Content marketing is the cornerstone of how you attract, engage with and convert customers, so it’s not something any business can afford to overlook.
Companies that publish blogs generate 67 per cent more leads than those that don’t. Meanwhile, B2B buyers will typically engage with between three and five pieces of content before they get in touch with a sales representative. The effectiveness of content marketing is therefore clear for all to see. But what should you be looking at in order to make this work for your business?
In today’s crowded marketplace, you need to stand out. As such, good search engine optimisation (SEO) is essential. Ensuring that all your content is working towards this goal is therefore a key part of any content marketing strategy. This means much more than just using the most relevant keywords. Search engines today have a lot of tools at their disposal and have become very adept at filtering out poor content.
Therefore, quality matters. And this is something that needs to be considered throughout everything you do, whether it’s a regularly-updated blog that gives users reasons to keep coming back or highly shareable content like videos and infographics that help you earn those all important backlinks.
Blogs are one of the best tools available for boosting engagement and increasing interest in your company, and this is an area we’ve long-specialised in. Blog content helps demonstrate your industry knowledge, builds trust and gives you a space to tell your firm’s story.
For many brands, their blog page is where they get the chance to let their unique voice shine through and highlight their core values, expertise and personality. What’s more, by adding a comments section or sharing blogs via social media, you can start conversations with your customers and uncover new opportunities.
A well-written, regularly-updated blog also helps improve your search engine rankings and drive traffic to your website, as well as helping you generate inbound links from third-party websites – which search engines also view as a sign of quality.
An effective digital PR strategy is vital in ensuring your message reaches the people you’re aiming at, and we have huge experience in helping tailor your content for the right audience and getting it in front of them.
Our digital PR services cover a wide range of opportunities to get your brand noticed online. It could be crafting and distributing a press release, social media management or helping run livestreaming videos or webinars to showcase your firm’s skills and expertise in your field.
This is all about boosting the visibility of your brand. In turn, this leads to higher web traffic, improved authority and recognition within your sector, and more leads.
Quality copy is at the heart of all content marketing activities. Our copywriting services cover every aspect of your digital presence, including blogs, landing pages, guides and how-tos, thought leadership articles, product descriptions, company information and more.
Your website is your digital shopfront, so ensuring you have the highest possible standard of content is vital in presenting a good first impression to potential customers. If it’s hard to read, difficult to understand or just plain boring, no-one is going to be interested in buying from you.
If you’re not sure where to start with this, we have the skills and experience to help. Whether you’re looking to update product pages, populate your blog or perform a full overhaul of your online presence, Axonn specialises in optimising and improving your website copy.
Corporate communications are all about how you define your brand online, and cover all the planning, content production and engagement practices you need to turn users from browsers into customers. This is especially important in the B2B space, where buying journeys tends to be longer and require you to produce engaging content at every stage of the sales funnel.
These communications come in many forms. For instance, written content that can enhance your brand includes blogs, personalised emails, press releases and thought leadership guides. But you should also be looking at visual content such as infographics and illustrations, as well as video content like instructional or promotional videos, interviews and webinars.
Your landing page content is a vital part of your brand’s online presence. It can help you meet a number of goals, but in general, this is where you’ll generate leads and look to turn casual visitors to your site into loyal buyers.
Among the types of landing pages we can help you produce are data capture pages, which are typically used as a gateway to premium content such as in-depth reports or whitepapers, and play a vital role in lead generation by giving you the details of potential customers who are already engaged with the site.
We can also assist in creating click-through pages that highlight the key benefits of your products or services and encourage visitors to take the next step on the buying journey. Company information pages such as ‘about us’ sections also fall under this category and provide a vital space for you to showcase your history, values and vision.
Newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with existing customers and other individuals who’ve expressed an interest in your brand’s offerings. Email allows you to make highly targeted communications, develop meaningful relationships with customers and provide personalised news and offers.
As well as allowing you to build brand awareness, it’s easy to measure the effectiveness of this type of content and gain insight into which efforts are proving effective and which are not, allowing you to tailor your content marketing strategy accordingly. However, making newsletter marketing work for you depends on creating engaging copy, strong visuals, and a good balance between educational and promotional content.
