As the digital age continues to evolve, one thing remains constant: great content remains vital to making an impact with digital marketing. If you want to take your digital marketing to the next level and drive leads with your inbound marketing strategy, you need to work smart and ensure that you’re connecting with target audiences who actually value your message. To help with this, we’ve gathered some key tips to ensure that your content marketing strategy is working as hard for your brand as you do.

Content Marketing Tips to Improve Your Strategy:

1- Start with Your Audience

In order to effectively plan your content marketing strategy, you first need to consider who you’re speaking to. Before you write any content, you need to understand who is reading it, what they’re hoping to gain and how your business fits their needs.

When considering your audience, don’t think about your readers as a population, but rather as individuals. Draw up profiles of these ideal customers, considering factors such as their age group, gender, career, job title, available budget and questions that might be on their mind when making a purchasing decision. By understanding and documenting these personas, you’ll be able to choose content topics that directly address their questions.

Developing marketing personas is more than just another point on a list of content marketing tips. Using effective marketing personas ensures that your inbound strategy is optimized to be as effective as possible. Studies show that businesses that effectively use personas see 56% higher quality leads and 39% higher conversion rates.

2- Have SMART Goals In Mind

Once you know who you’re speaking to, you need to know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. This brings us to the next point on our list of content marketing tips: setting benchmarks for success. Goal-setting is a critical part of any business or marketing initiative, and content strategy is no exception. Like most other strategic initiatives, your content marketing goals should be SMART:

  •     Specific
  •     Measurable
  •     Attainable
  •     Relevant
  •     Timely

Unlike other marketing initiatives, content marketing often has somewhat subjective metrics for success. Your content marketing goals may be focused more on brand awareness and overcoming objections, or may be more focused on lead generation and improving organic SEO. Whatever your goals are, be sure that they’re realistic and can be measured through regular reporting. For softer qualitative metrics, you may have to conduct periodic surveys of your prospects and existing customers to gauge how your content is factoring into their purchase process.

3- Consider Your Cadence

A common mistake that marketers make when rolling out a new content strategy is being too ambitious with their cadence. One of the most important content marketing tips we can offer is to be realistic about your capacity to write content and your audience’s genuine interest in your messaging to inform your post cadence. Too often, people begin their content strategy with gusto, seeking to create a constant stream of blogs, videos and social media posts to go out daily. However, in most cases, an overly-aggressive post cadence can be unsustainable, leaving your first few weeks of posts chock-full of content before dropping off because you simply have run out of new things to say.

Not only can it be difficult to maintain an aggressive schedule of daily posts, but it can be off-putting for audiences to receive too much communication from your brand. You’ll read content strategy tips that advise you to repurpose content on various channels, hit the same themes regularly and ask for audience engagement. These are all great tactics, but if you’re using them too frequently, your audience might become annoyed and choose to unfollow and unsubscribe.

4- Have a Consistent Brand Voice

Your brand voice is a key area to set yourself apart from your competitors. Before you begin writing out content, think about how you’re communicating with your readers, what you want them to take away and how you want them to feel. You likely have a set of brand standards or guidelines that speak to acceptable colors, fonts and logo usage for your brand, but do you have rules for how to speak about your business and products?

No amount of content strategy tips and tricks can stand in for well-written content. When crafting content your audience will want to read, every word and punctuation mark counts. Your brand guidelines may include an overall style guide, grammatical rules and words to include or avoid when speaking about your products. Some style guides go as detailed as including preferred punctuation, such as using commas within lists, using em dashes or colons and ideal sentence length. Contractions and abbreviations should also be considered, as they create a more conversational tone that assumes a reader’s familiarity with your topic.

Regardless of what you decide to go with, make sure all of your content on every channel subscribes to the same guidelines. Consistency is key to ensure an effective strategy, and if you’re more casual on one outlet and more formal on another it can create confusion for your readers and drive them away.

5- Slice and Dice to Repurpose Your Content

When writing content, you don’t have to always create from scratch. Work smarter rather than harder with your content marketing strategy by repurposing content and creating pieces that complement each other to reinforce your message and drive your users further down the sales funnel. For example, you might write a whitepaper or give a keynote address at a conference in your industry. One of our favorite content strategy tips is to leverage larger pieces of content to serve as “pillars” for your content strategy, supporting your cross-channel efforts with excerpts as well as shorter format supporting pieces. For instance, you may create a blog series that maps back to topics within your whitepaper, pull video excerpts and quotes from a keynote address, and cross-post all of these individual items on social channels.

Serializing content is another great content strategy tip, as it gives you a simple format to create great posts on a regular basis and keep up with your cadence. It can also keep your readers coming back for ongoing education while ensuring your brand remains front-of-mind

6- Syndicate Content on Social Outlets

Blogging is not an isolated tactic, and you should do everything in your power to drive users to your blog. With social media usage climbing to an anticipated 2.92 billion active users by 2020, it’s no surprise that a consistent social media presence is on this list of content marketing tips. It’s no longer optional to be present on multiple channels; audiences expect to be able to find you on various outlets to lend legitimacy to your brand.

In order to drive traffic back to your blog and website, it makes sense to take advantage of a social media audience to syndicate your content and reinforce your message. As you repurpose your content pillars into smaller pieces, look for opportunities to create small, high-impact posts that ask for user engagement. Videos, polls and graphics are all opportunities to catch a reader’s eye as they scroll through their feeds.

What Makes a Good Content Strategy?

A good content strategy is one that fully takes your readers into account. Of all the content marketing tips we could possibly provide, the most important one is to always put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Who are they? What truly matters to them? How much content do they actually have time to consume? What channels are they using most frequently?

By reaching your target audience at the right time, with the right message, in the right format, you’ll be able to establish expertise and develop a genuine connection with prospects that will pay off in the long run.

Rebecca Wentworth