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When it comes to creating marketing content for their websites, most business owners understand that they have to have meaningful and regular posts in order to keep their current customers engaged, attract new customers, and maintain (or increase) SEO rankings.
The trouble lies in how to go about accomplishing this task amid a myriad of other responsibilities.
A successful content marketing campaign can be broken down into five steps:
- Identify Content Ideas
- Create Content
- Publish Content
- Promote Content
- Analyze Results
Most content marketers accomplish the first three steps and then move on to a new piece of content, but the last two steps are essential for making the effort of creating the content pay off.
Step 1: Identify Content Ideas
The first step to identifying content ideas is to start keeping a list.
These ideas can come from many places – articles, photos, conversations, conferences, customer or employee questions, or wherever else you find inspiration.
You can keep a file of all of these ideas to draw inspiration from when the time comes to start creating content.
Create a system for quickly storing away these ideas that works well for you and your team. Programs like Evernote, Trello, and Notability make it easy to keep and organize possible topics and share them with all team members.
If you prefer a more old-school approach, you can also just keep a file on your desktop or even a notepad. The important thing is that you have a defined system of tracking new content ideas.
Competitive research is another great way to generate content ideas. Go out to your competitors’ websites and find out what they are discussing.
Don’t just focus on the competitors that you know personally, think about the competitors that come up in the search engines results page (SERP) when someone searches for the product or service that you offer.
Step 2: Create Content
Creating different types of content has never been easier. There are lots of tools available to help even the most novice bloggers create a wide variety of content.
While you can certainly try out many different types of content to see what engages your audience most, there are three main types of content that you should be sure to include in your blog:
We are a society of list makers. Lists help consumers save time and money. People seek out lists on all kinds of topics.
Think of what lists you can create to provide your potential customers with valuable insight on a topic that they want more information on.
Let’s take a look at an example of a list from ClassPass. In this list, readers can find 11 items they should bring in their carry-on when they travel.
Not only does ClassPass provide a helpful list for its readers, but they also give readers information on how to purchase the items listed, making this blog post a packing list and a shopping list.
Infographics quickly capture the attention of readers and are a unique way to clearly explain complex ideas in an easy to interpret graphic.
Good infographics are often shared and linked to and are therefore a great way to generate more traffic to your site.
This example comes from TransUnion SmartMove.
Infographics can be used to present data in an easily digestible way, and this infographic is a great example of using imagery to display statistics instead of using graphs and charts.
Remember, though, that not all infographics need to include statistics.
People are always seeking out answers and one of the most popular search phrases is “How to…”
Being able to help consumers understand how to do something on their own is a powerful way to build brand loyalty and trust with current and potential customers.
This next example comes from GuidedChoice.
Since saving for retirement is a topic that many consumers know very little about, GuidedChoice put together this how-to article to show readers not only how much they should be saving but also how to start saving.
By adding a variety of consistently good content to your website your consumers will be more likely to stay engaged and check back to your site on a regular basis.
They are also more likely to share your content with family, friends, and colleagues.
Step 3: Publish Content
Now that you’ve created your content, it is time to publish it – but how often should you post new content and when should you do it?
When to post
According to Dan Zarrella, social media scientist, the best times to blog for business are on Monday, Friday, and Saturday mornings between 8 and 11 a.m.
The best time to post to Facebook is in the morning and the best time to tweet is in the afternoons.
That being said, every audience is different, so don’t be afraid to try different days and times to find out what gets your posts the most engagement. The key is to publish consistently.
How often to post
Every industry is different but according to a recent study by Hubspot, those who publish at least 4 times a week (16 times per month) receive between 3.5 and 4.5 times the amount of traffic as those who post 0-3 times a week.
Step 4: Promote Content
Promoting your content is critical in making the effort of creating the content pay off. What is the point of publishing content that no one sees or reads?
In order to get your content in front of the right eyes, follow these three effective steps to promoting your content:
Email your subscriber list
Sending a broadcast email to your subscriber list letting everyone know they should go check out your recent post is a great way to generate a flurry of traffic to your new content.
Use a tool like Buffer to push out your content to all of your social media sites. You can schedule this to be automatically done for you at different times of the week.
This saves you time and energy trying to keep up with social media.
Quoting experts is a great way to back up your stats, facts, and opinions. It is also a great way to get your post shared.
When you reference an expert, tweet them and let them know you quoted them in your post. Most people love being quoted or referenced and will re-tweet your post to all of their social media accounts.
Step 5: Analyze Results
It is important for you to continually analyze the results of your content to start to get a feel for what your audience is after and what performs well for you and your industry.
To effectively analyze the results there are three key performance indicators (or KPIs) that you should track:
Shares are the total number of times your content was shared. This helps you gage the quality of your content and what content is more valuable to your target audience.
Traffic is the number of people that visit your site at different points in time.
This tells you the level of impact that your different posts make to your audience and can help you focus your team’s efforts in areas that generate interest.
Leads are the ultimate goal of content marketers. In the end, you want the content that you publish to lead to subscribers, customers, clients, and referrals.
Tracking these metrics will help you to fine tune your content over time, making sure that you and your team’s efforts are having a meaningful impact on your marketing goals.
Understanding the value of having quality topics and a variety of content types that are published regularly will have a positive impact on your company’s growth.
Promoting that content and then consistently analyzing the results of your different content types will only deepen that impact, increasing your traffic, subscribers, clients, and hopefully your bottom line!
Nicole Stelmar is a managing editor at 365 Business Tips, a website that provides business owners with everything they need to know. Nicole specializes in helping small businesses improve their digital presence with content marketing and SEO.
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