Sometimes, the indirect approach offers the best results. As the tide of online research swelled in the last decade, content marketing rose to meet it. Nowadays, many people won’t even buy shampoo without performing considerable research on the most popular products. Take that hunger for information for these simple commodities, then consider just how even deeper that desire can be for large purchases. Bathroom remodels, roof replacements, landscaping projects, and other crucial investments rely on weeks (even months) of research.
While some skip to shopping directly, most consumers begin their consideration process via local guides and industry experts, through the medium of content marketing. Today, we’ll dig into the concept and what it means for your business. More importantly, we’ll show how to establish your own initial strategy for long-term growth.
A Short Intro to Content Marketing
We’ve all had more than our fair share of salesmen. In fact, it’s safe to say that the majority of us would be willing to go a lifetime without another telemarketing call. But every once in a while, you come across a professional that is so exceptionally skilled at their job, you’ll actually call them for advice on business or home-related challenges. These are the seasoned experts we all aspire to imitate, even if we aren’t working to sell the latest Honda or insurance bundle.
Content marketing is your chance to become an established authority within your company’s industry. That’s no easy task, especially when thousands of companies flock to Google Search with their latest content. If you can cut through all the poorly crafted blogs, videos, and guides however, your business will forge wonderful new growth opportunities!
Kicking Off Your Content Marketing Strategy
Just remember, the goal of content marketing isn’t to sell but to inform. In some ways, this form of marketing demands greater skill than with advertising, because professionals must generate valuable content for their target market. It doesn’t require the same level of graphic design or coding experience as developing a new website, but informative content does require skilled writing and industrial expertise. There may also be crucial technical skills involved.
Before you charge into the realm of blogging, video, and how-to’s, ask yourself (and your marketing team) a few key questions.
- Do we have the talent to support a content marketing campaign?
- What sort of metrics for success should we rely on?
- How much time, money, and effort are we willing to invest?
- What is our underlying purpose behind content marketing?
- Which channels should we focus on creating content for?
You may not have the answers for these questions just yet. Below, we’ll explain how you can make these crucial decisions and craft the foundation for your content marketing initiative.
Establishing Metrics for Success
Before your company can enjoy content marketing success, you first need to define what a successful campaign looks like. While there are dozens of potential metrics available, finding the right ones may be surprisingly challenging. What does your team expect to get out of your time, money, and effort?
Potential Metrics for Content Marketing
- More Direct Leads (Calls, Emails, etc.)
- Stronger Brand Development
- Better Rankings in Local Search
- Email/Newsletter Subscriptions
- Additional Business From Existing Customers
If you want additional ideas for potential metrics, check out SEMrush’s article on the subject! For companies just starting out, content marketing offers great tools for customer retention and search engine optimization (SEO). However, it shouldn’t be used as a primary sales funnel unless your new business specializes in digital services. Instead, focus on crafting better website traffic and conversion rates.
Determining Your Planned Investment
Next, you’ll need to establish just how much time you’re willing to put into developing content on a regular basis. Unlike advertising, you can’t expect the same material to stay relevant for years at a time. Company blogs, for instance, require monthly posts at minimum. Again, start by answering a few key questions for your industry.
Crucial Investment Questions
- How often do my competitors produce new content?
- Can I do better than other local businesses?
- How many channels will I need to keep up?
- What’s the cost (in labor hours)?
- Will I need to hire a professional?
As our seasoned content writers at Nolen Walker will tell you, developing worthwhile content takes time. You’ll need to conduct research about hot topics in your industry, specifically those that matter most to your clients. Add in keyword research, writing time, formatting, editing, and publishing, and you’ll understand why too many businesses cut their content marketing efforts short!
Deciding on the Best Channels
Blogging isn’t the only venue for connecting with your target marketing, though it’s usually the simplest. Some businesses focus on video development, social media posts, or even infographics. Start by figuring out what your market’s demographic responds to best. Here’s a couple of helpful trends.
Content Marketing Channels & Their Best Uses
- YouTube: Tutorials and Reviews
- Facebook & Instagram: How-To Guides, Idea Lists
- Twitter: Infographics, Industry Tips
- Company Blogs: How-To Guides, Infographics
- Industry Online Publications: Infographics, Case Studies
- eBooks: Case Studies, Infographics
- Email: Seasonal Guides
If your industry traditionally relies on extremely visual media for advertising, there’s a good chance your content marketing needs to follow suit. Interior designers, for instance, utilize professional photography in both their blogs and their seasonal idea lists. Videos also make it easy to display your wares without heavily emphasizing sales.
Should your business rest in a more financial or health-driven industry, you may wish to focus on a fact-rich format. Infographics offer a great tool for delivering a high volume of information without overloading your audience, as do case studies. Try finding a popular (and free) industry publication to share your content!
Assigning Your Marketing Talent
One of the most obvious questions to address in content marketing: Does your company have the required talent to continually produce content for your strategy? If not, you may wish to stick with simpler channels until you do. Social media marketing and blogging offer easy ways to release content without requiring too much technical expertise.
Alternatively, you may decide to take on new talent or hire outside of your business. Plenty of companies offer professional video production and digital services. Just make sure to find one with great references and reviews.
Need a Content Marketing Expert?
At Nolen Walker, our seasoned crew of graphic designers, social media gurus, SEO specialists, and content writers make it easy to grow your business and strengthen your brand. Whether you’re looking for content marketing strategy or fresh website development, we have cost-effective solutions for whatever industry you compete in. Our clients dominate their local search results, earn premium traffic, develop higher quality leads, and enjoy long-term growth.
Want to learn more about content marketing or another online marketing channel? Talk with one of our seasoned experts at Nolen Walker! Call (866) 356-8198 today for your free one-on-one consultation.