So you’ve made the break and finally set up the business you always wanted to run. Alternatively, you were looking for a new approach and have acquired a new business but want to revamp the approach. Whatever the situation, startups, or small businesses in general, can really maximize returns with a smart approach to marketing.
The great news is that with a savvy content marketing strategy, your business can generate the traffic, engagements and conversions to escalate the business into a viable operation more quickly than you expected. You just need to take the time to figure out your approach. The other great piece of news is that it need not cost the earth either – for from it.
These six tactics to content marketing can go a long way to seriously enhancing the value of your business.
Why Are You Doing This, And How Are You Going To Do It?
To grow your business, right? Wrong. What you need to understand very well before you commence any marketing approach is why you are doing this. What are you hoping to achieve? More engagements? Better brand awareness? To increase brand loyalty? More sales?
First of all, sit down and think long and hard about why you are creating a marketing strategy, and once you have the answer to this question, you can commence planning and executing your strategy.
“And yet it’s not enough to only know what it is that you want to achieve, you must also know how it is you plan to arrive at your destination,” warns Tatiana Rushkov, a business blogger at LastMinuteWriting and Writinity.
So as well as understanding where it is that you want to get to, you have to have a very good idea of how you plan to get there. How else can you formulate and execute a great content marketing strategy if you have no idea where you want to take it. Even better, plan small-step goals that act as rungs up the ladder to that final objective.
Understand Your Target Audience
So you’ve thought about what you want to achieve, and how you plan to get there: with this information you can have the bones of a content marketing plan, but without understanding in detail who your perspective audience is, then you cannot begin to start fleshing out that plan.
Knowing your audience has been a critical theme to running a business since year zero, and it hasn’t changed now that the marketing and sales approach has moved into the ether. In fact, with so much noise in the space, knowing who your audience is and what they react to is even more important than it has ever been.
So, it all starts with the research: you may think you know who you engages with you, and who you want to engage with you, but without measurement you will never truly now. Fortunately, we now have the means of doing this is minute details, so there is no reason not to.
So, start by using analytics to understand who is already engaging with your business, and from here you can start to understand core details such as demographics. With these demographics you can then not only tailor your content, you can specifically target the channels that you know your demographic interacts with. For example, if your core audience is the teenage market, then the raw data tells us that Instagram may be a better means of reaching out than Facebook, say.
Then by understanding the way in which your audience engages with you, you can start to understand what is known in the business as the psychographics: the elements of your audience that are less tangible. Examples of these elements may be their belief system, or how they relate to a brand. Of course this information is harder to gather, but it is eminently possible.
See how your demographic interacts on social media. What other brands are they interested in and how do they interact with their market? What are your competitors already doing and how can you seek to improve upon this? These are all critical idea, and from here you must start to build the persona of your typical audience member.
Think about this approach carefully. The aim is certainly not to create content that you think people want to see, but to create content that your exact, specific audience is demanding, and there is a fundamental difference in that approach.
Build Your Content Pillars
Content pillars are an essential element to an effective marketing strategy, as Jean Deguyen, a tech editor at DraftBeyond and ResearchPapersUK explains. “Your objective here is to create content that is evergreen. The nature of SEO is that is can be constantly evolving, and that is frustrating for marketing teams as it means they may be having to continuously update their approach to stay in line with what search engines are doing through their algorithms.
The point is, if you get down to basics and think very carefully about what is it you are doing and the value that it adds to your customers, you can use this to create core content that will stand you out as a expert in the eyes of the engines.”
In short, a content pillar needs to be a long-form article or web page that spells out in micro-detail what it is that you do with your product and service and in every way how it enhances the user’s experience. This attention to detail will work wonders for your SEO as long as you build in all your content around it, and everything interacts together though links. This is the concept behind creating content that won’t just work for a week, it will see you permanently atop those all-important rankings.
Plan Your Content
The steps as previously discussed are core, but it is here where the fun truly begins as you can start to get creative with the type of content you are putting out there.
But here is the vital consideration: never move away from what you are trying to achieve and who your audience are. If you are using your content to guide towards your content pillars, then this is a great way of ensuring that you are not losing focus.
The creativity aspect here is great because there really are so many ways by which you can interact with your audience these days, from blog and social media posts to video content, infographics and interactive games to quizzes, special offers and podcasts. But never take your eye from the prize of what you are trying to achieve and where you are trying to take your audience.
Pick Your Social Media Approach
We have already touched upon this – intimate knowledge of your audience should make this an easy decision to make. And now you have created your content pillars, it is just a case of interacting with your audience on the social media platform of choice to draw attention to your content pillars. From here you can seek to actively engage your audience based on the content that you already know they are looking for.
Use Paid-for Channels
Once you have completed all the steps above, you really can start to generate the kind of organic traffic you have been looking for. However, if you want to give your content a little boost, why not supplement your approach with a few paid-for ads just to give everything a little kickstart.
But before you worry about the potential costs involved, fear not. Because for the bare minimum you can run some tests just to see what kind of interaction you get with this approach. If it works, then it’s paid for itself (as this stream really should), but if it doesn’t, then little is lost, and you have still set up everything accordingly to get the organic hits you are looking for.
So start by setting up all the necessary analytics that you will need to measure the success of any ad that you run on the likes of Google Ads or Facebook Ads. Secondly you need to target your ad, meaning that you need to identify who will see it and where. The main ways in which you should set about doing this are via your audience persons, which you established a long time before, via retargeting, which basically interacts with those who have already been to your site or who have engaged with you previously, or finally through competitor analysis and copycatting.
Next up is design, and be sure that the ad itself stays true to your content pillars, and appeals to your intended demographic. Now you are ready to run with it, and for as little as $5 you can see how everything works out. If it goes great, scale up, if not, what have you lost?
So there you have it, 6 steps to setting up an effective content marketing strategy for your startup. It won’t cost the earth, you need not involve any expensive specialist, and the time you invest will committed to long-term goals. Get it right and your business will never look back.