You might wonder if content marketing is dead. You put a lot of effort into writing those weekly blog posts but still, no significant rise in sales. What are you doing wrong? Does content marketing still work?
Confession time. When I first started my career in marketing I (naively) thought content marketing was just about writing blog posts with some well selected keywords in them and the traffic and leads will just come marching in. Eight years later, I know better. Although writing qualitative blog posts is a key factor in content (or inbound) marketing, it isn’t the part you’ll spend most of your time on.
First you need to establish your marketing goals: brand awareness, generating leads, sales, customer retention, … After that you can define the right metrics. To measure brand awareness you’ll have to focus more on your website traffic, views and social conversations. If you want to generate leads look for form completions, downloads, conversion and subscriptions. And don’t forget to look at your competition once and a while. They probably attract the same target group.
Getting the basics right
A successful content strategy requires constant monitoring and tweaking. Here are some key elements, besides actually writing blog posts, that you can find in almost every content marketing plan:
- Buyer persona
- Distribution strategy
- SEO (keywords, backlinks, structure)
- Analyzing, reporting, tweaking
- Buyer persona
A buyer persona is a generalisation of your ideal customer. There is a lot of info on how to create them. You don’t want to have too many. Start by writing out one core persona and move from there.
Distribution of your content over different channels is a key factor of implementing a successful content strategy. You can’t expect your target group to magically find you. Spend time to write out your distribution strategy and test it along the way. Distribution methods need constant tweaking.
Your own channels are the most important in your distribution strategy. Why? Because they’ll cost you the least money. They also take away dependency from other outside systems, giving you more control and power over your content and analytics. Focus on getting more newsletter subscribers so you have a regular touch point with your clients and prospects.
Just because your Facebook page carries your name, that doesn’t mean that you own that channel. In fact, Facebook does. And the main source of income for Facebook is through advertising. So don’t expect your company page to reach a lot of organic traffic here. Actually, for every 100,000 followers on Facebook, only 130 people will click on an organic post.Same goes for most social channels. You can use your channels to drive engagement and interact with your audience.
You can’t get passed this one. Getting the right kind of attention from your audience costs money. But you don’t have to spend a big budget. Proper target group research can get you a long way. Where do they find there info? Which social media channels do they use (and for what?). The answers to those questions will help you save money instantly.
Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Needless to say, the search engine is indispensable for a lot of people. Using the right long tail keywords in your blog posts, optimising your website, and getting high quality backlinks are key to score high in the Google ranking.
Analyzing, reporting, tweaking
By defining clear goals for your content marketing campaign you can accurately measure the effectiveness of your efforts: pageviews, newsletter subscriptions, leads, … Presenting these high-level KPIs to your team and management is important to keep everyone on the same page. But it’s hard to tell what works and what not if you only look at these metrics. You need to dig deeper and look at each piece of content to see how it’s performing. This takes time but it is well worth investing in. You’ll be able to optimise your content marketing tasks and focus on what really generates positive results. Thus saving you time and money.
Nurture your leads
So you got your newsletter subscriptions up and new leads in but you are not seeing any significant increase in sales yet? Make sure you spend enough time on lead nurturing. Your prospects probably signed up because they like your content or free downloads. If you did you target group research right then you are writing blogs that addresses their problems or current situation. Now it’s time to slowly introduce your solution to those prospects.
Set up email marketing campaigns where you present yourself, your business, and services/products. Make sure you do not lose sight of your potential customers wants and need. Sure it’s fun to talk about yourself, but focus on what your prospect will gain when they start doing business with you. A marketing automation tool can help you to score leads and remind you when to take action. Are you using different cloud apps? Then make sure you connect those apps so all your contact and lead info is up to date.