Content marketing has unquestionably emerged in the last couple of years as one of the hottest topics within the spheres of digital marketing, and this is borne out by the fact that newer technology enables a deeper understanding of your customers while allowing you to create more valuable relationships with your most valued customers. So you might be asking what is content marketing? Content marketing is a strategy for attracting and retaining customers by creating content that engages, assists, or informs clearly defined target audiences. Below are 7 steps to improve your content marketing efforts.

1. Determine Business Goals

Before creating content, it’s critical to know how many new leads you need and how much it costs to generate a lead. Your sales team can provide insight as well as be sure to review your current data. You just might have a nugget of insight buried in your existing data.

2. Understand Your Buyer

You’re likely wasting time and effort if you’re not cultivating engagement with people who match your existing good customers. You need a clear picture of your customers and creating Buyer Personas (5-7) will give you a focal point for generating content that is meaningful and valuable to the buyers you want to attract. The Buyer Persona research will also inform your campaigns and analytics.

3. Know Your Objectives

Ten popular objectives:

  • Lead Generation
  • Brand Awareness
  • Brand Engagement (Lift)
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Up-sell /Cross-Sell
  • Thought Leadership
  • Customer Service
  • Sales
  • Generate Traffic
  • Customer Loyalty

4. Create a Content Matrix

Your content should satisfy the needs uncovered in the Persona exercise.  This is an ideal time to create a content matrix spreadsheet indexed by title, format, abstract, topic, date, location, and target customer.

5. Identify Your Best Content and Develop Themes

If you want to attract new customers you need good content. And, to get good content you need topics that resonate with your target customer. In the early stage marketing funnel, you need content that answers buyers questions, familiarizes them with your brand, and stimulates their interest to learn more. This content is usually placed behind a Form gate.  Helpful tip: Have your social team extract what trends are of greatest interest to your customer.

6. Get the Information into an Editorial Calendar

Set to a quarterly detailed editorial calendar – this will become the centerpiece of production. The editorial calendar should outline who is going to produce what content by what deadline, to what destination, and by what date it will be published.

7. Measure and Report

It’s very likely your content marketing activities will not be calibrated from the start. Therefore it’s essential to have a mechanism for measuring your content marketing success and plan for optimizing in real-time. Important metrics for measuring Content Marketing:

  • Overall traffic: Unique Visitors
  • Keyword Traffic and Conversions
  • Organic Search Conversions
  • Social Mentions
  • Search Query Volume
  • Number of Inbound Links
  • Cost Per Prospect
  • Paid vs. Direct Visitors