Done poorly, content marketing can be a waste of time and effort. When executed well, content marketing creates a funnel of content to turn casual website visitors to customers.
Effective online marketing requires a well-crafted content marketing strategy.
Your Content Marketing Strategy in Four Steps
To create an effective content marketing strategy, take the time to go through the following steps.
Step 1: Research Your Target Market
Example of Target Market: DUI lawyers.
The more specific you are about your target market, the better. (More on this when we discuss your USP in Step 3.)
To conduct research on your target market:
- Talk to current customers.
- If you don’t yet have enough customers, use a means of connecting with your prospective market such as LinkedIn. Here’s what you can say:
“I’m doing a survey because I want to understand how the fastest growing companies are using digital marketing to achieve their results. If you help me by answering questions for about 10 min, I’ll give you a copy of the results so that you can understand what the fast-growing companies are doing differently to help them grow so fast.”
- During the research, ask questions that uncover the problems, wants, need, and desires of your target market, as well as their media attention profile.
- Their media attention profile includes sites they visit, magazines they read, LinkedIn groups, Facebook pages they like, etc.
This should help you uncover Influencers for this target market. You’ll want to build relationships with these Influencers (for example, by making them look good in posts you write) so that they will help you gain traffic (for example, they may Tweet about your post to their following)
- Pay close attention to the exact words and phrases your customers use, so that you can speak to them in their own language.
Step 2: Develop Your Buyer Persona
Example of buyer persona: DUI lawyers.
Get clear on who your customer is.
Understanding your buyer persona is crucial, and it must be done so that you can create the most relevant USP and content for your target market (as covered in Steps 3 & 4).
We cover ten tips on developing your buyer persona here.
As you create your buyer persona, keep in mind that the person who is conducting initial research into their problem may not be the same as the person who is making the buying decision.
For instance, your DUI lawyer may be the one to make the final call on whether to recommend you for their clients, but their support staff may be the one providing the lawyer with insurance options for their clients.
Step 3: Develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Example of USP: Insurance for drivers with DUIs.
The more unique you are, the better.
The more reason your customers have to purchase from you. You will have less competition, and you’ll be more relevant to your niche. In turn, you can charge higher prices because your buyers’ perception of value goes up so much.
You can specialize in more than one niche, but start with one at a time.
For instance, instead of creating products or services for professional services professionals, or even lawyers, focus on a specific niche such as DUI lawyers. You can later focus on estate lawyers as well, but note that this will require a separate website and content marketing strategy.
Step 4: Develop Content
Now you’re ready to start developing content. To do this, consider your customer buying cycle.
There is a process that customers go through as they decide to purchase from you. We won’t cover this in detail in this post, but in brief, your content marketing funnel moves leads through these stages:
- Attract – To help leads discover you, become what they are interested in.
- Convert – Turn leads into contacts so that you can continue the sales conversation.
- Close – Make them an offer.
First, use content marketing to attract visitors to your website. These can be text-based blog posts, videos, podcasts, reports, etc. Whatever content format(s) you use, provide your visitors with valuable information that they are searching for.
Rich content comes in the form of a blog, podcast or video series. It’s hard work providing this content on a consistent basis but this is the type of value that makes you stand out and create a deeper connections with these weak relationships. @markwschaefer
Then, use lead magnets to turn random site visitors into contactable leads.
Finally, provide additional information (content marketing) to those leads to answer their pre-sales questions and make them an offer. This information can be in the form of blog posts, reports, etc.
How to Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy