It is a form of digital marketing often used to reach potential consumers who don’t respond to traditional search ads, banner ads, or email marketing. Still, it may be used to meet many other goals, such as improving brand awareness and increasing conversions.
Implementing a content strategy is challenging because there are many decisions to make, and they can have significant consequences for the success of your strategy. In this guide, you’ll learn how to develop a content marketing campaign that can be used to accomplish your business goals. You’ll get tips for researching, planning, publishing, and metrics.
Tip #1: Start With Comprehensive Research
Research is the essential first step in any content marketing efforts, as it will reveal what you need to know to set goals and craft quality content. You need the right KPIs for content marketing, and research will help you find them. Here are the key areas you need to research before you write the first piece of content:
- Your audience
- Your niche
- Your product
- Your competitors
The level of research you do before content creation will depend on what you have to invest. For your audience, you can invest in developing complete buyer personas based on demographics, online behavior, and other metrics. These can help you target audiences based on multiple characteristics.
Competitor research is an important part of researching any niche. Finding out the size and rank of the competitors involved and what kind of content works for them can help you make confident early steps.
A professional marketing team may recommend specific types of research before beginning a content marketing project. Some types of research may be more valuable depending on your product, region, or growth stage.
If you don’t have a high budget for research, the next best thing you can do is simply check Google search results (SERPs) for terms you’d like to rank for. Checking the top results will give you a baseline understanding of what wins and how competitors approach the most important topics.
Tip #2: Develop a Brand Look and Brand Voice
After research has guided you toward the kind of content you need to create, you need to think about how that content will be received and recognized by your target audience.
If you want your content to leave an impression on your brand or products, you should do the work of creating a “signature” look. Recognizable color schemes, illustrations, and other stylistic choices can make your content immediately recognizable even when it’s linked or copied elsewhere.
Creating a style guide for your brand content is a good first step. This guide will outline the rules content creators, including writers and designers, should follow to make the appearance familiar to readers.
Once you’ve found a good style, remember that you can go back and begin repurposing content to fit with the new branding you’ve created.
Tip #3: Use the Hub Model to Satisfy Searchers and Search Engines
Your research will help you identify interesting topics, but how you choose to cover the topic also matters. You can serve the needs of both audiences and search engines by implementing content in the form of hubs.
Hubs are a popular way of organizing information on websites. The “hub” page serves as the main destination for a topic to be covered. It is meant to be in-depth enough to provide informative detail, but condensed enough to be digestible.
When a hub needs to cover new subtopics, spokes (smaller, more specific pages) are created on new pages, and a link connects the two together.
This allows you to continue to add new utility to your content without ever bloating it or filling it with information that most readers can’t use. Hubs made from good content are considered effective at generating organic traffic and backlinks. Hubs can also easily be written as evergreen content—content that generates value for years without needing updates.
Tip #4: Create Your Own Data Research for Your Niche
A content strategy should include many types of content. One type, data research, has a high initial investment but can easily become standout content in its niche.
Data research is valuable content because it often attracts repeat readers, engagement, and links. Perform case studies, surveys, and polling of your customers to get the numbers you need for this content. A professional marketing team can recommend a polling service or other specialist to handle the data collection for you.
Completed data research can continue to collect views and links years after completion. The more it collects, the more authoritative it appears, and the more often it will appear in search results. Providing value this way directly contributes to strong SEO.
Content like this is one of the reasons that content marketing is considered effective. While it may have some high initial costs, it can continue increasing in value.
Tip #5: Ensure a Regular Schedule With a Content Calendar
Frequent publishing is an important part of developing an audience. The best content marketing strategies for new businesses will use a calendar to ensure new content is distributed regularly.
A calendar is important for any site that publishes content as the main product (for example, news, review, and opinion sites). Putting an editorial calendar in place will help you bring readers back regularly.
Calendars can also help you control your budget when you’re building content from multiple formats or templates. The organization it provides will help you create distance between the most expensive content, so your team never becomes overwhelmed.
Tip #6: Explore the Value of Multiple Formats
Content strategies often use long-form written content, such as guides. However, there are many other types of great content, and any number of them may be a better option for you, depending on your niche.
Here are just a few examples of content that can be produced to aid content strategies:
- Case studies
- Blogs (LinkedIn, Substack)
- Influencer marketing
- Social media posts or memes
Consider how these different forms could improve your reputation in your niche. Most effective content strategies will take advantage of a mix of different forms of content. Doing this will allow you to test which one gets the most engagement or other desired responses.
Tip #7: Measure the Performance of Content After Publishing
Metrics are how you have effective content marketing over time. Your metrics include all the data you collect about your audience and how they respond to content.
You’ll rarely reach your audience perfectly the first time, but you can collect data about each attempt and use it to guide you toward creating better content.
Setting up proper metrics will be difficult without a marketing team or training. Content management systems, Google Analytics, and other related management and marketing tools can give you some basic metrics, but they won’t necessarily match your marketing goals.
If you hire an outside team, they may recommend platforms for content marketing that help you access different kinds of data in one place.
Need More Advice and Tips to Get Your Content Marketing Off the Ground?
Content marketing strategies need to be comprehensive to have the impact you want. Use these tips to develop content that improves the value of your brand. As long as you’re creating targeted content in different formats and improving them with metrics, you’ll see results.
If this process sounds complex, you can skip most of the difficult parts by working with a professional marketing team or content strategist. Professionals can help with every step of planning and implementing a strategy, including content marketing automation.
Find out how we can help you launch or improve your content marketing.