If you're not already creating content to tell people what you do and why you're the very best at what you do, you're behind the curve. Even back in 2016 90% of B2B companies claimed to have incorporated content creation into their marketing plans, and there's no doubt that number will only have grown.
If you are investing time in content creation but don't feel it has made any tangible impact on your leads and conversions, chances are you could be doing it better.
What is content?
Content is any media that you create and own, encompassing written, visual and downloadable material – that’s easy enough, isn’t it? Your content tells people who you are and what you do, and, most importantly of all, how and why you do it much, much better than anyone else.
If you are delivering an online marketing campaign for your business then you will no doubt be creating plenty of content, but do you have a strategy in place that drives what format the content takes, when you will push it out and where it will be posted?
Why should you create a content strategy?
A content strategy will give you a vision and a plan that will ensure your time spent creating and deploying content will reap the greatest rewards. The content on your website is so important – it drives what you are found for in a search, who finds you, what they do (or don’t do) once they arrive.
If you have the right content in place at the right time you will not only increase web traffic but also increase the number of leads and the rate of conversions.
A well-thought out content strategy will help you identify the key information about your customers that will supercharge your inbound marketing efforts for example:
- Who your target audiences are
- The questions they need to answer or the problems that they need to solve
- The information you need to provide to help them
- How and where they are sourcing information from
- What the different stages of the buying process are
An inbound marketing campaign can seem like a huge task, but a content strategy will help you break it down so that you, the marketing department, can manage the process of content creation and distribution. A successful inbound campaign relies on information from the wider business, as you will need buy-in from sales, product development and customer service teams.
How to create a content strategy
There are multiple stages to creating a content strategy, so we’ve broken these down into subheadings for you:
Goals: How will you know whether your campaign has succeeded if you don’t set goals? Sounds simple, but so many people miss this step out. Spend some time working out what you want to achieve, how you want to go about it and set some SMART goals (SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound). Make sure you review your goals at regular intervals to ensure you are tracking toward success, and if you aren’t then make changes right then.
Persona research and development: You need to know who your ideal customer is for your inbound marketing strategy to succeed, and persona research and development is the very best way to go about this. Personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data, facts and some educated speculation to will help you identify theirrole, goals, challenges, company, and more. By getting to know your audience as well as you can, you’ll be able to create content that they will find relevant, trustworthy and valuable.
Existing and future content: Make sure you audit what you already have – no one says you have to get rid of the content you have already created if it ticks any of the boxes we’ve already identified. Then plan the content you do need to create and who else you need to call on from the business to make it happen.
There are so many different types of content that you can create to suit different topics and audience types.
Here are some ideas:
- White papers
- Social media messages
- Case studies
Using those personas we mentioned earlier, decide where you will deploy your content – will it be on your website, are there going to be links from social media? Will you capture the data of people when they download something? Are there any opportunities to place your content on external websites?
How to implement your content strategy: Get started! The best laid plans will never bear fruit unless you put them into action: write, create, publish, manage, review, tweak if needed and repeat. Create a content planner to track what you need to create and when and utilise tools such as an editorial calendar to ensure you don’t miss important dates or events.
Want to talk to an EnquiryLab content expert to find out more? We live and breathe inbound marketing, so planning and creating content that drives the right people to websites and boosts conversion rates is what we do all day long.