Using content marketing for your business is one of the smartest things you can implement. Content marketing can not only help you to grow your business and engage your prospects, but become an authority in your space and build long term trust with you customers.
Getting started it’s highly recommended you document your content marketing strategy, this will help you to overcome issues such as:
- Creating enough content
- Growing the engagement you need
- Finding interesting ways to innovate
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Recent research has found that, 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than they were a year ago and 54% find producing engaging content to be a challenge.
In this article we are going to provide a list of actionable tips to help get started and kick off your content marketing strategy effectively. First let’s take a quick look at the results from the content marketing institute survey of B2B marketers:
Some Key Take Aways:
- 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than they did one year ago, even those who say they are least effective (58%) and those without any type of strategy (56%).
- Measurement is a key area where B2B marketers are struggling: Only 21% say they are successful at tracking ROI; however, having a documented strategy helps (35% of those with a strategy say theyare successful).
- Once again, infographics was the tactic that had the greatest increase in usage (from 51% last year to 62% this year).
- 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content, making it the social media platform used most often (they also say it’s the most effective social media platform).
- 58% of B2B marketers use search engine marketing, making it the paid method used most often to promote/distribute content (they also say it’s the most effective paid method).
- More B2B marketers say they are challenged with finding trained content marketing professionals this year (32%) than last year (10%).
- The 35% who have documented their strategy are more effective in all aspects of content marketing than those who have not.
What is content marketing?
It’s the art of understanding exactly what your customers need and want to know, and the science of delivering it to them in a useful, compelling way. It’s engaging content created by great writers using testing techniques that wins the war of words on the web. For more content marketing tips to engage readers and keep them coming back for more, visit www.social-mediaauthority.com
The Content Marketing Plan Basics
Every content marketing plan should include the basics. Think of them as building blocks for the foundation of your content marketing. Make sure you outline the following essentials in your marketing plan:
Goals or Mission
What’s your aim for developing a content marketing plan? Why do you want to produce content and create a content marketing plan? Know your goals before you begin planning, and you’ll have an easier time determining what’s best for your 2016 strategy.
If you recently started your business, avoid producing content just because you think you should. You may not be using content effectively — and you don’t have time to waste on tactics that aren’t delivering results for you.
If you’ve been in business for a while, review your content marketing efforts and the results from it in 2015. Figure out what you can do differently in the upcoming year and set new goals to reach. (Pro tip: Now is a great time to align your team’s goals with the rest of your organization’s goals.)
To develop a successful plan, you need to clearly define your content’s target audience — also known as your “buyer persona.”
This is especially important for those who’re starting out and are new to marketing. By knowing your target audience, you can produce more relevant and valuable content that they’ll want to read and convert on.
If you’re an experienced marketer, your target may have changed. Do you want to target a new group of people or expand your current target market? Do you want to keep the same target audience? Revisiting your audience parameters each year is crucial to growing your audience.
Types of Content
Most people start out with blog posts, but if you want to venture out and try producing other content pieces, consider which ones you want to make. For instance, if you’ve been doing weekly blog posts for the past year, creating an ebook for all your blog posts would be a one way to offer information in a different format. We’ll go over a bunch of the different types of content you can use in the next section.
Have a system in place where you can manage your content. A few vital parts of content management include content creation, content publication, and content analytics. Later, we’ll go over tools you can include in your content marketing strategy to help you manage content.
Content Ideas for Your Content Marketing Plan
Maintaining a steady stream of content that’s unique and interesting to your target audience is a challenge
e. But with a big dose of creativity (and a little help from content idea generators), you can create content that’s not only valuable to your market, but also stands out from the sea of information.
Brainstorming shouldn’t be restricted; you never know when a great idea is going to come your way. Let your mind be free and relax. Avoid stressing out during the brainstorming session. If you do, it’s time to take a break and come back to brainstorming later.
Brainstorm with others
From your team to consultants, you can brainstorm with other people and bounce ideas off each other. You don’t have to come up with creative ideas on your own, and it’s best if you don’t. When you brainstorm with others, you can see your ideas at different angles as well as your team members’ ideas.
Use tools to help you come up with content ideas
If you don’t have the luxury of brainstorming with others or you’d like another way to brainstorm content ideas, tons of tools are available to help you create content topics.
9 Actionable Tips for great Content Marketing
Earning trust is the ultimate goal of content marketing. And it’s not easy, start by listening to your customers and asking them questions. Discover their problems and supply the solutions they need. Make sure that the content you create is something customers can believe and offers guidance and advice in a meaningful way. This type of information will build trust in your company as a solution provider and eventually lead to the sale.
Listening to what people are saying about your company, your brand, your service and your competition is the starting point for content marketing. Traditional methods for harvesting data include customer surveys, focus groups, feedback tools and other methods that tend to push out questions that pull in the answers. But Social Media has changed all that. Online conversations can be tracked and measured with free tools like Search on Twitter.com, Google Alerts, Buzzsumo, Mashable and more.
Analytics for Listening
Listening to what people are searching for on the web is another starting point for content marketing. Keyword research tools offer insight on keyword popularity, pay per click price and the hot topics for content creation. Web analytics tell you which keywords drive traffic to your site and what pages readers land on for answers. Bounce rates tell you if visitors like the content they find, and conversion rates tell you if they believe what you say
Social media takes you beyond search engines. You understand how to conduct keyword research to find the current memes in your online community. What tags do people use, and what’s top of mind? Social media referrals not only happen, but such leads are more valuable. Why? Because prospect customers became interested by reading something valuable that resonated and caused them to want to work with you — and tell their friends or peers about you.
Talking too much about your company, your product features and benefits, your exceptional services and awards is guaranteed to turn off customers. Instead, focus on customers’ needs and wants. Your customers demand educational content without the marketing spin. Cut back on the self-promotional speak and earn trust with your customers with quality information that’s readily available online. Quality content makes you a trusted advisor and partner with your customers.
Turning your company’s website into a “destination” site for your target audience is an ambitious goal. Why? Readers view information sites created by companies as “biased” and therefore less valuable. If possible, create intellectual articles and videos from industry leaders outside your company to help validate your commitment to knowledge vs. sales. Offer free tools that solve problems on-the-fly. Remove all promotions within any rich content to confirm your commitment to thought leadership
Create Great Content
Great content is more than useful information. It’s compelling, entertaining writing that hooks readers and keeps them coming back for more. After all, searchers and browsers are readers. So a successful content marketing strategy begins with great writers who know how to craft a story and tell it well. Carefully screen writers, and hire only the best. Great content isn’t easy to write, but some writers have it down to a science. Find the best writers.
Who does your customer want to talk with on a daily basis? Probably your product experts and customer service people. Develop content that answers your customers’ product and service problems, and have your employees use your content in their conversations with customers. Content that solves questions in a genuine voice will do more to engage customers and grow your business
You can flood your prospects with advertising they don’t want. Or you can supply them with insight, information and know-how they can really use. Try building a Knowledge Center packed with tips and advice. Tips are powerful things; they’re the bridge that connects prospects to you. By solving customer problems and improving their lives, you’ll earn their trust. And trust turns browsers into believers and believers into buyers.