The Inbound Marketing Model is so Noisy, Why Should I Even Bother Going Through the Process of Creating a Plan?
So many people have written about the benefits of creating a content marketing strategy that I won’t spend a long time on that topic. The world of social media is inundated with content, everyone has something to say and they are all talking at the same time. In order to stand out from the crowd, your content must be organized, branded, useful and relatable. Now, a disclaimer here, a content marketing strategy alone doesn’t guarantee that you will break through and get a lot of traction with your audience. The idea, however, is practicing consistency in sharing your message and allowing people to engage with it, gives you a better shot at igniting your audience’s awareness and building a recognizable brand. Every year, platforms are changing their rules and so organic reach has become harder to obtain. Being very clear about what you need to share with your audience, makes it easier to connect with the people who need your message and cut through the noise.
So what are the steps to creating an effective content marketing strategy?
There are many tactics you can use to drive more traffic and sales to your business online. The Content Marketing Institute has a Content Marketing Framework that breaks the process down into 6 steps, Purpose and Goals, Audience, Story, Process,and Measurement. Each stage helps you to get crystal clear about why you are creating the content you do and who it helps, as well as how it ties into your overall marketing goals. This is the first step I would suggest you take when just getting into content marketing planning for the first time, or doing it seriously. The steps are simple and allow you to do each part separately while tieing everything together in the end. You can learn more about the CMI Content Marketing Strategy Framework by clicking on this link.
Once you have created your first strategy, you can get more detailed with your planning by doing further research into your audience and market. At this point, you can implement marketing giant, Neil Patel’s “21 Content Marketing Tactics That’ll Skyrocket Your Search Traffic.” In this article, Neil explains different ways to integrate content marketing best practices and get your audience to stand up and take notice. This list allows you to get more in depth with your research so you can do things like building more targeted landing pages and better segmenting your audience for targeted marketing. This is a great second step and will not only help you to have basic industry information but also allow you to use the information you have gathered from your measurements in step one to see what your tribe is doing, wanting and reacting to.
Finally, once you have a handle on what your audience wants, you can then find a way to ensure that your readers are sharing your content and helping you to get your message across. Mark Schaefer, marketing author, and consultant talks about creating a heroic brand using the trust factor to drive the economic value of your business. What this means is you create trust with a few elite audience members who interact with your content and get to know them by name. He also explores ways to identify and reward them for the work they do. This small percentage of people should be part of your content marketing strategy as you aspire to grow the number of Alpha or elite audience members. In his book “The Content Code: Six essential strategies to ignite your content, your marketing, and your business,” Mark further outlines the six strategies that incidentally spell the word BADASS, and uses the acronym to remind creators to focus on Brand building, Audience and influencers( titled “the elite” or “Alpha Audience”), Content Distribution and Promotion, Authority, Shareability, and Social Proof and Social Signs. Since the book is actionable and a great read, I suggest getting your hands on this body of work and following the strategies outlined to create the most badass plan for your content marketing as a third, and for now final step.
I have linked the book below with an affiliate code, which means I will get a small fee if you purchase it from this link, so if you do, thanks much. Also, here is a video interview of Mark Schaefer explaining the BADASS Strategies and why they work.
As you can see, the need for content continues to rise and the platforms keep changing thus making it harder for any and everyone to be heard. Building relationships and creating an engaged audience is long term work that will take a lot of studying, researching, unlearning, and relearning, but it pays off, over time, in amazing benefits that go deeper than sales.
Take the time to learn your audience and figure out your purpose and processes, while also learning the best practices for better marketing strategies and applying the badass tactics outlined above and you too should be able to see the growth, trust, and connection we all want as content creators.