What is content marketing? Why do I need it? What does it entail? These are crucial questions we can help you to answer if you’re hoping to improve visibility in search and to engage more fully with your target partners and customers.
Setting up an effective content marketing strategy is no easy task, but the rewards for those who invest their time and resources into this crucial activity can be great.
In this comprehensive guide to content marketing, we’ll explain why content marketing is important and effective, what you can do to get started, how to effectively track and record your performance, as well as how to optimise your campaigns to deliver the best results.
Content marketing campaigns
The most important question you have to ask before starting any kind of marketing campaign is whether or not it will be effective; otherwise, you could end up wasting your effort and budget on something that doesn’t provide you with the results you need. So, what about content marketing? Is it an effective option?
At Axonn, we have years of experience in delivering effective, impactful content marketing campaigns that have shown proven results. Research shows that companies with blogs get 67 per cent more leads than those without, and on the B2B side, 47 per cent of buyers will view between three and five pieces of content before they talk to a sales representative. In other words, content marketing that focuses on the production of high-quality editorial and supporting content does provide a boost to any business.
This is partly due to the fact that online search continues to play an influential role in the ability of many businesses to drive leads and new business opportunities. Both B2B and B2C customers consistently turn to Google as their first port of call, so it’s no surprise that two-thirds of marketers found search engine optimisation (SEO) to be the most effective form of marketing in 2019.
The reason for this has remained the same since digital marketing was invented. Normally, advertisements are intrusive, getting in the way of the media you want to access. Think of an ad break on television: it prevents you from viewing the programme you want to watch, forcing you to wait for the break to be over before you can access the next part.
WHY IS CONTENT MARKETING EFFECTIVE?
In contrast, a good content marketing campaign provides value to your audience. It is the media they want to access, providing a helpful solution to their problems. Because they’re accessing it themselves through search engines and social media, they will be much more engaged with what your brand has to offer than if you had forced an ad in front of them.
If executed well, a successful content marketing campaign will allow you to grow your audience organically, leading to much higher levels of engagement. Your customers can even become advocates, spreading your brand’s message for you. It takes hard work and knowledge to get it right, but if you can manage it, a content marketing strategy could be exactly what your company needs in order to succeed.
WHAT IS A CONTENT MARKETING CAMPAIGN?
Before we go any further, let’s define exactly what content marketing is. We’ve already talked a lot about it, but like many marketing concepts it can easily be confused. Is your business’ Twitter account content marketing? What about the emails you send out to potential customers, or your company blog?
Hubspot defines content marketing as: “The process of planning, creating, distributing, sharing, and publishing content to reach your target audience.” Content refers to anything that has value to your intended audience. It could be a blog, infographic, video, podcast or a social media post; as long as your audience considers it valuable, then it will work towards your content marketing goals.
That value could come from the fact that your content provides your audience with useful information. It could be that the content is interesting, or funny, or entertaining in some other way. The point is that in order to market your business successfully, you can’t just talk about yourself; you need to focus on what your audience wants.
GAINING VALUE FROM CONTENT MARKETING
But how do you know what that is? We suggest the first step of any successful content marketing campaign is research. The aim is to create one or more personas; approximations of what an average member of your audience is like. There are plenty of tools out there that can help you narrow down the demographics of your audience, as well as their interests and pain points.
HOW TO MEASURE CONTENT MARKETING SUCCESS
Once you have your personas, you need to think about the goal of your content marketing campaign. Without this, you won’t know what success looks like for your organisation, and might find yourself wasting time and budget on marketing efforts that don’t achieve anything useful. Try to create goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-specific (SMART) to make sure your campaign is as focused as possible.
CREATE CONTENT MARKETING
Then it’s time to create content. Once you know who your target audience is and what your goals are, it will be much easier to come up with great content ideas. For example, if you want to collect 100 new email addresses in the next month (an example of a SMART goal) and your audience is made up of sales executives, a downloadable ebook or whitepaper could be a solution.
