The 4-Step Content Marketing Strategy for Online Businesses
Any single business will not be able to set off on the development and growth journey without a well-thought-out marketing strategy on its table. You can have a perfect product to sell or service to provide, but struggle to spread a word about it among people. Thus, you need marketing to build this bridge between your business and clients. It will be the way of cash flow to run into your business. What is a content strategy? It is creating, planning, modifying, posting, and managing useful and usable content which is a part of marketing plan.
Sales funnels, customer service scripts and promos with ads are all created based on the data collected by marketers. These data are represented in the form of pictures, numbers, charts, videos, and text to meet your clients' needs and satisfy their preference. It is not just about the product, but about its presence on the market and value which it can bring to the client.
You can attract people’s attention and call for their engagement with relevant content. It was announced by the Content Marketing Institute that successful companies invest about 40% of their marketing budget in content. Although content is a creative part of the business that needs inspiration and sheer curiosity, it requires structure and planning to consolidate it all in one consistent and punchy content strategy. As Bill Gates once said: “Content is a King”. The ultimate question is how to create such a content strategy? Below you will find a step-by-step instruction on the development of the marketing strategy and tools on how to create a content strategy.
Step 1. Build a Story Brand
Have you heard something about storytelling and development of the brand? It is a framework of creating your brand and redirecting the spotlight from your business to customer engagement. It is not about you but your targeted audience, their values, preferences, needs, pains. The only way to develop a good content marketing strategy is to invite your customers to be heroes of your brand story in a coherent and actionable way. It can be pretty obvious for you why your business has a customer value, but they never know that clearly unless you tell them. Your product or service should be the guide to overcoming challenges on the way to a better life. It is a simple but actionable and real way to figure out key directions for content strategy.
Step 2. Define your key directions
When you decide on the direction of your marketing strategy, you should keep it all the way consistently and clearly, so your customer does not get lost and finally becomes your ambassador. Thus, you need to define your target audience and type of content which will be the most suitable for your business: visual, audible, textual or the combination of all types. Knowing who is your hero at this stage will save you a decent amount of time. As people of different ages, needs, social status, and even nations react and interact with content types differently.
At this stage, you also have to sort out what do you want to get from your audience with content: call them to action, get more leads, educate them, get feedback, reduce marketing costs, engage them to join your social community and become your ambassador.
Step 3. Create and publish content
Think of creating a content map. Every customer usually goes through four stages on the way to the actual interaction with your business: Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Decision making. Therefore, it is important to choose content based on the stage where your prospect is at the moment. At first contact point, they may be attracted with some selling pitches, infographics or pictures, or even articles and blog posts where you will introduce your business natively. As your hero gets to the Consideration stage, he or she will need some actionable guides, webinars, trials. A win-win type of content is a blog. Make sure you have one or think of creating it, as it will be the best platform to keep all your content in order both for you and your website visitors.
Step 4. Manage Content Types and Channels
Now it is time to shortlist tools which will be useful for you in building and managing your content marketing strategy. Penny pinching with tools will play a trick on you and lead to a mess with your content on multiple platforms. Here is a list of the most essential and pretty affordable content strategy tools which are going to become handy:
- Content Calendar. It is good to keep track of your previous and upcoming content and schedule the next content publications. You can use any digital Calendar for this purpose or task management tool. There are also hundreds of templates offered on the web.
- Writing Tools. You will need qualitative text for any content you choose, whether it is a video tutorial to write scripts for educational purposes, social media posts for promotional outreach or blog articles to inform and deliver value. Whenever your text is ready, do not forget to check your spelling and grammar with Grammarly. One more really useful tool is Hemingway, where you will be able to get an independent opinion on readability and complexity of your text. In addition, you can ask experts from Write My Essay Today for a help with proofreading and editing your text.
- Measuring Key Metrics Tool. No matter at what stage of business development you are, content is a tricky process, and you never know how your customer will react on this or that type of content. Accordingly, you need to track their interaction with the most relevant metrics. The most famous is Google Analytics, which allows you to track ROI, Conversation Rate, Time Spent on your website, bounce rate, traffic sources, social overview, etc.
- Communication Tools. The bottom line of marketing strategy is to establish communication lines with customers through content. If you plan on using email marketing along with social posting, you have to create catchy emails with a clear call to action. Make sure to keep communication both ways and answer your prospects’ messages or requests in social media as well.
It will take time to get your head around building a coherent and actionable content marketing strategy, but as you get it done, you will definitely benefit from it. First of all, your mind will have more space for creativity and new outstanding ideas. Secondly, you will be able to choose the most suitable content type for your business. And thirdly, you will get a loyal audience of ambassadors to promote your business.
Bailey Belmont is a digital marketing specialist, blog writer and massive coffee imbiber. A true marketing guru, she shares ideas about branding, thereby helping influential companies reach their strategic objectives. You can reach Bailey on Twitter.