Do you find generating traffic to your website a really hard task? It can be discouraging to see flat lines on your analytics, in spite of all your input. Content strategy is the solution.
If content is king in growing your business, then content strategy is the kingmaker. “content without strategy is just stuff!” says Asher Elran from Ignitur.com.
Defining your core strategy
You can view content strategy as the art of planning, developing, delivering, and managing your content to drive targeted leads and improve the bottom line.
In other words, it’s the “core strategy” that drives your content engine. Without it, you’ll fail.
As a business owner, you should note that content isn’t just the words on the pages, but also the multimedia and images that are used.
To improve the user’s experience on your website, you must ensure that your website has usable, useful, and interesting content. According to Demand Gen Report in 2016, 47% of buyers viewed 3 to 5 pieces of content before completing an order.
The truth is, publishing compelling, informative, and exciting content can drive thousands of visitors to your website. It works for bloggers, ecommerce store owners, and most business models.
Content Marketing Institute claims that almost 90% of companies used content strategy in 2016, and even more adopted it in 2017.
If you’re ready to develop a winning content strategy, here are 5 vital steps you can implement today to drive qualified traffic to your website:
Step #1: Create buyer personas
The best way to start building your content strategy is to research your target audience. What does your target audience love to learn about? This knowledge will be crucial in guiding your planning and development processes.
In other words, before you start creating your content, figure out the identity and the needs of your target audience. What kind of person is your content targeting? The best way to know this is to create buyer personas.
Buyer personas are fictional and generalized representations of your ideal customers which will help you understand your target audience better. A sample of such a persona is shown below.
The sample persona above outlines details about Amanda: her responsibilities, who she reports to, the basis of her evaluation, and other details.
You’ve probably been told repeatedly that developing a buyer persona is essential for creating content that resonates with your audience.
You may also have been told that aligning your content to specific buyers’ needs is the quickest way to differentiate yourself from the crowd—and to make a lasting impact.
But how exactly do you develop a persona?
Well, it all starts with asking the right questions. For example, when Pardot resolved to develop a buyer persona, they asked questions similar to the following:
- What industry(ies) do your ideal customers work in?
- Are they B2B or B2C or hybrid?
- What is their budget like?
- How big is their vision?
- Is their marketing and sales team large or small?
- What are the marketing, sales, and customer management tools they’re using?
- What specific channels do they use for research?
- Is their business goal clear? What are they hoping to achieve in 3 years?
- What are their pain points and challenges
Above all, the focus was on satisfying the customer, which became the central point of the company’s goals. Today, Pardot is well-known for a B2B marketing automation solution. Other brands have seen similar or greater results after developing such a persona.
For example, Skytap, a provider of self-service cloud automation solutions, implemented an effective content marketing strategy using insights from their buyer persona. As a result, they increased sales leads by 124%, saw a 210% increase in North American website traffic, as well as a skyrocketing 55% increase in organic search traffic.
Step #2: Use Buzzsumo to decide on content topics for the month
Are you starting with a completely new website and trying to figure out what content to create? Finding topics for content should not be a big deal. You should use Buzzsumo.
Buzzsumo is a social tracking tool that helps you find the trending topics in any given category. For example, if you enter the topic “burgers in New York” in the search box, this is what you’ll see:
As you can see, the trending content topics are simple and direct, and show a list of the best burgers in New York.
Step #3: Create a variety of content
Simply creating a single type of content isn’t the best strategy. If you remember, the reason why you created buyer personas in the first place was to determine their choice of content. Consequently, you need to create a variety of content to suit your different visitors.
Even though it is a challenge for 39% of B2C marketers, there are businesses that use an extensive variety of content for their marketing purposes.
According to Content Marketing Institute, businesses that are very successful at content marketing use a wide variety of content approaches, about 15 different approaches on the average.
For instance, if your target audience consists of girls aged 14 to 20, and you are selling a beauty product, creating video content for Instagram could be the best content strategy in this case.
However, using this same strategy for the same beauty product and the same target demographic would most likely not work as well on LinkedIn.
It may be that you have a preference for a specific type of content. However, remember that you are not your target audience. Your target audience determines the type of content you produce.
Step #4: Choose your content distribution channels
Another important step in building your content strategy is to find out where your target audience is. Don’t just stick to blogging! You should use other distribution channels.
Nobody can deny the power of content marketing and content distribution. According to Demand Metric, “content production and marketing costs 62% less and generates roughly 3X as many leads as traditional marketing.”
Gone are the days when you would publish content and pray for your target audience to find it. Of course, if you are an established marketer, you most likely know the content distribution strategies that will find and attract your target audience. However, for those who are just starting out, this represents a major hurdle.
Remember that every channel is different. Therefore, the content that you share on LinkedIn will most likely not be the same as the content you share on Instagram. Every distribution channel has a way of yielding the best results for your business.
Hence, marketing your beauty products on LinkedIn using a strategy and targeting a demographic better suited to Instagram is a waste of time and resources.
Essentially, you can expand your content distribution channel to attract even more visitors to your website. How?
You can simply repurpose your content into a short tutorial video and/or infographic—and share the video on YouTube, Vimeo, or another video sharing platform.
In like manner, you can share your infographic with a new audience on these 20 Infographic submission websites.
Step #5: Track performance using analytics tools
What is your progress status? Have you been publishing content for months and received little or no return?
Do you see flat lines on your analytics? There may definitely be something wrong that needs to be fixed. Use Google Analytics to find out what has been going on thus far.
Log onto your Google Analytics account, and navigate to Behavior > Site Content.
Here, you can check out every single piece of content you have ever posted, and determine which one resulted in the highest traffic, the lowest bounce rate, or the longest time-on-site.
Going further, you can determine the formats and topics of those pieces of content that show the highest performance.
After figuring out why a particular piece of content was successful, you need to focus on creating more content for that topic. You must then discard all the topics and formats that didn’t perform well.
You need consistent and strategic content to attract and retain your target audience. Without a working strategy, you will probably be complaining about not having enough customers at the end of the day.
Use the outlined steps above to build a pipeline that will drive qualified visitors to your website.