As a marketing expert, I often hear from businesses and entrepreneurs who are struggling to reach their target audiences with content marketing. They usually have thoughts like…
- I understand a content marketing strategy is important, but where do I start?
- I’m on board with creating a content marketing strategy, but where do I implement it?
- How can I ensure our content marketing strategy is effective?
- How will I know if it’s working?
I recently published a poll on my LinkedIn and asked this question:
What is the most confusing part of content marketing for you?
What was interesting is that no one chose the “Why to use it” option. They only chose the “How to use it” and “Where to start using it” answers.
Content marketing has solidified its place in the larger landscape of marketing and advertising and people understand its value – but actually, how to implement it is another story. That’s what I want to help clear up in this post – where to start using a content marketing strategy once you have developed it.
A Quick Breakdown of What a Content Marketing Strategy Is
In case you haven’t fully doven into content marketing – what it is and why you should use it – let’s look at a quick breakdown.
Content marketing is the art of creating digital content that tells a story to reach a target audience, boost brand awareness, drive traffic, build credibility, establish authority, and increase customer loyalty.
The Three E's of Content Marketing
Content marketing’s goal is much different than traditional advertising. While traditional advertising is purely about promoting a brand, business, or product – its benefits, reasons you should buy, etc – content marketing’s goal is much different. Content marketing’s goal isn’t to promote your brand outright in the same way as traditional advertising. Its purpose is much different than traditional marketing or advertising in this way.
We refer to the goal of content marketing as the Three E’s:
Each of these provides value in a specific way to the audience while stimulating interest in your product/service in a roundabout way. Depending on your brand, target audience, and place in the market, you’ll focus on 1 or even all 3 of these types of value-based content.
Where to Start Using Content Marketing
There are so many ways to develop content marketing deliverables and a variety of platforms and spaces where businesses can begin implementing their strategy. Let’s look at the top five and some of the most popular places where to start using a content marketing approach. Remember: Not all of these will be applicable to your business, audience, or goals. Stay focused on what you’re trying to accomplish with content marketing and choose your “where” accordingly.
Creating a blog is possibly the most important area to start using content marketing. Why? Because so many other forms of content can flow from it! A blog allows you to publish regular long-form pieces of content about topics related to your industry or niche, educational and how-to tutorials to help them better understand complicated ideas, and news that will be important for your audience to keep up with – all providing value to your audience and demonstrating your expertise.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok are essential places to share content with your followers. From sharing links to blog posts, to short-form entertaining or engaging videos, to educational infographics or other visuals, social media is simply an essential part of delivering your content marketing strategy.
PRO TIP: Try to narrow your brand’s social media presence down to the 3 most important platforms specific to your audience. This will make keeping up with trends, producing relevant content, and managing these accounts much more sustainable, but will still be effective.
Another incredibly effective way to use content marketing and engage your audience. By sending weekly emails with valuable ideas or monthly newsletters with industry updates to your email list, you can share your latest content, promote your products or services, and build relationships with your subscribers.
While technically a social media platform as well, YouTube is a bit of a different animal and deserves its own spot on our list. Video content has never been more critical and whether you’re able to create ongoing long-form on-camera content for YouTube or simply leverage Shorts and graphic-based video, this is an important platform to be on to use your content marketing strategy.
PRO TIP: If you are currently or plan to use Google Ads or PPC campaigns to promote content and get in front of your audience, YouTube can be an excellent place to continue those efforts or use for re-targeting. Publishing content on this platform is essential if you use it from a paid perspective because you want to ensure there is valuable content to land on when someone comes to your channel from an ad to demonstrate your credibility.
Podcasts have positively exploded and for brands who have the resources to publish them with regularity, they can be an amazing addition to your content delivery system as well as providing content for your other platforms (i.e. social media snippets, audio clips, etc.). Consider starting a podcast to share your expertise or insights, where you can also interview guests, talk about hot industry topics, and engage with listeners.
“But I don’t even have a content marketing strategy yet and I don’t know where to start creating one, let alone publishing any content!”
We hear you and we’re here to help. Here’s a quick breakdown of how to actually get started building your own content marketing strategy if you haven’t yet.
Getting Started With a Content Marketing Strategy
If you’re new to content marketing, it can seem overwhelming. There are so many platforms, strategies, and tactics to choose from. It’s a lot. Let’s start with the basics – developing your strategy.
Define Your Goals
Before you start creating content, it’s important to know what you want to achieve with that content.
Do you want to increase brand awareness?
Drive more traffic to your website?
Having specific goals is essential to creating a targeted content marketing plan which is the only kind of content marketing plan that will actually work.
Identify Your Audience
Ask yourself these questions to identify your audience:
Who are you creating content for?
What are their pain points?
What content might they find valuable and relevant?
Where do they spend their time online?
Do not skip out on this – even if you think you already know your audience! Take inventory again to ensure you’re creating content that speaks to those personas and actually solves their problems or they won’t engage with it.
Develop a Content Plan
Once you know your goals and audience, it’s time to make a plan. This should include a content calendar that outlines the categories of content you’ll cover (i.e. Thought-Leadership, Product/Service Spotlights, Testimonials, etc.) what format your content will take (such as blogs, social media posts, and emails), and how often you’ll publish that content.
Create and Publish Content
With your plan in place, it’s time for the fun part – creating that engaging and amazing content that will serve your audience! This is where you’ll put all your research and planning into action.
This is also where you’ll want to run your content through 3 major checkpoints:
Is it high-quality?
Is it relevant for the specific audience we’re looking to target?
Will that target audience actually find this valuable?
If the answer is yes to all three, then it’s time to hit publish!
Promote Your Content
Creating great content is only half the battle – you also need to make sure people see it. Share your content on social media, send it to your email list, and consider using paid advertising to reach a wider audience. Take a look at our top 5 list from earlier in this blog to learn more about where to start using a content marketing strategy.
Measure Your Results
Finally, it’s important to track how your content is performing. This will help you see what’s working and what’s not, so you can adjust your strategy as needed. Metrics to track include:
Audience demographic changes
Peak posting performance
Traffic from social to your website
Need Help With Your Content Marketing Strategy?
We know that carving out the time, resources, and energy to create ongoing content for your brand or business is a full-time job. That’s why we created Breezy – your instant content marketing team.
You don’t need to hire multiple full-time employees to handle all of the strategy, planning, writing, designing, and publishing of content. You also don’t have time to wrangle tons of different freelancers to get this all completed. You need one expert team that can help get all of the amazing thought-leadership and subject matter expertise out of your head and into formalized, engaging content that keeps you top of mind with your audience.
We’re that team!
See how we can help your small business, startup, or agency with a free consultation.