Want to grow your business? Drive traffic to your site? Get more leads and clients without spending your entire marketing budget on ads? Content Marketing is important because you can grow your business through organic search and answer your ideal client's questions.
Content Marketing is about creating authentic, valuable content that gets people to stop scrolling. It's about doing the research, knowing your audience, and solving their pain points. The goal is to build a brand identity that creates trust, tells your story, and inspires a connection that translates into sales.
How to Create a Successful Content Marketing Strategy
If you want your business to start ranking on page one of Google's search results, it's going to take more than just creating a few short posts or landing pages for your site.
Here's what you should do before you start writing, or hire a writer to create content for you:
Identify your audience - Who are they? What problems do they have? How can you help solve those problems?
Do the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) research - Identify what long-tail keywords you can rank for, optimize your posts without overstuffing keywords, and build backlinks to prove you're an authority on this topic.
Create a Content Calendar - Organize your ideas in one place, so you know what content to cover next. Create outlines for your posts to make it clear for your writer what specific topics you want to cover. That way, you can avoid revisions, save time, and get what you want the first time.
Identify your Core Values - Have a clear mission statement and identify the tone for your content.
Focus on Your Headlines - This is what's going to catch people's attention. If they suck, no one will read your content, no matter how good it is.
Get to Know Your Audience
These days it's a lot easier to reach out to your audience and figure out what content they need. Start building an email list and reach out to your clients to ask them what they’re interested in and what problems they would like help with.
Set up an Instagram poll or question on your stories to get down to the core of what your audience needs. For example, if you have a fashion brand or boutique, ask your followers if they're interested in style guides, how-to posts, or details on how the pieces are made. That way, you can create content that is tailored to their interests.
Speaking of IG, Are we connected? Follow us @mcmillancreativestudios.
Before you Write, Do the Research
Now that you've identified your audience, and you're clear on what they want, the next step is to create a content calendar full of story ideas and keywords.
How to choose keywords - Let's say your business sells apples. While you may want to create content using keywords like "apple, red apple, and green apple," it's going to be tough to rank for those keywords if you're just starting out. Focus on long-tail keywords such as "where to buy the best red apples in Seattle" or "when are apples in season in Seattle."
Think of any questions your audience may have and use those topics to create compelling content to drive traffic to your site.
Don’t forget about backlinks - Creating backlinks shows search engines that you are an authority for this topic. While you may want to pump out several articles for your own site, make an effort to reach out to other websites in your niche so you can start building backlinks for your site.
When creating content, ask yourself if what you're producing is providing value. Are you solving a problem? Does it move readers to leave a comment? Are they curious enough about your content to add their email to your mailing list?
Optimize your post and site - Add your keywords in the title, meta description, headings, in the first sentence or 100 words of your post, throughout your content, and in the last paragraph. Resize your images to avoid slowing down your site, and don't forget to rename them before uploading them to your website.
Create quality content that provides value.
Comments can be a good indicator that what you're putting out is resonating with the consumer. When someone leaves a comment, it means they were moved by your content enough to share their opinion. To get more feedback from your audience, get to know who you are talking to, and what type of content they want to read. Use newsletters, social media, or blog posts to address those needs. Keep your hand on the pulse of what's grabbing their attention, and spend time answering comments and DM's.
Whether it's a blog post, social media content, or monthly newsletter, check the data to see how long consumers are staying on your site. If they tend to stick around, engage with your business on social media and download what you're offering, then you're ticking the right boxes.
Promote Your Content - You don't have to be a master at podcasts, blogs, social media, and Youtube. Stick to the outlet that makes you feel comfortable and produce killer content to gain your audience's trust. Know which blog posts are driving page views to your site and create more posts about those topics. Look for IG posts in your feed that get a lot of attention, and try to replicate the message.
Are you using Clever Call-to-Actions To Drive People to Your Email List? Be clear on where you want to send people to. Do you want them to join your email list? Contact you? Follow you on Instagram? Don't bury your CTA's at the bottom of your post. Sprinkle them throughout your site and in the middle of your copy to get people on your email marketing list.
Shift Your Perspective
Be prepared to pivot your content and social media marketing strategy over time. Don't be afraid to experiment with A/B testing. Once you've written a few posts, take a look at your website's analytics to see what’s getting the most attention. This helps you identify what type of content you want to recreate.
Have you ever landed on a new blog or website, read a few posts, and signed up to the newsletter right away? Think about what caused you to sign up, even though you're still struggling to get your read emails down to zero. What was it about the content that got you hooked? Try to evoke that same kind of emotion you felt into the content you're creating. Gain loyal customers by becoming their go-to source for information, so those people turn to your business to find what they need.
Remember that SEO takes time. When you DON’T create a content strategy, identify long-tail keywords, and get to know your audience, it's kind of like trying to find a place without any maps, directions or landmarks to help guide you. Eventually, you may find it, but you'll probably get lost several times, make a bunch of detours, and get frustrated along the way. Take your business to the next level by creating a successful content marketing strategy from the start.