenge to create content that is primarily informative. After years of writing copy with the goal of closing sales, it’s all too easy to fall back on “sales-y” language.
Be aware of this distinction, and be careful to make informing your readers the priority in all of your content. Today’s consumers are prone to tuning out promotional content, and this could easily ruin your chances of building trust with site visitors. Instead, when you’re marketing your products or services, tell readers what you do, why it’s important, what the advantages are to your company, and how you can help potential customers.
8. Make relevant connections to your business
Although it’s important to not be too promotional, you should look for opportunities to mention your products or services where relevant. Even if this is simply a link to another page at the bottom of a blog post, keeping visitors on your site beyond the first thing they see is key to converting them into customers.
9. Set measurable goals
As with any marketing strategy, you should have concrete goals for your site content. So before you get started, determine what it is that you hope to accomplish.
Are you looking to boost site traffic? Attract first-time visitors? Generate sign-ups for an email list? Get shares on social media? There are many metrics you can measure with content marketing, so it’s essential to figure out ahead of time which ones are the most important for your business.
10. Monitor your progress
As you create and publish content on your site, be sure to regularly monitor your progress against your goals. Although it’s easy to simply look at the volume of pages you’ve published and feel like you’ve accomplished something, it’s absolutely necessary to look at whether or not those pages are actually generating results.
Make checking Google Analytics (or another analytics program) part of your routine, and track the metrics that indicate overall performance. If things are going well, keep doing what you’re doing—and if not, use that data to revise your strategy to be more effective.
Want to improve your company’s content marketing strategy?
If your company isn’t seeing the results you want from content marketing, WebFX can help. Our talented team of writers and designers has years of experience creating and promoting successful content for our clients, and we can do the same for you.
Contact us today to speak to a strategist about how your business can get more customers with content!