Content is oftentimes regarded as king in the marketing world. The main reason is that high-quality content has the potential to provide real value to consumers. Whether the content is informative, educational or entertaining, consumers enjoy high-quality content that’s relevant to them.
Any business that operates in the online world can greatly benefit from content marketing. However, content has been used and abused for years now by online companies keyword stuffing and pushing content for the sake of it. Consumers are now quite picky when it comes to online content.
They expect fresh and original content that’s valuable and engaging.
With the increasing competitive atmosphere, it’s quite challenging to come up with fresh ideas, but it’s not impossible. That’s why you need to use the right approach and the right strategy when engaging in content marketing. With that in mind, here are six important questions to ask yourself before you get started.
#1: Who Is My Target Audience?
Understanding who your target audience members are is essential for your content marketing campaign. You cannot just randomly create content and hope for the best. As a matter of fact, you have to create specific content that your audience prefers, or your content won’t have the desired impact.
So, who is your target audience? Market research can tell you a lot about your target audience. However, there’s still a series of questions you must ask yourself when researching your audience. Here are a few examples.
- What type of content does my target audience consume?
- How often do they consume content?
- What are their demographics?
- What are their pain points?
- Is my content capable of providing an answer or a solution to my audience’s problems?
- Is my audience’s location, income, education etc. relevant to content creation?
The more information you gather about your audience the better you’ll understand what type of content you should create and publish. If you ignore your audience’s needs and preferences, your efforts will be pretty much in vain.
#2: What Are My Competitors Doing?
A competitive analysis is a very important part of your content marketing strategy. The main reason is that you need to determine your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses so that you can gain a competitive advantage.
If you monitor your competition’s efforts, you can identify gaps you can exploit and opportunities you can take advantage of. Therefore, ask yourself these questions when conducting a competitive analysis.
- What type of content are my competitors using?
- How well does their audience respond to that content?
- Are there any topics my competitors aren’t covering?
- What are my competitor’s top-performing and low-performing content?
- Are they leveraging a blog?
Any content gaps you can find and exploit will elevate your own content strategy, which is why you must always keep an eye on what your competitors are doing.
#3: Is My Website Properly Optimized?
As you may already know, your content’s visibility is essential for its success. So, is your website properly optimized to boost your content’s visibility?
Is your content easy to find on search engines? Are you ranking for the right keywords?
If not, then you might need some SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO and content marketing go hand in hand.
SEO boosts your content’s visibility, exposure, credibility and awareness. But before you can do that, you must optimize your website properly to ensure your content is visible and accessible to your target audience.
Therefore, if you operate in Chicago, for example, and you don’t know how to optimize your website, you can always find some of the best agencies that specialize in web development Chicago has to offer, so that they can help you out with website optimization.
That said, there’s always more to content marketing than simply creating or publishing content. You must also ensure that your content is accessible to your audience.
#4: Where Should I Publish My Content?
Content quality if of the utmost importance but where you publish content is equally important. That being said, you must choose the marketing channels where you want to publish your content, based on your target audience’s behavior. Do some research and find out where your target customers spend the most time.
Here are a few general ideas you should consider when it comes to choosing a platform for your content.
- Your blog: If your website doesn’t have a blog section, you’re likely missing out on some quality traffic and possible leads. A blog, regardless of the industry you’re in, can help give your pages the chance to rank in search engines for relative keywords, which will increase traffic.
- Social media platforms: Social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and more are ideal channels for content publishing. The trick here is to choose the platforms where your target audience spend the most time. If you’re after millennials, you might choose Instagram over Facebook, for example. You can have multiple social media channels, but don’t bother wasting time on a platform that your audience won’t visit.
- Email: Email is a great marketing channel for sharing content. You can segment your email list and provide relevant content based on interest and willingness to convert. Also, email has one of the highest click-through rates (CTR) of all marketing channels and it’s one of the most cost-efficient marketing tools.
- Additional options: Guest posting and link building on relevant and authoritative sources, such as other websites, blogs and forums is not just beneficial for your content exposure but also for your SEO efforts. These activities build your own domain authority and credibility as a relevant source of information.
#5: Will My Website Meet My Audience’s Expectations?
This might seem a bit out of the ordinary, but you must ask yourself this nonetheless. The majority of your content will likely be located on your website or blog. Whatever content pieces you publish or share elsewhere will only serve the purpose of encouraging your audience to come looking for more.
Once visitors come to your website to seek out additional content you must provide them with an exceptional experience, or they’ll simply bounce off. That’s why web design plays a vital role in your content marketing success as well.
If you have any doubts about whether or not your website will be able to meet your audience’s expectations, you can always consult with professionals on the matter. That said, try to work with someone local for the sake of better communication and collaboration.
If you’re catering to consumers in Texas, for instance, finding a reliable web development Houston agency can help you with your efforts. After all, it’s better to have experts evaluate your website and point out any areas that might need improvements rather than risk driving website visitors away because you genuinely believed your website is up to the task.
Generating a lot of organic traffic from various sources is extremely beneficial for your online business and your content marketing. However, having a high bounce rate because your audience members don’t like your landing pages, or your website is too slow is very counterproductive.
#6: Should I Use Different Content Formats?
Consumers expect unique and original content. Sometimes that’s quite difficult to deliver but it doesn’t mean you can’t be creative and innovative. For example, adding visuals to your content can improve it tenfold.
Here are a few examples of how you can make your content more engaging:
- Use videos: 90% of consumers claim that watching a product video was very helpful in their purchasing decision ad 64% of consumers are willing to make a purchase after watching a product video. If you have the ability, create videos for your site. These can include product videos, how-to videos, a backstory about your company or anything else that’s relevant to your audience.
- Use podcasts: Podcasts have skyrocketed to popularity in recent years. You can expand upon any content topic by creating a podcast. This can be an especially good idea for those who prefer to listen to something instead of reading it. Feel free to take the opportunity to reuse old content using a new format and present it to your audience in a completely different way.
- Use infographics: Visuals drive more views, more engagement and more shares. People can only retain about 10% to 20% of the information when reading plain text but when that text is combined with visual elements, people manage to retain up to 65% of the information. Infographics are ideal for providing both textual and visual information to consumers. Make sure each page of your website uses high-quality imagery where applicable.
Content marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies today. However, you need to be careful when creating and publishing content mainly because online consumers have specific preferences and needs. If you plan out your strategy the right way and answer all the important questions before you begin, you’ll be able to utilize the full potential of content marketing.