The 6 Steps of Content Marketing (Inbound Marketing)
The 6 Steps of Content Marketing (Inbound Marketing) and why you need to understand them!
Content marketing (Inbound Marketing) is a great way to drive traffic to your site, make yourself relevant, useful, and improve your search engine rankings. It’s not as simple as just putting some content up on your site and waiting for the traffic to roll in, though.
Just like everything else that is worth doing in your business, content marketing is worth doing EXTREMELY well. Note we said extremely well. Just shooting blog posts and landing pages out there in the dark without a mission, is not going to get you very far! Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing are a key component of your Search Engine Optimization efforts and when done right, can sky-rocket your website in the SERPS.
There are some specific steps you can take to make the most of your content marketing. Don’t just push content out there and wonder if it is helping your business, or if it is even worth continuing to make the effort.
Follow these simple steps and you will be able to enjoy success in your content marketing efforts.
#1: Have a goal for your content (Re-Tweets, SEO, CRO, Newsletter, Product Sales, Etc.)
Content marketing is almost a fad, it’s so popular. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of people are approaching content marketing as something of a magical panacea, and not a marketing tool that should be approached thoughtfully and deliberately.
You need to know what content marketing can accomplish for you, and what your goal is for your content marketing campaign. This is the only way to produce an effective market strategy.
When you specify and verbalize your goal, you make it clear to yourself what you need to do to be able to accomplish it. You can evaluate your strategy to determine if it is or is not realistic. As long as your goal is vague, you have no way of knowing exactly how realistic it is.
Once you make a specific goal, you can tell how likely your strategy is to be successful and what steps you need to take in order to accomplish it. Whether your goal is to increase search rankings, increase your conversion rates, looking to gain traction on your email marketing efforts or looking to step your social media marketing efforts, content marketing will help.
Many companies form goals that use keywords and popular ideas without being specific about what those popular ideas are meant to accomplish. For example, a company might create a strategy of “we should do social media.” But what do you want to accomplish with social media? A rudderless goal can’t possibly give a specific and valuable result. To have a targeted result you need a targeted goal.
#2: Create a strategy (We want to increase our Brand Awareness)
Once you have a decent goal, it’s time to refine it further into a strategy. To do this, you need to ask even more questions. For example, who is your audience? Who is this content intended for? Knowing your audience lets you target your content, based on factors such as what the audience is already reading and looking at, what the audience is interested in, and where the audience is likely to get information.
Another important question to ask in the strategy creation step is, “what stage in the purchasing process does this content serve?” For example, is this content that brings people in at the first stage? Is this introductory content intended to be read by people who have never heard of your company before? Is this content that will be read by people who have already been following the company for a while? Is this sales copy that is meant to convince people to click “Buy” when they are finished reading it? Is it meant to gain followers? Or is it meant to get people to share it and thus increase your audience?
Furthermore, what use does this content have for the people who are reading it? How is it valuable to them? This is an incredibly important question, because it makes the difference between writing an article about why people should buy your product and writing an article about practical steps that people can take to make their lives better, your product being one of those steps. One of those articles is going to be dismissed by readers as being overblown sales copy, and the other is likely to be shared and re-shared as being really useful and valuable.
When you are creating a strategy, you should also ask yourself what you want your readers to do after they read the article. Do you want them to follow you, buy your product, share your article, or sign up for your email newsletter?
When you answer these questions, you will be able to plan how to write your content, where you need to promote it, and what steps you need to take to make sure it gets in front of your target audience.
#3: Make a plan for production (Graphics, Content, Images and a Timeline)
There isn’t a right or a wrong way to do content. There are many different possible ways to produce your content. However, there are more and less effective ways of producing content based on who your audience is and where they go to get their information.
Always keep your user experience in mind. Imagine that you are a member of your target audience. What do you want to be reading, where do you find it, and what would entice you to take the correct action, whether that is buying the product, signing up for the email newsletter, or sharing the story?
PLAN of ACTION: A Breakdown of the 6 Steps
- Establish your Topic (H1 Title)
- Establish your sub topics (H2 – H5/6 Tags)
- Write the body of content you have outlined
- Proof read your content three times (yes 3 times)
- Design your Graphic Elements
- Create a Call To action (Phone, Email or CTA buttons)
- Internal Linking Structure
- Pushing your Content on Social Media
- Pushing your Content on a Newsletter
- PUSH – PUSH – PUSH!!!
#4: Atomize the content (Breaking Down the Content into Sections)
Atoms are tiny pieces that make up a larger whole. Atomized content is small, bite-sized pieces of content that make up a larger body of content.
Atomized content is great for content marketing because it is easy to spread out. Each piece of content has a certain likelihood of being shared, which increases your overall audience outreach exponentially compared with writing one long article that covers everything you want to say.
Atomized content also makes for a better user experience. It can get overwhelming to read an article that is too long. People will start to skim towards the end, and they will miss information. They may simply stop reading altogether. Short, multi-part articles, on the other hand, are easy to digest and comprehend in one sitting. It takes only a few minutes to read them, and they are punchy and easy to share. By strategically linking between different parts of your atomized content, you can make it easy to navigate for people who want to read more, while also keeping your portion sizes small enough for people who only want to read a little bit.
With atomized content, the numbers work for you. You can write many smaller posts, put them on an automated posting schedule, and stop worrying about them. This helps your SEO rankings because you end up with frequent posts, and it helps you get more shares on social media. And it didn’t take any more effort on your part than it would have taken to write a single long post that covered all the same information.
#5: Market your Marketing Material (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Etc.)
People don’t just troll the Internet looking for new things to read, and if they did there’s no guarantee that they would find your stuff among the millions of other posts that are uploaded every day. You have to amplify your own content. You have to go out there, create buzz, and market your new content like you would market the launch of a new product.
How do you do this? There are many different strategies, and the strategy that works best for you will be the strategy that meets your audience where they are. Does your audience spend a lot of time on social media? Promote your new content with Facebook Marketing and Twitter, make your articles pinnable and put them on Pinterest, and put an inspirational image up on Instagram along with a link to your content. Is your new content something that would be of interest to members of forums? Get in on discussions and link to your content.
Of course, one of the most fundamental ways to promote your new content is with key words. Make sure search engines can find your content and that you have optimized your content with key words that have high rankings and high levels of hits. Use meta tags to help search engines find your pages easier, and tag your images so they will show up in image searches.
#6: Measure your content results (Set up URL in Google Analytics – GA)
You’re spending money on content. It only makes sense to make sure you are getting a return on your investment.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to measure the results of your content after you have already created it and put it up. It is much easier if you build in measurement methods while you are writing the content. For example, some people use built-in polls as a way to measure engagement with content. Many websites are using “click to read further” buttons to measure engagement, though these can be annoying to readers and should be used sparingly.
At Front Street Media, we can help you plan your content, execute it successfully, and measure its results. Let us manage your next content campaign for you! We service many local companies in El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Cameron Park, Granite Bay and beyond with premium Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing strategies. If you are interested in speaking with one of our marketing experts, give us a call or fill out our contact form for more information.