Content marketing is the practice of providing free (or gated) content to users in order to attract them to your site and prompt them to engage with your brand. Unlike blogging, content marketing is strategic, with specific goals for everything you create.
- Blogging, which can happen on your own site (“owned media”) or involve guest blogging for other publications, can include text, images, infographics, and videos.
- E-books or white papers are often used as lead magnets to capture information like a user’s email address.
- Email newsletters, can build relationships with readers and encourage them to head back to your site.
- Webinars and other video content can help you convey your brand personality and increase user engagement (especially since the video has become very popular)
- Landing pages, which are hosted on your own site and direct users to click a button to find out further information or convert
How to create great best content marketing step-by-step
Content marketing is a great way to get people talking about your products, your services, and your company. Content marketing is also a great way to engage your customers and maybe even create a community. (Plus, you can always use the resulting SEO boost.)
The following is a comprehensive guide to planning and implementing a content marketing strategy from Ryan Robinson, a content marketing consultant to the world’s top experts and growing startups. (He also teaches 200,000 monthly readers how to start and grow a profitable side hustle through his blog and podcast.)
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of B2B marketers surveyed say they are creating more content this year than they did in 2016, with the trend showing no signs of slowing down as we head into 2018.
However, while pretty much every small business and startup understands the value of content marketing, it can be a scary thought to dive right in. Your competitors or the people you look up to are regularly posting long-form, in-depth blog posts, launching podcasts, or dipping their toes into the world of video, and it seems overwhelming.
Today, we’re hoping to get rid of some of that pressure you’re feeling and simplify the process of creating a foolproof content marketing strategy.
A best content marketing strategy is a roadmap that not only tells you what you’re going to create, but how you’re going to create it, distribute it, and ultimately use it to attract, retain, and convert readers and viewers into customers.
Each part of your content marketing has its own unique nuances and details that you won’t want to miss. So, let’s look at each part of the process and for an even deeper dive on how I personally do content marketing for companies like LinkedIn, Google, Zendesk, Quickbooks, Adobe, and more, check out my guide to creating a content marketing strategy.
1. Establish Your Goals
The first step in creating your content marketing plan is to understand why you create content. Do you want to generate more sales leads? Do you want increased traffic to your website? Or do you see content marketing as a means of establishing the authority of your brand? Once you have decided on your objectives, you will need to set some targets. Where it is possible to do so, those targets should be quantified so that you can assess the success of your content marketing campaign.
2. Define Your Audience
Understanding your target audience is crucial to content marketing. Suppose you want to attract a specific segment of the population. In that case, you will need to understand what those people’s likes and dislikes are. You will also need to know what type of content will appeal to your target audience. The next step in your best content marketing planning is defining a persona for your typical customer. The persona you create should include the standard demographics of age, gender, location, and income. It would help if you also considered things like what your target audience’s pastimes are, what their concerns are, and what motivates them.
3. Research Your Competitors
The next step is to investigate what competition you will face when attracting your target audience’s attention. But remember, it won’t only be your traditional competitors you will be competing with for people’s attention and time. There may also be content from sources such as news, reference, and entertainment sites that cover the same topics as your posts. When you research your competitors, note what type of content they are producing and what appears to have been the most successful. Also, find out what keywords they are targeting.
4. Complete Topic And Keyword Research
Once you know your objectives and understand your audience, the next step is to find out what your audience is searching for online. You will need to research the keywords that people are searching for on Google and other search engines. You can begin this process by investigating the search volume for the keywords that you believe are relevant. Your keyword research will likely yield some surprising results and give you new ideas for content.
5. Review Your Existing Content
You may also gain some valuable insights from the content that you have already published. So, investigate what types of posts have generated the most interest and which pages of your website currently receive the most traffic. Also, research what keywords people have used to find your site. The performance metrics of existing content will help you build up a picture of the type of content that interests your target audience the most.
6. Devise Your Strategy
The next step is to plan how you will use the information that your research uncovered. You will need to consider which platforms you will publish your content on and what methods to promote your content. You will also need to think about the most appealing type of content for your target audience. For example, would your audience be suited to white papers and blog posts, or would videos and infographics be more appropriate? In most cases, a mixture of many different media options will be the best approach.
7. Plan Your Resources
Your content marketing research will no doubt give you plenty of ideas. But now, you must also look at what you can realistically achieve with the resources you have. You will need to decide whether you will produce your content in-house or if you are going to outsource content creation. You will also need to appoint someone to manage your content marketing campaign, and someone will need to respond to the comments and questions that your content gets. Content marketing can be time-consuming, so you need to be realistic about how much time you can devote to your campaign.
8. Plan Your Content Production Schedule
Now you need to bring all your ideas together in a content publishing schedule. The schedule should contain a calendar of publication dates and the personnel assigned to create each piece of content. A publishing calendar will help you publish content regularly, which is a must in content marketing.
9. Create, Publish And Promote Your Content
Each piece of content that you publish should be created with your objectives in mind. And remember to make use of the keywords that you discovered in your research. Most crucially, keep the quality of your content high. Don’t rush creating content merely to meet the deadline on your content publishing calendar. Once your content is published, you will also need to promote it. So, share your posts on your social media accounts, and send the content to anyone you think might be interested in the piece.
10. Monitor And Refine
The final step in your content marketing plan is to monitor the success of your campaign, and, based on what has been successful, refine your strategy as appropriate. Your content marketing strategy will evolve. So, you must be flexible in your approach to your content creation.
Content Marketing Benefits by the Numbers
Content marketing comes with a number of qualitative and quantitative benefits.
While the degree of these will vary depending on what your organization specifically puts into it, here’s the impact on buyers and marketing we have seen at a high level.
- 67% of people said they rely even more on content during the pandemic to research and inform purchase decisions than they did previously. (Demand Gen Report 2020 Content Preferences Study)
- 70% of B2B consumers report consuming at least three pieces of content before making a purchase.
- 75% of marketers expect to increase their content marketing budget in 2022.
- 56% of marketers who leverage blogging say it’s effective, and 10% say it generates the biggest return on investment. (HubSpot Blog Research, 2021)
- 70% of marketers say that content marketing helps to educate the audience, and 60% say that it helps build loyalty with existing clients/customers.
- Year-over-year growth in unique site traffic is 7.8x higher for content marketing leaders compared to followers (19.7% vs 2.5%). (Aberdeen)
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing.
- Per dollar, content marketing produces three times more leads.
- On average, content marketing costs 41% less than paid search.
- Every day, 27 million pieces of content are shared.
- 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content.
- 70% of consumers say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company.
- 68% of consumers spend time reading content from brands they are interested in.
- In 2016, 95% of the B2B service and product buyers said they view content as a trustworthy marker when evaluating a business.
- 61% of consumers claim to have bought something they’ve read about in a blog.
- 73% of B2B consumers reported consuming between three and seven pieces of content before speaking with a salesperson.
- We’ll go deeper into some of these numbers shortly, but overall, you can see the strategy has become a critical part of the decision-making process for today’s modern buyer.
As you can see from the 10-step plan above, developing the best content marketing plan is a cycle rather than a one-off task. You will learn more about your audience and the content that works as you make progress, and you will need to refine your plan frequently. However, the above tips should help you get started on creating the best content marketing plan.
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