Finally, you need to measure the relevant markers of success. In our example above, this would be the number of collected email addresses, but it can be anything relevant to your marketing strategy. By measuring, you can see what is working and what isn’t, allowing you to adjust your future marketing efforts accordingly.
IS CONTENT MARKETING WORTH IT?
By now, you might be wondering whether or not content marketing is worthwhile. After all, it seems like it takes a lot of work to get right, and could it really have that much of an effect on your sales, audience engagement or whatever other metrics are important to your organisation?
The short answer is yes, it is worthwhile. Of course, you have to do it correctly. The Content Marketing Institute puts it best: content is not content marketing. In other words, it’s not enough to just create a blog, video or whitepaper and call it a day. It has to be part of a full content marketing strategy in order to be as effective as possible and provide you with a good return on investment.
However, when done properly, content marketing can be incredibly effective. This is partly because it is widely viewed and accepted by both B2B and B2C consumers. A fifth of all time online is spent on content, with 60 per cent of people enjoying reading relevant content from brands. Because it isn’t intrusive, like traditional advertising, your audience will be much more likely to seek out and share your content.
OPTIMISING CURRENT CONTENT MARKETING
Even small changes can have major effects when it comes to content, although they are no match for a full, defined marketing strategy. We mentioned above that companies with blogs see 67 per cent more sales leads, but even small-scale bloggers see financial success from their content. However, research has found that success is much more likely if they research keywords and utilise analytics – other key weapons in the content marketing arsenal.
COST-EFFECTIVE CONTENT MARKETING
If content marketing seems like too much of an investment for you, you might be surprised to learn it’s actually much cheaper than traditional marketing, with some research finding it costs 62 per cent less. Furthermore, it generates around three times as many leads per dollar spent as traditional marketing activities.
GENERATE LEADS THROUGH CONTENT MARKETING
Of course, leads are only useful if they convert. But in that respect, a content marketing campaign still wins out over traditional marketing, generating almost six times as many conversions. This is partly due to the fact that content isn’t pushy and lets your audience interact with you at their own speed, giving them a much more positive experience from the start.
WHAT ARE CONTENT MARKETING TOOLS?
You might have heard there are tools you can utilise to improve your content marketing campaigns. While you can try to approach a strategy on your own – and might be able to see significant success – the wide variety of available tools will make things a lot easier for you and your organisation.
For example, one important aspect of content marketing is keyword research. The aim of a lot of content is to appear organically on search engines like Google, so when a user looks for something online, your organisation turns up as a search result. But how do you know which search terms you want to appear under?
KEYWORD RESEARCH TOOLS
Keyword research lets you work out which search terms will be the best to target, and therefore which words you should include in your content. That means a good keyword planner is an essential content marketing tool. There are plenty to choose from, including SEMRush and Google Keyword Planner.
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT TOOLS
If you want to incorporate social media into your content marketing campaign, you might find it difficult to manage. Often, social media marketing involves posting several times a day on a variety of different platforms. This can be hard to juggle, but tools and services exist to help you manage the task.
Hootsuite and Buffer are two of the main social media management tools out there, allowing you to schedule posts in advance. This means you can set up all of your posting at the beginning of the week or month, then rest easy knowing the tool will do the rest for you. This allows you to focus more on other aspects of your marketing rather than having to dip in and out of social media constantly.
GOOGLE ANALYSIS TO MEASURE CONTENT MARKETING SUCCESS
Perhaps the most important tool for content marketers is Google Analytics. This free tool measures a huge range of metrics from your website, enabling you to track how many people are visiting, how long they’re staying on each page, whether or not they’re converting and much more. This lets you know how successful your content marketing strategy is, enabling you to make whatever changes are necessary.
Of course, there are many more tools available. Content marketing is an enormous industry, and as a result there are hundreds of different programs and apps designed to make marketers’ lives easier. If you’re struggling with any aspect of your content marketing, there will almost certainly be a tool available to help you.
Content Marketing World
What happens at Content Marketing World?
Content Marketing World is one of the largest content marketing conferences around, and is a great place to learn more about the industry and meet a selection of its biggest players. Attended by some of the world’s largest companies, including Walmart, Microsoft and Nestle, it is a fantastic place to learn, experience and network.
