Blogging and content marketing is an effective way to boost a brand’s image and increase sales far beyond what is possible through traditional outbound marketing.
However, it isn’t as simple as just producing and creating content. A well-thought strategy will be specific to your brand’s goals while also tailored to the distribution strategy, content vision, and calls to action (CTAs).
To give you a better sense of how important it is to have an effective content marketing plan, this blog will provide a brief overview of why you should be investing in a good content marketing strategy and the elements contained in a well-thought-out content marketing strategy.
Why All Brands (Big and Small) Should Be Investing in Content Marketing
Content marketing plays a vital role in an overall digital marketing strategy. As a business owner, how can your business use a company blog to generate more website traffic, leads, sales, and results?
Contrary to what many marketers and businesses believe, content marketing is not simply about blogging. It doesn’t make sense to write a blog without a strategy, especially since every strategy will be different to each brand, and each brand would come to a different outcome. Instead, think of content marketing like so:
Content marketing is creating and sharing high-quality online content, typically using text, images, and videos to promote general interest in products, services, and/or a brand. Content marketing is a strategy for inbound marketing and a tactic used by marketers to drive traffic towards a specific brand. This differs from outbound marketing which puts the brand in front of potential consumers.
Content marketing is a type of residual marketing that promotes a brand and idea out into the world and enables people to ‘organically’ find that idea. A good content marketing strategy will identify a niche area that the brand can address and then drive traffic towards their solution by frequently posting informative, relevant, or engaging content.
Content marketing and, in turn, blogging is valuable because it promotes the soft sell. Instead of being subjected to an explicit sales pitch, viewers can find blog content through search engine queries, which allows visitors the chance to come to their own opinion about the content, product, and brand. In turn, these visitors will see your brand as an expert (or if you are targeting the top of the sales funnel, a knowledgable source) about a given topic. It helps that what the blog is about can also be verified and that the information provided is factual and delivered with authority.
Elements of a Successful Content Marketing Strategy
While not set in stone, there are generally three ways that a business would want to leverage blogging for content marketing: lead generation, thought leadership, and brand awareness.
A content strategy should be created with an established goal, as the goal will determine the distribution pathways, the blogging frequency, the content type, and the content tone (and much more).
No matter which content marketing goal you choose, the content should reflect unbiased and informative content that the reader is looking for. In all likelihood, it would solve a pain point. Think of the content as having little to no investment into the brand that produced it, and it simply exists to help people understand a particular issue or question.
Once a visitor trusts the brand as an authority, they are more likely to purchase from them when the time is right. To provide content that genuinely interests the target audience and grows the brand, the brand must do several things:
- Be helpful to the reader. Informative content educates the viewer on something that can be applied to a situation. Typically, this is content that the viewer was previously unaware of or provides an answer to a specific question. Great content is also applicable within a niche or industry.
- Be something that people are looking for. If the blog traffic comes through search engines, other blog posts, or shares, it is considered organic. Viewers that find brands through organic search (and usually through high search rankings) will actively search for this valuable content. This means that the content is solving a problem or addressing a question.
- Be recognizable with the brand that produced it. If the article is appealing to the reader, it might encourage them to remember the company name and what they do. This might lead the reader to refer back to the website at a later date.
Elements That Every Good Content Strategy Needs
Your content marketing strategy needs to do the following:
- Identify the goal(s) of the content
- Identify the audience(s) that the content is intended for
- Seek expected outcome(s) or goals
Once these critical elements are established, the following questions are then addressed:
- Who is the target audience for this campaign?
- How can I help my target audience?
- What type of blog content would make sense for my goals?
- How often should I blog?
- What is the ideal blog length for my goals?
- Should I be outsourcing my content creation?
Since each content plan will look different, the answers to these questions should help your company derive methods that work best for the brand and goal.
Let’s look at an example: If an eCommerce business is looking to drive traffic to their website through organic search, they will need to audit their goals and identify what the content marketing strategy should be doing, the buyer persona they are targeting, and so on:
- Who is the target audience for this campaign? Right now, the audience may be young adults, ages 18 to 35, who are looking to purchase affordable new furniture for their college apartment or first home. Ideally, these young adults will be taking advantage of the brand’s current marketing campaign, buying sophisticated home living items on a budget.
