By Claudine Bianchi, Co-founder, CMO & Chief Product Officer, Crescendo Content Marketing
It’s no secret that content marketing is essential for a well-rounded marketing strategy — according to a recent report by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 88 percent of organizations leverage content marketing, but a mere eight percent evaluate themselves as “sophisticated” in their practices. Clearly there’s room for improvement but where to start?
Before you can bask in marketing success, you’ve got to decide what that success will look like. Knowing what you’re aiming to achieve in terms of marketing goals before you begin is key. Otherwise, you’re creating content for the sake of creating content – you’re “feeding the beast.”
Are you vying to create awareness for your new company? Introducing a new product or service? Do you want that initial interest to convert to website clicks? Is the end goal to land a sale and/or create a larger customer base? If you’re able to answer any of these questions, you’re on the right track to creating goals, which will then guide the rest of your content marketing strategy.
With 76 percent of marketers listing engagement as their top content marketing goal, it’s important to know just how to get there. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: we live in a 24/7, always-on world. This is great news for marketers competing for a customer’s attention, because it affords abundant opportunities to engage using social as a platform. It’s no longer just about turning heads; engaging on a social level is confirmation that your reader has found your content compelling enough to share. Placing relevant content where a prospect is already looking is the first step in content marketing success.
Ensure your content is being shared in relevant channels that allow them to consume, share, and join the conversation, helping build a community for your brand. Add a human touch to content marketing by considering your audiences’ interests, needs and behaviors.
If prospects have spent time reading what you’ve written, that’s great news – you’re captivating your audience. But why stop there? You’ve already gotten their attention, so serve them the next steps with a clear call to action. Is the goal for them to download a brochure or white paper? Or are you simply looking for tweets? Simplify that process for the customer by clearly asking and you’ll begin to see that your content has legs.
While SEO best practices will never stop evolving, ensuring that you’re creating content for people — not robots — is key. Only three percent of marketers consider SEO ranking the most important content marketing metric, but high-quality content is the cornerstone of a strong SEO strategy. Think of it this way: by trade, content marketers craft relevant, engaging, valuable content that’s useful for both readers and Google to continually snack on. Sure, the creation and sharing of the content you’ve written can improve reach and increase referral traffic, but if you’re creating your content with only these two objectives in mind, you’re probably missing an opportunity to boost your SEO. By continually and seamlessly integrating target terms into the content you’ve crafted, you’ll add more mentions of your target terms on your own domain. This boosts your site’s own relevance for these terms, and positively impacts your search engine visibility in the process. Adding in relevant SEO gives your content the power to last, making it even more valuable.
With the marketing landscape changing every day, laying out a solid strategy ahead of time will help keep your team in line and your goals attainable. To the 92 percent of content marketers who don’t yet fancy themselves a sophisticated marketer, you’re on your way!