The conference is attended by over 4,000 marketers from all over the globe, and features more than 125 sessions and workshops to learn more about marketing and how you can improve your business’ digital performance. It’s therefore a great opportunity for your marketing team to pick up some expertise from the content industry’s top minds.
Who is Content Marketing World for?
The conference is the perfect place for your team to learn, but you don’t have to be on the cutting edge of marketing to get a lot out of it. Whether you’re interested in video content, influencer marketing, keyword research or just understanding new industry trends, there will almost certainly be a panel that will benefit you.
However, given the cost of attending, it might not be the best place to go if you’re looking for tips on how to effectively market your own business. Unless you have a large, experienced marketing team, it will be hard for you to put much of what you will learn into action. Instead, you will be better off talking to an agency like Axonn Media to find out how we can help you succeed.
What did we learn at Content Marketing World?
Every year, there are new things to learn at Content Marketing World. For example, take the sales funnel. Most marketers start at the top of that funnel, creating content that spreads awareness of a company. However, Marcus Sheridan, author of “They Ask, You Answer”, claimed at Content Marketing World 2019 that you should be starting at the bottom instead.
The idea behind this is to start off by creating content designed to encourage people to buy your product or service, such as information about its benefits, its price and its advantages over competitors. This more aggressive form of marketing could be the key to standing out from the crowd.
Could lateral thinking supercharge your content marketing?
Here’s an example of the sort of thing you might hear at Content Marketing World: What role does lateral thinking play in content marketing? A huge part of marketing is looking for creative ways to promote a product or service, but not enough companies make use of lateral thinking when it comes to this process.
The idea behind lateral thinking, put simply, is to approach a problem from a different angle. For example, Guinness beer takes longer to pour than its competitors. Yet rather than utilising marketing that tries to hide this flaw, the company openly celebrates it, using the slogan “good things come to those who wait”.
This is a great example of taking a problem and looking at it from a different angle. By taking a possible drawback of their product and thinking about what it would be like if it was a positive feature, Guinness has maintained its position as one of the world’s most popular beers. Had the company tried to thin out its beer instead, it’s hard to see how it would be as successful today.
Good content marketing
We’ve already talked about whether or not content marketing is effective in general. But how do you work out how to make it as effective as possible for your business?
In other words, what does good content marketing look like for you? The answer will depend on whether you are a B2B or B2C business, as there are different strategies that work better for each.
THE PURPOSE OF B2B CONTENT MARKETING
When it comes to B2B, our experience has taught us to focus much more on providing an audience with information rather than pushing them too hard to make a purchase. And we’re not alone – 88 per cent of the top B2B content marketing performers prioritise their audience’s information needs over any kind of sales message.
This is because most B2B audiences already know what they want out of a product or service. They are unlikely to stumble across your brand; they will be researching you with a purpose. Because of this, they overwhelmingly prefer interactive content they can access on-demand, as well as more engaging forms of content such as video.
OPTIMISING B2B CONTENT MARKETING
Another challenge is making sure your marketing efforts are relevant. Despite 92 per cent of business leaders relying on content to make decisions, less than 38 per cent say the content they consume is relevant to their needs. Some of this is because it’s not a high enough quality, but it’s also down to content not matching the stage the user is at in the sales funnel.
Remember, when you’re utilising content marketing for a B2B audience, you’re dealing with a smaller audience, but one that usually knows exactly what they want. If you try too hard to persuade them to make a purchase, they can bounce off. Instead, show them in clear terms what it is you do, and you will find your content marketing is much more effective.
PURPOSE OF B2C CONTENT MARKETING
B2C marketing, on the other hand, is often about appealing to a wide audience. Building awareness can be a major objective for you in the B2C sphere, and as such social media is usually heavily utilised in B2C strategies. Facebook is overwhelmingly the best option for content marketers, but Instagram is increasingly useful as well.
Of course, you’ll need high-quality content to promote on social media as well. Visual content is usually a good bet, as it’s eye-catching and easily digestible, but written content generally forms the backbone of most good B2C strategies. A blog on your site will allow you to get found organically through search engines when your B2C customers are looking for solutions to their problems, for example.
Overall, content marketing can be just as effective for B2B and B2C businesses, but both require different strategies. That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of crossover. Both groups respond very well to video, for example, and many marketing campaigns succeed using entirely different tactics. But a lot of marketing success depends on how well you adapt to your given audience.
What is good content marketing?
How do you know when your content marketing is working? More to the point, how do we know? You don’t want to be in a position where your agency is telling you they’re doing excellent work, but you’ve only got their word to go on. At Axonn, we would much rather you see the effects our work is having on your business.
Ultimately, good content marketing is whatever achieves your organisation’s goals, whatever they may be. If you have concrete, measurable aims, you can clearly see when you have succeeded. To do this, you need to be able to measure some key metrics, which you can do through a program such as Google Analytics.
HOW TO REPORT ON CONTENT MARKETING?
There are a number of things you can measure that will give you an indication of how good your marketing is. One of the most simple is pageviews. This measures how many of the pages on your site have been loaded over the period you’re measuring, giving you a fairly good – if surface-level – idea of how popular your site is.
However, you will almost certainly want to look deeper than that. For example, pageviews don’t actually tell you how many individual people have visited your site; it’s extremely unlikely, but in theory all your views could have come from the same user. Google Analytics can measure how many people visited your site, as well as whether they were visiting for the first time or not.
REPORTING WITH ENGAGEMENT METRICS
So, you can get a good idea of the number of people you’re reaching with your marketing. But how can you tell how engaged they are with the content you’ve created? There are a few metrics that you can use to get an idea of that. For example, you can measure the average time people spend on your content pages. If they’re there for a long time, it usually indicates they’re engaged.
There’s also the bounce rate, which measures the percentage of users who visit one of your pages, but leave without interacting with any other part of your site. This could be because they’re not interested in your content, but it could also mean they’re engaged with the first page they visit but see no reason to carry on moving through your site.
REPORTING LONG-TERM CONTENT MARKETING GOALS
Ultimately, the long-term goal is usually going to be to increase your sales. You might have other, short-term campaign goals, but realistically you will want to increase your profits wherever possible. This is something content marketing can help you achieve, and with sales-based campaigns you can measure how many users make a purchase based on your content.
That said, in other cases, you will have to play a longer game with your content marketing. If you can increase the number of people who are aware of and engaged with your business, then sales will rise in time. In every case, you can tell good content marketing from the measurable results it achieves.
Which companies use content marketing?
Who uses content marketing? Is it just for big companies with even bigger budgets? Or maybe it’s only useful for small start-ups who have a lot of time on their hands? The truth is, content marketing is for everyone. It’s such a varied form of marketing that practically any organisation, large or small, can benefit from it.
Remember that content marketing involves creating something that will be valuable to an audience in order to promote your organisation. If that seems like a vague definition, that’s because it encompasses a wide range of different media types, which gives content marketers a lot of flexibility and means we can generally work within any budget.
CREATIVE CONTENT MARKETING EXAMPLE: GOOGLE DOODLE
For example, think about the Google Doodle. Almost every day, Google – one of the largest companies on the planet – creates some kind of animation or interactive game on its homepage. Usually, this links to some kind of educational material. Why? Well, it’s a form of content marketing.
The doodles are usually, at the very least, interesting. Some of the more interactive ones are fun, while some even provide a basic introduction to a new skill set. These are all different types of value a user can get from content marketing. No matter what a user gets out of the doodles, they always provide a reason to use Google over any one of its competitors.
Of course, to create something like a Google Doodle on a consistent basis requires a large budget. Google has graphic designers, programmers and animators working year-round to create its doodles, and that’s obviously not going to be possible for most organisations. However, that doesn’t mean content marketing is out of your reach.
For example, probably the most simple form of content marketing is a monthly blog. It has much less of a chance of making an impact on your business’ bottom line than a full content marketing strategy, but it can still be extremely useful.
