There is a lot that goes into creating a successful content strategy. For small business owners, this might seem like a daunting task. However, there is no need to go big right off the bat. But there are a few key steps that will set up a strong foundation that you can continue to build upon as you become more comfortable.
1. Define Your Goals
It is essential to have a purpose behind the actions you take, and content marketing is no different. To begin, sit down and define what you want to get out of your content marketing strategy.
Examples of Content Marketing Goals
- Brand Awareness
- Brand Loyalty
- Customer Education
- Customer Engagement
Clarifying what you want to achieve with content marketing provides direction as to what type of content you should create. It will also give you a metric to measure against when looking back—helping you determine whether you are getting a good return on your investment.
2. Know Your Audience
Before you put pen to paper, you need to know who you want to address in the content you are writing. Creating customer personas can help you understand who your reader is—resulting in higher engagement and increased likelihood of conversion.
Aspects to Consider When Creating a Persona
- What are their pain points?
- What would they like to achieve?
- How can your company help them?
With this information, you can tailor your content to address the specific needs of the reader you are after, which in turn, increases the likelihood they will convert to actual customers.
3. Planning is Key
While throwing something at the wall to see if it sticks might work for a little while, it is crucial to have a plan in place to ensure long-term success. For small businesses with limited resources, this can be as simple as creating a list of topics you want to cover over the next several months.
Methods to Help Brainstorm Content Topics
- Make a list of your customer’s frequently asked questions.
- Research what your competitors are talking about.
- Use online content idea tools such as Hubspot’s Blog Ideas Generator or Google Trends.
By creating a plan, it will help hold you and your team to a schedule. Then as you get more comfortable, you can develop a more detailed strategy.
4. Don’t Just Sell – Educate
Ask yourself, what is the first thing you do when you are thinking about buying a new product or need a service? You go online and research it.
Customers today want to be educated, not sold. That is why it is vital to put out relevant, informative content that helps your readers make informed decisions along their buyer’s journey.
An easy way to do this is to first decide what product or service you want to talk about. Then address common questions your customers have regarding it.
Let’s take roof replacement as an example. Instead of talking about why they should choose your company to replace their roof, write about the different materials they will need to choose between. Talk to the benefits of each one and when they should choose one over the other.
By being the expert, you will build trust with the reader and increase the chance they will turn to you when they are ready to purchase.
5. Measure and React
The success of a content marketing strategy can be determined by going back to the initial goals you set in the beginning and asking yourself the following questions:
- Did the content help me achieve my goals?
- Did my customers find it helpful and informative?
- Looking back, is there anything I would have done differently?
It is also essential to look at the data. Utilize tools such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, to help you gauge the success of specific content pieces.
Example Data Points to Review
- Facebook: Page Likes
- Facebook: Post Shares & Engagement
- Google Analytics: Page Views
- Google Analytics: Time on Site
Use your learnings to provide direction and help formulate your next strategy. Continue doing what worked well and modify what didn’t.
Creating a successful content strategy doesn’t need to be complicated. With these five steps, you can start with a strong foundation and continue adding to it as you grow. Another option is to enlist the help of a company that specializes in content marketing like Vivial. Let us do what you don’t have time to – contact us today for a free content marketing consultation!