We mention content marketing in many of our blogs, and we believe it is one of the best ways to engage your target audience and convert them to loyal customers.
If you’re looking to start sharing your own content, or are interested in learning how to improve your current strategy, follow these steps to a successful and lucrative content marketing program.
Why You Should Be Using Content Marketing
1. It Is A Powerful Sales Tool
While digital advertising is still an effective and popular means of promoting your brand, it is not as valuable to customers as other means of promotion.
Easy, instant access to the internet has empowered customers to make more informed purchasing decisions. Now, most customers will search the internet and do research before making a purchase. This means that informative content is much more valuable to these customers than traditional ads.
By offering more than just a sales pitch, you are not only advertising the value of your brand, but you are also encouraging viewers to return to your business for information in the future. Even if you don’t make an immediate sale, you will promote your brand and provide helpful information to customers who might be interested in your product later.
2. It Connects You With Your Target Audience
Just like content helps customers find the right product, content can help you find the right customers.
When readers are doing research, or come across your content online, they are not only learning about what you have shared, but are learning more about everything related to your business.
3. It Can Expand Your Sphere Of Influence
Once you start sharing content, it almost takes on a life of its own by traveling the web sharing information about your company, how you can provide value to your target audience, as well as any offers you may have introduced.
The more you share- more content, more channels, more often– the more effective your content marketing program will be. By continuously creating and sharing valuable and informative content, you are creating more opportunities for new customers to discover your brand.
The same can be said for sharing content from other sources. Working with other businesses to share content and expand your audiences will further establish you as a reliable source of valuable information.
Your followers will appreciate that you share content that is relevant to your company but isn’t always directly advertising your brand. This sends the message that your content is there to provide value to the reader first, which is important when establishing your business as a trusted brand.
3 Steps To Sharing Content
Now that you know why you should share content, the next question is how. Content creation and distribution is much more powerful when you have an overarching strategy in place.
1. What Is It?
Before you share content, you have to create it! The beauty of content creation is its endless possibilities. No matter your brand, industry, or offer, there are ways you can create engaging and valuable content for your audience.
One of the most sustainable forms of content marketing is a blog. Clearly, we are fans of blogs. You can easily start a content sharing program by writing a few blogs related to your business.
Creating blogs that are engaging and easy to read will attract viewers to your site and provide relevant information.
Beyond attracting a crowd, blogs work for you by improving site SEO and drawing viewers to your website. Hopefully, once your engaging and informative blog content has drawn in readers, they will continue to explore your site.
Videos are one of the more popular and entertaining forms of content shared on social media. Video can easily be customized to emphasize your unique brand and voice.
Almost every social platform supports video to some extent, meaning you can use this content wherever your brand goes. Videos also engage viewers and hold their attention, meaning they are spending more time looking at your brand, giving them more time to further explore and engage.
To properly utilize video, you have to consider what part of the buyer’s journey your viewers will be in when they watch the video. If they are only in the awareness stage, then you might want to make shorter videos that will hold their attention for the duration and give them a quick insight into your product or service.
A longer video may not hold their attention, meaning you won’t get to share your whole message in the time that they spend viewing. If the viewers are in the decision making stage, then a longer, more in-depth video about a product or service will be more valuable and relevant.
Email is an underrated tool for connecting, and reconnecting, with prospects. Email newsletters are content that can inform past visitors about current promotions or offers, as well as remind users why they were interested in your brand in the first place.
With email, you know you are contacting strong leads because they have already shared their contact info with you, meaning they have some interest in your brand.
Sharing content like newsletters is also an opportunity to attract viewers back to your website or to your social pages. Including important links like your website, your social media, and any contact info will encourage readers to continue engaging with your brand.
Offering downloadable content is one of the most valuable forms of content marketing.
When creating content, you always want to keep the wants and needs of your readers in mind. Offering downloadable eBooks, whitepapers, case studies, templates, or any other type of long-format content for free is extremely valuable to interested readers and also presents an opportunity to collect contact information.
Offering content of this caliber will demonstrate to customers and others in your industry that you are an experienced professional and worthy of being seen as a thought leader in the community.
2. Where Is It Going?
Social media is one of the greatest homes for your content. Many people follow brands on social platforms and engaging content is one of the main reasons people choose to follow brands.
Sharing content to social media will also give you the opportunity to engage one-on-one with followers. Social platforms allow you to talk to your audience and let them get to know who is behind your brand, your vision, and your mission. This engagement will be appreciated by followers and encourage them to keep checking back in.
Facebook is one of the most popular choices for sharing content. Facebook supports all media and is checked frequently by avid users. You can also have followers or other businesses share your posts, further circulating your brand.
