Why is it important?
An effective content marketing strategy can make all the difference to your success as a small to medium business. Content marketing can help to provide a long-term, cost-effective way of customer acquisition, engagement and retention, while also adding value to your brand. Having a strong content marketing strategy can therefore enable that content to be found and ranked by Google, building its discovery, relevance, and authority to deliver results.
-96% of marketers find content marketing to be effective for their companies.
-Small businesses that blog get 126% more leads growth than small businesses that do not blog.
-Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less.
While a successful content marketing strategy can take a while to execute, the stats around it speak for themselves.
These are the top steps SME’s should follow when creating a strong content marketing strategy:
-Identify your customers’ pain points
-Define how your business can solve them
-Conduct keyword research for your content umbrella
-Set SMART goals
-Identify your pillar pages
-Create cluster content
-Promote, promote, promote
-Perform a content audit
· Identify your customers’ pain points
Effective content highlights customers’ pain points and addresses them directly. By definition, a pain point is a persistent or recurring problem (as with a product or service) that frequently inconveniences or annoys customers. Pain points can usually be sorted into one of four categories: finance, productivity, process and support.
To find out what pain points your customers have, carry out a feedback survey, monitor social media interaction surrounding your business, speak to your sales team or read customer reviews.
· Define how your product can solve them
The better you know your customers, the more targeted your content can be. Once you have a clear understanding of your customers’ pain points, you need to look at how your product or service can solve them.
Start with the solutions that provide the most immediate benefit to your target market. If you are a gardening company and your customers’ pain points are mainly productivity focused, you would start by creating content that explains how to get the most from your products, how to improve product longevity and how your product can save them time. By posting meaningful and relevant content for users on your website, you will not only improve your SEO ranking and website traffic, but also customer loyalty and trust.
· Conduct keyword research for your content umbrella
According to Moz, the first page of Google captures 71% of search traffic, so doing some keyword research before creating content can enable you to improve your Google ranking and engagement, helping users to find your content more easily on the web.
Keyword research consists of finding the common search terms your audience is Googling. Continuing with our gardening example, you could search ‘my fence is’ in Google and it will complete the search with commonly used terms, for example, ‘my fence is turning green’. This provides you with a clear search term (keyword) that you should target. It also gives you an idea of common customer pain points that your SME can help solve.
Once you know those top searches, you should create a content umbrella. A content umbrella is a list of all the main keywords you want to target with content ideas around them. By taking one of the top searches – in the case of the gardening company, ‘my fence is turning green’ – you can start to think around the subject, drawing a spider diagram of things that could be related, for example, ‘how to prevent your fence turning green’, or ‘the best free and paid options to prevent fence rot’.
For a more in-depth analysis and advice on ranking for more competitive keywords, speak to our expert marketing agency.
· Set SMART goals
Do you want to increase the number of views on your articles, or the amount of interaction? Setting SMART goals – standing for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timebound – is important to analyse your content marketing strategy’s success. Note the starting point by looking at your current stats and analytics, and make achievable monthly, quarterly and yearly goals from that.
· Identify your pillar pages
Pillar pages are the most important part of your website. They are your best products, favourite services, how to find your business, etc. These are the pages you want to generate the most traffic and rank highly on Google. Typically they will target competitive keywords, which in the case of the gardening example include ‘gardening tools’, ‘flowers and plants’ and ‘garden tips’.
· Create cluster content
Cluster content is anything that you can create to support and direct traffic to your pillar pages, thus improving the ranking. This could be blog posts, videos or guides. Your cluster content should cover related long-tail keywords, for example if supporting the ‘gardening tools’ page, an article on ‘must have gardening tools for small gardens’ to solve customer pain points. Once created, this can link back to its pillar page.
Cluster content – as with all content you create – should always consider on-page SEO. This means optimising your headlines to include keywords, refining metadata, and using backlinks to improve your article’s validity. Any images used should be named appropriately – remember, Google cannot see images, it can only tell what images are by the title you have given them.
· Promote, promote, promote
Building an audience is important for driving as much traffic to your website as possible, so the more places you can promote your content the better. Remember that in content marketing there is an 80/20 rule, which states you should spend 20% of your time creating content, and 80% promoting it. Good ways to do this include posting on social media and interacting with comments, sending out supporting emails and guest blogging.
· Perform a content audit
Old content is valuable – in fact, Hubspot found that 76% of their blog’s monthly page views is to old posts. To find out which of your existing content needs optimising, it’s worth doing a content audit to help you identify which pieces are performing best and what topics your audience best connects with, while also giving you insight into the posts that aren’t performing as well.
Need help getting started?
While 84% of companies have a content marketing strategy, only 11% evaluate their strategy as being an excellent one. If you would like our team of confident content marketing professionals to help you implement a successful content marketing strategy, please get in touch.