Content Marketing: Why Your Business Needs a Digital Strategy
Amie Hamling, Owner at The Creative Blog Co.
15 FEBRUARY 2017
This is the beginning of anything you dream. That is the gold foil quote sitting in a white picture frame on my desk. It drives me in my business to start, even when I’m lacking creative confidence. As a blogger or business owner, you not only need to start but you need a strong digital content marketing strategy in place to make it anywhere in online business.
Does that scare you?
It scared me before I started.
Now I have the bones to a clever and on-brand strategy, running my day-to-day business isn’t so daunting. I know what I’m writing on my blog up until the end of Q2 2017 — with targeted keywords, social media and email marketing to match.
Want to hold the same power over your business or blog?
Stick around for this blog post and I might just show you!
What is Content Marketing?
If you’re not doing it, another business or blog is — and they’re taking away potential customers, clients and/or readers from you. Content marketing is focused on strategically creating online content aimed at attracting and sustaining your ideal audience. It’s creating the content your audience wants and converting that into sales.
Content marketing provides value and gains the trust of your audience. To be really good at it, you need to get familiar with your target audience and do your keyword research. It’s not as complicated as you may believe; your favourite bloggers and biz owners do it. It’s how you know who they are + why they’re a leader in what they do.
Producing great content allows you to build an audience that grows your online business. It’s crucial to inbound marketing; you simply can’t expect people to land on your website without a digital content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing vs. Copywriting
I’m both a copywriter and content strategist to my clients, but funnily enough (not that funny) they’re two different things. Two different parts of my business.
Copyblogger has the perfect explanation to help you get your head around content marketing:
“Content marketing uses blogs, podcasts, video, and social media sites as a vehicle. Copywriters write magnetic headlines, persuasive landing pages, and conversion-driven emails.”
Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy
When building a digital marketing strategy, the two factors to grow your online business are:
- Search: If we don’t rank on our keywords, we won’t get the traffic. Great content = higher in search rankings.
- Social: Great content increases social engagement, which in turn, bumps up traffic + ROI.
Getting started is the most overwhelming part, I promise. Take a few moments to consider the following:
- Start with what your audience needs to know.
- Stick to what you know – where your business is the undisputed expert.
- Real ideas. Write with passion and confidence.
- Less can be more. A smaller amount of real value content beats non-value lightweight content.
- Analytics are key to measuring and redefining success.
A content marketing strategy is equal parts what your audience is searching for and what your business can solve. Be the expert in your field by offering free high quality online content. Do your research — on your audience, your keywords, your competition.
Content Marketing Template
Your content marketing plan isn’t just your editorial calendar. It’s more than a plan you follow, it’s your strategy. If anything, it should be where you start when starting an online business or creative blog.
You can structure your plan in whatever way works for your biz (we’re all different!). Here’s a high level view of my strategy:
- Goal Setting
- Target Audience
- Content Audit
- Keyword Research
- Content Planning
- Editorial Calendar
- Style Guide
- Promotion + Launch Strategy
- Your own channels
- Social media
- Paid media
This outline might seem like not much but it’s packed with the information you need to grow a sustainable + profitable online business.
Sit down for an hour or two, even a whole day, and brainstorm your strategy for the next month. Once you’ve nailed that, move on to the next 3 months. Before long you’ll have planned out a coordinated plan for the entire year. You’ve got this!
Examples: Best Digital Content Marketing Strategies
There’s several ways you can tackle your content marketing strategy. Your keywords drive your content, your content needs a strategy. Pillar posts are a great way to attract a loyal readership. The Work At Home Wife writes about how pillar posts are key to reducing your bounce rate and keeping your readers on your website.
“Rather than one-stop readers who leave your site after one post, your readers move from post to post, want your opt-in freebies and subscribe to your list. They open your emails because they trust you. They know you can be relied upon to provide them valuable help regularly.”
You can do this by:
- Adding a ‘Related’ post midway through your blog post — another chance to get eyes across even more content on your website.
- The same concept, but add a Related / Popular Posts widget to your sidebar.
- Designing your blog posts around answering your audience’s burning desires.
When creating your email marketing program, there’s three important ways to stay on track: make a plan, determine your frequency, and create different types of email content. I read about this awesome strategy from Sweet Tea that I bet you’ll find super helpful.
The key takeaway is this: you don’t have to create original content for all of your emails. You can create your content strategy based around holidays and speical events, personal or business stories, failures in biz + life, and behind the scenes.
I often find a lot of creativepreneurs either don’t take Twitter strategy seriously or just give up immediately.
A smart Twitter content strategy can earn you traffic, followers and subscribers. And don’t fear if you don’t have enough content — new bloggers or biz owners rarely have more than 5-10 blog posts on launch. Content marketing influencer Rebekah Radice says you can use that same idea (or blog post) to create dozens of additional pieces of content across multiple channels. She says you can repurpose a single tweet up to 13 times — schedule them into Buffer!
Pretty awesome, huh?
That’s just a few ways you can think creatively about your blog, email and social media content strategies. So back to where we began: This is the beginning of anything you dream.