How to Save Your Content Marketing Strategy From Dreadful Engagement Rates
Chris is the Head of Operations and a Growth Marketer at Lean Labs who enjoys strategizing and writing content that drives results. When not typing away, Chris is exploring nature with his two daughters, wife, and dogs.
Even the best plans can have lackluster results if they're not executed correctly.
You might know what that feels like.
You've spent hours creating content no one is reading. You've distributed across channels that no one follows. Even the customers that do stumble upon your site don't engage.
And when you look at your data, the numbers fill you with a mix of frustration and disappointment.
This doesn't have to be the case. With these tips, you'll be able to flip the script and get much higher conversion rates. You can turn your content marketing strategy into one of your greatest assets.
7 Tips to Revolutionize Your Content Marketing Strategy
Your strategy will drive everything, so it's crucial to put significant time and effort into ensuring it can reach your goals. Because of this alignment, it's a good idea to update every time you have a change in your business plan or need to execute a new campaign.
When it is time to build a strategy, these seven tips are designed to get you the most bang for your buck.
1. Understand the Audience
Customer personas may be the most important piece of your strategy. Without clear personas, you have no target for your content. You can still set goals, but without knowing who you're writing for, reaching them is near impossible.
So aside from the basic info to build out customer personas, what's vital to your content strategy?
First, having content for each phase of the buyer's journey is essential. If your content is doing its job, consumers are reading and engaging with your work, moving closer towards converting to the goal you've set. Without content to nurture that forward progress, they'll stagnate and seek another business to solve their problem.
Data plays an important piece, and we'll get deeper into it later, but collecting information on your customers is critical to solidifying your strategy. It lets you know what content is most engaging for specific personas, and what needs to be altered.
Gathering data also lets you segment your audience into more refined groups, making it easier to target specific personas with your content.
If you're having trouble with this, there's no shame in asking your current customers for feedback on your content. They've already made the purchase and are the shining example of a successful persona. Customers may even appreciate that you're taking their opinion into account.
2. Put the Audience First
If you're working the pieces above, you've already taken the right step towards putting the audience first. This is the basis of customer-centric marketing, and it's the perfect start to driving better conversions. With customer-centric marketing, you're making the journey about them, not you or your product.
Content should be value-based to earn the best interactions. Customers want to view content that offers value to their lives. They want something that helps get them closer to solving their problem. If you can achieve this, you'll quickly win them over.
To do it though, can prove challenging. Content should remain evergreen if you want to provide the most valuable content you can. Time-based content has its place but won't maintain its effectiveness as time goes on. Evergreen pieces will continue to serve you for years, and with a few refreshes, there's no reason it can't age well with the rest of your company.
3. Produce the Right Quantity
A higher quantity of content will almost always give you more engagement. The issue arises from a lack of quality to go along with it.
Sacrificing quality is a death sentence to your strategy, and every effort should be made to maintain a high standard. One well-crafted article is worth far more than ten that just mosey around the subject.
The hardest part for those outside the content marketing sphere to understand is when to start producing more. Upping your strategy to include five articles a week instead of two won't drive immediate traffic to your site. By planning ahead, you can let content simmer on the SERPs, and as it ages, it'll continue drawing increased numbers of visitors.
4. Plan the Content
To plan the specific content you'll produce, topic clusters will be your best friend. There's a lot to building these, so much so that we created the Ultimate Guide to Using Topic Clusters and Pillar Pages. We recommend giving it a read before you jump in.
Once you have your topic clusters, though, you're in business, and that means finding the right content to fill your calendar.
First, be relentless with your content ideas by creating titles for any question your customers may have, no matter how menial. You may be surprised by how many are searching for a specific question you hadn't considered as significant.
As your plan develops, there may be gaps in the content, where a customer isn't sure what the next step is. By spreading content throughout the buyer's journey, you're able to fill those gaps as you nurture their movement onward. CTAs should also be relevant to the content to encourage conversions, and also to guide the customer along.
Ensuring you have content to facilitate their journey also means finding the right content type for each piece. Sometimes, the best way to present material is through video. Other times, it could be text. It's okay to incorporate any media you want, but there should be a purpose behind the decision.
While topic clusters are growing more critical, the need for SEO remains as vital as it ever has. It's also important to ensure all content links back to your pillar pages that are made of long-form, useful content.
5. Get Creative
While you're planning that content, brainstorming how to get creative can open you to more possibilities.
For instance, do your hooks provide just enough mystery that it keeps the visitor reading because they have to see the ending? Are you using humor in the right places to build that outstanding brand experience? No matter how you want to approach it, the goal should be to create positive emotions that drive engagement.
Hollywood hits are an excellent resource for figuring out how to earn positive interactions with your audience. Every story starts with a problem. The main character is presented a few solutions. Some fail, one succeeds. Then the villain meets his demise.
Now, if your customer is the main character, how are you positioning your brand as the solution so they can defeat the villain?
Build your content strategy to continually move their story forward as they get closer to acquiring your solution that lets them save the day.
6. Use Data to Your Advantage
Data, as we mentioned earlier, can tell you a lot about your content marketing strategy. For starters, it'll show you how content is performing, raising the alarm for when you need to shift or realign your plan.
Goals should be set for your overall plan, as well as all content, and from there, it can be broken into KPIs that make it quick to check your performance.
The most important thing to remember with your content marketing data is that you're playing the long game. It's easy to become frustrated by slow growth to your organic traffic. We've had articles that appeared to under-perform for months before they exploded with growth. Be patient and trust you've provided enough value that customers will find and appreciate your efforts.
7. Distribute Your Content
Finally, you need to plan your distribution strategy if you want to maximize your content's potential. This includes social media, your email campaigns, and anywhere else you can share your content.
If you want additional usage from your content, consider repurposing material to fit whatever channel you decide to use. This will multiply the content you have at your disposal and keep your accounts appearing fresh, while not requiring significant work on your part.
After distributing, be sure to look at the data and circle back around, fine-tuning your approach.
Improving Your Strategy
Creating a content marketing strategy that achieves results requires effort to optimize, but it's entirely in your grasp. By remaining diligent in your planning, you can create a seamless strategy that customers will embrace, all the way through the end of their journey.
If you're looking for more ideas on how to enhance your content marketing strategy, we've created a free eBook that gets you on the right path. In it, we discuss goal setting, persona development, and how to build your content calendar. Download your copy of Conquering the Inbound Marketing Mountain to see for yourself.