If you’re like most small business owners who dabble in content marketing, there’s a pretty good chance you probably don’t have a documented content marketing strategy. Unfortunately, like in chess, working without well thought-out strategy means you’ll quickly be checkmated by the competition.
One recent survey reported that 61 percent of successful marketers used a documented content strategy, while only 13 percent of marketers who were struggling had bothered to develop one. Additionally, 72 percent of successful marketers directly credited their success to having a documented content marketing strategy.
So what does this mean? Simple, it’s time to make a plan.
Fortunately, developing a content marketing strategy doesn’t require spending long days and nights feverishly planning out every conceivable detail. To help you develop a successful strategy that meets your small business’ needs, here are a few questions you need to answer.
Who is Your Target Audience?
Your target audience isn’t simply anyone willing to purchase your goods or services. You need to get incredibly specific about identifying your current customers and those you hope to attract in the future. While this may very well be the toughest part of this assignment, it’s the very centerpiece to how you’ll develop your content marketing strategy going forward. If haven’t firmly established who your existing customers are, however, you need to do a little research.
Creating a comprehensive overview of your target audience can get fairly complicated, but here are a few things to keep in mind when beginning your research.
- Why does your audience purchases products or services like yours?
- What type of results do they expect to receive from products or services like yours?
- What forms your audience’s perception as they evaluate their options?
- What factors cause your audience not to make a purchase?
- Why would someone believe your products inferior to the competition?
It’s important not to feel overwhelmed when you start the process of researching your target audience. Start off by talking with a few of your existing customers first, then begin to build your data base from there.
Where Can You Find Your Audience Online?
Where your target audience hangs out online should become pretty clear as you conduct your research. However, it’s important to determine where you’re most likely to connect with your audience so that you don’t overextend yourself online. While it’s tempting to feel like you need a presence on every social media channel and online forum, it’s better to truly excel in one or two areas than to have a watered down presence on multiple platforms. Make it a goal to become an influencer on the top two or three platforms your audience visits most frequently.
What Type of Content Attracts Your Audience?
Again, this is the type of information you should learn while doing research into what makes your target audience tick. If you’ve determined your audience is primarily on Facebook, they probably appreciate blog posts and videos targeted towards their interests. If your audience hangs out primarily on LinkedIn, then whitepapers, infographics, and business related articles will probably be their thing.
Your primary goal should be to determine the type of content that your audience values the most so that you don’t waste time producing content they have little to no interest in viewing. No matter how solid your content marketing strategy, producing content that doesn’t interest your audience will lead to poor interaction and sales.
What Information Does Your Audience Crave, and What Do You Consider Successful Interaction?
A successful content marketing strategy enables you to create interest and develop credibility with your target audience. Upon this foundation of trust and mutual respect you form a hopefully lasting relationship. This requires a long-term approach. You can’t create one great blog post or video and expect that to singlehandedly drive sales. So you need to determine what you want your content to achieve? What’s the purpose of the content you create and how do you define its success?
Start by considering your buying cycle and sales funnel. What types of content would be the most helpful to your audience of potential and returning customers during each phase of this cycle? Maybe you hope they will sign up for a free demo, request a copy of your whitepaper, or add their name to your mailing list. Whatever you decide to use as an initial offer, it needs to be both compelling to your audience and it needs to be free of charge.
It can be helpful to ask the questions, “What does my audience need to know about my business to convince them to do business? What obstacles exist that could prevent them from doing business and how can I overcome them?”
Local Fresh Can Help Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy
Developing a successful content marketing strategy doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Local Fresh is there to help. We work with our clients to determine who their target audience is, what type of content they want, and where they can be reached.
Remember, your content marketing strategy doesn’t need to be complicated to be effective. Follow the steps listed above to begin building a successful foundation on which to build your documented content marketing strategy and you’ll be off to a strong start.
If you need assistance, click here to find out what Local Fresh can do for you.