THE MINIMALIST CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY

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1 THE MINIMALIST CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY A simple guide to developing a content marketing strategy BY CALIN

2 Getting Started Step 1: Clarify your objectives In a world of pushy advertising tactics, great content meets people where they are and pulls them in to initiate two-way communication. Successful content marketers understand that to cut through the noise and achieve engagement, you have to know (and follow) the rules: Understand your target audience and provide content relevant to them; be specific and timely. Develop content that your readers will find valuable; state clearly what they can take away from your content. Select the best medium for your message (eg: blog post, video series, infographic, Q&A, etc.). Don t forget the nuts and bolts: spell check, provide accurate and helpful links, write dynamic and informative titles, properly tag posts and images for SEO, include social sharing opportunities whenever possible, and include webfriendly formatting and eye-catching images. As you begin to define your content marketing program, consider what the mission statement for your content will be. For some brands, they create content so their customers can make educated decisions. For others, they create content to amuse and entertain. Ask yourself these questions, and create a brief statement: Who is your target audience? What will be delivered to them? What is in it for them? This statement will be your guide as you develop content moving forward; if it does not fit within your mission statement, you may want to tighten it up so it aligns with your strategy.. Defining clear objectives is just as important in content marketing as in any other consumer marketing endeavor but most business overlook it and simply begin churning out aimless content. To avoid wasted effort and resources, begin with setting clear content marketing objectives based on your overall business goals. Identify where content marketing can help fill gaps in your marketing strategy by considering what your business does well naturally and what it struggles with and ask yourself what kind of value you can provide to your audience. Content marketing should be considered a tool in your marketing and communications toolbox. By determining what your business objectives are, you can set realistic goals and deadlines for measurement as your strategy progresses. Some common objectives for content marketers include increasing website traffic and improving SEO, increasing brand awareness, increasing social media engagement, improving brand reputation, increasing leads/conversions, establishing thought leadership, and improving customer data. Start by listing your objectives. MY CONTENT MARKETING OBJECTIVES ARE:

3 Step 2: Select your target market The key to engaging people with your content is to know whom you re speaking to the way you would know a friend. You must create content for them on topics they re interested in, in a style they prefer, and publish it in locations/formats they re comfortable engaging with. All of that is possible when you specify your target market(s). Write 3-5. AGE:.... GENDER:... LOCATION:... INCOME:... ETHNICITY:... MEDIA:... Be specific, and if possible, select a real person from your network or customer base that personifies these characteristics. For each persona, ask yourself this question: what barriers will this person experience in finding my business, engaging with our content, and ultimately becoming our customer. Identifying what gets in their way will help you determine the kinds of content you need to be developing for them to make it easier. NOTES:... Step 3: Define your budget Content marketing often gets lumped into the same group as social media; both are unfortunately often misconceived as being free marketing tactics. Content marketing does not have to be expensive, but resources are necessary for it to be successful. Whether you use inhouse staff and resources or not, you must define a budget for the time and money you are able to spend on your content marketing program. COPYWRITING: $... GRAPHIC DESIGN: $... PER HOUR Copywriting: $25-75 Graphic Design: $35-$75 PER PROJECT Infographic: $200-$2,000 ebook Design: $200-$2,000 Authority Article: $250-$1,000 Paid Promotion: $25-$250 per EBOOK DESIGN: $... INFOGRAPHIC: $... PAID PROMOTION: $... MISCELLANEOUS: $... TOTAL: $... 3

4 STEP 4: Competitive Analysis There are some great free, low-fee and free-trial tools out there to help you get a grasp on your competitive environment. Once you ve identified your competitors, set out to discover their target SEO keywords (the terms and phrases for which they appear in Google), the engagement their content has achieved, and content that is trending within your industry. To set yourself up for success, investigate opportunities for guest blogging your ideas on other established blogs and websites with built-in audiences and authority. SEMRUSH Your content will only count if people can find it. SEMRUSH analyzes the keywords for your industry and provides insights on the keywords your competitors are ranking for, both organically and through ads. Keyword Positions (identifying the keywords that your competitor is ranking highly for in search) Top Organic Competitors (which companies are highly ranked in search for common keywords) Keyword Difficulty (discovering how difficult it will be to achieve ranking based on the competition for your desired keywords) BUZZSUMO BuzzSumo gives you insight into what content is working in your industry or for your target market and which influencers are sharing it. This information is like a secret weapon as you begin to develop content that will set you apart from your competitors. Total Shares for Top Content Top Article Topics & Headlines Industry/Audience Influencers GUEST BLOGGER RESEARCH When you are able to publish your content on another website, you automatically benefit from their audience reach and website authority. Guest blogging on external websites will help establish you and your website as an authority or thought leader, will drive valuable traffic to your website, and build your website s authority to improve SEO. Guest Blogging Search Phrases Keyword + intitle: write for us Keyword + intitle: guest post Keyword + intitle: submit + inurl:blog Keyword + intitle: contribute to Keyword + intitle: submit + inurl:blog 4