THE POWER OF BLOGGING AS A BUSINESS
While you’re not going to get to the top of a search engine results page straight away, in the long run, a blog can help your business appear when people search for answers to their problems. This is especially true if you occupy a niche area in your industry; blogs about specific issues won’t have as much competition, so a good, relevant piece of content can perform very well in these circumstances.
The content of your blog can also change how people see your business. You can use it to come across as friendly, or as an authoritative expert in your field. This, in turn,can boost customer engagement with your company and make them more likely to make a purchase or spread the word about you to their network of friends and family.
In short, content marketing can be for any company, no matter what your industry, size or customer base. There are so many different ways to add value for your users and use that to promote your offering, so don’t assume there are no options that will work for you.
Is content marketing free?
The short answer is, unfortunately, no. Content marketing will always cost your organisation something. That doesn’t mean you have to spend money, but even if you do it all yourself you will still be losing time that could be spent on undertaking paid work. However, that doesn’t mean content marketing isn’t worth it; if done correctly, it will more than pay for itself.
If you decide to do all your content marketing in-house, the main cost will be time. Of course, the further you go with it, the more likely you will have to spend money. You could hire someone to take care of your marketing, but their salary will be a monetary cost. In addition, there are several supplementary expenses you might incur.
PAID ADVERTISING YOUR CONTENT MARKETING
One example of this is paid ads. These can be run on search engines or social media, and can be extremely effective if you put them in front of the right people. You can target them to only appear in front of users that meet criteria you set, meaning you can be sure your content gets in front of the people most likely to engage with it.
These are usually pay-per-click, meaning you pay a small amount to the company hosting the ads for each time they are clicked on. This can be great value for money, but you have to be careful; an ad that is clicked on a lot but doesn’t lead to any sales can end up being a significant drain on your budget.
IN-HOUSE VS AGENCY CONTENT MARKETING
Even if you avoid paid ads and other costs, marketing in-house isn’t generally the best value for money. If you decide to write your own blog, for example, it will likely take you longer to achieve the required quality than an experienced professional writer who is well-versed in SEO and other optimisation techniques. The time you lose – and therefore can’t spend on paid work – will almost certainly cost your business more than the price of a professional.
PROS OF USING A CONTENT MARKETING AGENCY
That’s why so many organisations choose an agency like us. If content marketing is going to cost you money, it will be better for your business if it is a defined cost that you can account for each month. We work with our clients to set a budget with no hidden costs or extra fees, and we make sure you always know what you’re paying for.
Using an agency also means you gain the services of writers, content strategists, graphic designers, animators and more. Hiring each one of those would be an astronomical cost, but you can access their services through an agency for a fraction of the price. That means you can utilise experts without having to pay through the nose.
While content marketing is never free, there are always ways you can make the most of it without having to pay more than your business can afford. We will always work with you to find the best options for your budget, so you know you’re getting the best value and service for your organisation.
Content marketing strategy
So, you want to get started with content marketing. Whether you’re trying it out for yourself or working with an experienced agency like Axonn Media, the first thing you will need is always the same: a content marketing strategy. But why is this important? Why can’t you just get stuck in and create some content?
Well, you can if you want. But you’ll be missing out on a huge portion of the advantages of content marketing if that’s the approach you choose to take. Having a documented content marketing strategy allows you to make sure you’re targeting the right people, lets you use different pieces of content to support one another, gives you the ability to measure and upgrade your content and much, much more.
For example, look at HubSpot’s sales blog. The editor, Sarah Williams, acknowledges she didn’t have much of a strategy when she took over, publishing whatever posts she thought would get the blog a good amount of traffic. As a result, it wasn’t hitting its monthly view targets. So they created a content strategy that planned for long-term success.
LONG-TERM CONTENT STRATEGIES
Rather than publishing “quick win” blogs designed to give pageviews a short-term boost, Williams and her team focused on content that would show up on search engines in the long-term, continuing to boost the blog’s views months or even years after publication. This was a huge success, and it wouldn’t have happened without a concrete content marketing strategy.
