Creating Your Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Jennifer Delony, the Director of VT Small Business Marketing Associates defines the basics of content marketing for small businesses. Click here for the complete article.

The Basics of Content Marketing for Small Business

When a small business jumps right in to the ‘How’ and ‘Why’ of content marketing, the process can seem a bit overwhelming. It is a good idea to step back and look at all the elements of a content marketing strategy (CMS) in order to gain perspective and recognize that, while strategic combinations can be infinite, the overall strategy is finite.

Here are a few features of content marketing that a small business should have in place before launching a strategy. Once you have created a basic strategy, you can begin to adjust and grow the strategy for larger and diverse target audiences.

1. Your Website

In content marketing, your website is the hub for all your content, and all other associated marketing and digital assets should direct people back to your hub. When people engage with your content, they should be doing it as often as possible at your hub so that you have the opportunity to give them a call to action.

There are many calls you can set up on your website (e.g., subscribe to a newsletter, enter a contest, use a coupon, contact a representative), but it is a good idea to focus on one strategic call to action at a time.

2. Social Media Networks

Social media networks (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) work within your CMS to capture network users and direct them back to your hub.

While being present in many social networks is a great idea, do not overwhelm yourself or your strategy. Get to know different networks and discover how to create content that will capture network users. What works in Facebook and Twitter, will not work in Pinterest, for example.

3. Buyer Persona

A detailed overview of your target audience (i.e., buyer persona) is a critical element of your CMS. The process of building this model of your target audience will tell you what your target audience likes and needs, what their challenges are, where they get their information, where they spend their time, and who their influencers are.

These details ultimately direct what kind of content you share and where you share it so you can build a meaningful relationship with your target audience and they trust your brand.

Note that a target audience may not be a group of buyers, per se. Some organizations rely on referral business, and referrers should be the primary target audience for the CMS, even if that group does not do any actual buying. Over time, you will want to build a buyer persona for all of your target audiences.

4. Curated Content

Content that is created by others can be a powerful connecting mechanism for your CMS. When you share content from other entities (i.e., curate content), you become more visible to those entities and their audience members.

Your goal should be to curate content and observe both what audience members gravitate to and what content is not available. You can begin to fill that void with your own content so people will recognize you as an originator and trust you as a resource. That trust will begin to translate into trust for your brand, and those people will be more likely to become customers or referrers.

5. Statistics And Analytics

There is no end to the depth of statistical analysis you can build into your CMS. The more you track your content, who is engaging with it, when they engage with it, and what they like the most, the easier it will be to adjust your strategy and focus on activities that produce conversion to buying behavior.

Remember that content marketing analytics involve more than likes, faves and shares. These statistics must be followed along the buying stages so you will understand which content is actually converting a like to a sale.

{For more insight, check out the presentation Four ROIs of Social Networks for Content Marketing.}

6. Keywords

Your business keywords and phrases will go a long way in your CMS to building a presence for your content in search engines. Use your keywords and phrases regularly within your content.

7. Short Links

Sharing content from your website (e.g., a blog post) within social networks can be awkward when you use the original links created for your web pages. They are usually very long, which makes them visually unappealing within a post, and they may take up an excessive number of characters within character-limited networks, such as Twitter.

URL shortener providers, such as http://goo.gl, also include a tracking feature. When you use a short URL in a post, you will be able to see how many people click through to your content. You can use a different short URL for the same page when you share that page in more than one social network. This approach will demonstrate which network produces the most traffic.

Why Content Marketing is Important

Traditional marketing is becoming less effective. The purpose of content marketing is to communicate with your customers and prospective customers without selling. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that provides the customer with information. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if you deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they will ultimately reward you with their business and loyalty. Content marketing does work and it is worth the effort.

About The Author

Robbie Bright-Poole

Robbie Ann Bright-Poole is currently the President and one of the founders of Oracle Hearing Group. Mrs. Poole opened her Audiology practice, Bright Hearing Center, in 1989. The success of her practice afforded her the opportunity to mentor others seeking a similar measure of success. She sold her practice and decided to make mentoring others in the field of Audiology a full-time business. Oracle Hearing Group obtained its first client in 2004. In addition to overseeing the day to day running of the Oracle she is the primarily responsible for the creation of the enormous amount of content that is at the disposal of each Oracle client.

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