5 STEP 5: Content Types Media Mix Variety is the spice of life, and the key to a good content mix. Before you put your upcoming content in a content calendar, determine a strategic media mix to help you achieve your current content marketing goals. Here are some examples of content types that could be included in your media mix: Shareworthy Content Content that can be easily digestible (lists, Q&A s, photo stories, videos) and focuses on hot or trending topics. Newsletter Signup Bait A manual, e-book, template, webinar invite or other intriguing tool worthy of handing over to your address. Choose the media mix that best represents your current situation. The numbers represent the amount of content to be created over a 2-3 month time frame. Awareness Authority Articles Articles that reveal research, present well-crafted ideas or arguments, or educate readers on important industry elements. Evergreen Articles Pieces of content that will stand the test of time and are not likely to become outdated or irrelevant. Guest Blogs Creating content for a popular media site, blog or industry authority. It will expose your work to a larger audience. Infographics Compelling pieces of content that visually demonstrate information like research or statistics. Authority CHOOSE A MEDIA MIX To determine how you should mix these content types together into a balanced and strategic media mix, consider your content marketing objectives. Acquisition Awareness: Will provide increased brand exposure and recognition within your target market. Authority: Will establish your brand as an authority within your target market and on search engines. Acquisition: Will attract more targeted visitors, transition your existing readers into customers, and attract guest blogging opportunities where you can talk about your product and service. 5

6 STEP 6: Pay Promote Your Content Pay promoting your content will ensure it will be seen by a targeted (demographically and geographically) group of people and enable you to track its success. FACEBOOK Has evolved its algorithms to favor the pay-promoter. You can take advantage of advance audience targeting and watch your progress in a simple, easy-to-use ads manager dashboard. Pay promote articles to the specific groups of people who will find engage with them ( boost post) Advertise your Facebook Fan Page or attract website clicks on a cost-per-like or cost-per-click basis (ads manager) Learn about who your audience is and what they like with valuable community insights (page insights) LINKEDIN Has emerged as an invaluable tool for those seeking industry authority. LinkedIn allows you to target job titles (eg: CEO, Marketing Director) and industry segments (eg: Oil & Gas, Performing Arts), so you can make sure your content is being seen by the right people. Advanced career targeting (by position, industry, title) Peer to peer sharing within your business community Company size targeting (targeting content to small businesses or national chains) TWITTER Is a new comer to the paid social promotion category. Twitter allows you to pick your audience by followers, keywords, interests, location, gender and device, so you can ensure your content appears in the streams of select people you want engaging with your content. User selection based on followers counts who would otherwise be inaccessible Relatively inexpensive Cost Per Click (CPC) Mobile reach for active users STEP 7: Promotion Calendar The key to consistently creating high-quality strategic content is planning. Lay out your content calendar so that you can see what will be required for at least three months to come. For each piece of content list the target audience (ideally one of your identified personas), content type, content topic (and outline the post if possible), and materials necessary (eg: copywriting, graphic design, video production, research/interviews etc.). Finally, include team assignments and set realistic deadlines so you and your team can keep on track. 6

7 STEP 8: Measuring Your Success Using the online competitive analysis and research tools identified in Step 4, as well as services like Sprout Social (social media monitoring) and Google Analytics (website traffic tracking), you can develop a robust measurement document that will show you the success of your content marketing efforts and demonstrate your return on investment. AUDIENCE DEMOGRAPHICS Listening is just as important as sharing. Get to know the people who you are following and who are engaging with your content so you can provide more value. SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT Communication is a two-way street. Remain actively engaged in the conversation by monitoring mentions of your company, industry, and community and then join in! TOP VIEWED ARTICLES Identify which of your topics attracted the most conversation, sharing, and views will help you determine what your audience is interested in. ARTICLE ENGAGEMENT Understand how your audience likes to engage with your content. They could be commenting, sharing, liking either way, how they engage matters. Use these metrics to demonstrate ROI to the higher ups. Data is your friend. TOP CONTENT TYPES Track the success of your content to identify which content types best resonate with which groups of people. This insight will be invaluable for future content calendars. CONVERSIONS Finally, measure the amount of conversions you achieve with your content by tracking goals. Goals are simply predefined actions you are expecting your users to take. It could be an ebook download, button click, view of key page, ect. 7

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