Guest post by Kevin Ocasio.
The internet has completely revolutionized the world of content marketing. Through the web, your content can now literally live forever as opposed to their relatively short lifespans in the heydays of newspapers, magazines and the like. This phenomenon, however, has also given rise to the dilemma of making eternally marketable content. Aside from coming up with great content ideas to write about, you now also have to worry about a myriad of other factors. These include but are not limited to building stronger relationships with your audience and customers, and providing them with valuable, actionable content.
What are the things you need to do to make your content marketing as effective as possible? We came up with these time-tested content marketing questions. Answer yes to all of them and you can be sure that your content marketing is at its best.
1. Have you analyzed your niche and clearly defined your goals?
First of all, what you have to do is define which niche will be the basis for your content. Doing so will enable you to assess your own strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, it will help you realize the value that and your content can bring to a specific market.
For example, instead of targeting people who want to start a blog (which is decidedly a wide niche), why not target people who want to start blogging for business instead? That way it will be easier to plan your goals and how to achieve them.
Next is to analyze the content of your competitors. How does your content compare to theirs? Doing a guided comparison will not only show you how your content stands in the competition. It may also reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Which of their weaknesses can you take advantage of in the market by playing up your strengths?
Next thing to do is to clearly define your goals. What is it that you aim for? To come up with, Semrush suggests using the SMART method:
Try using this formula: Goal + Method + Target Timeframe
ex. I want to double my site traffic by promoting my website across all social media site within 10 weeks.
Following a formula or pattern makes your goal feel more achievable and will keep your motivation intact.
2. Have you determined a specific target audience?
This second checkpoint is one of the most important parts. Determining who your audience are will be your ultimate guide to your content.
Some things you have to consider are:
- age bracket and profession
- topics or subject that influence them
- platforms online that your target audience frequently spend their time on (blogs, social networks, forums, etc.)
- best ways to reach your target audience
3. Do you have a workable content marketing strategy?
Based on the goal(s) you have decided on, create your content plan. For example, your goal is to increase brand awareness. What you can do is include the following in your content throughout the whole duration of your target timeframe:
- tutorial videos
- product demos
- client interviews or success stories
- case studies, etc.
Or if you want to increase the traffic to your website, you must include data that has strong ties to your niche.
- Guest posts from influencers on popular blogs in the industry
- Email newsletters
- SEO-optimized blog content
- targeted social media campaigns and ads
Also, do not neglect to include influencers in your niche on your content marketing strategy. This will only not help with reaching a wider audience but also add authority and credibility to your content.
4. Have you established a flexible, intelligent workflow?
For it to be effective, your content marketing plan should reach out far enough, even months in advance. To achieve this, you need a well-planned workflow that’s flexible enough. You don’t want to be locked in on the same tasks over and over and not be able to focus on the other aspects of your marketing strategy.
A workflow that’s well-thought-out will help you plan your content, topics and promotions as well as properly distribute tasks to your team if you have one. Otherwise, it will still help you organize your own tasks. This will enable you to cover everything your content marketing strategy requires.
5. Does your content have killer headlines?
How catchy are your headlines? They are the first that your customers and audience will see before actually getting into your content. With that in mind, you have to ensure that your headlines are interesting and charismatic enough to be able to grab your audience’s attention all the way through to the end of your content.
Admittedly, the title is usually the hardest to come up with. No worries. For your headline-making needs, you can include AnswerThePublic, Portent’s Content Idea Generator and the like as part of your ultimate writing guide.
6. Does your content address user FAQs and pain points?
An effective content strategy is one that proves extremely valuable to your audience. This involves researching for pain points and frequently asked questions which will help you gauge your customers’ needs.
Answers to these common FAQs are usually short and direct to the point. The challenge is to make your answers comprehensive enough to present more value to your customers.
7. Is your content backed by solid data and credible sources?
It is true that the content you want to market should majorly be based on the knowledge you have that can provide maximum value to your customers. On the other hand, you also need to let your customers feel that you are giving them facts. In this case, what you have to do is make sure you link your data to authority websites and other credible sources. You need to research for such sources that reinforce your take on the same topics you are relating to your audience. This is proven to improve your audience’s trust in you and your content.
8. Is your content SEO-friendly?
Here’s another question: how can you provide value to your customers if they can’t find you? It is of extreme importance to rank well on SERPs in order to get to your customers or even reach a wider audience.
Make sure to naturally insert keywords into your content that will allow it to stand out among the rest. Use the best SEO tools that you can get your hands on. Apply the latest techniques to optimize your site. As much as possible, try to avoid making SEO mistakes that you’ll regret later on.
Ensuring that your content is SEO-friendly is NOT a one-time-only process. You have to do it constantly to get the best results.
9. Are your images share-worthy and visually-appealing?
Science proves that the human brain processes images faster and better compared to words. Most likely, there are hundreds of thousands of websites within the same niche as you that use optimized images to capture customers’ attention and market their content.Don’t be daunted by the competition. Instead, strive to do the same —but better.
Work on producing striking and shareworthy images, infographics, data charts, etc. that will be sure to attract your audience’s attention and keep it there long enough to process the information you want to impart to them.
As a matter of fact, this is one of the top tips for successful social media posts that you should never forget. Keep yourself informed of the latest trends in image and media optimization so that you can always stay on top.
10. Can you commit to establish and regularly review your success metrics?
You need to be able and willing to spend valuable time in observing your site’s analytics and content metrics on a regular basis. Track the performance of your content to determine what works and what doesn’t. Based on that, you will know which parts of your plan you need to reinforce and which to drop.
An effective content marketing strategy is essential in creating content that fits the goals and needs of your business. The checklist above has proven effective time and again. Still, that doesn’t mean you will achieve immediate positive results.
Content marketing properly done takes time. Have patience and keep at it. Constantly make sure that you have everything on this checklist covered all the time and you are sure to get the kind of results that you are hoping for.
We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions as well as exchange insights with you. Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below and we’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible. Cheers!
Kevin Ocasio is a digital entrepreneur who runs his own blog KevinOcasio.com. A retired Marine, he devotes his time helping newbie bloggers and business owners succeed online.