Five steps to successful content marketing
It’s online marketing focus week on Bdaily. Here, head of marketing communications at content marketing agency Axonn Media, Karen Webber, outlines five ways business can increase profitability through content marketing.
Most businesses agree that content marketing is worth investing in. They have a website, possibly a blog and may dabble in social media, but if your business is not yet thriving it’s worth asking why?
The truth is being involved in content marketing for the sake of being involved will only get you so far. What you really need is an intelligent and strategic approach and for this you need to consider these five steps.
Haphazardly publishing blog posts on whatever topic pops in your head? Sporadically tweeting? Haven’t given a minute’s thought to what type of content you want to publish in the run-up to Christmas?
Failing to prepare your content marketing activities means you’re preparing to fail. What you need is a solid strategy that takes into account factors such as what competitors are doing and - most importantly - what your target audience expects.
Content marketing activities need to be planned around the type of information your key prospects need, what format they want to receive this in and how often. It’s no good dishing up a 3,000-word blog post on a non-responsive website to someone who prefers reading shorter content on a mobile device.
Set clear objectives, such as “increase website traffic by 15 per cent”, in order to guide your planning at the start and inform your choices as you put your plans into practice.
With any content strategy, it is important to lay solid foundations. Conduct a site health check to ensure your site is set up in an SEO-friendly way, with plenty of opportunities for visitors to engage with content through social media or forms. Perform a content audit to identify missing landing pages or other gaps.
If you truly put your audience at the centre of your content strategy, you will not be satisfied with presenting them with anything but the best possible quality content. Search engines now identify and penalise sites with content that falls short of users’ expectations. Sites at risk include those publishing duplicate or shoddily put together content, those with one-dimensional or highly irregular content, and those with a dodgy backlink profile or lacking in engagement from real, human users.
In short, don’t cut corners. Be realistic about the resources at your disposal. If you don’t have the time or talent in-house to execute your strategy, consider outsourcing. About four in ten UK businesses outsource their content marketing activities as they find it more effective and efficient than attempting to do it all in-house.
It used to be a lot easier to stand out with exceptional content, but nowadays it takes more than hitting “publish” to be heard above the noise. Companies need to go the extra mile, whether that is with press releases, influencer outreach or social media.
That doesn’t necessarily mean engaging on every social media platform. The key is for brands to think strategically about their social activities and focus their attention on the channels that their audiences prefer.
This is the crucial point where so many brands fail with content marketing. It’s not enough to say “50 people downloaded my last white paper” or “we now have 500 more Twitter followers than our competitors”. What you need to do is assess your content’s performance against the goals you set when you developed your strategy. What worked? What failed? Use this intelligence to adjust your strategy and map out your plans for the coming months.