You may already know about the great benefits of using content marketing as part of your Social Media Marketing strategy as a way of generating new clients, increase your company’s media presence and reach new audiences, but you may be unsure about planning your first content marketing strategy? Here are four starting points you should use to make sure you achieve all your main objectives and generate a good return on investment.
Who Is Your Target Market?
Firstly, it’s important to consider who you want to read your articles. While you could just sit down at your computer and type away, you will likely end up with a varying range of content that doesn’t target anyone specifically, meaning a lost opportunity in terms of readership.
A good starting point is understanding who your existing customers are. What do they do? Where are they based? Why do they like you, and why did they choose you as their provider? By answering these questions, you should get a clearer idea about what makes your business special.
Second, think about how people find your business online. You probably already run an SEO campaign for your business, or have a tool like Google Analytics set up. Using this information, you can work out what people are searching for to find your business, or what website they are linking to your site from. These give useful clues as to what people are interested in about your business.
With these two pieces of information, you can begin brainstorming topics that have relevance to your business and will interest potential buyers.
How Will You Deliver Value?
Once you have a range of topics to write about, the next step is to consider how you will deliver value. If your articles are purely self promotional, no one will want to read them, because they are simply a sales pitch. Instead, think about tips and tricks you can share from your industry that will be helpful to your readers, which will encourage them to keep coming back for more.
This may sound counter intuitive, considering your aim is to increase customers. How can giving away free knowledge make people want to spend money with you? In fact, giving away free knowledge is exactly why people will want to buy your service.
Consider the first time you bought any kind of product or service you hadn’t used before. You probably wanted proof it would do what it was supposed to do. That could have been by talking to an existing client, reading a testimonial letter, or getting a trial version of a product.
Content marketing works in a similar way when it comes to reassuring your customer about the quality of your work. Publishing your industry knowledge and advice establishes you as an expert in your field. As your readership grows, they will become increasingly familiar with your area of expertise. When they need to use the service you offer, they will immediately think of you rather doing a Google search for similar providers. This is called ‘thought leadership’.
How Will You Distribute Your Content?
The next thing to decide is how you will distribute your content. The first thing you’ll want to do is set up a blog on your website. This is essentially the centre piece of your content marketing strategy, acting as a hub for all of your content to live.
While you could publish a blog on blogger or Tumblr, building it into your website is the best option. This is because when people view your blog, it will count as a visit to your website’s domain. If you are running an SEO campaign for your site, it’s a good idea to include some of the keywords you are fighting for in your article as this will help your search engine ranking.
In order for this to work, however, you will need to drive traffic, or visitors to your blog. There are a number of ways this can be done. You may already be running a Social Media Marketing campaign, which is a great place to start, since the sharing and retweeting features of Facebook and Twitter make it easy for your articles to reach new audiences organically. However, rather than simply posting links to your articles and asking people to read them, it’s best to aim to generate some discussion around the points made in your article. Why not ask for your readers’ own experiences or opinions on your subject?
Sending a link to your blog article via email is another great way of generating traffic, providing it’s done properly. This is important as if too many recipients mark your email as spam, your emails could be blocked. To avoid this, make sure your email doesn’t seem too spammy, come across as a hard sell, or is irrelevant to the recipient’s needs.
Fortunately, email services like Mailchimp include handy tools to help you. Using the subject line researcher tool you can ensure your email doesn’t land straight in spam folders due to a poor choice of words. Relevancy is also important. You may already have a database of contacts you’ve met or have previously opted in to receiving emails from you, from a wide range of industries. Say you had a subset of people in the construction industry you thought might find your article useful, you can use Mailchimp’s tools to ensure only these people receive your email. Finally, you can avoid a hard sell by ensuring your article offers value. Provided your content is good, you will find that recipients in time will come to you when they need your services.
Build Links With Other Industry Leaders And Resources
A great way of expanding your audience and bringing in new customers is by connecting with other writers in your industry and guest blogging for them. Guest blogging is simply where you write an article for their blog, and in return they write one for you. This is a great way of opening yourself up to new audiences for several reasons.
By including a link back to your site and a mini biography at the end, interested readers can click through to your site and find out more about what you do, as after reading your article they my be intrigued to see how you may be able to help them further. When the other writer has written a blog post for you, you should add a link back to their site too to enable your readers to do the same.
Social media and email marketing can also expand your audience. Your guest blogger will likely include your article in their email marketing and social media campaigns, driving further traffic to your article on their blog. From there, readers are able to click through to your own blog to find out more about what you do and what services you offer.