So, you’re establishing your business online? There are now over 5 billion people online across the world. That’s an enormous pool of users waiting to hear from you, although first, you need to find a way of engaging them.
You might have already created a fantastic website or set up pages on social media. There’s no denying that these are crucial steps. But alone, they’re not enough to keep the attention of customers. To do that, you’ll need content and lots of it.
Of course, all content doesn’t just fit into one box, and not all of it will engage your audience. To find the right materials, you first need a strong content strategy plan. Wondering where to start? Read on…
Let’s start simple. Content marketing is creating media online for your audience to consume. This can take many different forms, as was previously indicated, including:
Content marketing isn’t the same as other forms of online marketing. When creating content, you’re not doing so to promote a product or service. Instead, the aim is to bring value to your audience.
“What’s the point of spending money if not to promote your brand?” I hear you ask.
Selling products or services is the most important part of running an online business like Alibaba or Amazon. But once you’ve made a sale, how do you make sure that customers stick around and buy from you again? Not only that, but how do you catch the attention of users that have never heard of your brand?
There’s a reason why you’ll struggle to find many media and entertainment solution companies without content strategies. It’s useful because it can grow two critical factors: brand awareness and loyalty.
You’ll be able to stay fresh in the minds of existing customers as they engage with your content. The goal for new prospects is that they will go on to investigate your brand and make a purchase.
There’s no point in creating content and hoping for the best. You need to be producing media that lands. To do so, you need to understand your audience and have a clear plan for engaging them.
Producing regular content to make your business stand out from the competition can be demanding. For example, if you’re creating a new blog post every week, you’ll be stressed by constant deadlines. But with a clear plan, you can schedule uploads ahead of time.
Still unconvinced about why a content strategy plan can be helpful? Take a quick look at this stat: 78% of companies that succeeded in content in 2021 had a documented content marketing strategy.
Here are some tips for getting your content strategy plan on the right path.
Every strong content strategy plan starts by getting to know your audience. You might think that you know your audience already. But ask yourself, how well do you really know them?
Simple market research isn’t enough. To create the best content, you need to know the audience inside and out. This means carrying out some thorough research on your existing audience.
Here are some ways you can get to know your audience better.
Surveys are great, and often relatively cheap. They’re also an excellent way of getting to know the kinds of content that your audience will enjoy. You can set your own questions and receive quick responses.
What’s more, you’re not limited to locations or time zones; you can send surveys to people spread around the world.
Surveys are all well and good but can also be limiting. You might want to consider picking up the phone or running some focus groups with customers. This method has the advantage that it makes it simple to ask follow-up questions and receive in-depth replies. It means that you can better tailor content around the wants of your audience.
To get the most out of discussions, you need to choose the right technology. Investing in cloud-based phone systems for small business is a good start. This optimizes call quality and provides the ability to create transcripts of calls.
It might also be worth investing in a 1-800 business number in case you call some customers while they’re busy and need to ask them to call you back when it suits.
Data opens up a trove of information about your customers. Of course, you also need to be able to understand your data.
With the right analytics software, you can take a deep dive into your average audience member. This includes insights about the kinds of content they enjoy and their preferred social media platform.
You may create content that is tailored to your audience’s preferences and interests by taking the time to get to know them. As your audience grows, you should stay plugged into what they are saying. This way, you’ll be able to continuously diversify your content strategy.
You’ve created some content – great! But now people need to find it. There’s no use hoping people will just stumble across your content. You need to bring them to it.
Let’s look at two important areas for boosting your discoverability.
You’ll probably be posting a lot of your content on your website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps to ensure people can find this content. This is the process of improving your website so that it appears more highly in search engine listings.
When developing an SEO strategy, you might want to consider the following factors.
- Improving user experience – Think about the useability of your website. Is it easy to navigate? Do all buttons work correctly?
- Make your website mobile friendly – Nearly 60% of Internet users are on mobile, and your website should accommodate them.
- Focus on high-quality content – You’ll get a search engine boost if you invest in well written content that brings value.
A blog can be a fantastic form of content that can also boost your SEO. A well-written blog is a useful (and free) way of bringing valuable content to your audience. Not only that, but it can be an opportunity for internal linking.
Search engines such as Google view links as a sign of quality. The more links linking to your website, the better.
Social media will also be key when bringing users to your content. But knowing where to begin with so many platforms to choose from might be challenging.
A common mistake is to be active on every channel, but this is a recipe for disaster. You need to think about where you’re pouring your resources. Spread too thinly, and you’ll do little to grow your content.
Start with some research into different social media platforms. You’ll need to find an option that caters to the primary demographic of your audience.
For instance, TikTok can be the best option if your target audience is young. Studies show the largest group of TikTok users are people aged 10-19. It’s also important to remember, however, that TikTok users are primarily female (61% compared to 39%). If your audience is largely male, this might not be the choice for you.
Of course, general research can only get you so far. We’ve talked about the importance of talking to your audience directly. When you do, make sure you include questions about your customer’s preferred social media channels.
We’ve already mentioned the importance of having the right technology for these discussions. For example, business phone solutions from Dialpad will provide all the features you need for communicating with customers.
By nurturing a following on social media, you can ensure your content reaches an audience. Not only that, but you also guarantee shares, helping to spread your outreach.
As was already noted, one of the main benefits of having a plan is reducing deadline stress. Make a content calendar a priority during your planning phase, and be sure to list exactly what you will be publishing and when.
A content calendar will organize your publishing process, helping you to publish more content.
Just make sure you don’t plan too far ahead. A content calendar generally shouldn’t extend beyond the current calendar year. You need the materials that you publish to be relevant. This means having the ability to respond to recent trends and interests. If you look too far into the future, you restrict your ability to respond to these changes.
Just make sure that once you’ve created your calendar, you share strategies with your wider organization. A quick video conference call can help ensure everyone is on the same page. Many look to Cisco Webex as their preferred communications solution. But it’s worth looking at some alternatives to WebEx for greater functionality.
There are certain areas of business that are just regarded as common sense. For example, you wouldn’t submit a business proposal that doesn’t look slick and professional (a PandaDoc commercial proposal template might help).
A strong content strategy is another area of common sense.
There’s a reason why.
Content is the foundation of online success. It’s the difference between having an audience and maintaining one. But as we’ve established in this article, simply any old content won’t cut it. Instead, it needs to be based on the interests of your audience.
Ultimately, the success of your content will be determined by the strength of your planning. It’s probably tempting to skip planning and go straight to the creation phase. But this is a surefire way of guaranteeing dull and unengaging content. In short, if you want your content marketing to be a hit, you need to plan.
Start by researching your target audience extensively, which should guide the rest of your planning. With the right strategy in place, you’ll be on the road to an engaged and happy audience. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning today!