The popularity of content marketing has grown exponentially in the past few years. Content marketing can offer a range of benefits for small businesses and those working in startups in particular. If you’re hoping to get ahead of your competitors, developing a strong content strategy is essential.
It’s important that your strategy is clear but also flexible, especially if your business is in a fast-paced industry. Content marketing can help your business attract new customers and drive revenue. By offering valuable information, a content strategy also helps to build up your brand’s reputability and authority.
1. Research your audience
One of the first things you should do in order to set up a content strategy is researching your audience. Not only is it important to understand demographics like age and gender, you should also be aiming to understand psychographics such as attitude, interests and values.
A great exercise to do in order to get a clearer picture of your target is developing audience personas. This involves making a generalised representation of who your audience is, giving them a demographic, a personality and even an image.
2. Define your aim
Though you can set your goals before researching your target, it might be easier to define realistic aims with a better understanding of your audience. Setting goals is crucial so that you have a clear way of measuring the success of your campaign.
Depending on what your small business or startup intends to achieve, you might be wanting to drive traffic, subscribers, downloads, conversions etc. Your aim should influence the type of content you write and how you promote your content.
3. Brainstorm content ideas
If you’ve already attempted content marketing techniques and are looking to refine your strategy, it’s a smart idea to look over your previous efforts to identify what went wrong. Then, you can start brainstorming new ideas based on your area of expertise.
You can start by keeping up with the latest news in your industry and by analysing what competitors have done. Once you have a range of ideas or topics that would be suitable for your audience, you can use a keyword research tool to see which terms would make for the most SEO-friendly content.
4. Decide on content format
The go to for content marketing tends to be blog posts. However, you definitely don’t need to restrict your content strategy to one format. For instance, infographics are a relatively easy method of producing content. Being able to visualise data is often more compelling in comparison to long articles.
Other options such as eBooks, videos and podcasts do have a higher barrier to entry but have the potential to offer much greater results depending on who you’re looking to reach. For example, eBooks are a powerful tool for lead-generation.
5. Choose a content management system
Choosing a content management system might involve setting up a blog on your site or finding a place to host the content you’re going to publish. Setting up your own blog means you have more control over your content. However, it might be more difficult to gain exposure.
On the flip side, you can publish your content on sites like YouTube or Medium. Though you won’t be able to fully customise your content, it might be easier to reach your intended audience. Unfortunately, the sheer amount of content being posted to these pre-existing platforms means your work might never get found unless you market your content effectively.
6. Publish your content
Of course, the final step is to get your content made and published. An editorial calendar can help you stay consistent and can help you ensure your content stays diverse. Successful brands will be able to develop an underlying, distinct voice with all their content.
Once your content is published, it’s important to come back and check your results regularly. Your content strategy should keep evolving based on what does well and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to try new things if your timeline and budget leave room for some failures every now and then!
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