Are your customers today just like your customers 10 years ago? Probably not. Because small business’ customers are continuously changing, small businesses must change marketing tactics as well. While keywords and SEO will always remain important, they have taken a step back in prominence. Instead a solid digital marketing content strategy has become the best way for small businesses to increase their organic search rankings.
What is a Digital Marketing Content Strategy?
A digital marketing content strategy is a plan to create specific content on your website that your target audience actually wants. Your digital marketing content strategy is a specific, ordered list of all your website’s content (blog articles, social media posts, infographics etc) designed and published with your prospects and customers in mind.
The online content you publish needs to meet certain criteria if it is to be successful:
- Answers a question, solves a problem, or discusses a topic of interest for a prospect or customer
- Engages your readers and generates traffic to your website
- Showcases your business’ uniqueness and expertise in your industry
And, in general, all your blog articles should be between 1,000-2,000 words, include <H2> header tags, include a variety of mixed media, and have anchor text back-linking to relevant articles (your own articles and outside articles). Always remember to prioritize quality content over the quantity of content your produce and publish.
What You Need to Know to Create a Content Marketing Strategy
Creating a digital marketing content strategy does take some time up front, but it’ll save you both time and money later down the road. You won’t have to rush around trying to gather article topics last minute or worry about the management quality of what you publish on your website and social media accounts. Going into an online content marketing campaign with a well thought out content marketing strategy will reduce a lot of headaches you might not even know you had.
So, let’s talk about of the essentials you’ll need for a successful content marketing strategy:
1. Assign a Content Manager
If you’re a small business and resources are limited, you may not have a specific person to manage content. That’s OK, but you do need to designate one person (or perhaps a small group) to organize and manage your web content. If you post on social media or a blog section of your website, you’ll need someone to manage comments, look for new connections, and note other important metrics.
You’ll also need to make sure all your posts have a common layout, format, and that they’re being found under the keywords they’re optimized for. You can use your Google Search Console account to check your keyword ranking, CTR, impressions, and other important metrics!
Here at Cazbah, our IMCs (Internet Marketing Consultants) all contribute to our regular blog posts to give unique perspectives and insights on a variety of topics. Having different authors, viewpoints, experiences, and topics helps to create connection with searchers, expand your content reach, and help to create an expectation with readers to keep them coming back.
2. Developing a Content Production Time Table
HubSpot suggests having a 12 month (big idea) content plan in place and from there, further dividing your content into 3 or 4 main over-arching themes that span those 12 months. Within those larger content themes, you can start to brainstorm for specific article topics and titles.
A 12 month content marketing plan may sound crazy, or even unachievable to you right now, but I promise you, it sounds a lot scarier than it actually is. It’s definitely worth it to plan out your content long term because that way you can ensure there’s fluidity and consistency in everything you publish. I’m not saying you can never write a spur of the moment post. What I am saying is, having a 12 month content marketing plan in place will help you organize, create, and publish the best content possible for your business and your target audience.
Here are a few ideas to help you come up with your themes:
- Look at your FAQs
- What topics are consistently trending in your industry
- Review your business’ mission statement
4. Conduct Target Audience Research
Clearly define your target audience: who are your best customers, what are the demographics of your audience, where do your customers hang out, what are their day to day concerns and so on. Each audience you identify should have specific motivators. These motivators will help you figure out your outline for the content that you’ll need to reach them.
When conducting target audience research, don’t be afraid to ask in-depth questions. The answers you receive will help you form ideas for article content topics your audience would actually want to read about. Once you do your customer research, don’t forget to create buyer personas (both positive and negative) to really help you nail down who your ideal customers are. Your customer research data, buyer personas, and any other important customer information can all come together to create a CCI (Customer Composite Index).
Remember, the more information you have on your customers, the more equipped you’ll be to create the best content for them!
5. Perform a Content Audit
Audit the types of content you already have to see what you can work with. Does your company have old brochures, access to your manufacture’s marketing materials, YouTube videos, e-books, or old blog posts? You might be surprised what you’ll find. Once you do a content audit, you can see where gaps exist in any information you should provide. You’ll also be able to find media that you can edit and repost in your new content marketing campaign. Editing and then recycling quality content will save you time and money in the long run.
Once you start producing regular content, make sure to keep a content inventory list by creating a document or spreadsheet detailing the content’s title, when it was last published, and the keyword/phrase it’s been optimized for.
If you want to grow your business and connect with your target audience, you need to have a quality digital marketing content strategy in place. Well optimized and developed web page content is how searchers will find your website, so you can’t afford to compromise on it. Follow the 4 steps above to make sure your content marketing plan is thorough, well managed, and successful!