For the inexperienced, content marketing can feel like trying to win a foot race against world-record Olympic track runners. You have some vague idea of how things are supposed to work, but feel miles behind everyone else in terms of making your content work for you. Content marketing is more than just shoving buzz words here and there and hoping it all works out. Here are the key components you need to implement to optimize your content marketing strategy.
The Big Picture: Content’s Role in Your Overall Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is just one piece in your overall digital marketing efforts. It can be immensely powerful in driving leads and conversion when executed correctly. To get there, you need to identify your overall goals and content’s role in supporting them.
Some of the key ways content marketing can support your digital marketing objectives include:
Building brand awareness
Generating inbound links
Anchoring outbound links
Improved ranking through SEO
Generating copy for PPC ads
Generating copy for social media posts
Supporting audio and visual content and graphics
Determining the best ways to use your content marketing strategy depends on your short-term and long-term overall marketing goals. For instance, if you are a newly founded business or shifting focus, building your content marketing strategy around brand awareness and authority building may be the right direction.
One of the most common mistakes companies make is developing content without intention. While it's true you want to have a consistent posting schedule. writing blogs or creating Instagram posts just to have something to put up is a waste of time and resources. If you find your posts have consistently low engagement or aren’t performing well in terms of conversion, this is likely why. Assigning each piece of content a clear role in your overall strategy helps to ensure everything you produce is working for you, not against you.
Getting to the Goals: What’s in it for Me?
Nearly every industry can be broken down to one simple principle: your client base has a problem, and you are offering a solution. Whether it’s home maintenance services like plumbing and roofing or something less tangible like self-improvement, the people who find your business likely did so because they are looking for a product or service you provide. That doesn’t happen by accident; it happens by design.
When developing your content marketing strategy in 2022, ask yourself these three fundamental questions:
1. Who is my ideal client or customer? How old are they? What kind of job do they have? What kind of lifestyle do they lead? What kind of interests do they have? Are they family-oriented or living the single life? What are their goals and values? Create a full image of what type of person you are looking to attract to your business.
2. What is my ideal customer looking for? Are they trying to learn and expand their knowledge base? Is there a specific outcome they are trying to replicate? Is there a task they need help to accomplish? Are they trying to connect and form relationships with others? What does success look like for them? Getting into the mindset of your ideal customer will help guide your content development process.
3. How do I bridge the gap between their goals and mine? What is the logical next step in their buyer’s journey? What can I do to help inform their final decision? What am I doing or not doing that is turning customers away? Objective considerations about strengths and areas of opportunity in your content marketing strategy will help you improve your results.
Funnel Vision: Turning Readers into Consumers
Being able to engage your readers wherever they are in their buyer’s journey (also known as ‘the funnel’) is the primary benefit to optimizing your content marketing strategy. Not only does this allow you to draw in new and returning clients at every level, but it helps to establish your business as a trusted resource no matter your industry. How do you develop content with all these different needs in mind? Start by mapping out your funnel.
Top of Funnel: this level is your broadest, most general audience. They are just beginning their journey by identifying the problem and looking into all the possible solutions.
Going back to the plumbing example, they may be searching for things like ‘how to tell if your septic tank is backed up’ or ‘DIY drain cleaner’. If you are a plumber it may seem counterintuitive to feature this type of content, but it offers the opportunity to segway clients toward booking your services. Offering some solutions but emphasizing that hiring a professional is the best way to ensure they don’t cause further, more costly damage could lead to more clicks on your services page or more calls to your office.
Mid-Funnel: at this point in the buyers’ journey, your potential customer already knows exactly what their problem is and has some idea of how to solve it. Here they are most likely comparing options to determine which is the best avenue for them. These customers are easier to convert than those at the top of the funnel. Mid-funnel content marketing strategy revolves around setting yourself apart from competitors. Why are you the best choice for them? This is where reviews, statistics about customer satisfaction, and your knowledge and experience shine through. Even if you are just starting out and haven’t amassed a reputation in your industry yet, you can still set yourself apart from others.
Bottom of Funnel: These are customers who are ready to make a purchase or book your services. But just because they’re at the end of their buyer’s journey doesn’t mean your content marketing strategy shouldn’t also consider them. Here you want to focus on following through and client retention; how can you turn that new customer into a returning customer? Offer incentives for leaving a review, providing referrals, or making a later purchase like discounts, loyalty programs, or free gifts. Be careful not to overwhelm your customer base with too many follow-up emails, though. Finding the right cadence may take some time and testing.
Unsure of how to move forward and make the most of your content? Let Jali Creatives help Contact us today