Many inexperienced marketers think that content marketing is expensive or inefficient. In reality, it is cheaper than traditional marketing. The process of advertising a brand becomes much simpler when content is used.
When marketers post high quality, relevant content, people actually read it. According to InsightPost, this method of building audience via relevant content leads to a higher brand recognition over time. However, content needs to have an end goal, otherwise anyone can keep producing content with low or zero engagement.
Once you have your objective, creating original, valuable and relevant content should be your priority. It takes time, effort and resources to come up with a unique piece of content. You must be familiar with the importance of having great content on our site, but how can you ensure that you are working on a great content development strategy?
The answer lies in scientific method. Doing things step-by-step can make this process easy and manageable. A periodic way of developing content will make sure that you know the path after the clean slate syndrome, and your website will be able to sustain its conversion rate.
Every time you have to come up with quality content for a new project or for your website, use the periodic process of content development explained below:
It’s all in the strategy. Whether you are a small business owner who has to wear many hats at once, or a project manager with a new project at hand, a rock solid content strategy will guide you home. Many business owners start a blog with great intentions, but as time passes, their enthusiasm fades and they ignore their blog. So start with a sustainable strategy in mind, in order to follow it through on normal as well as rainy days.
A great domain name is crucial for the success of a startup/website. Brainstorm names for the domain and make a list of those names.
- Go to godaddy.com and upload the whole list there.
- You will find any domains that are not taken. If your favorite domain name is taken, you may contact the site owner if they want to sell it.
- Domains are as important an asset in the digital world as real estate is in the real world, so you may have to bargain with the owner or give in to their demands.
- Either way, when you acquire the domain, start designing your web real estate as soon as possible.
Identifying your audience:
Content creation starts with finding the right audience. It tells you about the choices and preferences of your ideal listener, reader and viewer. It is useless to create content without knowing who your recipient is. These are the people you want to help, these are the people who will interact and engage with your blog. Ask yourself these basic questions:
What problems does my business/company/product solve? You need to have in-depth knowledge of your business or product. This will help you determine the audience who has these problems. It will also make sure that you are not sharing useless videos of kittens on a rollercoaster just because they are hilarious. You will be able to make content that is relevant to your product or service.
Who are your current customers? Sit with your colleagues and discuss the people who are currently buying your products. Build a buyer persona, to help you understand your customers better. You can segment your customers based on categories like age, demographics, choices and budgets.
Who is your competitor? By searching your competitors online, you can get an idea about their content and their strategy online. It can prepare you to build a better content strategy.
What is your USP? You have to be sure of your unique selling proposition. Why should a customer choose you over a competitor? This will be reflected in your content on a regular basis.
Content marketing takes time. However, you have to be prepared for it from the very beginning. Think of your content marketing strategy as a detailed plan to engage customers by helping them in need. This should be aligned with your business plan. Identify the goals the content will achieve, the risks involved and the value you can provide to your audience.
A good way to market content is through a compelling business story. The story of how your business started and developed into a brand has more chances to be successful with everyday people. You should keep in mind that your target customer will relate to your story and get attracted to your business, based on your content marketing strategy.
Lastly, you should define the channels you will use to promote content. Blog posts, social media and emails are some of these channels. By sorting out these essential details in the beginning, you can address the content needs in a better way.
Keyword research is going to help you find out what people type, when looking for your product or service. Google Adwords is a popular and effective tool to decide which keywords you can pay attention to.
After all, it all begins when a user types a word in the search box. Since your content needs the right kind of visitor – the one who reads your content and is converted into a lead – keyword research will educate you about the needs of that visitor. Note these keywords and build your content around them. This way, you can ensure that users searching for a keyword will be directed to your content.
When you have a clear strategy in your hands, you can plan your content development easily. Now you know what goals your online presence has to achieve and how to work on these goals.
When choosing a site design, it is advisable to use pen and paper first. Jumping directly into the web design world can be a bit intimidating. Create a rough sketch of how you want the site to look. Hire a web designer as they will be able to understand your thoughts better. Create a site framework which will give the designer an idea of the UI to be designed. Design also includes colors, fonts and language.
