Content marketing comes with very esoteric expressions these days, but every content marketing strategy begins from the basics.
Why does your business need a content marketing strategy?
Established content marketers tell you that your business needs content marketing so that you can build a platform for yourself that you can someday use for promoting your business.
Michael Hyatt, in his book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, says “Without a platform – something that enables you to get seen and heard – you don’t have a chance. Having an awesome product, an outstanding service, or a compelling cause it is no longer enough.”
The bigger goal of content marketing is to attract, convert and retain customers.
Of course, they are right. Every business needs its own platform, whether micro and macro. You need your audience if you want to do business. People should be eager to listen to you. Not just listen to you, they should pay attention to what you are saying, and the best would be that they also react to what you are saying.
What is the initial goal of your content marketing strategy?
That’s a bigger goal – building a broadcasting platform. Your broadcasting platform takes shape when you have done content marketing for your business for at least a year (assuming you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on promotion and marketing).
What happens in the beginning? When you have just started content marketing?
In the beginning, you work at the basics.
All the basics boil down to one thing: you need targeted traffic.
No traffic – no platform – no business.
There are rivers of traffic. There are lakes of traffic. There are seas of traffic, oceans of traffic.
You have to dig channels towards your business and these channels will bring traffic to your website either in small streams or flash floods depending on the tectonics of the Internet world.
Although throughout your content marketing you may try to get as much targeted traffic from the search engines as possible, in the beginning you primarily focus on your main keywords.
I’m not suggesting that you focus on your keywords so much that you don’t pay any attention to your quality and relevance, but you have to strike a balance between writing and publishing keyword-rich content and providing value to your visitors.
If you have lots of time and resources at hand, you can focus on multiple sources of traffic like your own blog and website, other blogs and websites and various social media channels, but if you have limited resources and no extra help, I suggest you first focus on your own website and blog.
Make sure that all the necessary pages on your website are there. All the information that a prospective customer or client may need to make a decision in your favour, should be there. All the concepts should be explained. All the doubts should be cleared. All the apprehensions should be laid to rest.
Then focus on your blog. Publish lots of useful content that is keyword-rich. Don’t get carried away. Initially stick to 1-2 blog posts every day and follow this pattern until you have 50+ blog posts.
According to the latest patterns emerging through various SEO and content marketing conversations, longer pieces contents are better than shorter pieces.
By shorter pieces I don’t mean “thin content”, that is totally useless, and even harmful; shorter pieces mean blog posts of 500 to 700 words. These are no longer sufficient.
Publish fewer blog posts, but publish longer blog posts – 1200-1500-2000 words if possible.
Look at it this way: publishing in 2000-word comprehensive blog post that covers your central topic from all the angles gives you far better returns than publishing 4 blog posts of 500-700 words. These 500-700-word blog posts – considering you publish quality content – may take more time than the 2000-word blog post, and in many instances, may even cost you more.
Longer blog posts obviously take time and effort, and this is the reason why search engines like Google take longer blog posts more seriously compared to shorter blog posts – anyone with little effort can write shorter blog posts, but it takes lots of effort and dedication to write longer blog post.
So, just starting your content marketing? Don’t go overboard with the number of blog posts. From the beginning itself, start posting bigger, more comprehensive blog posts even if you have to publish fewer blog posts.
Once you feel that you have covered all the topics that you could have possibly covered in these 50+ blog post, start focusing on other publishing platforms also. Occasionally publish on Medium. Publish on LinkedIn. Answer to people’s questions on Quora. Start networking with other publishers so that they publish your content on their websites and blogs.
This is your initial stage of content marketing and it can easily take up 4-5 months.
What is the advanced stage of content marketing for your business?
For continued content marketing success, you will need to maintain the pace.
There are many reasons:
- Just like you, many businesses, your direct and indirect competitors, are using content marketing to promote themselves.
- Your current and prospective customers and clients need to be kept engaged constantly otherwise they lose interest in your business and even when need to avail your product or service they may not recall you and do business somewhere else.
- Search engine rankings are being shuffled every second. Millions of blog posts, webpages, images, videos and social media updates are being indexed by Google every hour and all these pieces of content are competing with your content. You constantly need to feed Google and other search engines with new content.
- People’s attention span, especially on the Internet, is quite fickle. You constantly need to remind them of your capability. If you are simply promoting others’ content, you don’t make much impact. But if you share your own content, if you engage people through your own content, they remember you better and the respect you for your knowledge and experience.
- When you publish content continuously some of your content begins to appear on other websites and blogs. Remember that for the effective back linking, people need to link to your content voluntarily. The more content you publish, the better are your chances of being linked to by other Webmasters and bloggers.
From simple SEO, your content marketing evolves into a complete content publishing and promotion routine
This is how your content marketing evolves. In the beginning you simply focus on improving your search engine rankings, but eventually, you begin to build a platform for your business and for your brand.
There is no use hurrying. A few months ago, I created a video titled “Content marketing is like growing a tree”, in which I have explained that just like you cannot hurry when you want to grow a tree and enjoy its fruits, you cannot hurry with content marketing. It evolves at its own pace unless you are ready to pump in lots of money and effort. Here is the video:
Behind every successful content marketing there is unique content and a very remarkable quality of unique content is, it can sustain itself even in the face of competition.
After you have attained a traction with unique and quality content, you can slow down your pace. Instead of publishing 1-2 blog posts every day, maybe you can publish 1-2 blog posts every week, or even a couple of weeks if you want to focus on detailed, longer blog posts.
By the time you have published 50+ blog posts you become known for your content quality and people begin to seek you out when they are looking for quality advice and insight. This is an indication that you have built your platform.
A platform means people converge at a particular point associated with you to achieve something, and in terms of content marketing, they want to be informed, so they pay close attention to what you publish on your website, blog and even on your social media timeline. You have got an audience. People carefully listen to you.
After this, you just need to sustain your platform. At this stage, your content marketing has evolved and unless you do something really disastrous, the only way from here is forward.