Content marketing as we all know, is the art of creating and distributing valuable content to attract and convert potential buyers into customers. Now, for this system to work properly, you need to design a content marketing strategy . I wrote a 7- part posts on content marketing strategies. You can start from here.
Having a concrete content marketing strategy will enable you to get inbound traffic to your website, build brand awareness through engagement, generate natural link popularity for SEO, open a channel of communication through social shares and comments etc.
In this post, I will be looking at five (5) great content marketing best practices. These are practices that will help you to create a winning content plan and focused execution. You need a strong foundation of content that attracts prospective customers at every stage of the buying circle.
Below are the best practices:
- Know what your audience
The best way to get result from your content marketing efforts is to know your audience and deliver what they want for them. In my post on content marketing strategy checklist, , I enumerated steps to know your audience and take them through the buying stages.
You need to know what your audience cares about, what their interests and motives are and their pain points. This will help you to know the type of content you need to create for them. For example, the content a new visitor will need is different from the one you will create for a prospective buyer who is getting ready to make a purchase. You need to design content according to their buying stages. Below is an image of your audience's journey through the buying stages.
There are four stages highlighted in the diagram above. When your audience first comes to your website, they are like suspects. They want to know all about your products and services. It is at this stage, you need to provide insightful information about your products. For example, you can write how-to-guides, how to articles, etc. These information will educate your audience about what you have to offer them.
The second stage is the prospect stage. They have read your content and understood your product or services. They are seeking for more information to enable them make informed decision. This is where you can create e-books and free reports.
When they are sure you have what they need, they will start interacting with your business. They can sign up to your email list or contact you directly.
The last stage opportunity is when your audience is ready to make a purchase based on your contents so far.
These are the stages you need to take your audience through with your content marketing. This is a great content marketing strategy best practice that will greatly help you to attract and retain your prospects.
- Create a Content Formula
Content marketing is all about creating content that will help your audience solve their most pressing needs or problems. To do this, you will need to create a content formula that will help your customer make an informed decision. Above, i made mention of the kind of contents that will be suitable for your audience at each buying stage. Here you will see the formula to create those awesome posts.
Below are three foolproof formula you can use:
i. Use a List post
In a research carried out by OkDork and Buzzumo, it was discovered that list posts receive most social shares after infographics. List posts are very popular and can easily go viral. So, how do you write a great list posts:
a. Use the right number of items.
Ok Dor and Buzzumo analyzed 100 million articles and discovered that the most popular form of list post that receives the greatest share are the ones with the number 10,23, 16 and 24.
b. Make your list post easily digestible.
c. Include an introduction before you start creating the list just like I did above.
d. Add pictures
e. Write a conclusion
ii. Select a Viral Topic
The reason why most people don't succeed in content marketing is simply because of the topic they use in creating content. In those days, you can succeed with any topic you want. But nowadays, competitions are stiff and a lot of people create content on a daily basis. So, your content needs to stand out. You need create a topic that will make people want to share your content and that will interest your prospects. The best way to do these are:
a. Look at what works for your competitors
There is no point reinventing the wheel. Check out your competitors websites and look at headings that are creating a buzz on their websites. You can use ahref or buzzumo to find it out. You can then model your topic after their own. For example, if you are in the dog collar business and you are looking for article ideas that work. Go to www.buzzumo.com and look for articles that are receiving high number of shares.
In the image above, you can see different topics that are receiving a high number of shares. Look at the topic "22 adorable dog collars every dog owner needs". You can decide to make your own "26 adorable collars dog owners can't do without"
b. Use Quora to look at the questions your prospects are asking. This will give you a clue as to what your audience wants to know. For example if you search for dog collar, you will see different topic ideas you can use for your contents (as shown below).
c. Copy your competitor's URL to google keyword planner tool and look at their keywords. You can get an idea of what is working for them. For example, one of the top dog collar website is http://www.petsmart.com/. So, go over to google keyword planner and type in the website.
Click on "get ideas" and you will see lots of keyword ideas you can use (shown below)
iii. Create the post, publish and promote it
Now that you know what type of content you want to create, you can create a top quality list post on your topic. After you publish the post, you will need to promote it effectively. If you do it well, it will go viral and you will have several eyeballs on it.
3. Create an editorial calendar
In my post on how to create a marketing content editorial calendar. I provide useful tips on how to create a winning content calendar.
A content calendar is more or less the same with the calendar you are familiar with. The only twist to it is that you schedule your content creation, publishing, promotion and measuring around specific dates.
Content marketing calendar helps to simplify the process of content creation, plan and organize content publishing around events,dates and launches and gives you enough time to create your content.
There are many content marketing calendar tools you can start with on the web. Find some of them below:
This is created by google and it looks just your Microsoft Excel. You can use it to create your content marketing calendar.
This is a WordPress plugin you can download and install on your blog. It provides an overview of your blog and tells you when you need to make a post. It has different features such as post dates, publish post titles, contents and times etc.
This is good for business owners who are just getting their feet wet in content marketing.
Other great ones are Coschedule and Kapost editorial calendars.
- Create Search Engine Optimizated contents
SEO is not dead as some people make us believe. You still need to attract search engine traffic to maximize your earnings online. In order to create a content that will benefit both humans and search engines, you need to:
i. Use one keyword per page - Choose relevant keyword for your content and optimize it appropriately
ii. Use your keyword four or five times in your content. People who visit your website through search engines will want to read about what brought them there in the first place.
iii. Use a minimum page length for your post. It is discovered that longer posts (1000 +) get more shared than shorter ones (300-500).
5. Measure Your content marketing ROI
After putting your best effort into content marketing, you need to measure your results. In my post on "how to measure your content marketing ROI". I provide specific insight on what you need to measure. The first one is the reach (measured by impressions, traffic, subscriber/audience size, share of voice, audience penetration across organization). You need to measure your reach by the channels you are using for content marketing (website, blog, social media channels etc.)
You measure page view, unique visitors, average time on page, engagement, conversion. etc. I recommend you read the post for more insight.
Above are the five strategies that will help you skyrocket your content engagement and conversion. Put them into practice today and see the level of success you will achieve.
What other content marketing strategies do you think is necessary to attain success in online marketing?