You need to have a content marketing strategy in place if you want to thrive in your market. Your content strategy guides what kind of blog posts, videos, white papers, lead magnets etc. that you create.But why does your company need content marketing in the first place, you ask?Here are the top 3 reasons you need solid content in order to grow your business:

  1. Inbound marketing is going to the main way you get new users. Potential customers likely won’t buy just from looking at a flashy landing page alone. Potential customers want to see that your product or service has some substance.
  2. If your revenue is subscription based, you need content to retain your customers. Content gets customers engaged, and if there’s no engagement your customers can happily jump ship to a competitor at any moment.
  3. Content marketing is less costly and pushy than outbound marketing. Your content can be engineered to educate and sell at the same time. Each piece of content is like a digital asset to your business that will help you make more sales.

Even if your company is pre-launch, you’ll need to create a solid base of content to help get your initial customers.In this blog post, we’re going to lay out a step by step process for you to create your content marketing strategy.

Research Phase

AJSLP_ResearchTuesdayfig0Before you even start writing, you are going to need to research your market and figure out what kind of content they need.

Step 1: Assess the Competition

You probably aren’t the first player in your market. You are going to want to look at your competitors’ websites to see what sort of content they are posting. You also need to be looking at companies that are adjacent to you. Maybe you both target the same market, but address different pain points. Their content is another great resource for you to research what kind of content your audience wants to read.Here’s your action step: make a list of all the different types of blog posts you find on your competitors’ and adjacent companies’ websites and see what kind of topics and themes they cover. See what types of content are performing best in terms of comments and shares.This should give you an idea of the type of content your audience wants. Also look at how they present their content”is it primarily blog posts, videos, slideshows, or some other form?

Step 2 – Research Your Keywords

You don’t need to be an SEO wizard to understand the importance of keywords. Basically keywords are the type of words your audience uses to describe what they are looking for when they do a Google search.By using the proper keywords, it will be easier for people who are looking for help with a certain pain point to find you.Finding out which keywords have a decent search volume will also help you learn what kinds of topics you can eventually write about.If you want to try a keyword research tool that’s BETTER than the Google Keyword Planner check this out: [LINK TO Content U]

Step 3 – Talk to Your Customers

Talk to your customers to find out what content you should write. Learn what your market is currently having trouble with, and create content that helps solve that problem.Even if a topic isn’t something your product directly helps with, you can still create content on that topics to help your potential customers out. By helping your potential customers solve problems related to their businesses, you will become known as an authority in your niche.

Step 4 – Compile Your Research

Put together all the content ideas you have and decide what you are going to create for your first few content pieces. Define how you are going to format the content (blog posts, videos, etc), what kinds of topics you are going to address, what resources your market needs, and what you are going to focus on first.When you are deciding what topics to write about, consider where in your sales funnel your customers will be when they start looking for that information. A prospect who doesn’t know about your product or service will be looking for different information than one of your current customers.

Content Creation Phase

1-1-A-New-creationWhen you start your blog, you don’t have to necessarily worry about writing 2000+ word blog posts. The length of your content will be dictated by what your audience is used to reading.

Step 5 – Choose Your CMS

Your CMS is your content management system, AKA how you will be putting your content up for everyone to see. You’ll probably be using WordPress to create and distribute your blog posts, but there are other options that will work as well.It doesn’t really matter which CMS you choose as long as the system you use is easy to navigate and your blog content is easy to read.

Step 6 – SEO Optimize Your Content

Before you start writing a piece of content, you should know what sort of keywords you are going to target. This will help guide you when you actually create the content, as you’ll want to put the relevant keywords in your blog posts’ title and throughout the posts themselves.

Step 7 – Create Your First Content

I could write for days about the art of writing blog posts but ultimately, you should be modeling the types of high quality blog posts that you found on competitors websites earlier. Use a similar length and tone as your competitors do.Make sure that every post has some sort of call to action, like signing up to try your product or subscribing to your blog’s newsletter.A blog post with a solid call to action will become a totally passive lead generation machine.A big question to ask yourself in this phase is this: Should I be writing this content myself?It can be very time consuming to create your first content pieces, and you should really consider hiring some sort of outside agency to do it for you. Then, they can create the high quality content for you while you work on building your business.

Content Distribution Phase

Wholesale_distribution_283521800A well-written article is pretty much worth nothing if no one reads it. You need to put some time and effort into making sure your content is well distributed across the internet. Here are a couple tactics you can use to make sure your content gets read.

Step 8 – Social Media Promotion

For each piece of content you create, you should have a couple social media posts to go along with it. Whether those are Twitter posts, Facebook posts, Instagram posts, etc depends on your market. Depending on the topics you write about, you can also tag influencers in your social media posts. If your content is actually useful, these influencers might share your content with their audiences.

Step 9 – Email Distribution

Every piece of content you create should have a short email to to go along with, so that you can let your email list know that a new article is live. This email should say more than go look at my new blog post. It should intrigue the reader enough to actually click a link and read the post. Make your emails enticing and readers will actually look forward to getting them. Learning how to write engaging emails will also really help you out when it comes to marketing to your email list later.

Step 10 – Spread Your Content Far and Wide

Google doesn’t like it when you repost the same content to multiple places in the same way. For example, posting a blog post on your website, and then guest posting that exact same content on another blog will get you penalized in Google search results.You can, however, post the content in different forms to get a BOOST in the search rankings. For example, if you take your blog post content and turn it into a LinkedIn article with the exact same content, it will help the rankings of your site’s original blog post AND give you a new way to spend your content around the net.Here are a few ways you can use the same content in different mediums:

  • Turn that content into a youtube video
  • Answer questions using that content on Quora
  • Republish the content on Medium
  • Create a LinkedIn article with the same content (but change the title)
  • Share the same content as a Google+ Post
  • Turn the content into a Slideshare
  • Turn the content into an infographic

A few things to keep in mind¦

Now you know how to find content ideas, create amazing content, and spread your content across the internet. But there are a few more things you need to know before you start executing your content marketing strategy.Content marketing is a long term play. Don’t expect every blog post to bring in customers and get shared everywhere. Think of each blog post as a digital asset for your business.Distributing your content is just as hard as writing it. That’s why you need to pay special attention to the distribution phase. You need to do everything in your power to get your content read by the right people.Each piece of content needs to be conversion driven. When you write an amazing blog post, you need to remember: you are pushing people to do something when they read it. That doesn’t mean you need to be super salesy in your content. Your customers will be happy to sign up for your email list if the content is really high quality.Book a Discovery Call