While not all organisations have a content strategy in place – in fact, many don’t – this is not because it isn’t an effective approach. The most common reason is a lack of processes, preventing the organisation from taking the strategic approach to content it would like to. When businesses utilise strategy, the results are clear.
Out of all the most successful content marketers – according to the Content Marketing Institute – 65 per cent have a documented strategy compared to just 14 per cent of the least-successful marketers. In addition, 73 per cent of marketers say strategies keep their teams focused on established content priorities, and 68 per cent say they help their team allocate resources to optimise results.
WHY CREATE A CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY?
So why are content marketing strategies so essential? We think there are several reasons. The first is to do with knowing your audience. When you plan a content marketing strategy, the first step is usually developing personas so you know exactly who you’re creating content for. Without this, you run the risk of your content being generic and unappealing.
There’s also the matter of why you’re creating content in the first place. You might think it’s easy to write a few blogs, but what exactly are you hoping to achieve from them? Do you want readers to go on to make a purchase? Are you hoping they’ll share the blogs on social media? Or would you be happy with a general increase of traffic to your site?
Depending on your answer, the content that goes into those blogs will be very different. Having a content strategy lets you decide on those goals, get them in writing and use them to determine the kind of content that needs creating in order to properly market your business. We make use of SMART goals wherever possible, so we can be exact about what we’re hoping to achieve from your marketing campaigns.
Knowing your goals also helps us to measure the results of your marketing, which is another crucial part of a content marketing strategy. After all, how do you know if your efforts have been successful without clear goals? Maybe you posted on social media and it increased traffic to your site, but is that what your organisation wants? If sales are more important, for example, then those visits aren’t that useful if users didn’t buy anything.
When we start a marketing campaign, we don’t create anything until we’re sure we’ve got the right content strategy for our client. It’s such an important aspect of marketing, and creating a great strategy gives us an amazing foundation to build the rest of the campaign on. And of course, we always come back and review the strategies to make sure they’re still in line with our clients’ needs.
Who will be involved in executing your content marketing strategy and driving your content creation efforts?
Creating a content strategy is only the first stage of your marketing, of course. The next step is to execute it, which means creating some content. Whatever you make will need to meet your goals, driving awareness, action or advocacy amongst your customer base. So, who will be responsible for doing this, and how can you make sure you’re making the right choice?
One option is to utilise the experts in your organisation. For example, if you wanted to create content about increasing sales, you could give the job to your head of sales. They will presumably have the most knowledge of the topic out of everyone in your business, making the resulting content all the more accurate and expert.
However, there are some significant downsides to this. For one, this limits the type of content you can create. Unless your head of sales has significant experience with video production or graphic design, you are unlikely to be able to create anything other than written content or social media posts.
Even then, you will usually be sacrificing quality. Knowing about a subject doesn’t necessarily mean you can successfully write about it for different audiences across a range of different platforms. What’s more, your employees already have their own work to do; adding marketing to their plate risks lowering their performance.
So although using your current staff is the cheapest option, it is probably the lowest-quality one. Hiring a new employee or freelancer is another possibility. You can ensure you’re taking on someone with a good knowledge of marketing and the ability to create excellent content that will appeal to your customer or client base.
This can be relatively cost-effective. However, it again comes with significant flaws. The main one of these is the content strategy. If you’ve gone to the effort of creating a strategy for your organisation, you don’t necessarily want to hand it over to somebody unfamiliar with it who doesn’t necessarily understand the logic behind your marketing decisions.
In addition, it creates another facet for you to manage. If you’re dealing with multiple specialists, such as a writer, a social media marketer and a graphic designer, it’s going to be a challenge to get them all on the same page and working towards the same marketing goals. This is even more the case if you’re relying on freelancers to fill those roles.
USING AN END-TO-END CONTENT MARKETING AGENCY
If you want to be sure you have a dedicated team overseeing every aspect of your content marketing, from strategy to content creation to measurement and adjustment, your best bet is an agency like us. At Axonn Media, we’re committed to providing you with a full-service marketing solution, and we can ensure your content strategy is implemented from start to finish.
