Social media has become an invincible medium for brands to reach out to their audience. The content you post on it can turn your brand into a household name, add credibility to it, and convert your followers into fans.
Today's brands might find it hard to catch up with the rapidly evolving social media landscape, a struggle that can reflect directly on their sales as people look to buy not only from companies whose products are good, but also from companies they like. The best way to be on top of your game is by creating a top-notch content marketing strategy.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the simple process of creating and sharing valuable, relevant content that engages people and hopefully leads to conversions. The goal of content marketing is to generate material that resonates with your audience. It isn't about the format in which the content has been created—both audio and visual formats have their place—it is instead about the platform on which you will be publishing the content.
So how do you incorporate content marketing into social media? Well, for a business to thrive, social media and content marketing should dwell together as the social B2B consumer buying journey has increased and the attention for social content marketing strategies are growing. Blogs are the hubs for content in many social content marketing models, while other social media channels are just wires that spread content out to the audience.
Why you need content marketing
Put simply, content marketing cuts spending for your business. In detail, it helps businesses plan for reliable and cost-effective sources of website traffic. If you can create one blog post that stands out and generates steady, organic traffic, you could share it on social media platforms with an embedded link to an ebook or a free tool that will continue generating leads over time.
Content marketing is important and more of a successful PR strategy because it addresses your audience's questions more so than promoting your business. It also helps your SEO ranking—as search engines reward businesses that publish quality content—and drives inbound traffic and leads. Still not convinced? Let's look at some pointers that might convince you. Content marketing:
Brings in 3x more leads than your actual ad spend, according to Neil Patel.
Helps generate higher conversion rates than outbound marketing.
Costs less than half of what you spend on traditional marketing.
Is easy to execute. Patel states 42% of B2B marketers say they’re effective at content marketing.
How to create a content marketing strategy
A content marketing strategy is like an outline of your key business ideas and how you will use your content to address your customer needs. There are no definitive templates for creating a content marketing strategy, as each business has its unique needs, but there are few common questions to answer before creating one.
Who is your target audience?
Your business will have more than one type of customer, and different people will consume content in different ways. Some may prefer blogs while others might have limited patience and need quick infographics. By identifying these different types of audiences, you can cater to them with your content. This is why it's imperative to understand who you're targeting. Using a variety of content on different channels will help you deliver and engage with everyone who falls into your audience category.
Defining your target audience will also help you set goals that will guide your team in making important decisions as you refine your content marketing strategy. For instance, a common goal is to get people to come to your website or blog, turn them into email subscribers, and gradually promote to them in your marketing and sales funnel. This is an effective way to build relationships with your customers through your content—and hopefully your product as well.
Understand your audience's need and meet it in a way they'll understand
Ideally, your product or service should always meet your audience's need, and a successful content marketing strategy should have this as its primary objective. Your content should coach and educate both those who are still figuring out what their main challenges are and those who are already using your product to overcome these challenges.
Identify which content formats you'll focus on and what makes them unique
What types of content will you create? Blog posts, video posts, infographics...? Before arriving at a topic, you should also answer what makes your product or service unique.
Or if your competitors have a similar product, conduct a competitor analysis to understand where they've failed to address their audience's need and plan a content strategy that addresses the need of their audience. Having identified this, roll out different forms of content on different channels crafted specifically for that audience. Channels can include owned properties such as your website and blog, as well as social media properties such as Facebook and Twitter.
Promote your content consistently
As discussed earlier, different audiences prefer different content types on different channels. Blogs and email newsletters are mostly the core practice brands follow. It’s a valuable exercise to, at the beginning of launching your content strategy, focus on one or two main channels and branch out later as your brand’s audience grows and your content marketing efforts mature. Innovative brands have pushed further, tapping into augmented reality campaigns on Facebook Messenger, producing video series, creating podcasts, using Instagram influencer marketing, and so on.
Once you've got all the content in the pipeline and you're posting to your blog three times a week, plan to develop a bimonthly newsletter and a video series. Email newsletters are an important mode of content distribution, and it is easier to build your email list to promote your content on social media and newsletters. Create a video of the evergreen content that resonates the core of your brand's values and content strategy.
Planning and creating an engaging, long-term content marketing strategy is no easy feat and can be overwhelming. But the ability to have clear short- and long-term goals can be quite rewarding with a seamless execution of your content marketing strategy. Every brand has its unique story, and the more your brand story resonates, the more your audience becomes your customers.
Drop your views in the comments and let's get conversational!