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Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing (Part 1): Develop a Strategy

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If you’re confused about what exactly content marketing is, you’re not alone. Unlike traditional marketing, which describes a product’s features and benefits, content marketing delivers authentic and valuable information to your users. The Content Marketing Institute defines it as “creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

But, instead of pinning down a definition, we’ll focus on why developing a content marketing strategy is so important. What are the benefits of having a good strategy and why is it worth your investment? Let’s explore.

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It’s possible to get into content marketing without a strategy, but in the end, developing a strategic approach to content creation and distribution is critical to the success of a brand. Most companies already know that content marketing is important. According to Search Engine Watch, it’s the number-one digital marketing trend for businesses today.

Users are demanding it, too. As Marketeer points out, “70% of your sales funnel happens before you even know you have a prospective buyer.” This means the majority of your prospect’s journey toward your business happens before they contact you. Companies have to use content marketing to reach out to these prospects as early as possible in their decision-making process.

With recent Google algorithm updates, brands are concentrating on content marketing because content has become an increasingly important factor in search visibility. Search engines want to see unique, high-quality content that provides relevant information. If the content doesn’t answer the searcher’s questions, it’s simply not important.

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Search engines care about quality and relevance because their goal is to deliver the best results to users. Users are busy, and your content shouldn’t waste their time. Instead, it should answer their questions quickly. This means it should be informative, to the point, and easy to read.

So, how can you deliver personalized, informative content that search engines reward?

Answering this question takes strategic thinking. A web page doesn’t rank high on Google by magic—its ranking depends on its actual value. Ultimately, search engines, like Google, want to see thoughtful content. Yes, having excellent site architecture is also important, but the content on the page is critical to success.

Let’s say you’ve decided to develop a content marketing strategy, but you aren’t sure where to begin. What’s the first step?

To develop a strategy, you first need to understand your target audience. This step requires thinking about who your target audience is and how they search online. Who are your customers? What do they want? What do their everyday lives look like?

Once you get an idea of your target audience, sit down and analyze how they might be searching for products and services related to your business. You don’t have to just guess; you can use data from website analytics to get a more accurate picture of what’s happening in your customers’ lives.

There are two main ways to use data from your analytics to get at this information. First, you can look at referral traffic in analytics to see what other websites are driving traffic to your website. These could be the social channels you post to or websites that have linked to your content. Secondly, if you have enabled demographic and interest reports, you can determine if you are seeing traffic from your target audience. With this data in hand, you can begin to think about who your prospects are, where they are coming from, and what type of content might appeal to them—and then develop a content calendar accordingly.

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In the end, if you implement a clear and concise marketing strategy, you’ll begin to see these four key benefits:

  1. Improved SEO
  2. Increased direct traffic to your website
  3. Increased brand awareness
  4. Increased leads and conversions

These benefits are all interconnected. Publishing relevant, well-optimized content increases your chances of visibility on the search engine results page (SERP). If that visibility converts to clicks from searchers, you’ll receive more traffic to your site and increase your brand awareness. That awareness and traffic could then result in additional leads for your business.

As you can see, having an in-depth content marketing strategy is essential for successful online marketing. Understanding your audience and the way they search online can yield huge results for your business. It’s not something to postpone.

Once you’ve started to develop a strategy, you’ll want to know what types of content to include in it. For help on that, check out Part 2!

For more information, contact your Client Services Representative or info@GetG5.com

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