Opting for an agency means getting access to specialist knowledge and expertise in the field of marketing, as well as content creators who can have complete visibility over your content strategy. This means writers, graphic designers, animators and more can all be involved with the planning of your campaign, so the execution will be as close as possible to your vision.
It also gives you a single point of contact. You won’t need to be chasing or managing multiple professionals, as all of that will be done by the agency. You can save yourself a lot of time and stress by leaving the management of your marketing and content creation to us; all you’ll need to do is review the finished work.
We are up-to-date on industry best practices and workflow processes, so you will be able to be confident in our ability to create great content on time. Perhaps most importantly, we are extremely familiar with content creation for a wide range of audiences and purposes. We can craft work that will appeal to your users and move you towards your business’ goals.
Working with an agency like Axonn is key to getting the most out of content marketing. We provide you with the most experienced, hassle-free way to get as much high-quality content as you need to drive awareness of your organisation, increase sales and spur on your audience to advocate for you across the internet.
How do you write a content marketing strategy?
We’ve already talked about how important a content marketing strategy is for your organisation’s success, but how do you actually sit down and create one? There are lots of different perspectives on this, and different agencies have their own ideas. Here’s how we do it at Axonn Media; based on our experience, this is the best way to create a comprehensive strategy.
IDENTIFYING CONTENT MARKETING GOALS
The first step is always to decide on the goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) of the campaign. These need to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-specific (SMART) so they can be accurately measured.
For example, if you wanted to drive traffic to your site, we would work with you to create a relevant marketing goal such as “increase new visitors to the site by 1,000 over the next three months”. That gives us something to measure, as well as a clear view of whether or not the campaign has succeeded.
DEFINING YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Then we look at defining your audience, creating personas that represent your average user. We do extensive research to uncover their demographics, interests and the factors that would motivate them to take action and buy your product or service. This lets us understand exactly who we’re creating content for, so it can be as effective as possible.
The next step is to analyse your competitors. We’d look at their websites, social media presence and the content they create. This lets us see if there is anything they are doing that you aren’t, giving you a chance to catch up. More importantly, it lets us spot niches you can fill with your marketing efforts, enabling you to pull ahead.
This leads into keyword research. We look at possible keywords we could target with your content. Again, we would be comparing these with your competitors. It will be difficult to rank for a particular keyword if other businesses are already ranking highly for it, but if there is a gap that isn’t being filled, we can target it with content.
CONTENT MARKETING AUDIT
Speaking of content, we will then look over your site and the content you’ve already created. We want to know what has worked in the past and what hasn’t, as well as if you have any assets that can potentially be repurposed. We would also look at your site to see if there are any landing pages that could be improved, or if new ones need creating.
PICKING YOUR CONTENT MARKETING
Then there’s actually deciding what content to create. You might be surprised that this is such a small step, but it builds off everything that comes before. Once we know your SMART goals and KPIs, understand your audience, and know which keywords to target based on your competitors, then we already have a good idea of what kind of content will best meet the needs of your content marketing campaign.
SCHEDULING CONTENT MARKETING
Ideally, we would then put all that in a calendar. The content we create should be spaced out, not published all in one go, and we will usually aim to build up your audience over a defined period of time. The calendar will not only help us achieve this, but will also give you visibility over what to expect from us.
MEASURING YOUR SUCCESS
Last but not least, we will set up methods of measuring your marketing success. This will usually come in the form of Google Analytics, but we can work with other platforms if you prefer. As the campaign goes on, we can then monitor its success, make adjustments and assess what went right so as to make the next campaign even more successful.
This fits in with your marketing SMART goals and KPIs, but is not limited to that. A good strategy takes a look at the whole picture. For example, maybe Facebook shares aren’t an important aspect of your campaign. However, if we notice your content getting shared a lot on Facebook, we can pivot the focus to try to take advantage of that fact.
All of this adds up to what we consider to be the best practice for creating a content marketing strategy. It enables us to understand what content will work best for the aims of your organisation, create it to a high quality and measure its success at the campaign level. At Axonn, we work alongside you at every step of the way and we’re always available to provide assistance and advice to help you achieve your content marketing goals.