Chances are if you are reading this post, you know that content marketing is an important initiative for growing brand exposure and audience reach. With each year that passes, content marketing becomes more formalized and increasingly important for a company’s digital marketing strategy. You may have started blogging and social media marketing but are not sure what else to do or how it all ties together. Getting a strategy in place and documenting a plan is step one.
Here are five reasons why creating a content marketing strategy is integral to attracting customers:
1. Documenting a Plan Increases the Chance of Success
According to Content Marketing Institute (CMI) research, as many as 88% of marketers use content marketing in their strategy, yet only 32% have a documented plan. Research shows that marketers who document their strategy are more effective. One lesson to take from all of this, is to write it down. It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, the CMI would also say that there are no universal templates for developing a strategy. Simply going through the exercise automatically puts you in a better position than verbalizing it.
2. Aligning Business Goals to Customer Segments Creates Focus
What will move the needle for your business? Whether you are focused on more sales or more leads, content marketing can help increase brand awareness, drive referral traffic, increase sign-ups, leading to contact form submissions and ultimately purchases.
Before you can effectively target and drive the right traffic, you need to understand your customer segments so that you can create relevant content that speaks to them. Setting aside the time to go through a persona exercise will allow you to be more focused on producing the right type of content that immediately connects with your target audiences’ pain points. Understanding your customers’ motivations will help you craft quality content encouraging them to take action.
3. Understanding Content Goals Improves Channel Objectives
The days of writing a blog and hoping customers will come are over. Understanding and utilizing inbound marketing methodologies allows you to align content goals with the appropriate channels.
- Attract – use buyer personas to develop content strategies for your blog, SEO efforts, website optimization and social media marketing.
- Convert – collecting an email address is the ultimate success metric for a digital marketer. The best way to collect an email address is to produce evergreen content in the form of e-books, whitepapers, tip sheets or other helpful downloads.
- Close – use email marketing to convert a lead into a customer and utilize a CRM to keep track of contact information and customer segments.
4. Establishing a Plan Helps Measure Results
There’s a reason why you are doing content marketing, so you should be measuring your efforts. By establishing business goals and understanding buyer personas, you are able to create the right content for the appropriate channel. It’s much easier to measure channel objectives once you understand the goals of each channel. And it’s much easier to see the effects of content marketing on the business if you understand how to tie channel results back to the larger business goals.
- Traffic: Has referral traffic increased? There’s a chance your blog and social media are doing their job.
- Reach: Are certain keywords performing better than others? If so, perhaps you target those keywords and modify your content SEO strategy.
- Contacts: Has the % or number of contacts/email addresses in your CRM increased? If not, create another content download.
- Inquiries: Have the number of overall inquiries increased? What about quality leads? Sales appointments?
5. Measurable Results Allow Optimization
You will learn a lot during the content marketing journey. Some things will work, others will need to be tweaked. Understanding conversions on gated content might help you determine what type of content determines whether prospects are willing to give their email. Learn what the baseline success metric is for your content. Double down on the winners.
Content marketing is one of the most affordable, yet effective digital marketing strategies out there. HubSpot says it best: “Content marketing programs set businesses up for predictable, scalable, and cost-effective traffic and lead-flow that doesn’t rely on securing budget each month. It’s like an annuity.” How successful you are, depends on how much time you are willing to invest.