If you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, or have a message that needs to be heard, you NEED to have a solid, well thought out Content Marketing Strategy if you hope to compete with the countless messages that are bombarding the attention of your target audience.
The good news is, regardless if you have a strategy or not, or if it’s out of date or cutting edge, you can start improving it today.
Yes, it does take time, and yes, it is hard work, but you have to look at it as a long-term investment that will continue to pay dividends for you and your business.
My goal is to help you develop a step-by-step strategy that will…
1. Provide value for your audience
2. Establish you as a thought leader in your industry
3. Grow relationship with your target personas
4. And expand the reach and awareness of your business
Just as my title told you, I will be taking you through the 10 steps you need to take in order to create an UNSTOPPABLE content marketing strategy.
Let’s get started…
1. Pick A Persona
Before you write your first word, you have to get ultra-focused on who it is your writing to and what their characteristics are. Paint a clear picture of who they are and what their everyday life is like.
You want to be sure you write down key demographics for them such as:
- Where they live
- What they do for work
But you also want to identify…
- What they’re interests are
- What content they’re consuming on a daily basis (blogs, books, magazines, forums etc)
- What products do they buy online
- and more…
Make sure you write this down for each persona (yes – you can have more than one) and keep it in a place that is easily accessible, such as Evernote or Google Drive.
You can never get too clear on who your audience is when it comes to your content marketing strategy. The better you know your audience, the better you can create content they will want to consume.
Which brings us to our next point…
2. Unearth a Desire
As you begin to map out your content marketing strategy, you will be taking a deep dive into the lives of your audience. As you dig into their everyday life, you will unearth hopes and dreams that they would like to see come to pass in their lifetime.
This is a key milestone in your content strategy, as everyone wants to see some positive transformation take place in their life. The best content marketers are the ones who can enter the conversations that are already taking place in the minds of their audience, and tell the best story of how they can get from where they are to where they want to be.
Stop trying to sell. Stop trying to develop the best call-to-action. Just stop.
Focus on developing a compelling story that provides tremendous value to their lives. One that moves them to take action towards seeing that positive change become a reality. If you can connect with their desires and show them how to reach them you will create raving fans for life, and as a result… your audience will grow.
3. Identify a Need
Every desire brings with it a need. This need could be a pain they would like remedied, a question answered, or some sort of fulfillment attained. The goal of your content marketing strategy should be to help resolve these needs better than anyone else.
What we must remember is that solving a need is not an over-night thing or a quick fix. It is a process, therefore your content strategy must take them on a journey from beginning to end… every step of the way.
Tell the story of what battles your audience will face and what they will need to do to come out on top when the dust settles. This will help you to identify what content you need to create at every step of your persona’s journey towards transformation.
4. Find Out What They Need to Know
Now that you know who your audience is, what their desires and needs are, it’s now time to double-down and map out your content needs to tell, teach, and show them what to do.
This is where your expertise in your industry comes in. It’s time to take a close look of what you provide as a product or service and boil it down to the basic benefits. Depending on the need and desire of the specific person, you will be telling a different story.
Some content may be to bring awareness to a pain-point they may not have known they had and introduce to them that there is a hope and a way to relieve it.
Other content may be more actionable that gives clear steps or tools that your reader can use to begin taking action on the knowledge that you have been providing to them this whole time.
You can find out what people need to know just by… asking them.
Yes, that’s right.
The best way to create content that will actually help people is to go to actual customers or potential customers and ask them what they’re looking for that would really help them.
Once you get enough feedback you will begin to spot trends that you may not have found just by brainstorming with your internal team. Your audience is a goldmine for content topics and product ideas, don’t take them for granted.
5. Tell Them How You Will Help
Your content marketing strategy should always include the benefit and expertise that you bring to the table. You should seek to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry by consistently putting out content that provides value to your specific audience.
Connect with your audience by telling them how you’ve helped others in a similar situation to their own. Use examples, case studies and real stories to communicate the journey that you have brought your customers through and how your methods can help them do the same.
If you can do this, you will not only avoid a shortage of customers, but you will grow your audience quickly, one that will in-turn provide you with even more insight into what they’re looking for you to create for them.
6. Brainstorm Your Content Topics and Formats
Now that the discovery phase is complete, it’s time to start forging some valuable content. One thing you must accept is that the majority of the content you will be producing will be given away for free…
I know what you’re thinking, you’ve spent time and energy putting together this valuable resource just to give it away. Crazy right?!
The best marketers know that you now have to give (and give a lot) far before you get back anything in return. Consumers are looking to do business with those that care enough about their audience that they will give valuable insight regardless if it results in a sale or not.
That being said…
Not ALL the content you create will be FREE.
