Creating great content is a critical aspect of content marketing (hence the name), but it doesn’t do you any good if no one ever sees it. Cutting through the clutter to grab the attention of your target audience is harder than ever, but the success of your content marketing strategy depends on your promotional efforts. A truly effective content marketing approach marries the creation of relevant content with a marketing campaign; your content should not just live in a vacuum.
Just how important is content marketing? Whether your brand is focused on B2B or B2C, content creation is key. According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 91% of B2B marketing efforts include a content marketing campaign. For B2C companies, 86% of marketers believe that content marketing is an important aspect of building brands.
Cleary, content marketing is an essential part of promoting brand awareness and engagement. However, not all content is created equal. These strategies will help you create excellent content and promote it to your target audience. When done correctly, content marketing can become a central pillar of your larger digital marketing strategy, helping you to reach more potential customers, grow your social media channels, drive website traffic and build your brand.
1. Optimize your website.
It could be easy to think that your content marketing strategy should begin with developing a blog, but before you start creating content, you need a website on which it will live. Not any old website will do –if you want your content to be seen by your audience, you need to optimize your website.
Website optimization means making your pages as search engine friendly as possible. Essentially, your website optimization efforts are designed to make it easier for search engines to crawl and index your pages. This includes steps like developing a sitemap, optimizing your website for mobile users and ensuring that pages load quickly.
Once your website is optimized to the greatest degree possible, you’re ready to move forward with your content marketing strategy.
2. Craft high-quality content.
Every effective content marketing strategy requires strong content, but what exactly does that look like? There are different types of content, including website copy, external content and blog posts. While a content marketing strategy tends to focus on blog posts, website copy is equally important. Begin with keyword research to find out what your target audience is already looking for on search engines. This will help your audience find your website more easily. Creating web copy with this keyword research in mind is the first step to developing a broader content marketing campaign.
With both your website and web copy optimized for search, you’re ready to work on your blog posts. Blog posts should be long-form content that is educational, engaging and, ideally, shareable. To increase the likelihood that your blog posts are shared externally, use images and infographics where applicable.
If you’re also looking to publish external articles on other websites, you should develop branded content that points back to your website. However, externally placed articles must be rich, in-depth pieces. First, you’re unlikely to get an external publication to host sloppy or rushed content. Second, external readers might be encountering your brand for the very first time, so you want to make a good impression as a leader in your space.
Whether you are writing for your own website or an external platform, the old method of pumping out dozens of 300-word blog posts is no longer effective. Today’s search engines reward long-form content that offers value to readers. Moreover, it’s a good brand-building tactic to create high-quality content that is packaged in a shareable format. Once you’ve created your content, you might be tempted to sit back and relax, but the real work is only just beginning.
3. Deploy relevant content on social media.
Content marketing and social media go hand in hand. While your content marketing strategy will take some time before it begins to bear fruit in terms of driving organic search traffic to your website, you can immediately leverage any content you create by deploying it on all of your social media properties. In other words, while you wait for your content marketing efforts to drive you up in the search rankings, you can use your blog posts as a valuable digital marketing asset to promote your brand.
Sharing your branded content on social media has three immediate benefits: it gets your content in front of more eyes, it helps you build your social media audience, and it elevates your brand profile. Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, but using social media to distribute your content and grow your following is a great way to see short-term results while you work toward the long-term goal.
4. Establish relationships with social media influencers.
Social media influencers hold a lot of sway with high profiles and large numbers of engaged followers. No matter what industry you’re in, there are likely social media influencers that impact the space. Do some research to identify influencers whose interests are aligned with your brand and then reach out to establish a relationship or partnership. If you can get a few influencers in your corner to share your content as well, it could make a huge impact on both your brand awareness and website traffic.
Connecting with influencers can be tricky. Their large followings serve as a bit of a double-edged sword; while these massive audiences are useful if you can tap into them, they also make it hard to cut through the noise and gain an influencer’s attention. A good approach is to share relevant content with them or share their own content with a mention before you reach out directly.
Some useful tools for finding influencers include:
5. Leverage email marketing.
Don’t forget about email marketing. Email is an important channel for digital marketing efforts that allows you to leverage a list of people who have already encountered your brand at least once. Your website should have an email capture form prominently displayed on it as well to help grow your email list.
Consider using your email list to send newsletters and content roundups. While email open rates are typically low, engaging subject lines and valuable content can improve open rates and increase engagement. Creating a call to action in below your email content, such as “visit our website” or “receive an estimate” can help connect readers to your website and keep them engaged with your brand.
Looking for an email marketing service that can help you promote your branded content? Check out businesscompany.us’s review of the best email marketing services.
6. Utilize content syndication.
Content syndication is a paid service that displays your content on the bottom of highly trafficked websites. When a reader finishes an article on one of these sites, your content will appear with several other pieces of syndicated content as a related article. If you want to avoid going the paid route, you can also create contributor profiles on websites like businesscompany.us, which allow you to contribute content directly free of charge.
7. Join online forums and communities.
Sharing your expert insights doesn’t stop with content creation. You should also join forums and communities, much like the one on businesscompany.us, where you can answer questions and contribute original content. Be sure to include links to your website and content you’ve created, as well as connect your social media profiles, so people can find you easily. Engaging in online communities and offering assistance to other users will help you boost both your personal and professional brands, as well as drive more traffic to your original content.
Content marketing is about quality, consistency and distribution.
An effective content marketing strategy is about developing high-quality content that is engaging and shareable on a consistent basis. It’s also about distributing that content far and wide across a variety of channels, including social media, email, external websites, and forums. When developing your content marketing strategy, keep in mind the expression “all roads lead to Rome.” In this context, your website is Rome. Everything you do to distribute your content should trace back to your website, where your optimized content and layout will help drive conversions and turn potential customers into loyal ones.
If your content marketing strategy doesn’t take off right away, do not be discouraged. Content marketing takes time and patience. As you create more relevant content around the keywords your target audience is looking for, you will see your website rise in the search engine rankings. In the meantime, focus on growing your social profiles, targeting your email list, and building your brand by sharing your content far and wide.