- How can I help my target audience? If your target audience is first-time homeowners and college students, they will need to know the basics of living space needs. They also need to see that the particular lifestyle that they find aspirational and aesthetically appealing is affordable with the proper planning and design.
- What type of blog content would make sense for my goals? Based on the previous answer, the content should be written in plain English for a crowd who is younger, perhaps a fourth-grade reading level, a bit more casual, and for those interested in living space trends. Your readers might be interested in budgeting, life hacks or house maintenance, fabric types, taking care of certain furniture and fabrics, the benefits of certain space designs, and putting together a color palette, among others. Make sure content ideas line up with topics the reader can benefit from.
- How often should I blog? There is a lot that can be said about the current topic choices, so you should have enough good content to blog five times a week. But, given the busy lifestyle of young adults, they might not read your blog every day, and five times a week might be too much for the business to handle. Consider creating an editorial calendar that establishes a posting frequency of three times a week, landing your posts in their social media feed enough to be seen but not so much that it becomes a nuisance.
- What is the ideal blog length for my goals? In short, a blog should be long enough to complete the purpose of the article. A longer post might not be read all the way through. In this example, the company should aim for at least 1000 words. Over 2000 may be your max limit. Keep the writing style concise, but allow for colloquialisms.
- Should I be outsourcing my content creation? Most likely, yes. As the brand in our example is small-to-medium, three blogs per week might be too much to manage, mainly since this includes research, editing, posting, and promoting the content. Outsourcing blog creation will alleviate the writing aspect. However, the business will still need to coordinate the content calendar and posting schedule, engage with followers on social media, engage with leads, and complete normal operations. The entire content strategy and management can be outsourced as well, meaning that in time, increasing blog frequency or topic depth is possible.
What Does a Successful Blog Look Like?
If this is your first time developing and implementing a successful blogging strategy, it can seem daunting to take that first step and begin posting new content.
But do it! Rip off the Band-Aid! Take the leap!
Content writing is not scary (at least, not to us!), but it does take some time and effort, and you want to put your best foot forward. Corporate blogs will be far more unique than the typical blog post put out by a successful blogger or influencer. Your business goals are vastly different from theirs, and so is your brand’s voice. Instead, be confident knowing that your brand has valuable information and people really want to learn about that information.
Here is what a successful blog looks like:
- It knows that it doesn’t know everything: Cite your sources and stay modest.
- It is posted frequently: Try to post regularly, that way, Google sees your brand as active and has an engaged digital presence.
- It is clean on the backend: Proper indexing and off-page SEO traits will look good to Google and other search engines, improving the page’s likelihood of high rankings.
- It is shared on social media: Your blogs should be shared widely and prominently on social media sites. Where you share this content will depend on your company overall. Find a social avenue that makes sense for your brand.
- It is well-written and easy to understand: Google likes SEO-friendly content. It should not be manufactured, keyword-stuffed, or full of jargon.
- It is unique: Create custom content. Always!
- It is outside of the box: You can always mix it up. Incorporate infographics, animations, or outsource a guest blog!
- It’s a fun read! Some people take life too seriously. We don’t! And we believe that your content should, on some level, be fun! Be sure to keep it appropriate for the content format, audience persona, and your business goal, however!
- It engages readers: Don’t put all this time and energy into producing a blog that is dull and boring. Keep the content light, fresh, and engaging.
- It speaks to the content strategy: This might be an obvious point, but your blog should align with your current content marketing strategy and your overall marketing goals.
How to Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
Developing a content marketing strategy and implementing it can be challenging. You have to understand your goals, see your marketing strategy clearly, and then get it done.
But your content marketing effort will be worth it as consistent blogging, in line with your developed strategy, is a surefire way to meet the specific needs of your audience, industry, and business. These actions can grow your brand, increase your brand’s authority, and lead to a greater conversion rate with higher sales numbers.
The content team at okwrite has years of experience in crafting effective content strategies and producing high-quality content. If you are ready to develop a strategy and produce regular blog content, reach out to okwrite today to get started! Already got a strategy? Then, consider okgrow for your scalable blogging needs.