Hallelujah! That’s right, you can and should charge for your content. And it should be Super GOOD! Here are the different types…
4 forms of content you should be producing:
- Consistent Content
- Opt-In Offers (Lead Magnets)
- Premium Content
Let’s define each one…
Consistent Content = The free content you publish on a consistent basis. These are your blog posts, short videos, infographics, etc. The main thing to know is that you are not requiring your readers to give you anything in return, just their time and attention.
Opt-In Offers (Lead Magnets) = These pieces of content are the types that you can ask them for their email and other contact info in order to download for free. This is essential for building an email subscriber base tThe #1 metric you should be measuring by the way). These are your checklists, one-page guides, cheat sheets, tool lists, etc. that are beneficial but don’t take a ton of time to digest like an eBook or video series.
Tripwires = low-ticket item that get people used to paying you. These can be smaller value-packed courses or one-off products that you can charge your audience to gain access to. This is where you begin to communicate to your community that you have more in store and that it increases in value. Be clear and up front about what these lower priced items include. If it provides enough value it will be a no-brainer for someone to try it out. The worst case scenario is they are out $7 or so, but best case scenario they see that you content is extremely valuable which paves the way for…
Premium Content = your high-ticket items. This is your flagship product, course, or consulting product that is the comprehensive resolution to your customers wants and needs. All your content should nurture people down the path to this product or service, communicating why they need it the whole way.
IMPORTANT: Each of these content types have a purpose at different stages of your audience’s buying cycle so be sure to plan it out carefully so that one leads then to the next. More on this to come…
7. Plan out Your Content Creation & Distribution
Now that you have mapped out your content types, it’s now time to define when you will create and distribute this content. Yes, this means writing it down and keeping it in a place you can easily access it, you will be reviewing and tweaking this very frequently. You will want to look at this as a living breathing document as it will drive everything you do with your content marketing strategy, so be sure to keep it organized.
The first thing you will want to do is to determine how often you will create content for your website, social media, and other channels. It’s important to have a solid content marketing calendar that easily display what content is being created and distributed and by whom.
A solid content creation and distribution plan can revolutionize your marketing strategy and keep up the momentum. It also helps you to not waste your time trying to come up with topics to post about that week. Get with your team, have a few couple hour long strategy meetings and bang out a content calendar for the month (ideally shoot for 3 months out).
I will be doing a whole series on the creation method and consistency. It’s like I always say,
8. Map Out your Email Drip Sequences
Once you start creating all of these pieces of content, you will want to get the most value out of them as you can. Meet the Email Drip Sequence. What it essentially is is a series of emails that is automated to go out when someone opts in for a certain offer on your site.
Say someone downloaded your free weight loss checklist, you can set up a drip sequence (or autoresponder series) to be sent to them over the next couple of days.
Say you had done a blog series on the best ways to lose weight which you used to develop your checklist. You can have an email sent to them every few days with each post in the series.
The great part is that every one of those emails refers to a section in the checklist, so your reader will find them very timely and relevant thus seeing it as even more valuable.
Most email service providers have email automation included in them for a very small fee, but it is an essential part of any sound content marketing strategy.
The top internet marketers get creative with drip sequences to drive people to their tripwires and more premium courses or products. I hope to do a series about this soon as well: “Drip Sequences for Beginners”. Stay Tuned!
9. Provide Paths to Back to Your Funnel
So what if you get someone to your site, they read an article, then leave. They don’t download your eBook, they don’t watch your video, they just don’t take action. So they’re gone, right? Not quite.
You can implement remarketing strategies using Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Adwords, and other online channels to show ads to those who have previously visited your site.
You can get pretty creative with this.
Say someone visits a blog post about your weight loss program but does not take action on signing up. Instead of writing them off as gone, you could then use remarketing tactics to share the weight loss checklist offer we mentioned above to everyone who has visited certain pages on your website.
There are countless strategies just like these to help get people back into your funnel so you can continue to provide value and build relationships with them.
10. Test, Tweak, Repeat
It’s beyond important to be measuring what you’re doing so that you can do more of what’s working and cut out what is not. There are strategies for measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing campaigns, but we won’t go into that in this post.
The basic idea is, don’t be afraid to try new things and tweak what you’re doing. You never know what might be a rock star campaign.
Your content marketing strategy will evolve as you learn more about your audience’s wants and needs. So keep striving forwards toward your content strategy and make it a top focus of your business, just as much as paying the bills, because if you do it right it will return to you much more than you can ever imagine.
That was a long one, but I wanted to stress to you how much goes into developing an unstoppable content marketing strategy. But I’ve talked enough…
It’s your turn:
“What struggles do you have with you current marketing strategy?”
I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below.