Content Marketing: Step by Step

content marketing, step by stepLast week we provided an overview of 15 types of content marketing that can help your business website succeed.

Though the specifics of how you get started with each content marketing type will vary depending on what you choose, there will be common general steps or stages you’ll go through during your content marketing efforts. Make sure you are ready for this process before you start and you’ll be more likely to be successful with your content marketing.

Step 1: Set Your Content Marketing Goals

It’s a catchy slogan, but I wouldn’t advise you to “just do it” when it comes to content marketing. Since this does require time and effort, you want to make sure you know what you’re doing it for. Be as specific as you can with your content marketing goals. Are you looking for 2x your incoming links? Do you want to move a product page up from page 2 to page 1 in the SERPs (search engine result pages)? Do you want to increase website traffic by 20%? Increase leads by 25%? Conversions? Think through what your goals because they can shape which efforts you take, your content strategies, and ultimately what you’ll be tracking.

Step 2. Choose Your Content Marketing Mix

After you have your goals, try to choose content marketing tactics that will help you move towards your goals. You will, of course, need to be realistic about which things you will be able to pursue (based on your time, expertise, budget, etc.). And you’ll need to keep your audience in mind. Not all tactics work for all audiences equally. A whitepaper can be an effective business website marketing tool but not for consumer websites. The opposite is true for games. If your customers skew very young, email newsletter may not work since the youngest consumers favor texting and other forms of communication over email.

Step 3: Produce Your Content

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. You need to decide who is doing what (unless you are a solo act) and create an editorial calendar (or more general content production calendar) to map out what will be produced when for the next 3 or 4 months. Think about topics/content ideas that will resonate with your audience. Think about topics that will further your goals. If you are looking for traffic from a blog, do some keyword research to make sure you are blogging about popular topics and using the words your customers use. And remember, if you’re blogging, you want to be able to do it regularly and consistently to be effective. Here are some of our previous posts that may help you with your blog: How to Generate Ideas for your blog, 8 Blogging Tips for Small Business Owners, How to Publish a WordPress Blog on Your Website, Common Blogging Mistakes.

Step 4: Promote Your Content

It’s not just content. Don’t forget to put some marketing in your content marketing. Because if you produce your content and don’t promote it at all, it will be like the proverbial tree that falls in the woods that no one hears. So, think about all the ways you can promote your content.

Social media is a good place to start. You should have a Twitter account, and when you produce some content, send out a tweet about it. It’s OK to send out multiple tweets about the same content, but space them out and vary the tweet a bit so you don’t turn off your Twitter followers. Facebook, Google +, and other social networks are also good to spread the word about your content. Depending on the nature of your business, LinkedIn can also be good, especially if you are in groups there.

But don’t expect social to do all the work. If you are promoting a blog, make sure it’s prominently featured on your website so you get some traffic from current customers. If you send out a regular email to customers, link to your content. And don’t forget about all the traditional marketing ways to drive traffic.

Step 5: Track Your Success

Remember, you started this process with goals. So you want to have a way to confirm that your content marketing achieved its goals or not (in which case you re-evaluate and try again). EarthLink Web Hosting and professional web design customers have website tracking available within their Web Hosting Control Panel. Google Analytics is a free analytics solution you can sign up for. You’ll probably want to monitor traffic, engagement (time on site or on a specific page), return visitors, leads, conversions, and conversions. If your conversions are offline (like by phone) you’ll want to track that as well.

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