On Facebook you can also pay to promote posts, which can help you target specific groups who would be most interested in your content. If you are sharing downloadable content, like an eBook or guide, promoting the post will make sure it is seen by followers who might click it as well as people who don’t yet follow you but might follow after seeing the post.
This is the type of content you might choose to promote because it will bring visitors back to your website and encourage them to share their contact info.
Just like with newsletters, email is a means to share content with those who have shown interest in the past, or are current customers.
The beauty of email is that you can create specific lists targeted at different audiences so you know your emails are going out to the right people.
You might choose to make lists based on engagement, so you can contact customers who have recently made a purchase, or downloaded an offer, or shown an interest in your brand.
Creating lists based on the information you’ve collected from visitors will make your content marketing much more effective.
No matter your content form, email can support the format so you can share all your content. From embedded videos to gifs, email allows you to create attractive, engaging, branded content that is relevant to your audience.
Although the point of sharing content isn’t always to advertise your business, any content sharing still acts as an advertisement for your brand. Promoting content via paid online ads will attract new visitors who might not have discovered your brand yet. These paid ads can be targeted towards certain people or groups who are most likely to be interested in your offer.
Ads also allow you to link a viewer to a specific page or offer. This means you can promote any type of content on any platform. When viewers click the ad, you want to bring them to a specific landing page related to the content of the ad.
Advertisements are another great way to promote higher-quality content. When promoting downloads, ads will circulate the promotion to all corners of the internet to find the right viewers. You can specify who you are looking for and algorithms will work to find those people and present them with content that they are likely to click.
To reconnect with users who visited your website but never made a purchase or completed the desired CTA, you can create remarketing campaigns to specifically target previous users to remind them of your brand and get them to explore your site again. The ad can send users to particular content that is more likely to engage and convert that unique audience.
Advertisements can be much more than just a promotion of a certain product or service. Using paid ads to promote content will ensure more visitors are seeing the valuable information you have available.
3. What Tools Are You Using?
Creating a robust and successful content marketing program can quickly become overwhelming. To reduce the stress and make sure you stay on track, check out some of the many online tools available.
One of the first steps to organizing your content marketing is by creating a calendar. Using a calendar to keep track of what content needs to be created and when it should be published will make sure you don’t fall behind or forget to update certain platforms.
We use editorial calendars for all of our clients so we know when new content needs to be created and distributed.
Creating calendars is one of the easiest tools for content sharing as it can be done in many ways. We share calendars on Google Drive so all our team members have access to that important information and having everything organized under one roof prevents things from falling through the cracks.
There are many online tools available to simplify the process, and many offer free versions.
One of our favorites, HubSpot is much more than just content management. Use HubSpot to manage your entire website as well as social platforms, email, and more.
Although this platform has less name recognition than some, this new publishing tool makes it easy to publish to all of your social accounts at once and to schedule posts for the future. They also have insightful in-app analytics, like the Benchmark tool, which can help identify strengths and opportunities in your social media program.
We use Falcon for our smaller account who aren’t ready to invest in HubSpot, as it is an affordable and convenient tool for an agency to create, schedule, and share content with clients. The approval feature means our clients are kept up to date with everything that goes out to their social pages, and even gives them the freedom to edit the content themselves.
Your editorial calendar will become even more useful if you decide to utilize publishing scheduling tools like Hootsuite, which can automatically post to any social platform. Plan out posts long in advance and use a tool like Hootsuite so you never have to worry about posting at the right time.
With Sprout Social you can schedule and track all of your social media accounts and even receive analytics and detailed reports on the status and performance of your content.
Creating and sharing content is not the end of your content marketing journey. To truly make your content marketing work for you, you must know how well your content is performing.
Google Analytics is one of our favorite analytics trackers. There are many important metrics you should mind to assess the performance of your content.
Website traffic is one of the most basic yet important metrics you can track, and it is so much more than just how many people visit your site. Analytics will tell you exactly where your visitors are coming from, allowing you to prioritize your most popular channels and adjust your strategy for sources that aren’t performing as well.
Review the source, medium, campaign, ad content, keyword, social network, referral path, and social source referral to get all the info you can about the source of your target audience.
Understanding user behavior will help you make changes to your content to better suit your ideal reader and bring you closer to your goals. These analytics will tell you which pages are most and least popular, where your revenue is generated, and what steps your visitors take throughout your site.
From this information you can judge what messaging, imagery, and topics are most engaging and where your efforts might be wasted.
Your content marketing program is what you make of it. Content sharing is a great way to connect with your target audience and express your unique image and voice. If you are dedicated to building a content collection, there are many tools and tips available to ensure that your content marketing is working to bring you closer to your goals.
Thanks for reading,
Editor’s note: This blog was originally published in August 2019 and has been edited and updated in February 2022.