First of all, thank you all for your wonderful support. I’m lucky to have such a group of awesome people in my life.
I’m returning today with a post on a topic dear to my heart: writing content.
2020 has been hard on everyone. Lockdowns, restrictions, and the pandemic have accelerated the shift toward the digital world, including shoppers. Even in these strange times, however, companies that offer high-value digital content to their audiences have thrived (Netflix anyone?).
By having an ongoing, effective content marketing strategy, businesses can increase conversions, improve brand awareness, boost revenue, make themselves industry leaders, and so on.
This need is great news for writers as we’re the ones creating such content.
So, how can we help a business create a successful content marketing strategy?
Outbound vs. inbound marketing strategies
Basically, a strategy is a process. When it comes to advertising and promotion, it involves activities such as creating, planning, analyzing, marketing, and restructuring your content with the purpose of generating more conversions.
Outbound marketing strategies, e.g. ads, are fast becoming outdated. Converting banner ads into sales and profits, for example, is becoming increasingly harder.
Instead, inbound marketing strategies are taking their place. These include content that reaches the targeted audience in a natural way, for example by adding a story to a business-related post. This makes your marketing feel more engaging, trustworthy, authentic, and tailored toward your audience.
The most popular kind of inbound marketing, and the one that most concerns writers, is content marketing. Content marketing includes several kinds of content and media.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a type of marketing technique that involves planning, creating, sharing, and distributing content in order to:
- attract customers and
- encourage the targeted audience to act in a specific way (e.g. buy our book)
What are the types of content marketing?
1. Blog content marketing
This is my favorite kind of content marketing. In many ways, blogging for a business is no different than blogging for yourself. You need to produce high-value informational content to build your audience’s trust. I love this kind of content writing the most as a lot of creativity is involved in it.
You can maximize the blog’s impact by sharing the posts on social media and by adding social share buttons.
2. Video content marketing
According to studies, 63% of consumers want to get information through videos as they give the best experience, are easier to understand, and are more informative. I suspect that this statistic depends a lot on your audience’s age, as I personally prefer reading content to watching videos.
Even so, and if it’s appropriate for your target audience, you can add videos on the landing page of your website, run a YouTube channel, or even add videos to your emails.
3. Infographic content marketing
Infographics are one of the best visual marketing methods as they combine text with bold colors, figures, and pictures. This makes it easier to understand any concept. Unsurprisingly, infographics are one of the essential tools used in the corporate industry.
4. Paid Ad content marketing
There are several platforms and Ad companies where you can run paid Ad campaigns to promote your content, including Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.
With paid Ad content marketing you can attract a broader audience on any digital platform and reach everyone, anywhere.
5. Podcast content marketing
Podcasts are one of the new trends in marketing. They are often more effective in comparison to traditional methods, as they can help the host build up her reputation and trust, and reach a broader audience.
People listening to a host often have a high trust level and tend to listen to what they have to say and promote.
6. Social Media Marketing
Thanks to globalization, social media marketing is one of the best marketing techniques. People are spending more and more time on different social media platforms to be connected and remain active even during a pandemic.
No wonder then that social media marketing is still one of the best ways to promote almost anything.
7. Email marketing
One of the more traditional kinds of marketing is email marketing.
Emails and newsletters offer one of the best returns on your investment (ROI), providing you with an instant, direct approach to a very large audience.
5 steps for a successful content marketing strategy
Once you have determined the right content for you, it’s time to start working on your strategy. This involves five steps.
1. Set smart goals
First of all, be smart about your content marketing strategy. It’s not a stand-alone endeavor. Instead, it should work hand-in-hand with the company’s overall marketing goals. While we may think that the sole goal of a marketing campaign is to generate sales, this is not always the case. For example, possible campaign goals may include improving brand awareness; brand loyalty; attracting a strategic partner, etc:
2. Choose the type of content and media channels
Once you have a clear idea of the goal, you must choose the type of content you are going to create and the platform on which you will promote it. Keep in mind your target audience and their buying personas and ask yourself:
- What can you provide?
- What are the issues people suffering from?
- What solutions can you offer?
- On which platform does your audience spend the most time?
- How can they succeed in their daily life by buying your products or service?
3. Set a marketing budget
After choosing what type of content you are going to create and choosing the right channel, it’s time to set a marketing budget. To do so, identify what you need:
- What are the things you need to buy? This includes software, hardware, etc.
- What expertise do you need to hire? You may be unable to do everything yourself and need a team to help you out. For example, if you’re preparing a podcast, you may prepare the copy yourself but hire someone to help with the technical side of things.
- What are the tools to analyze or evaluate your efforts? To determine a campaign’s success, you may need access to specialized software.
- How much money should you spend on Ads? if you choose to run paid ads, you need to decide how much you can pay each month.
4. Create unique and plagiarism-free content
It’s now time to create your content and to distribute it across different social platforms such as your website, Facebook, Instagram, Quora, etc.
While preparing your campaigns, check your content for typos, grammar, and plagiarism. Use free tools such as plagiarism checker online to ensure that you don’t ruffle Google’s feathers and end up on the last pages of a search.
5. Analyze, evaluate, and measure your marketing efforts
You may think that the previous step concludes your marketing efforts, but there is one more – one that most forget. The very last step is to analyze closely the results of your marketing. There are many tools you can use for this, many of which are free – including Google analytics, ahref, etc. This will let you avoid any mistakes in the future and maximize your next campaign’s effect.
Content marketing works. I know because, well, you’re reading this. Also, because I write content for a living nowadays! If you do create and publish content of any type, you will gain more exposure if you share on as many platforms as possible to be everywhere where your audience is spending time.
Very informative–and helpful Nicholas!
Thank you so much, John! So glad you enjoyed it 🙂
Your blogs on marketing are always helpful and I try to keep up with your advice. You are right on with the effects of the pandemic on all aspects of life; including writing.
If I recall, you are the one that got me using Machete for my sponsored ad campaign with Amazon. Do you still use it? I’m questioning the benefit of using it lately. I’m blaming the pandemic on my drastic downturn in sales. I have not changed my strategy in sponsored ads, but sales are 1/3 of what they were a year ago. Am I alone or is this widespread with us, self-published authors? Thanks for your great advice.
Hi Chuck, great to hear from you! I am still using Machete but not really getting much use out of it. As for sales, Amazon Ads haven’t really worked for me for a while. Emotional Beats is still doing well, especially with Facebook Ads. But many of my other books are struggling.
👍Great to have you back💡
Thank you, Bia! I’m still pretty slow, I’m afraid, but I’m doing my best to be online as much as I can 🙂
Thanks as always for the useful and extensive tips and information, Nicholas.
And welcome back.
(Shared on Twitter)
Best wishes, Pete.
Thank you, Pete! It’s good to “see” you again 🙂