If you have a small business, you should use the same colors that you use in logo or shipments. If you have an already established business, you can use the color themes and fonts of your business to implement them on your site. Take Apple for example. Only specific colors are used in their branding.
One very important thing is to treat each design component as if it’s going to be presented to a design contest. This exercise will make sure that your content is displayed in the best possible way.
All the effort you put into the design process can be shown as a visual mockup. Sometimes the visual mockup is the final design product. Other times, the visual mockup is the final draft with all the design elements displayed for content placement. You can visualize the content in a better way via visual mockups.
Mockups are a great way to get early stakeholders. They can also gather feedback by being the best explanation of content placement.
This is when you plan your content. There are tons of content ideas that you can implement on your website. Look at HubSpot’s 44 ideas for example:
Brainstorm ideas and keep listing them. Form a content calendar based on these ideas. Publish special content on special events like Christmas or Easter. This is the time to be as creative as you want, because the technicalities of preparing a space to display your content have been dealt with.
When you are clear about the content you have to post, it will be easy to build that content periodically or in bulk.
HTML & site style coding: HTML gives structure to content on a site. You can determine the placement of headings, body text and descriptions with the help of HTML. Follow this great HTML and site style guide to design the pages yourself, or you can employ a developer who does the job for you. If your website is interactive, the styling will also take professional turns. By styling your site better, you can make sure that every piece of content follows the same theme.
Integrating media: Everyone perceives things differently. Some people understand via visual content while some people understand better by reading. Pictures, videos and infographics help define your content. Manage media on your site and balance it with text. Make a media library and upload all media files properly. You can also create a media database dedicated to your blog/website.
Testing and launch: Once you are sure that each element fits perfectly on your site, you can do a soft launch to a limited audience. This will keep the feedback pouring in while you work on other content needs. When you have learnt from testing and experiments, launch the website officially into the web and prepare to welcome the audience.
Search engine optimization: Content that is not optimized for both search engines and users will leave your business in an abyss. People will not be able to find or use your content in the first place. Search engine optimization is the best way to promote your content online. By using keywords on your pages, you can rank high in search results. Posting once a month will not get you anywhere, especially if your competitors are posting four times a week. Some of the best ways to optimize your content is to optimize page titles, Google+ authorship and links.
- When you add keywords to your page title, you make sure that the whole page will show up in the search result. However, your goal shouldn’t be keyword density. The keyword should match the content on the page. This will prove to search engine bots and users that you are a credible business.
- Actionable page titles like ‘How to do XYZ’ can attract readers to click on the search results. Make sure that you provide readers the information which your keyword promises.
- Google has made it easy to show credibility online by integrating your Google+ profile with your site. It can show Google that you are a credible business. Highlighting authorship on all your content pieces will give you a cutting edge over your competitors. It can also increase the social following of your Google+ profile.
- Internal links in the site, which direct users from one page to the other within the site, are a good way to keep viewers on your site. To gain external links, you can guest post on other sites in exchange for a link or buy pay per click ads on Google.
Promotional campaigns don’t just make your content viral, but you can also use the promotion to repurpose old content. You can use various methods like online contests, giveaways and discounts to make people visit and share your content more often.
Coca Cola’s promotional campaign is a good example to quote here. The Share a Coke campaign provided people with an opportunity to personalize coke bottles with their name. It worked well because people love personalized stuff. Coca Cola took some common names in every country and printed them on their bottles. The result: everyone went crazy for this campaign. People loved buying a Coke with their names, even a surname used to suffice.
At the end of the day, take a seat and measure the site stats with the help of a good tool like Google Analytics. Your site stats are going to explain what type of content is getting more engagement. You can use this data as the basis of future content development. It can guide you on directing your content strategy into a different direction. With the help of these stats, you can make updates in your content strategy to add missing elements or shun elements that drive no conversion.