4 Steps for a More Strategic Approach to Content Marketing

Content marketing may send you into a tailspin of ideation, but leave you struggling to identify a strategic process that will result in unique and useful customer experiences. As the lines between social media, public relations, and search engine optimization continue to blur, brands must place a renewed focus on developing and promoting great content for their audiences. Content for the purposes of digital marketing can come in the form of blogs, articles, videos, infographics, podcast, images, and more. To be successful, this takes total buy-in throughout the organization and a significant investment in time and talent.

Make smart decisions about how to approach your content marketing initiatives by following these four steps:

1. Data Analysis. Analyze the data sources at your disposal to drive a strategy that will resonate with your audience. Leverage datasets like internal search data to determine whether users’ goals aren’t being satisfied with your current site content. Look at your search referral data to locate themes. Are there common comparisons, how-to, or technical specifications that users are searching for? Review keywords with a high bounce rate to see if you can identify content gaps. Top exits from internal search queries might also show you what content would be of unique value to your customers. Review paid search and Google webmaster data to identify keywords that have good visibility but a poor click-through rate. Instead of content marketing in a vacuum, look at the data and let it tell you how to proceed.

2. Competitive Analysis. Conduct competitive research and analysis to look at similar themes your competitors might be writing about. Remember that your online and offline competitors may be different, so review search results carefully to get a good grasp of who is visible in the current conversation. When your competitors have content posted with similar themes, look at the conversation within the comments section and the audience social responses or shares to get insight. Find out what’s still missing, what they were hoping to glean that they couldn’t, and what was well received. This will help you create content that truly addresses the needs of your customers and will set you apart from the competition.

3. Create Value. Create content with your value differentiators front and center. Reinforce those unique brand values to remind your audience why you are an authority and how you offer something your competitors cannot. Remember that great content will also have significant SEO value so keep your analytics data and keyword strategy in mind. Optimize your content so that it has the potential to be found in the search results. Also, make sure that your navigation allows users to find your content and reference it from as many other relevant pages as possible.

4. Promote. Different types of content may require varying strategies for distribution and promotion. Having a strong presence in social media and a large and loyal following of brand advocates helps, but this doesn’t happen overnight. Put resources towards continually building your following. Use your Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn channels for distribution. Email marketing is also a great way to get your content out there. Having all of your great content on your website is a must, but consider blogger outreach and citizen journalism as a way to have content on other reputable websites, as well. Guest blogging and article contributions can have a positive and lasting impact on your brand and touch audiences you may not generally have access to.

Following these four easy steps will help you to make more strategic decisions in your content marketing campaigns. Quit working your butt off and start working your assets off!


Brent Gleeson is cofounder and CMO and Laura Beatty is digital account strategist of Internet Marketing Inc.

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