A successful content plan looks like this – you write great content; optimize it for search; wait for the page to start ranking on Google; and finally collect all the traffic that comes your way.
Except, this is not how it works.
Firstly, content marketing is not just search traffic. Depending on what you sell, you may also be looking at social media, media referrals, or even direct traffic to your website.
Secondly, great content or ranking for a search term does not automatically translate into leads or customers. There is a lot more at play here.
In this article, we will take a look at what it takes to build a successful content marketing campaign.
Visualize the funnel
One mistake many content marketers do is to plan the content and then weave the other elements around it.
Doing so could help you identify great keywords to target and also bring traffic to your website. However, this may not necessarily translate into sales.
The purchase intent of your visitors matter. The quality of your lead magnet matters. And most importantly, the alignment between your content and lead magnet matters.
Let’s take the example of a moving services company in Chicago. The ideal customer is one who would be looking for moving services to or from Chicago. Any other kind of visitor to the website is not a good fit.
Before we build on the content plan, it is important to know what kind of lead magnets convert well for this audience.
There are many ways to create a lead magnet, but in this case, one that will work well is a calculator tool that will give them a good idea of what it costs to hire a moving company.
With that in mind, you could go about producing content.
You could, for instance, write on topics like “How much does it cost to hire a moving company in Chicago”, or “Average moving costs in Chicago”. These are topics that are tightly aligned with the lead magnet as well as the intent of the visitor.
As a result, they convert really well.
Small businesses often make the mistake of confusing content marketing with blog writing. Well, writing a blog post is indeed a part of content marketing; but that’s not everything.
There are many elements that need to sync well for a good content strategy.
Before you start working on the content itself, you need to plan its distribution.
- Where is your traffic going to come from?
- How do you plan to build links to your article?
- Where should you promote your content?
For a piece that is targeted at search engines, you need to take care of the word count, the keyword density, the use of the right heading tags, the use of keywords within the headings, and what images and meta description are going to be used.
However, none of this matters if your traffic is going to come from social media or referrals. In such cases, the title of your post matters more than the content itself.
Going back to the example of the Chicago moving company, an article targeting search engines would be titled something like “Average Moving Cost In Chicago, IL”. But if you plan to distribute it over Facebook, you would be using a catchier title like “The Big Secret Why Moving To Chicago Is So Cheap”.
This is not all. Your distribution strategy must also include visuals. On platforms like Facebook, the visuals you use are as important as the article headings.
This also helps if you plan to advertise over platforms like YouTube where top quality videos improve click-through rates.
If you do not have someone in your team to do this, it is a good idea to hire freelancers to make these animations for you. This is more cost effective than hiring a full-time resource
Once you have all of this planned, the final step is to actually produce the content. Many small business owners struggle with this step. While you can hire a freelancer to do this, you must know that this is a skill worth learning yourself.
There are plenty of online resources that can help you write great content quickly. Also, invest in good third party writing tools that can make the process of curating resources and checking grammar easier.
Monitor & tweak
A good thing with content marketing is that it is a fluid strategy that can always be tweaked and modified. Not getting good click-throughs for the heading? You can try a different title. Not ranking on Google still? Try adding more content.
Make use of competition monitoring tools and A/B testing apps to figure the right mix that can help you achieve the best results from your content campaigns.