Content marketing is an efficient, effective, and very economical way to drive traffic to your site. According to The Manifest, at least 53 percent of companies now use it to attract and retain customers.
Here are seven steps to creating a small business content marketing strategy that works.
1. Establish Your Mission or Goals
Like all marketing strategies, content marketing should serve a specific purpose and meet specific goals. Make these goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. In other words, use the SMART strategy to create them. SMART goals look like this:
- Improve your search engine ranking to land on the first page within three months.
- Acquire 1,000 email subscriptions in 30 days.
- Increase sales by 25% from a specific market segment within two weeks.
2. Identify Your Performance Indicators
Choose key performance indicators, and metrics that directly reflect how well you’re moving towards your goals. This might include (but is certainly not limited to):
- Unique pag
- e views
- Referral rate
- Number of downloads
- Net revenue
- Conversion rates
3. Select Your Audience & Content Channels
Content marketing relies on having a clearly defined audience. You aren’t trying to reach everyone and anyone. You’re crafting a specific message which holds value to a specific market segment full of people who are most likely to purchase your product or service.
Collect demographic data from your site or social media platform. [BS4] Google Analytics can help with this, but so can many of the features and reports within CoSchedule.
Once you’ve figured out who’s reading your existing content (or who isn’t), you’ll get a sense of where you’ve already developed a viable online presence. Follow it up by homing in on the channels that will get you the most exposure and engagement.
4. Establish a Schedule
So, you’ve got your KPIs, your audience, and your channels. You might be tempted to start flooding them with your insights, giveaways, and thought-provoking articles. After all, if one post is effective, then ten must be ten times as effective, right?
Do NOT do this.
Instead, start with a basic posting schedule to avoid freaking out your followers with content overload. For blogs, consider a weekly post (same day, same time) to get into the habit. Social media posts should range between once daily and a few times each week.
There’s actually science behind how often to update your company’s Facebook or Instagram. Quite a bit of the evidence out there that suggests posting too frequently can be just as damaging as not posting enough, or posting inconsistently. Create a schedule because:
- Consistency is key. Consistency helps train readers to come back, to anticipate new material, and indicate that you’re a reliable, active source of information.
- It will help you vary the content. Seeing the big picture helps you spot opportunities for variety to enrich your offerings.
- You’ll save time and energy. A schedule is like a road map. Knowing what you’re going to do next helps you join the ranks of the 36 percent of content creators with efficient project workflows.
- It supports KPI tracking. One of the features of a SMART goal is that it’s time-based. Visualise your time-based goals with a calendar.
5. Craft Your Content and Distribute It to Your Market
With all your research assembled, it’s now time to spread your genius insights far and wide to attract a loyal following. Kind of.
Writing great content is just as important as the quality of your ideas. You can be a creative genius, but it won’t matter if your content is lacklustre, rushed, and weak. Even Google won’t be impressed.
Craft your content as thoroughly as you researched your audience and content channels. Check out these 26 surprising rules for creating amazing content – just in case.
6. Track the Results
Within the first hours of delivering your content, you’ll begin to see how people respond. Pageviews, likes, and shares represent some of the first metrics indicating engagement. Over time, you’ll also see conversion rates, qualified leads, and closes, or changes in revenue.
There are many tools out there to help you track KPIs. Here are a few you may consider:
- Google Analytics. It’s free and easy to measure page views, traffic sources, keyword performance, and more.
- Databox. Databox offers an array of powerful tools for tracking almost any metric.
- Excel. If you’re comfortable with Excel, you can create your own KPI tracking spreadsheets. This works best with metrics like revenue, subscriptions, or referrals.
7. Refine and Repeat
With great content marketing, consistency is key – don’t release just one or two pieces of content and call it a day. Learn from your KPIs, tweak your content strategy, and repeat.
Over time, you’ll build a consistent foundation of valuable and relevant information that leaves your readers smarter, more well-informed, and impressed with your thought leadership.